Tag:Miami Dolphins
Posted on: October 23, 2011 12:44 pm

VIDEO: Tebow talks about Sunday start, Gator Day

Posted by Will Brinson

You may have heard already, but when Denver and Miami square off in Week 7, Tim Tebow will start at quarterback for the Broncos.

OK, everyone knows that. But did you also know that at halftime the Dolphins will be having "Gator Day" at halftime Sunday? And that as part of "Gator Day," Tebow will be honored? This resulted in a serious boost in ticket sales for the Dolphins, but also a serious boost in hype surrounding Tebow's first start of 2011.

CBS Sports James Brown talked with the quarterback about the insanity and fervor surrounding Tebow's return to his home state and what he's doing to prepare for the game in Miami.

It's pretty clear how the attitude that Tebow embraces works and I suppose it's not that surprising that he's had success.

"I really believe that enthusiasm and emotion and passion is very contagious," Tebow told Brown. "So I try to bring that every day. Not just to the football field, but to the meeting room and to the locker room."

As for the Gators celebration, he seems to be handling it pretty well too.

"It's something I'm very thankful for, but at the end of the day I'm going to be focused on trying to lead the Denver Broncos to beat the Miami Dolphins," Tebow said of the tribute to the Gators.

No one ever said that Tebow says anything other than the right things when it comes to interviews; he did just that in the interview with Brown. It's his production on the field that makes him such a magnet for controversy.

On Sunday, he'll get to prove all his doubters wrong.

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 8:36 pm

Tebow does his part to sell out Sun Life Stadium

It's Gator Day (starring Tim Tebow!) at Sun Life Stadium Sunday. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Leave it to Tim Tebow to not only save his franchise (kidding ... for now), but to do a solid for another NFL franchise, too. The Broncos' new starting quarterback will face the Dolphins Sunday in a game that will likely feature some of the worst football you'll see this season. Denver and Miami have one win between them and nine losses, and there's a chance that Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano could be out of work in weeks if not days.

And the tepid turnout at Miami's Sun Life Stadium has everything to do with sorry state of football set to be played there.  At least it did until Tebow came along.

The Dolphins are planning to honor the University of Florida on "Gator Day," which is right out of the minor league baseball "theme night" handbook -- an obvious, contrived attempt to put butts in seats if there ever was one. But this is what a once-proud Dolphins organization has been reduced to: celebrating a college team some 325 to the north whose quarterback just so happens to play for that day's opponent. It would be scandalous if it wasn't so sad.

It gets sadder.

Details via the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero:
…The number of tickets the [Gators Day] promotion helped to sell -- estimated by the Dolphins to number between 5,000-7,000 -- has helped drive sales to the point where the team is now in position to guarantee a sellout of the game and thus televise the game on local television in South Florida. …

The club will announce later (Thursday) afternoon that the game will be sold out as it will guarantee the sellout. The Dolphins, in conjunction with sponsors, similarly guaranteed the sellout of the Sept. 18 game against Houston.

Let it be known: There are still plenty of tickets remaining. So the club is hopeful a significant number of those can be sold in the days leading up to the game. But the fact the perfect storm of having this Gator Day celebration coincide with the promoting of Tim Tebow to be the Broncos starting quarterback Sunday worked for the home team.
Salguero reports that Tebow Mania (Gator Day edition) has helped sell some 10,000 seats. Previously, 28,000 seats remained unsold.

If almost 30,000 empty seats sounds exorbitant, consider this fun fact from PFT.com: The Dolphins are 1-11 in their last 12 home games. Since December 2009, the Steelers, Texans, and Patriots have each won twice at Sun Life Stadium.

The Denver Broncos look to snap their losing streak as they travel to Sun Life Stadium to square off against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan break down this game. Watch the game at 1 PM ET on CBS. Don't forget to check out the Pregame: Broncos-Dolphins edition, too.

Tebow, clearly, is the storyline heading into this game. As for what Broncos head coach John Fox expect from his new starting quarterback … well, he's not sure.

“We’re gonna find out," Fox said during a recent appearance on 104.3 The Fan in Denver (via SportsRaidoInterviews.com). "I got to see him myself live, but a lot of guys on staff haven’t except for on tape. He has that kind of leadership ability and you saw that in the second half of the San Diego game. He did spark our team and we’re hoping for more of the same moving forward.”

If there was ever a game for an inexperienced quarterback to gain some confidence, it's Broncos-Dolphins. In Miami. On Gator Day.

The Lord works in mysterious ways, indeed.

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Posted on: October 20, 2011 10:21 am

'Suck for Luck' is not cool by Karlos Dansby

A. Luck is the subject of the Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you want to upset Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby, if you want to get his heart pumping rapidly, bring up the Suck for Luck campaign and watch him go.

In case you’re stuck under the bad vibes created by some of the worst teams in the NFL -- I’m looking at you, Dolphins, Rams, Colts and Vikings -- Suck for Luck is the idea that a team will tank the rest of the season in order to gain the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, which that team then could use to select Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

But to suggest that a professional athlete would tank games for the sake of something that would happen next year, when that athlete might or might not still be on that team, is insulting to Dansby.

“It’s not right, bro. It’s not right,” Dansby told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “We put too much into this, man, to have the fans say that --  period, point blank -- or even promote that campaign. It’s kind of sad.”

Go on …

“It pisses me off,” he said. “I don’t understand nothing about that. I put too many hours into this, man, put too many years into this, sacrificed too much to ask somebody to put that stipulation on me and my teammates. Because I know how much we put into this.”

Dansby then was asked if he’d consider sitting out the final games of the season in order to insure losses for his team. In his answer, he said the word “no” eight times and the phrase “not going to happen” twice in the span of his 31-word response.

He also said this: “Man, we got 11 games. What are you talking about? We can’t look at next season. We’ve got 11 games. We can win ‘em out, and then what? Then you’d be biting your tongue. Those guys that are saying that are fair-weather fans. They’re not real Dolphins fans.”

Or maybe they’re the biggest Dolphins fans of all. With the team rowing in circles, with coach Tony Sparano almost assuredly gone, with quarterback Chad Henne’s fate still up in the air, you could understand why the fans would be dreaming about Luck -- a guy who maybe, possibly could turn around an organization.

Just don’t mention it to Dansby.

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:21 pm

Keep an Eye On: Week 7's finer points of analysis

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Saints vs. Colts
New Orleans’ two new weapons
The Saints have redefined their passing attack. It now runs through Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles. Graham has been far and away the best tight end in football this season. All onlookers could observe last season that the former Hurricanes power forward possessed considerable raw talent, but few could have predicted he’d polish it this quickly.

Graham has a natural feel for gaining positioning against pass defenders (insert obligatory “like a rebounder” comment here) and, best of all, he’s a hands-catcher who snags the ball away from his body. This makes him nearly impossible to defend, given his size and elevation abilities. Helping the cause is that the Saints align Graham all over the formation, which gives defenses fits in deciding what personnel package to use (most, including the Bucs this past week, have been going with nickel and treating Graham like a slot receiver).

Graham is Brees’s go-to guy. Sproles might be Sean Payton’s.

When the Saints are trying to dictate the tempo of a drive, they often look to get Sproles the ball underneath. The key is putting him in positions to run after the catch. This could mean screens, though often it has meant short outs and ins on spread plays where wideouts run deep to lift the coverage. Sproles has remarkable quickness and elusiveness, amplified by a rare-found ability to start and stop. He’s been much better in this offense than Reggie Bush ever was.

So how will the Colts defend the two new weapons? They’re a zone-based defense with fast linebackers. That helps against Sproles, but it does little for containing Graham. If the Saints can find ways to pass protect long enough to run vertical routes outside, that’ll prevent the Colts safeties from running under and over Graham’s routes. This would spell a fifth-straight 100-yard game for the rising star.

Dolphins vs. Broncos
Tebow’s limited resources
You couldn’t ask for more favorable conditions for a new starting young quarterback: two weeks to prepare, a game at Miami (where the weather is nice and the crowd is irrelevant) and facing a defense that, even with a beast like Cameron Wake, has for some reason completely forgotten how to rush the passer.

Trading your No. 1 receiver just days before the game might not seem favorable to a young quarterback, but that receiver was unenthused about playing with Tebow and hadn’t been getting open in Denver’s new ball-control offense anyway. Plus, he was liable to leave after the season, and his spot is ready to be filled by a now-healthy (hopefully) Demaryius Thomas.

Thomas is a possession target, whereas Brandon Lloyd was more of a vertical threat (though not a burner). The Broncos already have a litany of possession targets, such as Eric Decker, Matt Willis and, when healthy, Eddie Royal. This lack of vertical speed compresses the field and narrows throwing lanes, which isn’t good with a slow-reading young quarterback who has a long windup and prefers to improvise outside the pocket.

The Dolphins are healthy at cornerback again; with no downfield threats to worry about, don’t be surprised if this is the week they finally figure out how to reach the quarterback.

Bears vs. Buccaneers (London)
Forces up front
When playing well, these teams offer two of the faster defensive front sevens in football. The Bucs defensive ends – vastly improved Michael Bennett and explosive rookie Adrian Clayborn – feasted on the shoddy Saints tackles last week and should be licking their chops for J’Marcus Webb and Lance Louis (a guard by trade who has taken over for the overwhelmed Frank Omiyale on the right side).

Linebacker Geno Hayes played with instincts and speed against the Saints, which hasn’t always been the case this season. He’ll have a big say in whether the Bucs can contain Mr. Do It All, Matt Forte.

For Chicago, the mission will be attacking right tackle Jeremy Trueblood. Julius Peppers, bum knee and all, is a force who can matchup with Donald Penn on the left side. Same goes for underrated Israel Idonije. But over the years, when it’s rained on Trueblood, it’s poured. He’s the guy to go after.
The Bucs don’t have a backfield star like Matt Forte to build around, though Earnest Graham is a productive receiver who, as he showed last week, can add a dimension of surprising (though subtle) inside quickness and elusiveness.

Don’t be stunned if Graham becomes a bigger component in the run game even after LeGarrette Blount gets healthy. Graham, however, is facing a much greater challenge this week than he faced last week; Chicago’s linebackers are just as fast as New Orleans’ but a lot more physical.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 7 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: October 19, 2011 11:06 am
Edited on: October 19, 2011 5:06 pm

Sparano's job to hinge on Sunday's outcome?

Posted by Will Brinson

Not breaking news: Tony Sparano is on the hot seat. We knew that way back when owner Stephen Ross spent the offseason chasing Jim Harbaugh and we certainly know that now that Sparano's 0-5 and coaching a Dolphins team that looks like they've already given up on the season.

But how long will Sparano last? Well, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Sparano's future likely hinges on whether or not he can defeat the Broncos this Sunday.

Jackson cites a "close associate of Ross" who says the owner is "very frustrated" and that if Sparano loses to the Broncos, he'll take another look at whether or not to fire the Miami coach.

This makes lots of sense -- the Dolphins are now winless, they've been embarrassed twice on prime time (two sloppy Monday night games) and this Sunday, things are going to be weird in Sun Life Stadium.

That's because the 2008 Florida Gators championship team will be honored at halftime of the game. The key member of that championship team, one Tim Tebow, will be starting for the Broncos on Sunday.

Sun Life will be slammed with Tebow fans -- many of them wearing Broncos jerseys -- and if the Dolphins provide another sloppy showing during a home game that'll have a road crowd, then Sparano could find himself at 0-6 and at the helm of the most underachieving team in the NFL.

Or not at the helm, depending on how poor they look.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 12:14 am
Edited on: October 18, 2011 5:58 am

Dolphins look like they already gave up on 2011

Posted by Will Brinson

The Jets came into Week 6 a very desperate and discombobulated team. The Dolphins, at 0-5, weren't exactly on cruise control but given that Mark Sanchez was 1-3 against Miami prior to Monday night, well, there was a chance to show some life and save Tony Sparano's job.

Rex Ryan's crew tried to give it Miami a win too, but the Dolphins refused to take it, exhibiting a slew of mistakes en route to getting beat down 24-6 in the Meadowlands in primetime.

There are excuses, of course. Teams can't prepare out of bye weeks the same way they used to. Chad Henne is done for the season. And, um, well actually that's about it. Dropped passes, a lack of a pass rush and the inability to convert in the red zone -- all things that plagued Miami on Monday night -- don't count as excuses, because those are problems.

And those problems were scattered all over the place for the Dolphins who put on a miserable performance Monday. Cameron Wake and the rest of the Dolphins front seven barely sniffed Mark Sanchez, who looked extremely shaky to start the game, and never particularly righted the ship on offense.

Credit goes to the Jets offensive line on there -- no doubt motivated by the comments from Santonio Holmes last week ... and the week before that -- because they did a fantastic job of protecting Sanchez. Nick Mangold's return to the lineup, fully healthy, clearly helps them up front.

The Dolphins wide receivers dropped close to double-digit passes that should have been catches. One in particular stands out. Brandon Marshall -- who didn't exactly back up his big talk with a big game despite catching six balls for 109 yards -- streaked towards the end zone, called for the ball with Antonio Cromartie behind him, and didn't jump up for the ball until it was far too late, giving Cromartie a chance at knocking the pass from Matt Moore down.

Moore wasn't that horrible, honestly. 16 of 34 with two picks looks terrible, but, again, the Dolphins dropped a pile of passes and he had to force balls late under heavy duress from the Jets pass rushers. Oh yes, and Marshall -- again, he was going to play like a monster! -- ran out of bounds with nary a single defender in between he and the end zone.

The red zone offense was the worst of all, though. The Dolphins settled for a 23-yard field goal early in the first quarter and got a gift when the Jets bumbled the next kickoff. Instead of points for Miami, though, it resulted in a Darrelle Revis 100-yard pick six and a complete momentum shift.

"That was huge," Rex Ryan said afterwards. "Anytime you can get a red-zone interception and turn it into points that's a huge play."

Another first-half field goal from Dan Carpenter was all the Dolphins would get on Monday and the best possible example of where this team stands might have been their decision to sit on the ball with one timeout and 30-plus seconds on the clock, down 14-6, in the first half.

Not that Miami's got a high-powered offense or anything, but come on. Run a screen to Reggie Bush. Take a shot downfield to Brandon Marshall. There are weapons for the Dolphins and they just didn't seem interested in using them.

Which kind of sums up where Miami is now. They played sloppy and looked like a team that gave up before the game really ever started. Unfortunately for Sparano, we've seen what that usually means for a head coach.

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Posted on: October 17, 2011 12:10 pm

Jon Gruden signs 5-year extension for MNF gig

Posted by Will Brinson

Since replacing Tony Kornheiser on Monday Night Football, Jon Gruden's settled in pretty nicely as a broadcaster. But the perpetual rumors of Gruden departing for whatever available coaching opportunities were out there, most recently with a report that the gig in Miami was his to turn down.

Those rumors will die down now, as ESPN announced on Monday that Gruden signed a five-year extension that will keep him on Monday Night Football through 2017.

"Our Monday Night Football crew is special, and to have the opportunity to continue to be a part of this team, working these big-time NFL prime time games every week on ESPN, I’m fired up," Gruden said in a release from the network.

Yes, everyone was upset that his statement didn't include "THIS GUY" -- a reference to Gruden's heavy usage of a certain descriptor for players.

And there are probably some people who are upset that Gruden's on the telecast for the next six years; his style of announcing seems to grate on various viewers, but he has developed a nice rapport with Ron Jaworski and Mike Tirico in the booth. That was lacking -- mightily -- from the rendition that featured Kornheiser, for a number of reasons.

But while Gruden might be full of enthusiasm, he also knows what he's talking about, which is refreshing change of pace from some of the folks ESPN's trotted out for color commentary over the past few years.

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Posted on: October 15, 2011 5:46 pm

Luck on 'Suck for Luck' campaigns: 'It's stupid'

Posted by Will Brinson

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is, once again, the prize gem of the NFL's incoming draft class. But things are a little different this year, as a number of discontented fan bases fired up "Suck for Luck" campaigns in the hopes that their team will be worse than your team and therefor end up drafting the Stanford prospect No. 1 overall.

Awkwardly, Luck's very much aware of these campaigns and, as he told Judy Battista of the New York Times recently, he's not a fan.

"I am aware of it," Luck said. "A couple of guys told me about it. I think it's stupid. Simply put."

It is stupid. And frankly, kind of annoying, given that there are so many fanbases -- the Colts, the Seahawks, the Chiefs and the Dolphins to name a few -- involved this early in the season. (There's nothing wrong with scouting Luck, of course.)

In fact, Chris Joseph, the fella that runs Fins Nation, a Dolphins blog, is quoted in Battista's article as wholeheartedly endorsing the campaign, saying that he "actively rooted" for the Dolphins to lose to San Diego recently.

That's pretty awkward if you're a "real fan" or whatever, but making it even worse is that Luck still has a year of eligibility left. As a redshirt junior, Luck doesn't have to leave Stanford. Though if he wins the Heisman (he's the prohibitive favorite right now) and the first-ever Pac-12 title game, plus a BCS bowl game, he'll be hard pressed to hang around, especially since the Cardinal graduating 23 seniors from this season's team.

But maybe Luck will think twice if the folks who'll end up cheering for him in 2012 spent the entire prior year rooting against their own team.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com