Monday, October 27, 2008

2008 Week 8 Recap: Bills at Dolphins

Offense & Special Teams




Defense


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Week 8 game predictions

Went .500 on picks two weeks in a row. What the hell is going on? I know I'm smarter than this!

Last week's record: 7-7
Season record: 58-44 (56.9%)

Buccaneers over Cowboys - The injuries are clearly adding up as Dallas was beyond bad last week. They could rebound, but I can't justify picking them after that performance.

Redskins over Lions - I can't see the Lions winning a game with Dan Orlovsky under center.

Bills over Dolphins - I'm actually 0-for-6 picking Dolphins games this year. Here's hoping I go 0-for-7.

Patriots over Rams - I'm not sold on the Rams yet, and the Patriots are picking up steam. Undrafted rookie running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a sleeper for a big game this week.

Chargers over Saints - Both of these teams are loaded with talent, and both have had their down moments this season. This is a toss-up to me.

Jets over Chiefs - Kansas City's roster seems to get less talented by the week. They're awful right now.

Eagles over Falcons - Definitely has the potential for an upset, but I like the Eagles here.

Panthers over Cardinals - Carolina is another team that I can't figure out. They play well when I don't pick them and poorly when I do.

Ravens over Raiders - Flacco doesn't always make it look pretty, but the team's defense is strong.

Jaguars over Browns - This came will be interesting if the Browns play like the Giants in Week 6, but the Jaguars have to be the pick here.

Texans over Bengals - No Carson Palmer = no more picking the Bengals in 2008.

Steelers over Giants - A very, very good matchup between two great teams. Tie goes to the home team here.

49ers over Seahawks - San Francisco hasn't been impressive, but the Seahawks are too big of a mess right now to pick.

Colts over Titans - The Colts winning isn't usually an upset in this matchup, but Tennessee is playing some great ball. Still, I think it's time the Titans joined the ranks of the defeated.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dolphins Place CB Lehan on IR, Re-Sign CB Thomas

The Dolphins' already shaky secondary got a little thinner today as cornerback Michael Lehan was placed on injured reserve. Lehan had been bothered throughout the preseason and regular season with ankle and hamstring injuries.

Replacing Lehan on the Dolphins' roster will be a familiar face, as cornerback Joey Thomas gets the call. A member of the Dallas Cowboys prior to the 2007 regular season, Thomas lost out to Nathan Jones for the fourth cornerback spot in Miami and was released during final cuts.

Lehan

Originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns out of Minnesota in 2005, Lehan spent three seasons with the team before being waived in he 2006 offseason. During his time in Cleveland, he appeared in 32 games (four starts) and amassed 52 tackles and two pass deflections.

The Dolphins originally signed Lehan as a free agent in May 2006 under Nick Saban. He appeared in 15 games included two starts, recording 18 tackles and two pass deflections.

Lehan experienced a breakout season under Cam Cameron in 2007, starting a career high 14 games and recording 57 tackles, one interception and seven pass deflections.

An ankle injury landed Lehan on the PUP list to begin training camp in 2008. He went on to appear in three of the team's preseason games, recording a pass deflection and an interception.

Prior to going on injured reserve, Lehan had appeared in five games (two starts) for the Dolphins in 2008 and recorded six tackles and a pass deflection.

Thomas

A third-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 2004 out of Montana State, Thomas has played for both the Packers and Saints in his NFL career. He has also gone to training camp with the Dallas Cowboys in 2007 and later played for the Edmonton Eskimos.

The Dolphins signed Thomas as a free agent on February 8, 2008. During the 2008 preseason, Thomas appeared in three games and recorded 5 tackles, an interception and a pass deflection. He was released following the preseason, losing out on the final cornerback spot to former Cowboys teammate Nathan Jones.

Analysis

While Miami's secondary has struggled quite a bit, this isn't a huge loss for the Dolphins because Lehan hadn't been contributing much this season. After a very strong showing in 2007, nagging injuries hampered Lehan throughout the preseason and the regular season, relegating him to a backup role.

The loss of Lehan likely means Nathan Jones - primarily a special teamer this season - will see more time on defense in nickel and dime packages. First-round disappointment Jason Allen should also see increased playing time as a result of Lehan's injury. Essentially, Jones will replace Lehan on defense, while Joey Thomas will replace Jones on special teams.

Thomas has been a disappointment for most of his NFL career, and his talents are primarily limited to special teams. If he ever has to see extended time on defense, the Dolphins are in trouble.

The Dolphins are very thin at cornerback and can't afford any more injuries to the position if they want to keep games close. If I'm Jeff Ireland, I'm calling Ty Law's agent to see if something can be worked out.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dolphins cut safety Crocker, re-sign Culver ... practice squad tidbits

The Dolphins deemed another one of their 2008 free agent signings expendable today, cutting sixth-year safety Chris Crocker and re-signing safety Tyrone Culver. As a vested veteran, Crocker will receive his full base salary for the season.

Background

A third-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns out of Marshall in 2003, Crocker played three years for the Browns and the last two with the Atlanta Falcons.

The Dolphins signed Crocker to a one-year, $1.15-million contract on March 29, 2008. Battling with veteran Renaldo Hill (recovering from a torn ACL) and first-round bust Jason Allen, Crocker earned the Dolphins' starting free safety job following the preseason.

Crocker started the first two games of the season but did not perform well. The Dolphins lost both games, and Crocker was the man out of position on Anquan Boldin's 79-yard touchdown on the Cardinals' first drive in Week Two.

Crocker ends his Dolphins tenure with six games played (two starts), ten tackles and a pass deflection.

Replacing Crocker on the Dolphins' roster is third-year safety Tyrone Culver. The 25-year-old Culver enters his second tenure of the season with Miami, having originally joined the team on September 2.

Culver appeared in five games for the Dolphins during his first stint, amassing five tackles. He was waived on October 14 to make room for safety Brannon Condren. Once again, Culver with don No. 29 for the Dolphins.

Analysis

It would be a lie to say this move is surprising in any way. Crocker was a bust as a starting free safety, while Renaldo Hill is fully recovered from his torn ACL and clearly the better player on defense.

Meanwhile, Jason Allen and the re-added Culver are both much bigger contributors on special teams than Crocker, adding to his expendability. He could be brought back in the event of injury to Hill or Allen, but he almost certainly has no long-term future in Miami.

Crocker's release hardly warrants any criticism toward the front office. He was never viewed as a long-term starter, but rather an just experienced player brought in to compete with a recovering vet and a bust. It didn't work out, but it's not a significant failure.

Practice squad tidbits

For the fourth time this young season, the Dolphins have swapped cornerback Will Billingsley and defensive tackle Anthony Toribio on the practice squad.

Toribio re-joined the practice squad on October 18, coinciding with defensive tackle Paul Soliai's one-game suspension. With Jason Ferguson banged up following the Ravens game and Soliai recently in the doghouse, Toribio should be slightly more secure for the time being.

Also, recently signed linebacker William Kershaw is wearing No. 58, which had been worn by linebacker Tyson Smith on the practice squad earlier in the season and currently IR'd linebacker Kelvin Smith before that.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Dolphins Add Safety Condren and Fullback Polite

The Dolphins have made two new signings to their active roster this week, including one that might start as early as this Sunday. In addition to second-year safety Brannon Condren, the Dolphins added former Cowboys and Bears fullback Lousaka Polite, who may replaced injured starter Casey Cramer against the Baltimore Ravens.

Released to make room for the two were safety Tyrone Culver and offensive tackle Kirk Barton. A seventh-round pick by the Chicago Bears in 2008, Barton likely would have been signed to the practice squad but was claimed by the San Francisco 49ers.

Brannon Condren

A Fort Walton Beach native, Condren started 25 of the 47 games in which he played at Troy, recording 175 tackles (138 solo), one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, 10 tackles for losses, 11 passes defensed and two interceptions. At his Pro Day in April 2007, he posted a forty-yard dash time of 4.47 seconds and did 24 bench reps of 225 pounds.

Condren (6-foot-1, 205 pounds) was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round (131st overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. He misses most of the preseason with a groin injury and was inactive for the first four games of the regular season before making his NFL debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 7. Active for eight games while starting none his rookie season, Condren finished the year with five tackles (three solo).

Condren appeared in all five games for the Colts during the 2008 preseason, recording 26 tackles, two pass deflections and two interceptions (both in a game against the Atlanta Falcons). He was waived during final cuts on August 30.

After being let go by the Colts, Condren was claimed off waivers by the St. Louis Rams on August 31. Serving as the backup free safety to Oshiomogho Atogwe, Condren was inactive for the Rams' first four games of the regular season before being waived on October 10.

Four days after his release from the Rams, the Dolphins signed Condren to a two-year contract. He will wear No. 28, which was most recently worn by safety Keith Davis in training camp.

Lousaka Polite

A three-year captain at Pittsburgh, Polite finished his collegiate career with 657 rushing yards and four touchdowns while adding 59 receptions for 485 yards and two touchdowns.

Signed by the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2004, Polite was released prior to the regular season and spent time on the team's practice squad before being activated for the regular season finale. He made his NFL debut against the New York Giants on January 2, 2005, catching one pass for four yards.

Over the next two season, Polite appeared in 26 games for the Cowboys and recorded 26 rushing yards, 93 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown.

Polite was waived by the Cowboys prior to the 2007 regular season and claimed off waivers by the Chicago Bears on September 5. He appeared in five games for the Bears as the backup to starter Jason McKie, though he did not have a rush or reception. He was released by the Bears during final cuts in 2008.

Polite was signed to a two-year contract by the Dolphins on October 16. His signing gives the Dolphins a backup fullback to starter Casey Cramer. Polite will wear No. 36.

Condren Analysis

Though he was a fourth-round pick by the Colts just a year ago, Condren played little defense in his career and doesn't possess much play-making ability there.

Condren's addition is almost a purely a special teams one. Just as with the player he is replacing (Tyrone Culver), Condren is being brought in to help bolster a special teams unit that has felt Tony Sparano's wrath in recent weeks.

However, Condren was unable to even dress for one of the worst teams in the NFL (the Rams) this season, so it seems unlikely he'll have a huge impact. As with most of the special teams signing the Dolphins have made lately, his roster spot his not safe.

Polite Analysis

Neither addition is a huge signing, but seeing as how Polite could start this week there will be some immediate impact here.

Though not much of a ball carrier, Polite is a good receiver, solid blocker and a contributor on special teams. He was picked up by Bill Parcells in Dallas in 2004 and spent three seasons with the organization, so he has plenty of experience with many of the Dolphins' staff.

With starting fullback Casey Cramer out for the Ravens game with an ankle injury, Polite will likely see time on offense less than a week after his signing. As strong as Miami's offensive line and running game have been this season, there likely won't be a huge drop-off with Polite replacing Cramer.

However, while he may be the team's lone healthy fullback, the Dolphins will likely do different things to avoid having him out there constantly in an offense he's only been in for three days. Don't be surprised to see plenty of two-tight end sets and further use of the wildcat formation, both of which alleviate the need for a fullback and have already been used extensively.

Polite may be a fine fill-in, but his stay on the Dolphins' roster might not be a lengthy one. The team prefers to keep one fullback, and if the Dolphins had preferred Polite to Cramer earlier in the year, they would have just signed Polite last month instead.

Week 7 game predictions

Went .500 on my picks last week. That's not good. Let's try again.

Last week's record: 7-7
Season record: 51-37 (57.9%)

Chargers at Bills - The Bills haven't played very impressive football lately and I still like the Chargers talent. A tough call, but I'm going with San Diego.

Bears over Vikings - The Bears offense looks rejuvenated with Kyle Orton and Matt Forte, and I'm not sure the Vikings' struggling offense can keep up.

Steelers over Bengals - Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn't done anything, so why not at least try Jordan Palmer? None of it matters in this game though, as the Bengals don't really have a chance.

Titans over Chiefs - Without a quarterback and minus Larry Johnson against this defense? No way the Chiefs pull off a win here.

Cowboys over Rams - I don't care who is injured for the Cowboys - they still have no business losing to the Rams.

Dolphins over Ravens - The Dolphins will have a challenge on their hands against a tough Baltimore defense, but I see Miami rattling Joe Flacco enough to pull out a win.

Giants over 49ers - It would surprise me to see the Niners upset here, but I think the Giants rebound from their ugly Monday night performance.

Saints over Panthers - The Panthers really let me down last week against Tampa Bay, while the Saints' already stellar offense is getting healthier.

Texans over Lions - I'm not sure Dan Orlovsky can lead this team to victory.

Colts over Packers - A good matchup, but the Colts have finally caught fire and I think they continue to roll.

Jets over Raiders - Until Al Davis has moved on to the next world, this franchise is screwed.

Redskins over Browns - The Browns finally woke up last week against the Giants, but the Redskins have been more impressive over the length of the season.

Buccaneers over Seahawks - This Seahawks teams is simply too banged up to pull out a win over Tampa Bay.

Broncos over Patriots - Denver's shoddy defense will make things interesting, but I'm not sure how much I believe in the Pats right now.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Q&A with Dolphins tight end Joey Haynos

Undrafted out of Maryland in 2008, tight end Joey Haynos went to training camp with the Green Bay Packers and began this season on their practice squad. He was signed to the Miami Dolphins' active roster on September 24 when the team waived running back Jalen Parmele. Haynos was inactive for his first game with the team against the San Diego Chargers and made his NFL regular season debut last week against the Houston Texans in a reserve role.

Haynos was kind enough to take some time and chat with with us as he looks to get more involved in the Dolphins' offense.

Chris Nelson: How did you find out the Dolphins were interested in signing you to their active roster and where were you?

Joey Haynos: I was in Green Bay and my agent, Scott Smith, texted me.

Chris Nelson: Did the Packers' make any attempt or offer to get you to stick around?

Joey Haynos: Yes they did.

Chris Nelson: Did the Dolphins show any interest to you pre-draft or following the draft?

Joey Haynos: Yes Pre-Draft at the Combine and they called after the Draft too.

Chris Nelson: Do you think Jermichael Finley's draft status may have played a role in him earning the third tight end job over you in Green Bay?

Joey Haynos: Of course.

Chris Nelson: Do you have any prior relationships or encounters with anyone on the Dolphins' roster?

Joey Haynos: I knew a couple of players from the Combine and Hula Bowl and now a LB from Maryland.

Chris Nelson: While playing against Clemson, did you ever go head-to-head with Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling and if so what were your impressions?

Joey Haynos: I did and my impression was he was pretty good.

Chris Nelson: What do you consider your biggest strength and what do you feel you need to work on?

Joey Haynos: My strength is pass catching, and I need to work on pass blocking.

Chris Nelson: Could you see some action in certain offensive sets in the near future or will you primarily work on special teams?

Joey Haynos: I think in the near future I will be working in the offense.

Chris Nelson: Do you consider you special teams play one of your strengths?

Joey Haynos: I’d say my strengths are anything the team wants it to be right now.

Chris Nelson: Have the Dolphins' discussed any long-term plans for you?

Joey Haynos: Right now I’m just learning the offense and tight end position.

Chris Nelson: Thank you for your time.

Joey Haynos: Thank you. I just want to add that I’m really happy being with the Dolphins. I’m really impressed with the team, the coaches and the fans. Thanks again.

Magro out, Kershaw in on practice squad; Billingsley and Toribio swapped again

Linebacker Marc Magro's stay on the Dolphins' practice squad was a short one. A West Virginia alum who entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the St. Louis Rams in 2008, was released from the practice squad on October 14 just over a week after being signed. Taking Magro's place on the practice squad is journeyman linebacker William Kershaw.

Also, the Dolphins have once again released defensive tackle Anthony Toribio from the practice squad and re-signed cornerback Will Billingsley. This marks the third time Billingsley has been on the Dolphins' practice squad this season as well as the third time he has been swapped with Toribio.

Background

A North Carolina native, Kershaw played college football at Maryland and was a two-year starter. His 76 tackles were second-best among Maryland linebackers behind only D'Qwell Jackson. Kershaw also recorded 5.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and one interception on the season.

Undrafted in the 2006 NFL Draft, Kershaw was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent on May 1. He spent most of his rookie season on the Chiefs' practice squad before being activated prior to the regular season finale. He made his NFL regular season debut against the Jacksonville Jaguars on December 31. The following week, he recorded three tackles in a playoff loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Kershaw appeared in the Chiefs' 2007 regular season opener but did not record any stats. He was subsequently released on September 20. The Philadelphia Eagles added him to their practice squad on October 30, where he remained until the Houston Texans signed him to their active roster on November 28. He appeared in one game for the Texans before being released December 18. He finished the season on the Eagles' practice squad.

In February 2008, Kershaw signed a contract with the Denver Broncos. He was waived by the Broncos on April 28 and signed by the New Orleans Saints a month later. Kershaw appeared in three preseason games for the Saints in 2008 including one start, recording 10 tackles and a sack. He was released during final cuts on August 30. The Saints briefly re-signed him to the practice squad on September 25 only to release him October 8.

Kershaw becomes the third Maryland alum currently in the Dolphins' organization, joining tight end Joey Haynos and defensive end Randy Starks.

Analysis

As with the Magro signing a week ago, this transaction is of little importance. The Dolphins simply swapped out one project linebacker for another. Kershaw has good size for the position and solid athleticism but isn't dominant physically.

This is his sixth organization in just over two years, he has never started a regular season game and has appeared in only four regular season or postseason contests. Like Magro before him, he has an uphill battle to stick around in the NFL and will probably never be a starter. His primary goal will be to make the active roster on special teams. And, also like Magro, his position on the team is anything but secure.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No recap this week

In case anyone was hoping for one, I'm sorry to say that I will not be doing a game recap this week as I am dealing with a situation in my personal life. I'm sure I'll have one next week and perhaps some content (if necessary) later this week. Go Phins!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Week 6 game predictions

These are my game picks. You know the drill.

Last week's record: 9-5
Season record: 44-30 (59.4%)

Bears over Falcons - Is Kyle Orton for real? I don't know, but the Bears are playing some good football right now.

Panthers over Buccaneers - Somewhat of a toss-up between two division rivals, but I like the direction Carolina is heading.

Redskins over Rams - The Rams haven't given anyone a reason to pick them. Ever.

Colts over Ravens - Even when the Colts have won, they haven't looked very impressive. Still, you have to imagine Peyton Manning will be able to do more against a great defense than Flacco can handle.

Dolphins over Texans - I've been wrong with all four of my Dolphins picks this season, but if they play like they have lately they should beat Houston.

Vikings over Lions - the Lions are pretty much a mess right now, and the Vikings should have any problems scoring enough points to win.

Saints over Raiders - I'm not sure JaMarcus Russell and Co. can keep up with the Saints' offense.

Jets over Bengals - I'm not even thinking about picking the Bengals until they prove they can win a game.

Broncos over Jaguars - Both teams have had their share of unimpressive/lucky wins lately and this feels like a toss-up to me.

Eagles over 49ers - Might be a close game, but even without Westbrook I think the Eagles pull it out.

Packers over Seahawks - I almost want to go with the upset pick here (if you could call it that) but I think Rodgers and the Packers get back on track.

Cowboys over Cardinals - Could end up being a shootout, especially with the Cowboys' secondary injuries.

Chargers over Patriots - Not the stellar matchup you would have thought before the season began, is it?

Giants over Browns - I think the Super Bowl champs continue to roll.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

LB Marc Magro signed to practice squad, LB Tyson Smith released

The Dolphins made a practice squad swap of inside linebackers yesterday, releasing Tyson Smith and signing Marc Magro. A West Virginia alum, Magro was signed by the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent this offseason and spent time on the Rams' practice squad last month.

Also this week, the Dolphins released practice squad defensive tackle Anthony Toribio and re-signed cornerback Will Billingsley, only to reverse the move three days later.

Tyson Smith

An undrafted free agent out of Iowa State in 2005, Smith has spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys. He spent time on Dallas' practice squad last season (hence the connection to the Dolphins' staff) and attended training camp with the team before being released during final cuts. He had been on Miami's practice squad since the regular season began.

Marc Magro

After playing primarily on special teams and as a backup linebacker during his first three seasons at West Virginia, Magro earned the starting middle linebacker job with the Mountaineers as a senior in 2007. During the season, he recorded 64 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery on his way to second-team All-Big East honors.

Prior to the 2008 NFL Draft, Magro posted a 4.82 40-yard dash and did 28 bench press reps of 225 pounds at his Pro Day. After going undrafted, he signed a one-year contract with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent.

Magro appeared in all four preseason games for the Rams in 2008 including a lone start in the preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs. He recorded nine tackles (seven solo) and a pass deflection during the preseason but was waived by the team during final cuts. Magro was re-signed to the team's practice squad where he remained until his release on September 24.

Magro first worked out for the Dolphins on October 2 and was brought in again on October 6, after which time he was signed to the practice squad. He will wear No. 50, which was most recently worn by linebacker Edmond Miles in 2007 and during the 2008 preseason.

Analysis

All in all, this is a largely insignificant move by the Dolphins. Smith has bounced around the league for over three seasons now and has yet to establish himself on an active roster, while Magro is younger and might have more potential.

So what does Magro bring to the table? He has good size at 6-foot-3 and 246 pounds and is very strong, as indicated by his impressive 28 bench reps. He's an intelligent player, having earned multiple academic honors at West Virginia, and is widely regarded as a very hard worker.

The negatives? Magro lacks great speed or athleticism, doesn't have a ton of college starting experience and also lacks very impressive production at that level. He's a borderline NFL prospect that might not have much of a future in the league.

The fact Magro was released from the Rams' practice squad indicates he's hardly a good NFL prospect. At this point, he's only trying to prove he's a capable special teamer and even that hasn't got him onto an active roster yet. He'll serve as Miami's fourth inside linebacker in practice and allow Rob Ninkovich, who had been working inside recently, to stay outside more.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Dolphins' Evolving Offense Remains a Two-Back Attack

Ronnie Brown was the Dolphins' brightest star in the Dolphins' 38-13 thrashing of the New England Patriots in Week 3, becoming the first player since before the Great Depression to rush for four touchdowns and throw for another. Not surprisingly, the third-year back was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.

While Brown received all the attentions and the touchdowns last week, don't expect him to become the lone feature back in Miami. One must remember that Brown is still just half of the Dolphins' two-headed rushing attack that won't be going anywhere any time soon.

The Forgotten Back

The forgot man in the SportsCenter highlights, Ricky Williams has essentially matched Brown for production this season. The 31-year-old has carried the ball three more times than Brown this season and has just 11 fewer yards. The lone difference is his touchdown total, which still stands at zero compared to Brown's five.

Like Brown, Williams struggled in the first to games of the season, managing just 52 yards. (Brown posted only 48 during that span.) The Dolphins predictably struggled in both games, losing to the Jets in the season opener and getting routed by the Cardinals in Week 2.

But just like the entire team, Williams had a breakout game in Week 3. In addition to Brown's fine performance, Williams rushed for 98 yards on just 16 carries for an impressive 6.1-yard average while adding two receptions for 21 yards.

Brown might have been the only back to score for the Dolphins last week (and score he did) but Williams will continue to remain an equally important part of the Dolphins' offense. Barring injuries to either Brown or Williams, neither will get a significantly larger number of carries than the other in a give game.

The best thing about having two backs of Brown and Williams' caliber is it makes both better. There is no reason to wear either down to the point where their production drops. While defenses tire as the games go on, the presence of each back allows both to stay fresh late into games more than either would as a lone feature back.

While this might make for some inconsistent performances and frustrate fantasy owners, it is undoubtedly the best thing for the Dolphins.

Wildin' Out

The team's Week 3 matchup against the New England Patriots saw a new wrinkle added to the Dolphins' offense, and it was that which helped the Dolphins so quickly change their fortunes.

Using what is dubbed the "wildcat formation", the Patriots saw Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown in the shotgun at quarterback, fellow running back Ricky Williams in the slot, and quarterback Chad Pennington out wide at receiver.

The formation gave Dolphins multiple options. Taking the direct snap, Brown had the option to run it himself if he saw fit. Three of Brown's four rushing touchdowns were scored in this way.

Additionally, Brown had the option to hand off to Williams, who would be running toward Brown in motion prior to the snap. One such handoff resulted in Williams' longest run of the day at 28 yards.

In the third quarter, Brown took the direct snap and ran toward the left sideline, eventually unleashing a 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Fasano.

The execution was stellar, reminiscent of Darren McFadden and Felix Jones at Arkansas. The Dolphins were able to consistently move the ball up the field with ease as the Patriots struggled to adjust to this surprising new attack.

Of course, things will not always look so easy. Defenses will adjust, and the Dolphins will have to as well.

Moving left tackle Jake Long over to tight end on the right side worked like a charm against the Patriots and was a big part of Brown's 62-yard touchdown run. However, having your best linemen on one side of the line will not always work if the defense if the defense knows where you're going with the ball.

For that reason, the Dolphins will have to keep finding new things to do out of the wildcat formation. They must show that they can, and will, do various things out of the formation with a high level of success.

The Dolphins will need to give Brown the option to go to all sides of the field. They need to vary where Ricky begins in the formation so his direction of motion changes too. They need to continue to run the occasional pass out of the formation to keep the secondary on their heels.

Additionally, the Dolphins need to continue to execute in other facets of their offense. As affective as the wildcat formation can be, it can only be so if opponents have more to worry about.

Head coach Tony Sparano was quoted as saying the team's utilization of this formation was "just the tip of the iceberg." If the Dolphins want to continue to have success out of the formation and on offense altogether, that will have to be the case.

Week 5 game predictions

Pretty decent week last week as I got 9 of 13 picks right. Hopefully I can keep it up.

Last week's record: 9-4
Season record: 35-25

Packers over Falcons - Things could get interesting if Aaron Rodgers is unable to go, but Green Bay is still the better team and has to be the pick.

Titans over Ravens - A very good matchup between two great defenses, but the difference is the Titans have a veteran at quarterback and the Ravens have a rookie. I'm not sure Joe Flacco will be able to put up enough points to pull out a win.

Chargers over Dolphins - If San Diego plays like it did against Oakland and Miami plays like it did against New England, this game could be close. But I still have to be cautious and wait to see if Miami's outburst was a fluke.

Colts over Texans - It's about time the Colts really got things going, isn't it?

Giants over Seahawks - The Super Bowl champs are playing well and have to be the pick until they lose.

Eagles over Redskins - There's simply no way to know the outcome of a game between NFC East opponents. Going with the home team didn't work for me with Dallas-Washington, but I'm gonna do it again here.

Panthers over Chiefs - The Chiefs pulled an impractical upset against the Broncos, but I'm not convinced and you shouldn't be either.

Bears over Lions - Matt Millen may be gone, but the team he's built is still in place. Chicago's playing well and should beat their division foes.

Broncos over Buccaneers - The Bucs are playing well, but I expect Denver to rebound from its embarrassing loss to Kansas City.

Bills over Cardinals - Despite being 4-0, the Bills haven't been too impressive in their last two wins against Oakland and St. Louis. Even though I'm picking Buffalo, it wouldn't surprise me to see Warner and the Cardinals put up too many points for Buffalo to handle.

Cowboys over Bengals - Cincinnati is just lost right now. The Cowboys should have no problem with them.

Patriots over 49ers - This team is clearly not the same without Brady, but Belichick is too good a coach to his team get embarrassed two weeks in a row.

Jaguars over Steelers - It should be a close game, but Ben Roethlisberger is banged up and the Steelers' running backs are dropping like flies. I have to go with Jacksonville.

Saints over Vikings - Adrian Peterson should have a field day with the Saints' run defense, but I still think New Orleans puts up too many points for the Vikings to handle.