Thursday, October 29, 2009

2009 Week 8 Game Predictions

After sweeping the 1 o'clock games (admittedly, most were gimmes), I pretty much bombed the later games, including a switched pick from New Orleans to Miami that didn't pay off in the end.

Last week's record: 9-4
Season record: 71-32 (69%)

Texans over Bills — Houston's offense is firing on all cylinders, while the Bills are a mess despite a win against an equally disappointing Panthers team last week. The Texans have to be the pick.

Bears over Browns — Chicago has been horribly inconsistent and forgot to show up against the Bengals last week, but the Browns are the worst team in the league and shouldn't be picked against anyone.

Cowboys over Seahawks — I'm inclined to believe Seattle's route of the Jaguars a few weeks ago was an aberration, and I expect a hot Dallas offense to put up way too many points for Matt Hasselbeck and Co. to manage.

Rams over Lions — What an ugly game this should be. It's hard to pick a winner here, but I like the potential offense of Marc Bulger and Steven Jackson better than the alternative.

Colts over 49ers — It's hard to imagine anyone going undefeated, but it's also hard to pick against Indy right now. Alex Smith had an impressive game last week, but he's no match for Peyton Manning.

Dolphins over Jets — Miami lost a heartbreaker against New Orleans last week, but did certainly play a good half of football. I think the running game gets going again against the Jets.

Giants over Eagles — This is a very tough matchup that could completely go either way, but I've been more impressed with the Giants this season and think they'll prevail.

Ravens over Broncos — Baltimore presents one of the best opportunities for Denver to lost a game this season, and I like their chance this week.

Jaguars over Titans — Tennessee probably won't go 0-16, but it's hard to pick them on any given week, especially when they are starting Rhodes Scholar Vince Young.

Chargers over Raiders — There is just no reason to ever pick the Raiders, ever. JaMarcus Russell will lead his team to defeat yet again.

Packers over Vikings — Minnesota got the best of Green Bay in their first meeting due to the Packers' lack of a line, but that unit is playing better and they'll have homefield advantage. If there is any justice in this world, Brett Favre will get demolished this week.

Cardinals over Panthers — Carolina just can't seem to get things going, even with their running game, so I don't expect them to be able to match the amount of points Arizona will put up.

Falcons over Saints — The Saints have to lose sometime (don't they?) and I'm picking the big upset from the Falcons on the road.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dolphins release DE Derrick Jones, sign FS Nate Ness to practice squad

The Miami Dolphins made a minor transaction Tuesday, signing safety Nate Ness to the practice squad and releasing defensive end Derrick Jones.

The Dolphins signed Jones to the practice squad on Oct. 7 after Phillip Merling suffered an ankle injury against the Buffalo Bills.

An undrafted rookie out of Arizona, Ness was signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent, and has also had brief stints with the New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks.

Background

A California native, Ness began his collegiate career with two seasons at El Camino Community College in Torrance. He earned junior college All-American honors both seasons, as well as a Mission Conference co-Defensive Player of the Year award as a true freshman.

Ness transferred to the University of Arizona in 2007, playing two seasons for the Wildcats. He started six of 12 games as a junior, recording 32 tackles and five interceptions.

As as senior in 2008, Ness recorded 75 tackles, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery.

Ness was signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent in May 2009, but was waived in July.

He then spent just under two weeks with the New York Jets during the 2009 preseason, appearing in three games before being waived on Aug. 31.

Ness was briefly picked up by the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 2, only to be waived during final cuts three days later. He has been a free agent since.

As a practice squad player, Ness will earn $5,200 a week with the Dolphins. He does not count toward the active 53-man roster and can be signed to another team's active roster at any time.

Analysis

It's no secret that Dolphins starting free safety Gibril Wilson has been an epic free-agent bust this season, and at first glance, the signing of Ness might seem to be related.

Still, I don't think this transaction is quite that significant. Tyrone Culver may be and should be a threat to Wilson's job, but Ness is barely on the NFL radar and is a long way from ever contributing at the pro level.

More likely, this is your typical practice squad transaction, just taking a look at another young player. It doesn't hurt that Ness spent part of the preseason with the Dolphins' upcoming opponent in the New York Jets, but I'm not sure how much he can contribute in that area.

As with all practice squad players, Ness is on an extremely short leash and could be cut at any time, be it tomorrow, in a week or whenever. If he lasts the entire season, he could be brought back to compete for a roster spot in 2010, but that's a long way off.

I KNEW DARREN SHARPER DIDN'T SCORE ON THAT PLAY!!!!!!1

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Dolphins place CB Will Allen on IR; re-sign LB William Kershaw

In addition to losing a heartbreaker to the New Orleans Saints in Week Seven, the Miami Dolphins also lost one of their top defenders in starting cornerback Will Allen.

The veteran defensive back suffered a torn ACL in the team's loss to the Saints and has been placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Instead of signing another cornerback to replace Allen on the roster, the Dolphins have re-signed inside linebacker William Kershaw.

Kershaw was with the Dolphins for part of the 2008 season and was waived during final cuts in August prior to the 2009 season.

Background

After starting for two seasons at the University of Maryland, Kershaw went undrafted in the 2006 NFL Draft. He signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent and spent most of his rookie season on the team's practice squad. Kershaw appeared in one regular season game for the Chiefs as well as a first-round playoff game.

Kershaw appeared in the 2007 regular season opener with the Chiefs, but was waived on Sept. 20. He was signed to the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad during the season, then signed to the active roster of the Houston Texans.

After appearing in one game for the Texans, Kershaw was waived on Dec. 18 and finished the rest of the 2007 season back on the Eagles' practice squad.

Kershaw signed with the Denver Broncos in February 2008 but waived in April. Kershaw then signed with the New Orleans Saints, but was waived during final cuts on Aug. 30.

After initially joining the Miami Dolphins' practice squad in October 2008, Kershaw was promoted to the active roster in December when fullback Casey Cramer was waived. Kershaw went on to appear in one game for the Dolphins, recording two tackles and a forced fumble on special teams.

Despite a 17-tackle performance with the Dolphins in the 2009 preseason, including a seven-tackle outing in the finale against New Orleans, Kershaw was waived during final cuts on Sept. 5. He has been a free agent since.

Kershaw becomes the team's fifth inside linebacker, along with starters Channing Crowder and Akin Ayodele, backup Reggie Torbor, and practice squad rookie J. D. Folsom. He will wear No. 58, which has not been taken since he was last with the team in the preseason.

Analysis

Some say Allen's play this season has been inconsistent or even sub-par, but I think those people are kidding themselves.

Allen has been a fantastic cover corner ever since he arrived in Miami, and was playing well this season. It's not all up to the corners, and I think we all know the safety support from Gibril Wilson and Yeremiah Bell has been lacking this season.

The loss of Allen to the secondary is significant, because he was the only player in the unit that had both experience and great coverage skills. The Dolphins will now go with two talented, albeit young, rookies in Sean Smith and Vontae Davis at cornerback.

Allen's injury also means more playing time for Nathan Jones and Tyrone Culver, who will both see plenty of action in nickel and dime packages. 2006 first-round disappointment Jason Allen could also be forced to play some defense in addition to his normal special teams role.

It wouldn't surprise me to see the Dolphins add a veteran cornerback, though the options out there are limited. One possible, but unexciting option is Joey Thomas, who was with the team last season and is currently a free agent. The Dolphins did seem to prefer Thomas over Jason Allen on defense in 2008.

As for Kershaw, he'll serve the same role he did with the Dolphins late last season, which is that of the No. 4 inside linebacker and a special teams player. He's certainly talented in the latter capacity and could be active on game days as soon as this coming weekend.

Kershaw was likely signed over practice squad linebacker J. D. Folsom because he is more experienced and NFL-ready than the Dolphins' rookie seventh-round pick. Kershaw doesn't have much upside as a defender, but he knows the scheme and has the talent to be a backup in this league.

That being the case, there's no guarantee Kershaw's second stint in Miami won't be short-lived. The Dolphins only have four corners on the active roster, and could choose to bring another one on-board at any time.

2009 Week 7 Recap: Miami Dolphins vs. New Orleans Saints

Coming off to wins against division opponents, the Miami Dolphins started strong against the undefeated New Orleans Saints, jumping out to a 24-3 lead during the second quarter.

The Dolphins were unable keep up that momentum, however, with the Saints scoring 36 points in the second half, including 22 unanswered in the fourth quarter alone.

At 2-4, the Dolphins are on the outside of the playoff race looking in, and might at 2010 as their next chance at contention.

The Dolphins will visit the New York Jets for their second match-up of the season in Week 8, but until then, here is my recap of their game against the Saints:

Offense


Defense & Special Teams

Week 7 Highlights: Miami Dolphins vs. New Orleans Saints

Game highlights


Ronnie Brown touchdown run


Ricky Williams touchdown run


Ricky Williams highlights


Vontae Davis touchdown-saving tackle


Tyrone Culver interception


Reggie Torbor interception

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Live Chat - Miami Dolphins vs. New Orleans Saints

2009 Week 7 Game Predictions

Sorry about my lack of predictions for last week's games—my move and lack of internet prevented me from posting them in time. I ended up going 9—5, which is pretty meh. I'll do better this week though, I promise. Please don't hit me.

Last week's record: 9—5
Season record: 62—28 (69%)

Packers over Browns — There's really no reason to ever pick Cleveland at this point, who in addition to being just plain awful are now flu-infested. Green Bay has to be the choice.

Chargers over Chiefs — I thought San Diego had a chance to defeat the undefeated Broncos last week, but it was not to be. Still, I like them to get a win against a much less-talented division rival this week.

Colts over Rams — Another lop-sided matchup, it's hard to envision St. Louis beating a Peyton Manning-led team right now.

Steelers over Vikings — Somewhat of an upset pick, I just think Minnesota has to return to earth at some point, if only for a moment, right? I think Pittsburgh gets to Brett Favre better than anyone has so far this year and hands the Vikings their first loss.

Patriots over Buccaneers — Tampa Bay is simply a mess right now, and New England is as hot as they've been all season. You have to go with the Pats here.

Texans over 49ers — A battle between two teams that are better than one would have thought, I like the Houston offense led by Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels in this one.

Jets over Raiders — New York has certainly received a reality check in recent weeks, with Mark Sanchez playing more like the rookie he is. That, combined with an upset by Oakland over the Eagles last week, still isn't enough to make me pick the Raiders. I'm going with the Jets on the rebound.

Panthers over Bills — Carolina has underachieved at times this year, and looked downright awful at others, but they seem to be getting their running game going. Meanwhile, the Bills are dropping like flies and just keep getting worse, so I have to pick the Panthers.

Bengals over Bears — Both of these teams seem to be two-faced at this point, playing really well at one point then getting stomped the next. I'll go with the Bengals and a better offense at home.

Falcons over Cowboys — I'm a fan of this Dallas team, but they can't seem to put it together consistently, and Atlanta is playing very well right now. I like the Falcons on the road.

Saints over Dolphins — As much as I hope Miami pulls off the upset, I can't really justify picking them against a high-powered New Orleans offense. If the Dolphins can control the clock like they did against Indianapolis, they might be able to stay close and eek out a win.

Giants over Cardinals — New York suffered a tough loss to the Saints last week, but they are still one of the NFL's elite and should be able to top the Cardinals this week.

Eagles over Redskins — Philadelphia is coming off a pretty shocking loss to the Raiders, but the Redskins are a mess right now and I can't see the Eagles dropping two in a row.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dolphins waive '08 fourth-round pick Shawn Murphy; Sign OT Lydon Murtha

The Miami Dolphins announced Tuesday they have waived second-year guard Shawn Murphy and signed rookie offensive tackle Lydon Murtha.

A fourth-round pick out of Utah State in 2008, Murphy was inactive for all 22 games with the Dolphins since entering the NFL last season.

Murtha was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Nebraska and had spent the entire regular season to date on the Lions' practice squad.

Background

A Homestead, Fla. native, Murtha redshirted at the University of Nebraska in 2004 after suffering a leg injury during the spring.

Murtha appeared in 23 games for the Cornhuskers over the next two years, starting six of them at left tackle while serving as a top reserve lineman for the rest.

As a junior in 2007, Murtha started eight games at right tackle before being sidelined with an injury.

Murtha earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors for the second consecutive season as a senior in 2008 after starting eight games and helping Nebraska quarterback Joe Ganz set the school record for passing yards in a season.

Murtha was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round (223rd overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. He appeared in three of the team's four preseason games this year, but was waived during final cuts on Sept. 5.

Murtha had spent the 2009 regular season on the Lions' practice squad. Because he was signed directly off the practice squad by the Dolphins, he must remain on the active roster for at least three weeks.

Murtha likely signed a two- or three-year contract with the Dolphins for the league minimum. He will don No. 76 in Miami.

Analysis

Some seem to be surprised by the waiving of Murphy, but I'm not one of them. The only thing that surprises me about his time in Miami is that it lasted as long as it did.

People made excuses for Murphy since he was drafted by the Dolphins in the fourth round of last year's draft. But the simple reality is, he was a mid-round pick with plenty of college experience and never even gained consideration for playing time during his rookie season.

That wouldn't be so bad if the Dolphins had had a mainstay at the right guard spot. But Donald Thomas—a sixth-rounder in the same draft that walked on to the UConn football team and didn't play ball in high school—was able to come in as a rookie and earn the starting job out of camp, while Murphy was relegated to the bench.

Then, when Thomas went down following the 2008 season opener, the Dolphins tried almost everyone they could find (with little success, mind you) and still never gave Murphy a shot. They started one player they picked up off waivers right before the season (Andy Alleman) and another they signed in the middle of the season (Evan Mathis). But nope, no Murphy.

In 2009, it was my firm belief that Murphy was still on the team only because of his draft status, and that he would have one more camp and preseason to prove his value before the team parted ways with him. I was slightly surprised when he opened camp as the "favorite" at right guard even with Thomas' injury, but I never believed for a second Murphy actually had a chance to beat out a healthy Thomas for the job.

It took a little longer than expected with Murphy surviving final cuts, but he again was inactive for every game this season. The Dolphins finally decided his progress just wasn't enough, and parted ways with the highest draft pick bust of the Parcells-Ireland-Sparano era to date.

Murphy will pass through waivers on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, after which time he will become an unrestricted free agent if unclaimed. My guess is he lands on another team's practice squad, as he's not really worth an active roster spot at this point, but could be worth a look-see as a developmental candidate.

It's always possible the Dolphins could re-sign Murphy to the practice squad if he clears waivers, but it's unknown at this point if either party would be interested in such an arrangement. Armando Salguero wrote yesterday about some potential bitterness on Murphy's end, so this split could very well be permanent.

As for Murtha, while he appears to be a better prospect than Murphy, he's still a long way from contributing and may never do so. He has prototypical size, good athleticism and a solid college résumé, but injuries plagued him throughout his amateur career and it's hard to imagine those things ever completely going away.

In the short term, Murtha will likely be inactive on game days and not on the 45-man roster that dresses. He'll likely work behind second-year man Nate Garner at right tackle, though one could be waived and relegated to the practice squad at some point in the near future. Keep in mind, Murtha must remain on the Dolphins' active 53-man roster at least three weeks since he was signed off another team's practice squad.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Temporary absence


Hello faithful readers (all three of you) - I'm currently in the process of moving and do not yet have the internet set up at my new place. That being the case, posting will be a little difficult until I get things up and running again. I'm typing this from my iPhone, but there's no way I'll be writing any lengthy articles that way.

I'll continue to update you, so don't go drinking that antifreeze just yet. I shall return momentarily!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dolphins lose RB Patrick Cobbs for season; sign RB Kory Sheets

The Miami Dolphins have lost their third-string tailback and a valued special-teamer for the remainder of the 2009 season, as running back Patrick Cobbs has been placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL.

Cobbs suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of the Dolphins' 31-27 victory over the New York Jets on Monday Night Football.

A fourth-year player out of North Texas, Cobbs has appeared in 37 games for the Dolphins over four seasons, rushing for 172 yards while adding another 313 yards as a receiver.

Replacing Cobbs on the Dolphins' roster will be rookie running back Kory Sheets, who was signed off the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad.

Background

A Connecticut native, Sheets red-shirted at Purdue in 2004. He earned Freshman All-American honors from The Sporting News in 2005 after rushing for 571 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Over the next two seasons from 2006 to 2007, Sheets rushes for 22 touchdowns and over 1,600 yards.

Sheets experienced his best season as a senior in 2008, rushing for a career-high 1,131 yards and 16 touchdowns on his way to honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.

After going undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft, Sheets signed with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in all four of the team's preseason games in 2009, rushing for 177 yards and three touchdowns.

Sheet was waived by the 49ers during final cuts on Sept. 5 and re-signed to the practice squad, where he remained until being signed by the Dolphins on Oct. 14.

Sheets will wear No. 22 in Miami, which was most recently worn by cornerback Joey Thomas. Since he was signed off the 49ers' practice squad, Sheets must remain on the Dolphins' active roster for at least three weeks. He likely signed a two- or three-year contract for the league minimum.

Analysis

As unfortunate as it is, the loss of Cobbs is more emotional than practical. It sucks because he's a likable player and hard worker. He's a standout special teams player that contributed on offense occasionally.

That being said, Cobbs simply isn't vital to the Dolphins' success—especially on offense—and things are still going to run (no pun intended) without him. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, along with a powerful line, are what make the Miami running game go, and it will continue to do so.

With the injury, Lex Hilliard moves into the third-string running back role, and could see the occasional action on offense.

A fan-favorite in the '09 preseason, Hilliard has been purely a special teams player to this point. He showed some strength and power running the ball in the preseason, but it's hard to gauge just how good a guy actually is against other teams' camp bodies.

Sheets doesn't have much power as a rusher, but he does have good speed and athleticism. He also has experience as a kickoff returner, and could eventually compete for that role with the Dolphins given the fact that it was Cobbs' job and the team doesn't seem to want to use Ted Ginn, Jr. there.

However, it remains to be seen if Sheets will initially be active on game days for the Dolphins. He'll have to contribute on kick and punt coverage to be so, as he's pretty far from seeing any time on offense.

One positive from this whole thing is that the Dolphins now have two Kory's—Sheets and practice squad tight end Sperry—compared to the other 31 NFL teams' zero Kory's. So we have that going for us.

Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets: Random Observations

I don't really have the time/place to make a few video recaps like I usually do, so instead I'm just going to offer my observations in boring ol' text form.

The Miami Dolphins advanced to 2-3 on the season this week, beating the division-rival New York Jets on a game-winning touchdown drive by second-year quarterback Chad Henne in the final seconds.

I apologize for not doing videos this week, and with the bye coming up in Week Six, that means you'll have to go two weeks without seeing my gorgeous mug. That is, unless you feel the need to watch some of my old video on YouTube.

Offense
  • I was extremely impressed with Chad Henne this week. Sure, he had the benefit of good pass protection and a productive running game, but he looked poised, confident, and made good decisions all night. He also came through when it counted, using his arm to get the Dolphins down the field a couple of times in the final quarter on scoring drives.
  • Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams continue to run hard and gain good yardage after contact. I thought Ricky looked a little slow getting going when he took snaps out of the wildcat, but the team doesn't do that much anyway.
  • Fullback Lousaka Polite, outside of a missed block on the final drive that could have scored Brown, played like a Pro Bowler against the Jets. He made devastating block after devastating block, clearing holes for the tailbacks all night.
  • After a few tough weeks, Ted Ginn, Jr. came through with a few big catches against the Jets. He had a big third-down grab early, and a great catch on the long pass from Henne late. One game doesn't make up for all the drops in recent weeks, but it was nice to see a confidence-boosting performance in the national spotlight.
  • Anthony Fasano finally woke up this week, doubling his reception total on the season and landing a big touchdown.
  • The offensive line performed very well this week, keeping Henne upright and opening up holes in the running game. Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins is a monster and made his share of plays, but overall the Dolphins dominated on the ground. I thought the guards, Justin Smiley and Donald Thomas, in particular did very well.

Defense & Special Teams

  • My only real qualm (yes, qualm) on the defensive side of the ball was the tackling, especially early on. I thought they let Leon Washington get way too many yards and missed way too many tackles.
  • Overall, the Dolphins did a good job of getting pressure on Mark Sanchez. If they didn't hit them, they at least pushed his own offensive linemen in his face and caused some poor throws. Jason Ferguson, Kendall Langford and Tony McDaniel stood out.
  • The linebackers did a much better job in coverage than they had earlier in the season. I thought Channing Crowder played one of his best games in a long time.
  • I thought the pass coverage was solid. Braylon Edwards made a few plays, but overall, the corners did a good job. The 49-yard pass interference penalty on Will Allen was bogus.
  • Gibril Wilson had an up-and-down game, but at least there were some ups too for a change. I'm not a big fan of the "hitting a defenseless receiver" rule they implemented this year, but I knew Wilson would be flagged for his hit and he should have known better. He also has to come up with the potential interception he dropped, even though it would have been negated by a Miami penalty.
  • Dan Carpenter played a mistake-free game, while punter Brandon Fields had one of his best games as a Dolphin.

Week 5 Highlights: Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets

Game highlights


Chad Henne highlights


Ronnie Brown & Ricky Williams highlights

Monday, October 12, 2009

Live Chat Tonight! - Miami Dolphins vs. New York Jets

For those of you that have been following my twitter updates during the game, I'll be doing things a little differently tonight.

Rather than post to twitter, I will use CoverItLive.com's live chat/blogging feature, which will allow me to keep all my comments in one place, and allow me to directly interact with anyone that wants to join in the conversation!

If you're going to be at your computer during tonight's game, feel free to come on by and jump into the discussion here at the live chat below:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

2009 Week 5 Game Predictions

I'm coming off one of my better weeks, having gotten 11 of 14 games correctly. In retrospect, I should have done a little better, but I let some bias seep in (mostly the kind that hates Brett Favre). Oh well, I'll try and do better this week.

Last week's record: 11—3
Season record: 43—19 (69%)

Bills over Browns — Neither one of these teams has been very good at all this season, but I like more of Buffalo's pieces than Cleveland's, It's a toss-up, but I'll go with the Bills.

Steelers over Lions — Ummm, yeah.

Cowboys over Chiefs — The Cowboys certainly haven't played up to their potential so far this season, but I like Tony Romo's chances against one of the NFL's worst pass defenses.

Vikings over Rams — When is Marc Bulger going to just give up playing NFL football? I don't know, but I do know the Rams won't be beating the Vikings today.

Giants over Raiders — I don't care how injured Eli Manning is, I'd still pick New York if David Carr was starting today. JaMarcus Russell is just a joke, and now he's without his most explosive weapon on offense in Darren McFadden.

Eagles over Buccaneers — There just isn't much to like about Tampa Bay, and the high-powered Eagles shouldn't a problem with them.

Panthers over Redskins — A battle between two underachieving teams, I'm going to go with the team that has the better tools on offense in Carolina.

Ravens over Bengals — I almost want to pick an upset here, but Baltimore is just too good to pick against right now. The Bengals will certainly give them a fight, but the Ravens are the more complete team.

Falcons over 49ers — It's a bit of an upset, but I think this will be one of those games where the team's even out, with the Falcons playing better than they have and the Niners playing worse than they have.

Patriots over Broncos — Denver might be undefeated, but they've gotten some luck and played some bad teams. I think the master Bill Belichick wins this one in the battle with his apprentice Josh McDaniels.

Cardinals over Texans — In this battle that should be a high-scoring affair, I like the Cardinals to get back on track a bit and pull out a win.

Jaguars over Seahawks — Seattle is one of those teams that doesn't impress me, and I can't ever really justify picking them any week unless they are playing another bad team. Jacksonville's playing well and I like them here.

Colts over Titans — It's hard to imagine Tennessee starting 0-5, but it's also hard to pick a good Colts team against a team that's doing so poorly. An upset's obviously possible, but I can't justify picking it.

Dolphins over Jets — I don't know if it's the really impressive Dolphins ground game, the teams' performances last week, Miami's orange jerseys, or a combination of all those things. I'm a little biased, but I feel like Miami has a good shot to win this game at home.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Former Miami Dolphins in the UFL

The upstart United Football League kicked off last night, with former Buffalo Bills first-round pick J. P. Losman leading the Las Vega Locomotives to a 30-17 victory over the California Redwoods.

Comprised of four teams all led by NFL coaching veterans, the UFL's rosters are primarily made up of former NFL players and camp bodies, as well as players from the arena leagues.

Among them is a handful of former Miami Dolphins, so I thought now would be a good time to take a look at some of the familiar faces trying to maintain a pro football career in the UFL.

FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo (California Redwoods) — Ayanbadejo played in all 16 games for the Dolphins in 2002, primarily playing special teams while earning two starts at fullback. He proved to be a solid receiver out of the backfield, hauling in 12 passes for 53 yards. His brother, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, was also on the team during that time.

WR Jayson Foster (Florida Tuskers) — A fan favorite during the 2008 offseason after signing as an undrafted free agent, Foster's diminutive size prevented him from earning a spot on the Dolphins as a wide receiver and return specialist. He bounced around practice squads all of last season and failed to make the Baltimore Ravens in 2009.

DE Maurice Fountain (New York Sentinels) — A veteran of af2 and the AFL, Fountain sign with the Dolphins in early August as an outside linebacker in the team's 3-4 scheme. However, he failed to make a lasting impression and was waived during final cuts less than a month later.

TE Keith Heinrich (Florida Tuskers) — A former Carolina Panther, Heinrich signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2006 but failed to make the team.

WR David Kircus (Las Vegas Locomotives) — After sitting out the 2007 season, Kircus joined the Dolphins during the 2008 offseason. He was waived prior to the regular season on Aug. 22, which is a date that is more notable for being MY BIRTHDAY.

DB Norman LeJeune (California Redwoods) — LeJeune was a member of the Dolphins during part of the 2005 and 2006 seasons, appearing in seven total games and recording two tackles. He was also one of the main reasons J. P. Losman threw three touchdown passes to Lee Evans in the first quarter of a game in 2005, though the Dolphins ended up winning on the final play of the game. The Dolphins released LeJeune in the 2007 offseason.

DB David Lofton (New York Sentinels) — The son of Hall of Fame wide receiver James Lofton, the Dolphins signed David as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford in 2007. He was waived in July 29 before the preseason began and later went on to play in the CFL.

OG Gene Mruczkowski (Florida Tuskers) — A two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, Mruczkowski played in 15 games as a reserve lineman for the Dolphins in 2007. He is coming out of retirement from the NFL to play for the Tuskers.

WR Frank Murphy (Florida Tuskers) — A veteran receiver who has seen most of his NFL playing time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Murphy signed with the Dolphins in 2006 but was waived prior to the regular season.

WR Tab Perry (Las Vegas Locomotives) — After three injury-riddled seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, Perry signed with the Dolphins in 2008 as the team looked to upgrade their return game. A torn Achilles' tendon in May ended those hopes, as Perry spent his one season with the Dolphins on injured reserve.

WR Bobby Sippio (California Redwoods) — An Arena Football League star with over 5,000 receiving yards and 140 touchdowns, Sippio has bounced around various pro leagues for years but has been unable to secure a long-term spot in the NFL. He spent part of the 2004 season on the Dolphins' injured reserve list after suffering a knee injury in the preseason, and never played a game with the team.

OG Orrin Thompson (New York Sentinels) — A defensive tackle at Duke, Thompson was signed by the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2005 and converted to the offensive line. After spending parts of the next two seasons on the practice squad, Thompson was signed by the Green Bay Packers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Miami Dolphins sign DE Derrick Jones to practice squad

The Miami Dolphins have opted for a little more bulk up front in practice, releasing linebacker K. C. Asiodu from the practice squad and adding third-year defensive end Derrick Jones.

Originally with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent, Asiodu joined the Dolphins' practice squad on Sept. 29, replacing linebacker Danny Lansanah.

Background

A California native, Jones played two seasons at Grand Valley State University. He led the Lakers with 9.5 sacks as a senior in 2006, while also recording 62 tackles (17.5 for a loss), three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

After going undrafted in the 2007 NFL Draft, Jones (then 280 pounds) signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a defensive end in their 3-4 scheme. He battled calf and knee injuries during the preseason and was waived on Aug. 27.

Jones joined the Atlanta Falcons' practice squad during the 2007 regular season and earned a promotion to the active roster on Dec. 26. He made his NFL debut against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 30 but did not record a tackle.

After being waived by the Falcons in June 2008, Jones signed with the Buffalo Bills in August. However, he was waived during final cuts on Aug. 30.

Jones signed a future contract with the Tennessee Titans in 2009, but was waived on July 29. He re-signed with the Bills on Aug. 6, but was once again waived during final cuts.

Jones will wear No. 62 with the Dolphins, which was previously worn by nose tackle Joe Cohen in training camp. As a practice squad player, Jones will receiver roughly $5,200 a week.

Analysis

Though some reports have him listed as a defensive tackle, Jones tells me that he will be playing defensive end for the Dolphins. He's up to about 315 pounds now, but he still doesn't quite have the bulk for nose tackle and makes much more sense as an end in the 3-4 scheme.

This move makes sense, as Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling is still nursing an ankle injury suffered last week against the Buffalo Bills.

Though Jones provides a bit of NFL experience and a sixth body for practice at defensive end, he has little job security as a practice squad player. There is simply no way of knowing at this point what kind of future, if any, he has in Miami.

Miam Dolphins quick hits (10/7)

No major moves or happenings with the Dolphins today, but here are some of the things in the new today:
  • The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly reports that defensive end Phillip Merling (ankle) is out of the walking boot, but is not practicing Wednesday. His availability for the team's Monday night game against the Jets is unknown.
  • Kelly also reports outside linebacker Joey Porter (hamstring) is still not practicing. Rookie Cameron Wake recorded three sacks against the Bills in Porter's absence last weekend, and would see significant time again if Porter cannot go against the Jets on Monday. Wake's still earned playing time in the pass-rush rotation even when Porter returns.
  • The Miami Herald's David J. Neal says starting inside linebacker Akin Ayodele is not practicing today due to his nagging back injury. Any missed time for Ayodele in-game means more playing time for backup is Reggie Torbor.
  • Jets head coach Rex Ryan said he had Dolphins starting quarterback Chad Henne rated higher than Joe Flacco when he was an assistant with the Ravens in 2008.
  • Dolphins blog Tin's Fins reports that the Dolphins have released linebacker K. C. Asiodu from the practice squad and signed an as-of-yet unknown defensive lineman. Asiodu had been signed to the practice squad last week, replacing Danny Lansanah.
  • Still with the team is practice squad cornerback Will Billingsley, despite his recent arrest stemming from a domestic disturbance. He had better hope the situation is resolved and no charges are brought, because someone in his position can't afford any off-the-field mistakes.
Last updated: 2:23 p.m. ET

Monday, October 5, 2009

2009 Week 4 Recap: Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills

After struggling to an 0-3 record to begin the 2009 season, the Miami Dolphins broke out in big fashion with a dominant 38-10 victory over the division rival Buffalo Bills.

Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne played well in his first start, riding a bruising ground game to a decisive win.

Meanwhile, the youngsters were the stars on the defensive side of the ball, as CFL product Cameron Wake produced three sacks in his first NFL start, and first-round rookie cornerback Vontae Davis took a Trent Edwards pass back the other way for six points.

The Dolphins will try to continue their winning ways next Monday night against the New York Jets, but for now, here's my video recap of the Dolphins-Bills game:

Offense



Defensive & Special Teams

Week 4 Highlights: Dolphins vs. Bills

Ricky Williams TD run


Vontae Davis Pick-Six


Ronnie Brown TD run


Chad Henne TD pass


Dolphins rushing highlights


Game highlights

Saturday, October 3, 2009

2009 Week 4 Game Predictions

I had another decent week, going 11-5. Unfortunately, I didn't see the juggernaut that is the Detroit Lions winning, so that was one of the ones I missed. Will I pick them to start a winning streak this week? Scroll down slightly to find out...

Last week's record: 11-5
Season record: 32-16 (67%)

Bears over Lions — Yes, they finally won a game last week. I'm still not too high on them (call me crazy) and I don't see them winning back-to-back games. I expect a big game from Jay Cutler, and I expect the Lions to get back to their losing ways this week.

Bengals over Browns — The Bengals are playing their best football in recent years, while the Browns might be the worst team in the league right now. I'm not picking Cleveland until they show some sign of life.

Colts over Seahawks — Injuries to your quarterback and offensive line are often problematic, and that's exactly what's going on with the Seahawks right now. I just don't see Seneca Wallace being able to keep up with Peyton Manning.

Giants over Chiefs — Despite some injuries on defense, there's just so much to like about New York's offense right now. I can't really justify picking a still-rebuilding Chiefs squad over the very sound Giants.

Patriots over Ravens — A bit of an upset pick, I just see these teams kind of evening things out after the way each has been playing lately. Baltimore is going to have to lose sometime, while the Patriots should play better than they began the season.

Redskins over Buccaneers — There's no doubt Washington hit a new low last week with a loss to the Detroit Lions, but I think they'll get angry and rebound against a shaky Buccaneers team led by a very raw quarterback in Josh Johnson.

Titans over Jaguars — I keep expecting Tennessee to break out of their funk, and they keep disappointing me. The Jaguars just don't impress me at all, and I think Tennessee finally gets their first win this week.

Texans over Raiders — JaMarcus Russell is rapidly cementing himself as a bust, and I just can't pick a team led by the guy against a pretty solid offense headlined by Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson.

Dolphins over Bills — Yes, I'm picking them again. They definitely aren't playing well right now, but I think Chad Henne could surprise people in his first career start. He has a good matchup to do it, as Buffalo is without three of their four starting defensive backs out.

Saints over Jets — It's about time the Jets came back to earth, and I think the Saints are the team for the job. Let's see if Mark Sanchez can keep up with Drew Brees.

Cowboys over Broncos — The Broncos have been playing better than I expected this year, but they haven't really been tested yet in my view. I like the Cowboys to keep rolling.

49ers over Rams — I'm still not sure I buy the Niners as a legit playoff contender right now, but the Rams are wholly unimpressive and will be starting Kyle Boller this week.

Steelers over Chargers — The Steelers lost a close one to a much-improved Bengals team, but I still think they are among the elite in the AFC and they'll rebound against San Diego this week.

Packers over Vikings — I hate hate HATE Brett Favre and I hope the Packers break both his legs and tear his heart off like that guy in Temple of Doom. That is all.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Dolphins add LB K. C. Asiodu to practice squad

The Miami Dolphins made a minor practice squad transaction this week, releasing second-year linebacker Danny Lansanah and signing rookie linebacker K. C. Asiodu.

Lansanah began the 2009 season on the Dolphins' practice squad after spending his 2008 rookie season and the 2009 preseason with the Green Bay Packers.

Asiodu was recently released from the St. Louis Rams' practice squad.

Background

Born Ekennemchukwu Dennis Asiodu, "K. C." grew up in Chino Hills, California and went on to play college football for the UNLV Rebels.

After red-shirting in 2004, Asiodu played in 10 games for the Rebels as a true freshman, recording 26 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a blocked punt.

Asiodu started six games at linebacker for the Rebels as a redshirt sophomore in 2006, finishing the season with 35 tackles, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries.

After sitting out the 2007 season while transferring to Division II Central Oklahoma, Asiodu played in 11 games for the Bronchos in 2007. He earned first-team All-LSC honors after recording 74 tackles (12.5 for a loss), 4.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and three interceptions.

After going undrafted in the 2009 NFL Draft, Asiodu signed with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent. He appeared in all four of the team's preseason games in 2009, recording six tackles and a pass deflection.

The Rams waived Asiodu during final cuts on Sept. 5 and re-signed him to the practice squad. He was released from the practice squad on Sept. 17 when the team signed defensive tackle Leger Douzable.

Analysis

It was a nice story with Lansanah joining the Dolphins, as he happened to the person that discovered and convinced current starting guard Donald Thomas to join the UConn Huskies' football team.

However, it's not surprising to see Lansanah released here, as he was just auditioning for a role with the special teams unit. He reportedly had an offer to join Green Bay's practice squad after they waived him, so it's possible he could land back there.

Though listed at 6-3, 240 in college, NFL.com lists Asiodu at 6-2, 225, which is probably closer to reality as college measurables are often inflated. He has reportedly run the 40-yard dash in the mid-4.5 range, but primarily runs in the 4.6s.

Asiodu is purely a special teams prospect in the NFL. If he were to be activated, he'd fill the "William Kershaw" role for the Dolphins as the fourth inside linebacker and a special teams player.

The Dolphins obviously didn't see enough in Lansanah to keep him around, so now they are moving on to the next prospect. He could stick around and end up being activated, or he could be replaced in a week by someone else. Either way, his ceiling isn't too high and this is really nothing more than just a look-see.