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Dolphins vs Jets : ...by the # 's ~ ~ ~


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If this game is really all about Brian Hartline, maybe a need a new hobby on Sundays.

With or without Revis on the field, the Jets defensive game plan this week is going to be simple: force Tannehill to try to beat them himself. Their only real concern is going to be Bush, regardless of whether Hartline is getting covered by Revis, Cromartie or Wilson, until the Dolphins show they are capable of giving the Jets D plenty of reason to feel otherwise.

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A week 3 loss and our season is done? gimme a ****in break. When we are ballin, the fish steal a win from us, when they have it working we get one from them. That being said, we send the run blitz on the way to stealing tannehill's lunch. He better give the rock to Bush because he is going to get feasted upon if he holds onto it.

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The Jets, trying to rebound from last week's offensive stinker, are on the road again, this time facing the Dolphins (1-1). The Jets are the better team, but this is a weird and storied rivalry. In fact, they've dropped five of the past seven meetings, including the season-ending loss last New Year's Day that highlighted the team's chemistry problems.

Kickoff is 1 p.m. Sunday at Sun Life Stadium. Here's what to watch for:

1. Marked improvement? Mark Sanchez has to be better than last week, when he completed only 10 of 27 passes -- the fifth sub-40 percent game of his career. (By the way, that's the most in the NFL since 2009, and next on the list is JaMarcus Russell, who did it three times. No QB wants to be on a list with Russell.) Chances are, this game will come down to Sanchez's ability to attack a revamped Dolphins secondary because, let's face it, they probably won't be able to do much on the ground. The Dolphins, now playing a 4-3 front predicated on one-gap penetration, have allowed only 2.2 yards per rush, best in the league. Look for Sanchez to go after nickel back Nolan Carroll, best known for being the player tripped by Sal Alosi in 2010.

mia.gifnyj.gif2. Tebow Time. If they continue to limit Tim Tebow's snaps at quarterback, it will give credence to the publicity-stunt theory, that the Jets traded for him mainly to sell tickets. Rex Ryan says Tebow probably will play more than last week, but that may not mean much, considering he got only three snaps in Pittsburgh. Will he get four snaps? Five? Here's a possible clue: RB Joe McKnight is expected to have an expanded role, and McKnight is part of the Wildcat package. Hmm. Some players want to see more of Tebow because they think the Wildcat would help spark the sluggish running game.

3. Sparano's revenge. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano returns to face the team that fired him last December after three-plus seasons as the head coach. This sort of thing happens all the time in the NFL, but Sparano has more motivation than most. He was undermined after the 2010 season by owner Stephen Ross, who courted Jim Harbaugh -- an ill-advised move that backfired. In terms of Xs and Os, Sparano has intimate knowledge of the Dolphins' personnel on both sides of the ball, but the Dolphins have a bigger edge because they know Sparano's system. It'll be interesting to see if Sparano throws a couple of curve balls (more Wildcat, perhaps?) in an attempt to send a message to his former employer.

4. Beat Bush. The No. 1 priority on defense is simple: Contain RB Reggie Bush, far and away the Dolphins' best player. Bush, in a contract year, is off to a fantastic start. He's particularly effective at home (three straight 100-yard performances) and he's had success against the Jets (6.8 yard per carry in two games). For the Jets, it's all about defending the perimeter, setting the edge and forcing Bush to the inside. This was a problem last season, and it reared its ugly head in the opener against C.J. Spiller. The Dolphins, using more zone blocking than in past years, like to get Bush outside with quick tosses and stretch plays. They will go after OLB Garrett McIntyre, who struggles in space.

5. Rattle the rookie. The Jets' complex defensive scheme should be a major headache for rookie QB Ryan Tannehill -- that is, if they can put him in obvious passing situations and can keep him in the pocket. Tannehill has scrambling ability, and last week the Dolphins had him on the move, calling several designed rollouts. They want him outside the pocket because, with a low release point, he tends to get passes tipped at the line. With CB Darrelle Revis (concussion) expected to return, the Jets should be able to blanket Tannehill's receivers. They want to put the game in Tannehill's hands.

6. Defending the no-huddle. The Jets prepared all week for the Dolphins' up-tempo, no-huddle attack. They will try to turn the game into a track meet, often snapping the ball with 15 to 20 seconds remaining on the play clock. This presents several challenges for the Jets. In 90-degree heat, it'll be an endurance test on defense. They will have to rotate their personnel to keep them fresh, especially the linemen. The Raiders faded in the second half of last week's loss in Miami.

> http://espn.go.com/b...ets-at-dolphins

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Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano hasn't made any personal comments about the Dolphins this week in meetings, according to players. But they know the story, how Sparano was fired by the Dolphins with three games remaining last season. RB Joe McKnight said they'd like to win Sunday for Sparano.

"We want to go out and win for him, just so he can get his last laugh," McKnight said Thursday. "The last laugh always laughs loudest."

Sparano was 29-32 in three-plus seasons as the Dolphins' head coach, including a 3-2 mark against the Jets.


Rob Carr/Getty ImagesJoe McKnight

THE MORE YOU CAN DO: McKnight said he has been taking reps this week as a cornerback with the second-team defense. Darrelle Revis is expected to return from his concussion, but they could lose a corner with Ellis Lankster (back) up in the air after getting hurt Wednesday in practice. That would leave Isaiah Trufant as the No. 4 corner, followed by McKnight.

McKnight has taken cornerback reps in the past. He got into a game last season -- one play against the Ravens. Rex Ryan said Wednesday that McKnight, recovered from a hamstring injury, could have an expanded role this week. We all thought he meant on offense; maybe there's a chance he makes a cameo on defense.

TROUBLE FOR THE TERMINATOR: FB John Conner (sprained knee) missed practice for the second straight day, and his chances of playing Sunday appear remote. He had a brace on his right knee and was favoring it as he performed basic rehab exercises. Conner is the only natural fullback on the roster. They can use TE Konrad Reuland in the backfield, as they did last week.

It also appears that OLB Bryan Thomas (hamstring) won't play, meaning another start for Garrett McIntyre, who had two sacks last week.

HE'S PLAYING: Listen to the first five questions to CB Darrelle Revis, who spoke to reporters after practice.

Q: How do you feel?

A: I feel good.

Q: How confident are you that you can play Sunday?

mia.gifnyj.gifA: I’m playing Sunday.

Q: How confident are you that you will play?

A: I'm playing.

Q: Did you pass the concussion tests this morning?

A: Yeah, the doctors cleared me, so I’ll be playing Sunday.

Q: Do you have to take more tests?

A: No, I got cleared, so I’ll be playing.

All right, then ...

AS THE CRO FLIES: Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine gave an honest assessment of Mike Wallace's 37-yard TD reception, saying of CB Antonio Cromartie, "Yeah, (he) just didn’t play the ball. Early on, I thought he was in good position, and then I don’t know whether he lost it. It was just one of those situations where he didn’t play the ball and Wallace did. We say it’s a game of inches, you could say it was a game of centimeters on that one. It was very close to being a long foul ball. Give them credit and obviously, we have to play the ball better."

> http://espn.go.com/b...in-one-for-tony

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WR Santonio Holmes predicts Jets will ‘take advantage’ of Miami Dolphins secondary


Miami Dolphins Kevin Burnett can't stop New York Jets Santonio Holmes as he scores a fourth quarter touchdown at METLIFE Stadium, in the Meadowlands, New Jersey, Oct. 17, 2011.


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New York Jets receiver Santonio Holmes apparently doesn’t think too highly of the Miami Dolphins’ secondary.

Holmes told New York media this week that “with our skills and our speed, we should really take advantage of those guys.”

If he does, it’ll be a break from tradition.

In six career games against Miami, Holmes has caught just seven passes, although the does have a lifetime 18.7 yards-per-catch average against the Dolphins.

Furthermore, Holmes infamously melted down in the 2011 season-ending matchup between the two teams, benched after an in-huddle argument with his teammates.

“I would never quit on my team,” said Dolphins safety Chris Clemons, who added, “That’s all talk. You can talk, talk, talk. But it’s not going to be any motivation.”

As for corner Sean Smith, who could be matched up against Holmes: “I appreciate comments like that. We welcome challenges around here.”


With Daniel Thomas apparently recovered from a concussion, the Dolphins have a decision to make at backup running back: Go back to Thomas, or stick with Lamar Miller, the hot hand.

Miller has been the more productive of the two, rushing for 65 yards on 10 carries against the Raiders. Thomas got just three carries in the opener, totaling 11 yards.

Pro Football Focus, which grades each player, indicates Miller has also been a much better pass-blocker than Thomas – a bit surprising, considering that was supposedly Miller’s weakness.

“We’ll probably make that decision [Friday] p.m. or Saturday, but there’s a chance both those guys could go,” said coach Joe Philbin. “[Miller] did a nice job. We weren’t surprised he played well.”


LB Kevin Burnett missed practice with a right foot injury, an interesting development considering he wasn’t on the injury report at all Wednesday. Burnett has not missed a single defensive snap on the young season and is fourth on the team with nine tackles.

Philbin declined to comment when asked how the injury occurred.

If Burnett can’t go, Jason Trusnik is a prime candidate to get the start. Trusnik has been on the field for just two defensive snaps thus far, and has not recorded a tackle.

The only other change to the Dolphins’ injury report involved receiver Marlon Moore, who missed all of practice with a hamstring injury.

Jets corner Darrelle Revis, held out of last week’s game with a concussion, participated fully in practice Thursday and told New York media that he’s playing against the Dolphins.


As of Thursday afternoon, the Dolphins had not sold the number of tickets needed to get the game on television (85 percent of capacity), a team spokesman said. The NFL granted the organization a 24-hour extension to reach that benchmark.

The Dolphins are not guaranteeing that this game will be on television, and the decision to buy up the necessary inventory to lift the blackout will be made on a week-by-week basis.

> http://www.miamihera...dicts-jets.html

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Miami Dolphins’ Reggie Bush not what he was expected to be — he’s more


Reggie Bush is surrounded by defenders in the fourth quarter of the game with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens on September 16, 2012.

Joe Rimkus Jr. / Staff Photo

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By Armando Salguero


Reggie Bush is not who I thought he was. More importantly, Reggie Bush is not really who anyone else thought he was.

Bush came to the Dolphins with a reputation for flairr but not fundamentals. He came as more a reality TV star than an NFL star. He came to the Dolphins as a walking Heisman Trophy highlight but carrying a professional résumé that lacked enough carries or solid work to merit unbroken attention.

Bush came to Miami after being drafted in New Orleans and this says what the Saints thought they had and gave up when they traded Bush: New Orleans took someone named Jonathon Amaya in an almost straight-up swap

Even after last season, when he eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the first time as a pro, Bush didn’t necessarily change how people around the league viewed him.

“I guess I probably … right, wrong or indifferent, you don’t study other guys a whole lot,” coach Joe Philbin said, “but maybe I had the USC kind of persona in mind — coming from a flashy program and the California concept there.”

Philbin is right. It’s easy to mistake Bush for being mostly about flash and not all that much about dash — something that’s really bad for a running back.

But none of that reputation, none of what we believed, none of what the Dolphins or Saints thought is what Reggie Bush has turned out to be so far in Miami.

When the trade was made, everyone thought the Dolphins were getting a thoroughbred who wanted to run in open spaces and avoid contact.

Who knew Bush could be a workhorse?

The Dolphins seemed to be getting a part-time player as Bush was in New Orleans. Instead they got a cornerstone to their offense.

And the surprises only start with his production.

“He’s a very businesslike individual,” Philbin said. “He’s a no-nonsense guy when it comes to football … . He works extremely hard. He’s quiet almost. I think he’s very well-respected. He’s got good leadership qualities because he leads by example.”

Bush is the hardest-working player on the Dolphins. He’s not one of the hardest-working. He is the hardest-working player on the team. He doesn’t miss practices and after those are over, he’s pulling a sled or running sprints or catching passes on his own.

Philbin joked that after one practice this week, he was eating a hamburger in the team lounge when he looked outside “and [bush] was still on the practice field working,” the coach said. “So he’s been impressive.”

He has been more than anyone expected and right now he is one of the best running backs in the NFL without any of the diva trappings that sometimes brings.

Bush is second in the NFL with 241 rushing yards, and that impressive 5-yard-per-carry average he authored last year is up to 6 yards this year. But the statistics and the production are only part of the surprise.

This week, Bush was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week. So, of course he soaked in the glowing attention, right?


“Obviously, it’s not just about me,” he said. “This award is about the rest of the guys on the team who all had something to do with me getting player of the week. The offensive line did a great job, the receivers did a great job blocking.

“There were a number of plays that we can look at and point out some really good blocks throughout the game. So it’s really about the effort that we all made to want to run the ball and make that a point of emphasis to help us win the game.”

That effort, however, was mostly all Bush on that 23-yard touchdown — you know, the one where he broke three tackles in the open field and put a move on an Oakland safety that resembled a Tim Hardaway crossover dribble.

And the truth is, the Dolphins didn’t really expect all of this.

A few weeks ago, before he exploded onto this 2012 season, Bush was seemingly being set up as a player who was going to be replaced after this season. He is in the final year of his contract and not only had the club not talked to super agent Joel Segal about a new deal, but also, Miami drafted Daniel Thomas in the second round last year and this year added highly regarded Lamar Miller in the fourth round.

In the world of well-run NFL franchises, that’s how it is done: You acquire a running back. Use him up. Then you let him go before having to spend big money on what is increasingly a diminishing asset in today’s pass-happy NFL.

The Dolphins did that with Ronnie Brown. And that’s what they seemed to be doing with Bush.

But now that course might change. After Bush went off against Oakland, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland and Segal talked about having future contract discussions. Call it the preliminary step toward re-signing Bush.

The question now is two-fold:

• Can the Dolphins afford to keep their best player before he hits free agency?

• Can the Dolphins really afford to potentially lose their best player to free agency?

If Bush continues his current trajectory and the Dolphins retain him, it should surprise how their plans shifted. Then again, Bush has been surprising.

He’s certainly not what anyone really thought he was.

> http://www.miamihera...e-bush-not.html

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