Dolphins Fire Joe Philbin

The Miami Dolphins fired Joe Philbin four games into his fourth season.

Along with this news, I bring to you Michael Tanier’s Monday Morning Hangover, in which he says the Dolphins need to stop alternating between changing either the coach or front office, while keeping the other, and just clean house after the season.

A neat executive-coach-quarterback/core arrangement guarantees nothing. But a situation in which a coach who wasn’t hired by a general manager tries to lead players who were not selected by either of them guarantees failure. Sometimes, it’s a dull failure like the Dolphins have endured for years. Other times, it’s the spectacular 2015 Eagles situation: The coach ousts the general manager and moves mountains for a quarterback, and everything comes unglued quicker than a no-huddle offense.

There are instances in which a GM hires a coach, then fires him later for a new hire, has worked out, but it hasn’t worked out so much when the GM was fired and the coach retained under a new GM. Just ask the New York Jets (fired Mike Tannenbaum, hired John Izdik, kept Rex Ryan, both gone two seasons later) or the Chicago Bears (fired Jerry Angelo, hired Phil Emery, retained Lovie Smith, Smith later fired, Marc Trestman hired, he and Emery fired two seasons later).

Even worse for the Dolphins is they are stuck with Ndamukong Suh through at least 2017 thanks to a poor contract structure and could be stuck with him longer if the Dolphins decide to restructure his deal to gain cap space next season.

In The Matter Of DeMarcus Ware v. Elvis Dumervil

If you take a look at the sack list this morning, you’ll be quite happy with who is up at the top. Unless Michael Bennett has a monster game tonight, DeMarcus Ware will likely hold the sack title for a full week.  It’s evident that the Broncos and their fans are quite happy to have him in Denver right now.

But there has been a line of thought that suggests that, instead of sinking $10 million per year on a 32-34 year old Ware, the Broncos would have been better off if their misadventures between Elvis Dumervil and a fax machine never happened, as they could have had a pass rusher that was two years younger for somewhere around half the APY.

This morning, a recent quick take by Pro Football Focus contained an excellent point that compelled me to take a further look at this comparison.

Continue reading In The Matter Of DeMarcus Ware v. Elvis Dumervil

Gut Reaction: Broncos 4-0 And We Are Loving It

So the Broncos are 4-0 to start the season.

Sure, we can point out the deficiencies in each game. We know the offense has been merely adequate, that Peyton Manning is living life too dangerously and it’s costing him plenty of times (as was the case today on those two interceptions), and that it would be nice to see the Broncos regularly churn out rushing yards throughout the game.

And we could point out that Josh McDaniels did the same thing in his first season in Denver — heck, he went 6-0 — then things unraveled. And the Broncos schedule won’t get easier.

But this team looks different from that McDaniels team. This year’s defense is vastly better. Peyton may not be what he was in his prime, but he’s smart enough to know he can’t rest on his laurels. And the offensive line is getting better, rather than regressing like it did under McD.

Yes, I think this team has a much better chance of following up a 6-0 start with a good finish, even if it’s not 10-0. It doesn’t need to be, though. All it needs to be is enough games to win the division, maybe get a first-round bye, and then turn them loose in the postseason.
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Andrew Luck: Will He Start Sunday?

Barry Petchesky of Deadspin has several observations about Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck, whose status for Sunday remains uncertain. The image of Luck wincing when backup QB Matt Hasselbeck taps him on the chest is telling. So is the Colts’ recent move to sign QB Josh Johnson.

If Luck can’t go Sunday, the 40-year-old Hasselbeck will start behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. Yes, the Broncos have their O-line issues, but they look trivial compared to the Colts, who have addressed their offensive line under Ryan Grigson thusly:
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Sambrailo Out, Harris To LT, Schofield To Start

We shall see how the offensive line holds up. If there is any bright side, it’s that the Broncos aren’t giving up on Schofield yet. But Sunday’s game will certainly be where we’ll find out if he’s up to the task.

FB James Casey and LB Todd David are questionable for Sunday’s game. Meanwhile, Evan Mathis practiced Friday and he and Louis Vasquez are on track to start.

Adrian Peterson Should Have Had The Chance To Enter The NFL Earlier

In anticipation for this weekend’s matchup with the Vikings, it’s another opportunity to thank Al Davis for ensuring that the Broncos have only had to face Adrian Peterson once every four years. (Last week, we could say the same for Calvin Johnson!)  There’s little doubt that he is a rare physical talent that doesn’t come around very often.  If you watched any of Peterson’s play at Oklahoma, or even his high school highlights, you would have known that he had special talent.

If you’ve watched any LSU football this year, you’ll also know that their star running back Leonard Fournette is the early Heisman candidate, and he is receiving praise from experts as respected as Gil Brandt on the levels of Peterson.  This, naturally, has raised the question of whether players like Peterson or Fournette could play in the NFL at a younger age.  Peterson, for his part, said with an aura of confidence that he could have.

While Peterson may have been right or wrong, he should have still had the chance to enter the NFL early if he so desired.  And so should Fournette or anyone else.

Continue reading Adrian Peterson Should Have Had The Chance To Enter The NFL Earlier