Look who's on a roll
Dolphins are one of just nine teams with current win streaks of two or
more. Coach Tony Sparano said it's a sign of showing how difficult it
is to string together victories. The Dolphins won consecutive games for
the first time since starting 2-0 last season.
difficult," Sparano said. "I mean, I think that when you look in our
league right now. Of course, there's Green Bay and there's some teams
like that are just out there and they're in front. But you look at the
rest of it, what happened last night with the Patriots and the Jets.
And Buffalo yesterday, just in our own division. I think that there's
pretty good parity. I don't know if that's the right word there in that
situation, but nobody is stringing large chunks of winnings."
--After the game, linebacker Karlos Dansby told reporters that he was
the best linebacker in the game. When asked for a response, coach Tony
Sparano said he had no problem with Dansby's comments that could be
considered arrogant by some. Sparano actually embraced the fact a
player was willing to show confidence, especially with the Dolphins
needing any form of motivation after the 0-7 start.
"I like the
confidence, I sure do," Sparano said. "I want all my players to be
confident. Who's the best, who's not the best, any of those things, you
guys can figure those things out. But Karlos is playing pretty good
football right now. He's done a nice job as of late."
offered no update on the free safety position. Tyrone Culver has
started four straight games since Reshad Jones was injured. Despite
Jones being healthy, it's likely that Culver remains on the first-team.
Sparano said both will continue to split reps at the position.
thought Ty played well yesterday," Sparano said. "I thought they both
played well. Reshad was in and out of there, was active. I thought Ty
did some good things, too."
--Despite the early-season struggles,
the Dolphins have remained loose. They've shown it through on-field
celebrations and dances but Jared Odrick's moves did not impress coach
Tony Sparano. After sacks, Odrick sometimes does the "Pee-Wee Herman"
dance. Odrick has recorded a sack in three straight games.
"I told (Jared) Odrick on the sideline I thought
it was an ugly dance," Sparano said, laughing.
Trimmer Dansby gets back up to speed
The Dolphins' defense didn't have much bite the
first half of the season, and it appeared Karlos Dansby's appetite had
a lot to do with the unit's early struggles.
Dansby is the inside linebacker around whom
defensive coordinator Mike Nolan built his 3-4 scheme.
The eight-year veteran, who signed a five-year,
$43 million deal ($22 million guaranteed) last year, thought he was
maintaining a proper diet during the offseason, which featured an NFL
lockout. But by the time the NFL's doors were open, Dansby weighed 270
pounds, he recently admitted.
It took him nearly three months to trim down to
246 pounds, which was the weight he played at when he delivered a
10-tackle, one-sack and one-interception performance in Sunday's 20-9
win over the Redskins.
"I was eating salads and certain dressings," said
Dansby, who has contributed 62 tackles, two sacks and one interception
in his nine games. "I thought I was eating good."
Dansby also strained his groin in a Sept. 18 loss
to the Texans, which limited his ability to run full speed. As a
result, Kevin Burnett was being used in the nickel and dime packages as
the linebacker covering tight ends and tailbacks while Dansby came off
Now it appears the Dolphins' two inside
linebackers are splitting those duties, which makes the scheme a bit
more complicated to diagnose.
In his first five games, Dansby contributed 21
tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. In his past four, he's
registered 40 tackles, a sack, an interception, a forced fumble and two
"You knew some of the guys were heavier than they
had been. Some of them were lighter than they had been," coach Tony
Sparano said. "Nobody knows what they were doing. I couldn't tell you
if it was from eating salads. ... I just don't know. You can't put your
finger on what they were doing, as far as what they considered getting
ready to play football and what we would consider here.
"I realize that a lot of players think the
offseason program is too long, and in some cases maybe it was too long.
But it's a necessary evil to get yourself ready to play the season.
That is something I'm sure, this coming offseason, players around the
league will probably appreciate it a little bit more."
--The Dolphins won their second straight game and
once again turned in another solid defensive performance. Sunday's 20-9
victory against the Washington Redskins made it eight consecutive
quarters that the Dolphins hadn't allowed a touchdown.
Turnovers were the story for Miami. They entered
with just four forced turnovers, which ranked last in the NFL. Miami
recorded two against the Redskins, both on interceptions. Linebacker
Karlos Dansby's interception early in the fourth quarter was perhaps
the game's biggest play. It came with Washington threatening to take
the lead, but the stop was all the Dolphins needed.
They used the turnover to seal the victory with a
10-play, 81-yard drive that was capped with an 18-yard touchdown by
running back Reggie Bush. Coach Tony Sparano said the biggest
difference in defensive play is their "underneath coverage," meaning
the linebackers are playing solid.
Dansby and Kevin Burnett have both upped their
game in recent weeks, recording the bulk of their production the last
four games. They were partly responsible for the Dolphins allowing just
246 yards to the Redskins, including just 61 on the ground.
The question now is whether they maintain this
defensive play against stronger opponents. Miami faces division rival
Buffalo Sunday and then the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. Although
the Bills have lost three of four, they still pose a challenge with
running back Fred Jackson.
More Dolphins news at: Dolphin
AFC East: Dolphins Finding Success
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