Tag:Joe Berger
Posted on: April 6, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 3:20 pm
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Offseason Checkup: Miami Dolphins

Posted by Josh Katzowitz



Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups .



Entering their Monday Night Football matchup against the Patriots in Week 4, the Dolphins had to be feeling confident in their chances of beating New England in Miami. The Dolphins defense had looked good in knocking off the Bills and Vikings (which, at the time, was considered a pretty good win), and then Miami played the Jets to a close loss before the Patriots came to town.

A 41-14 disaster later, Miami fired special teams coach John Bonamego and never got more than a game above .500 for the rest of the season (and, in fact, finished the year at 7-9).



Coach on the hot seat, quarterback

Although Tony Sparano took a 1-15 team and turned it into an 11-5 division title winner a year later (beating out the Patriots for the honor), he’s gone 7-9 in back-to-back seasons. Apparently, owner Stephen Ross listened to Bill Parcells’ recommendation and decided to bring back Sparano for another season (though Ross DID disgustingly go out of his way to woo Jim Harbaugh for the job). But the specter of Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher still are out there and until Sparano is off the hot seat, fans will wonder about their availability.

Sparano would get a great deal of help if QB Chad Henne could put together a consistent season. WR Brandon Marshall blasted his QB at the end of last season and said he actually works better with QB Tyler Thigpen (a major ZING, by the way). It’s too early to give up on Henne, especially now that Chad Pennington will miss all of 2011 because of a torn ACL, but it’s getting to the point where Henne needs to show somebody something.




1. Running back
On paper, the duo of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams would seem a surefire way for the Dolphins to rack up rushing yards and plenty of touchdowns. Yet, the Dolphins managed to finish 21st in running last season. There’s a good chance that neither back will return to Miami next year, leaving Patrick Cobbs and Lex Hilliard on the roster at RB. Which means the Dolphins will need some big-time help at that spot and which is why Alabama’s Mark Ingram might be a good draft pick (though the Dolphins might want to trade down instead).

2. Offensive line
You know what doesn’t help your third-string quarterback perform better? A terribly inconsistent offensive line. That’s what Tyler Thigpen faced in Miami’s 16-0 loss to the Bears in Week 11 – a line missing starters Jake Long and Joe Berger who then watched backup Cory Procter get injured on the second offensive series, meaning Richie Incognito had to move from guard to center. Miami could make a play for a solid center in the draft.

3. Keep improving the defense
n 2009, the Dolphins ranked 25th in the league in defense, but last year, they improved that number to No. 13. Most of the starting front seven is solid, but Miami’s DBs had a tough time hanging onto interceptions last season. It also would help if they got more playmakers in the secondary.




After Ross stopped emasculating Sparano for Harbaugh and then gave him a two-year extension, Ross made it clear he wanted a more aggressive, more exciting offense. Sparano, though, said he plans to keep running the ball more often than not. Could we see both? I suppose, though I kind of doubt it.

I also don’t see a playoff run with Miami, considering the Patriots and Jets still will be battling for AFC East supremacy. All of which means the meddling Ross probably will fire Sparano, and then, everybody can just start over again in Miami. Which means we might not see good pro football in Miami for a while.

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Posted on: November 19, 2010 10:31 pm
 

Dolphins O-line should get some help

J. Berger should be ready to return by Miami's next game vs. Oakland (US Presswire). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

You probably saw Thursday night (or, considering how many people don’t have the NFL Network, you might have read it somewhere) how bad the Dolphins offensive line performed.

QB Tyler Thigpen, who took six sacks (three from Julius Peppers alone), was molested throughout the game by the Bears defense, and partially as a result, Miami racked up 226 offensive yards and exactly zero points.

When your quarterback is taking a pounding and your top-two running backs (Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams) are combining for 11 yards on six carries, you know you might need to call for reinforcements – especially with LT Jake Long’s shoulder badly hurting him.

The Dolphins will get some help in time for their Nov. 28 meeting with the Raiders.

According to the Miami Herald, starter Joe Berger, who missed Thursday’s game with a knee problem and a “personal issue,” should be ready to play.

Without him Thursday, backup Cory Proctor got the start, but in the second offensive series of the game, he suffered a knee injury. That meant Richie Incognito – whose day job is to play guard – moved to the center spot.

Yes, the Dolphins have many, many problems on offense, but assuming Berger returns for the team’s next game, at least they can focus on improving their third-string-turned-starting QB and from keeping their star WR from throwing the ball wherever he wants after a play is complete.

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Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:25 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2010 2:02 pm
 

Dolphins take it on chin, release C Jake Grove

Posted by Andy Benoit
J. Grove (US Presswire)
The Dolphins have announced that they've terminated the contract of center Jake Grove. Journeyman Corey Procter, a natural guard, was signed to back up Joe Berger at center. Procter had been cut by the Dolphins just a few days ago.

Injuries have always been the Achilles heel for Grove. As a Raider, he missed seven games in 2004, six in 2005, nine in 2007 and four in 2008. He was ultimately released prior to 2009. Despite this history, the Dolphins signed Grove to a five-year, $29.5 million contract ($14 million guaranteed), hoping that his proneness to injury would magically be cured by…what, exactly, the joy of living in South Florida?

Instead, Grove wound up missing the majority of six games in 2009 with an ankle injury. (To his credit, he valiantly tried to fight through it a few times.) This preseason, he dealt with an AC shoulder joint problem. After the injury woes cost Grove the starting center job, and the Dolphins decided that they didn’t want to pay big money to a 30-year-old backup.

Grove is a crafty, gritty run-blocker who should get a chance to make another NFL roster in the future. But whoever signs him will likely fork over only the veteran minimum.

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Posted on: August 10, 2010 9:58 am
Edited on: August 10, 2010 10:09 am
 

Hot Routes 8.10.2010

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

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--The Steelers don’t have much depth at outside linebacker. Which is why they drafted Jason Worilds in the second round and Thaddeus Gibson in the fourth round. Still, through a combination of problems , Pittsburgh isn’t getting much production from those two.

--Ravens safety Dawan Landry has been flat-out hurting people in training camp. He busted Willis McGahee’s lip and he smashed Derrick Mason so hard that Mason sprained his ankle. Without crazy-man FS Ed Reed in the lineup for the time being, Landry is exactly what Baltimore needs in its shredded defensive back corps. 

--The Dolphins released a preseason depth chart, and there a couple of interesting decisions on there. For one, Joe Berger is ahead of Jake Grove for starting center. Brian Hartline is listed as a starting WR. Chad Pennington is fourth-string QB behind Tyler Thigpen and Pat White. ESPN.com cautions none of this means much of anything yet.

--Jets coach Rex Ryan admits he made a mistake last year placing Vernon Gholston at outside linebacker. Gholston has been an absolute bust since New York took him in the first round of the 2008 draft – come to think of it, maybe we should wait at least one more year before giving him the big ol’ bust label, though Gholston has been pretty bad – but Ryan says he’s really excited about Gholston’s prospects this season. 

--Dolphins CEO Mike Dee wrote a letter to Miami’s fans and posted it on the team’s web site , apologizing for canceling Monday’s practice at Sun Life Stadium. Take it easy, Mike. I don’t think fans will blame you for the weather. Still, a class move from Dee.

--What will it be like when the Patriots and Saints hold a joint practice today? The Boston Herald has the FAQ and the answers . There won’t be a scrimmage, but the two teams will work together in individual drills and some down-and-distance situations. 

--The Browns players have 17 active Twitter accounts, but after Brandon McDonald’s crude Tweets in the past, the Cleveland organization will be paying a watchful eye at how the rest of the Browns participate in the social media world. Mangini, though, admits that he doesn’t expect his players to stop using Twitter

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Posted on: August 5, 2010 8:25 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2010 8:28 pm
 

Miami shuffles the deck

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Two interesting moves at Dolphins training camp today.

1) Coach Tony Sparano moved third-string C Andrew Hartline to the first team and dropped Jake Grove and Joe Berger, both going for the starting spot, to the second and third-string, respectively.

2) CB Sean Smith, who started all 16 games as a rookie last year, was dropped to the second team while Jason Allen took first-string snaps.

The significance in all this? As the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero suggests, Smith has had a bad training camp, taking a beating from WR Brandon Marshall and other Dolphins receivers and looking disinterested at times, while Hartline – an undrafted rookie free agent from last year (pictured, right) – has a chance to win a spot somewhere on the squad.

The interesting part about Allen is that he’s been such a disappointment since the team took him in the first round of the 2006 draft. Salguero wrote that he doesn’t expect Allen to take Smith’s starting spot, and it’s hard to argue that point, because Allen has never given a reason for anybody to believe he can be a successful first-team player.

As for Hartline, we probably shouldn’t make too much of the move. As Dolphins Rapid Reporter Chris Perkins writes, Sparano had talked about wanting to move around some of his players.

"I feel like I'm a pretty athletic guy," Hartline told the Herald. "I feel like I can play multiple positions. I think I can play guard-center-guard so maybe they feel like they can take me instead of two guys. But I can't speak for them."

At this point, it seems unlikely Hartline could take the starting spot from Grove and Berger. Grove started 12 games last year before an ankle injury knocked him out and he run-blocks very well. Berger is better in pass-protection, but he’s also not quite as strong. Hartline is more mobile, but he’s less-experienced and spent some of last year on the practice squad.

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