Friday, July 18, 2014

Split Opinions on Tannehill Still Remain

As he prepares for his third season in the NFL, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill remains one of the most polarizing topics for Dol-Fans. While some view the 25-year old as being a future superstar, there are an equal number of critics who view Tannehill as being nothing more than a less-than-stellar QB with lackluster talent.

After a fairly mediocre 15-17 record over his first two seasons in the league, Tannehill is one of a number of Dolphins players who are heading into the new season with more than a point to prove, with Betfair punters still undecided over Miami's chances.

Tannehill's doubters will point to his lack of a deep ball and a tendency to hold the ball too long as reasons why he could struggle to ever really become a real threat in the league. But while Tannehill still has plenty left to learn, it's not as though he's had the best arsenal of weapons available to him. Without any real offensive stars, Tannehill has perhaps done as much as any quarterback could do to succeed on a team with low expectations, according to Betfair fans.

During his rookie campaign, his receiving unit consisted of Brian Hartline, Davone Bess, Rishard Matthews and Marlon Moore. With all due respect to that quartet, the fact Tannehill finished that season with a quarterback rating of 50.4 says more about the QB than it does about the receivers.

After bolstering their receiving options, last season gave Tannehill another thing to worry about playing behind a fairly dismal offensive line. Despite being sacked a league-high 58 times during the year, the quarterback performed admirably throughout the regular season. He lead the Dolphins to an 8-8 record, even though a large number of Betfair punters expected a much worse season.

However, that offensive line has been significantly strengthened since the end of last season. Now Tannehill should have more adequate tools to prove he can lead the Dolphins for many seasons to come.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Is 2014 The Year Miami Dethrones New England?

Guest post by Phillip Fullam

Anyone who follows the AFC East knows that the New England Patriots have been downright dominant for the last several years. That trend looks like it will continue in 2014, but that won't stop the Miami Dolphins from challenging the favorites. With some offseason moves and a year of experience under their belt, they just might be able to pull it off.

The 2013 season started nicely for Miami, as they picked up some key wins early. However, the season took a turn for the worse as Miami began dropping games and encountered the Jonathan Martin dilemma.

Ryan Tannehill is no Tom Brady (at least not yet), but he's still an above average fantasy football quarterback with room to grow. He is hoping to connect with Mike Wallace more often and create the kind of synergy that makes immense impact on the team's offense. Wallace and Brian Hartline are still Miami's 1-2 options at receiver, with Charles Clay as a flex option.

Newcomer Knowshon Moreno was a fantasy football star last season, but he had the luxury of working with the AFC Champions Denver Broncos. His numbers will most likely take a hit in Miami, but he is still an upgrade at the running back position for Miami.

As New England ages, many think they become more and more vulnerable. However, they did make some interesting moves in the offseason to improve their roster and inject some youth. Their defense is primed to become better and they could have a more consistent offense if Rob Gronkowski can stay healthy.

It should be a battle between Miami and New England at the top of the division this season. Many predict that battle will end with the Patriots winning the division crown while the Dolphins secure a Wild Card spot. But the NFL is unpredictable and every season will bring its set of surprises. Miami hopes that they can be the ones to open eyes in 2014.

Monday, January 20, 2014

5 Things to Watch in Super Bowl XLVIII

Broncos Seahawks Super Bowl

The penultimate stage for American sports is here once again. The Super Bowl XLVIII match-up is finally set as sports fans will take sides between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. Two polarizing styles of football, one epic battle. Who are you taking?

Even Las Vegas has had some trouble picking sides in this gridiron showdown. Sports betting sites, like, have given the slight edge to Denver but not by much. Some odds lines have the Broncos favored by up to three points while others say the Seahawks are two-point favorites.

Regardless of the odds, there will be plenty of storylines to follow during the game. Here are the top 5 things to watch:

1. Old School vs New School (Peyton vs Russell)

In today's pass-heavy game, the focus on quarterback play has only intensified. The championship game will shine its bright light on two contrasting quarterbacks: one with an old school, inside-the-pocket approach, the other with a new school, mobile approach that relies on improvisation. Peyton Manning is a first ballot Hall of Famer with a Super Bowl ring to backup his credentials. Russell Wilson is a young, exciting QB with plenty of potential. The clear edge goes to Manning but Wilson isn't a push over and will pose a worthy competition.  

 2. High Octane Offense vs Lockdown Defense

Besides contrasting QBs, these two teams have completely different identities. The Broncos boast an impressive offense that can score in bunches, while the Seahawks pride themselves on having a staunch defense. We will literally be watching the league's #1 offense play against the #1 defense. It doesn't get any better than that.      

3. Richard Sherman’s Mouth

After the Seahawks defeated the 49ers, Richard Sherman made headlines with a controversial post-game interview aimed at Sand Francisco and WR Michael Crabtree. Sherman's rant made it easy for fans to paint him as a villain and jump on board the Broncos bandwagon. Meanwhile, the media will be swarming the Seahawks' outspoken cornerback before and after the game. Should be interesting to hear what Sherman will have to say. 

4. Running Back Battle

Marshawn Lynch is called Beast Mode for a reason. His earth-shaking, breakout runs have built that title and earned him a spot as the #6 rusher this season. Denver also presents a surprisingly strong ground game spearheaded by Knowshon Moreno (#12 on the list). While passing will be the main course, running will be a strong side dish that will determine who takes the prize.     

5. Battle of the Elements

Last but not least, we should not ignore the weather in this year's Super Bowl. Forecast predictions have the temperature around 19 degrees with wind gusts nearing 20 mph. Little to no chance of rain or snow but this is the first cold weather Super Bowl in recent history. Both teams will be battling more than each other, which will make for a more entertaining game. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Dolphins Throw it Away Once More

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Despite controlling their playoff fate, the Miami Dolphins failed to secure a shot at the NFL postseason once again - leaving them sitting at home for the fifth straight year.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has clearly stated that he isn’t ruling anything out during this offseason, which could include parting ways with GM Jeff Ireland, Head Coach Joe Philbin and/or other members of the team staff. While the Dolphins issues do not solely lie on the coaching staff, odds suggest that Philbin could be on his way.

"I'm making no comment on that,” said Philbin after seeing his team throw away their best chance of reaching the playoffs in recent history. But building a winning franchise takes more than just replacing a head coach every few years.

Teams wouldn't suffer droughts of five straight seasons at or below .500 if that were the case.

An offensive line wouldn't allow just short of 60 sacks in a season if that were the case (the most in franchise history by a wide margin).

An offense as a whole wouldn't combine for just seven points in the final two games of the season if that were the case.

The Dolphins seemed to survive the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin scandal by going 5-2 after the controversy reached national headlines. But losing two straight to finish the season sealed their fate.

There's at least one major positive to take away from the season: the development of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The question will now be whether the youngster can lead the team into next season’s playoffs, something the oddsmakers predict could happen.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Best Loss in Heat History

Source: Nick Laham/Getty Images

What are the odds? The odds that something that seemed like a misfortune actually was a blessing in disguise. The odds that an unlikely bounce of a lottery ball changed Miami Heat (and NBA) history.

The odds are 1.7%.

That was the probability of the Chicago Bulls securing the #1 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat held a 25% chance at winning the top pick. But that day the Bulls were just a bit more lucky.

Or were they?

At the time, the definitive #1 pick was the University of Memphis’ superstar guard, Derrick Rose. Leaving Kansas State forward Michael Beasley as the consensus #2 selection. Miami had their eyes on Rose all along, but fate would not make their vision a reality.

Living Up to the Hype

In the ensuing seasons, Rose lived up to his expectations; showcasing his explosiveness and leadership qualities at the pro level. Rose even became the youngest MVP in NBA history in 2011. His future seemed very bright.

Beasley, on the other hand, wasn’t on the same track; lacking maturity and falling short of top-pick-level production. Averaging just over 14 points in two seasons with the Heat, things didn’t look as promising for him. Eventually Miami shipped Beasley off to Minnesota for a second-round pick.

The Unexpected 

Well, remember that 2008 lottery ball? Nobody expected that improbable bounce to have such profound impact five years later. Enter 2013, where we see a much different picture.

A picture that has Rose missing two consecutive seasons to devastating knee injuries. A picture that has Beasley back in a Heat uniform playing at a highly efficient level. A picture that illustrates a completely unexpected plot twist.

Imagine what would have happened if the odds were in Miami’s favor on the evening of June 28th, 2008; selecting Rose with the #1 pick. Would Miami have gone after both LeBron James and Chris Bosh with Rose on their roster? Would they have reached the NBA Finals in three consecutive seasons? Would they be back-to-back NBA champions?

On that draft day, losing was the best thing to ever happen to the Miami Heat.

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