Posts Tagged ‘Tyler Thigpen’

Brandon Marshall Wins Pro Bowl MVP

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Brandon Marshall catches a touchdown in the Pro BowlBrandon Marshall admitted he came into the Pro Bowl with the goal of winning the MVP award, calling it his Playoff game.

After catching a Pro Bowl record four touchdowns — two less than he had during the entire regular season — to go with 176 receiving yards, Marshall had his wish, driving out of the stadium with a brand-new SUV as his prize. Marshall joined Ricky Williams (2002) and Garo Yepremian (1973) as the third Dolphin to earn the honor.

Sure, Marshall’s impressive statistics can be viewed as meaningless when the two teams combined to score 100 points, but just look at the highlight-reel catches the Dolphins wide receiver made in the game. One TD came when he was able to keep his concentration after the ball sailed through two defenders and bounced off Marshall’s own foot. On his final score, he once again caught the ball in traffic, twisting his body in the back of the end zone and dragging both feet inbounds while being held by the defender.

When he was interviewed mid-game by NBC sideline reporter Alex Flanagan, Marshall wasted no time in crediting the Pro Bowl quarterbacks for making spectacular plays, simultaneously throwing every Dolphins signal caller under the bus.

“Down in Miami, getting a feel for different quarterbacks — had three or four of them throughout my two years there — and the (Pro Bowl) quarterbacks make it easy for me,” he said. “These guys are just putting it in the right places and I’m making the plays, so it’s easy right now.”

If you’re counting, the “three or four” Miami QBs would be Matt Moore, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen and Chad Pennington (for a few snaps), as well as J.P. Losman, for good measure. And just in case he wasn’t abundantly clear the first time around, Marshall reiterated that the Pro Bowl quarterbacks were responsible for his MVP performance after the game.

“Since Jay Cutler (with the Denver Broncos), I’ve had a few different quarterbacks, and being in the Pro Bowl, you have these elite quarterbacks you’re playing with,” he said. “It’s all them — they put (the ball) in the right spots and it’s easy for me to make the catch.”

It’s not that Marshall is factually wrong, since the five Dolphins QBs he’s played with were mostly mediocre. But Marshall didn’t exactly help matters, dropping 12 passes (officially) during 2011 season and making countless mistakes on the field. It should also be noted that Moore finished 12th in the NFL in Passer Rating, and that Marshall caught 59 passes for 901 yards and five TDs in Moore’s 12 starts.

It’s obvious that Marshall, as well as owner Stephen Ross and every Dolphins fan, want an upgrade at the QB position. But calling out his teammates on national television with a wide grin — especially since there’s still a chance that Moore could be back next season — isn’t the right time or place to make his point or help the organization in its search. Marshall’s acrobatic catches and record-setting numbers speak much louder than his words for any interested free agents.

Marshall also chose to praise former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano while referring to Joe Philbin simply as, “the new coach.” Make of that what you will.

“When you look at what Coach Sparano was able to do, the foundation was built. A lot of people don’t give him enough credit, but we have a solid locker room, high character guys and leadership there,” said Marshall when asked about the Dolphins’ future. “The new coach coming in, he’s inheriting a strong team.”

It’ll be interesting to see who that team will add to throw the ball to the never-outspoken MVP-winner.

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Now that the New York Jets have been eliminated from the Playoffs and we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief, it’s time to think about what’s next for the Miami Dolphins.   Let’s take a look back at where it all went wrong in 2010 and make some very early predictions for 2011 (presuming we’ll actually have an NFL season). In the coming weeks, I’ll break down key free agents who’d look great in aqua and orange next season.

Anyone who watched even a handful of series doesn’t need to look at advanced metrics to know Miami’s offense was dreadful. The Dolphins, expected to be a dominant run-first team after having the fourth-best rushing offense in 2009, tied for 29th in rushing TDs (8) and 21st in rushing yards (1,643), while also coming in 27th in passing TDs (17) and fourth in interceptions (21). While WRs Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess, and Brian Hartline, as well as TE Anthony Fasano (signed to an extension through 2012), form a solid and dependable aerial attack, the same can’t be said for just about every other member of the offense. So who should and likely will be back in 2011?

Chad Henne, QB

2010 Prediction: 4,161 passing yards, 25 TDs, 13 INT
2010 Statistics: 3,301 passing yards, 15 TDs, 19 INT

It turns out I – as well as everyone who threw away money on a Henne jersey – was wrong about the supposed QB of the future. After showing promise at the end of the 2009 season and having a Pro Bowl WR at his disposal, Henne was expected to take a step forward and improve his decision-making. After throwing three picks in a crushing loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9, Henne was benched in favor of Chad Pennington, and was then once again pulled for Tyler Thigpen in an embarrassing season-ending loss to the Patriots. Over the last 12 games, Henne threw 12 TDs and 18 INTs, and posted a QB Rating under 60.0 in four of his final eight appearances.

While most Dolphins fans never want to see him on the field again, it’s almost a given that Miami will keep the still 25-year-old QB for another year. It’s even possible that he’ll get a chance to compete for a backup spot with a veteran QB – Kyle Orton? Donovan McNabb? Er, Brady Quinn? – in training camp if the team doesn’t draft a QB in the first round of the Draft. Either way, it’s become clear that Henne is not the long-term solution as the Dolphins starter.

2011 Prediction: 1,127 passing yards, 5 TDs, 6 INT

Tyler Thigpen, QB: Thigpen was horrendous in his lone start against the Bears, a 16-0 shutout at home (albeit he was missing half of his offense), and finished the year with 435 passing yards (53.2% completion percentage), two TDs, and two picks. While he has mobility and can make plays out of the pocket, he’s unlikely to receive anything more than a training camp invite from Miami.

2011 Prediction – signs with Tennessee Titans: 1,630 passing yards, 9 TDs, 7 INT

Chad Pennington, QB: I wish Pennington all the best with his return from a fourth shoulder surgery, but considering that he played two snaps in 2010 before getting hurt again, the odds aren’t in his favor. In an ideal world, he’d become the Dolphins’ QB coach, but I have a feeling he’ll go back to where it all started and take Mark Brunell’s clipboard job in New York.

2011 Prediction – signs with New York Jets: 110 passing yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT


Ronnie Brown, RB

2010 Prediction: 893 rushing yards, 135 receiving yards, 7 TDs
2010 Statistics: 734 rushing yards, 242 receiving yards, 5 TDs

On the surface, my prediction looks fairly accurate, since Brown gained only 58 fewer yards from scrimmage and managed to play all 16 games for only the second time in his career. The problem is that Brown averaged a career-low 3.7 yards per attempt, didn’t have a single 100-yard rushing game, and his 45.9 yards per game were the lowest of any player with at least 200 carries. The soon-to-be-30-year-old is an unrestricted free agent who hasn’t been offered a contract by the Dolphins and has probably already cleaned out his locker

2011 Prediction – signs with Cincinnati Bengals: 697 rushing yards, 213 receiving yards, 4 TDs

Ricky Williams, RB

2010 Prediction: 906 rushing yards, 211 receiving yards, 9 TDs
2010 Statistics: 673 rushing yards, 141 receiving yards, 3 TDs

No one expected Ricky to even come close to matching his gaudy 2009 numbers (1,121 rushing yards, 13 TDs), but 2010 was certainly a disappointing season for the 33-year-old running back. Still, Williams averaged 4.2 yards per carry and busted off a 45-yard scamper, showing he has plenty left in those legs. After he recently bashed Coach Sparano and the organization, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back in Miami next season either, and I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t sign with the Jets or Patriots just to stick it to the Dolphins.

2011 Prediction – signs with New England Patriots: 479 rushing yards, 96 receiving yards, 3 TD

Patrick Cobbs / Lex Hilliard / Lousaka Polite, RB:  Forget what I projected — guess who was the Fins’ third-leading rusher last season? Yep, Thigpen with a whopping 73 yards. Short-yardage specialist Polite managed to get 62 rushing yards and his first career TD, while Cobbs and Hilliard played mainly on special teams and combined for exactly zero rushing yards on four carries. The coaching staff reportedly loves Cobbs, and Polite converts on third-and-one situations as well as anyone in the league, so their roles are unlikely to change in 2011.
Hilliard, however, could opt for more playing time, especially with the impending return of the speedy Kory Sheets.

2011 Prediction – signs with New Orleans Saints: 132 rushing yards, 160 receiving yards, 2 TDs

The Tyler Thigpen Era Begins

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

tyler-thigpenWith a short week and injuries to both Chad Pennigton and Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen is in line to make his first start as a Miami Dolphin.

It’s probably safe to assume that most Fins fans don’t know all that much about the team’s newest quarterback.  He’s been the third-stringer behind Pennington, Henne, and (sigh) Pat White ever since he was acquired from the Kansas City Chiefs in September 2009, and had throw only one touchdown and three interceptions for Miami prior to last week.  In his most extensive game action to date, he threw two costly picks in a winnable game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 17 of 2009.

A mistake-prone QB going up against the Chicago Bears’ fourth-ranked defense that’s tied for the NFL lead with 14 interceptions on the season isn’t exactly a recipe for success, but that doesn’t mean that Thigpen can’t get the job done.

In 2008, Thigpen wasn’t just good in his final ten games for the Chiefs (we’ll conveniently ignore his first career start) — he was one of the best QBs in the NFL.  No seriously, take a look at these numbers from Weeks 7 through 17 of that season.

Player Comp % Pass Yds Pass TD INT Total TD
Drew Brees 63.5% 3,396 25 11 25
Philip Rivers 67.1% 2,826 23 7 23
Aaron Rodgers 63.8% 2,764 19 9 21
Kurt Warner 66.0% 3,111 20 10 20
Peyton Manning 68.6% 2,700 19 7 20
Matt Cassel 62.8% 2,783 18 7 20
Tyler Thigpen 57.8% 2,292 16 8 20
Donovan McNabb 58.8% 2,620 17 9 19
Jay Cutler 60.9% 3,024 15 14 17
Tony Romo 59.7% 2,080 15 9 15
Chad Pennington 67.0% 2,552 14 5 15
Eli Manning 58.6% 2,010 14 6 14
Joe Flacco 58.8% 2,127 13 5 14
David Garrard 61.7% 2,637 12 9 13
Matt Ryan 64.0% 2,577 12 8 13

Only five perennial Pro-Bowlers and a QB playing with Randy Moss and Wes Welker at his disposal found the enzone more times.  The aggressive Thigpen threw the eighth-most TDs — three fewer than Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers — rushed for 386 yards and three more scores, and even caught a 37-yard TD pass.  Of course, the second-year player made his share of errors, and Kansas City lost 10 of the 11 games he started (though six of those contests were decided by seven points or less).  The spectacular numbers apparenty weren’t good enough for the Chiefs, who opted to trade for the marginally-better Matt Cassel and keep the legendary Brodie Croyle as the backup QB.

Last week, I speculated that Thigpen would get an extended look towards the end of the season to see if he can be the Dolphins latest QB of the future.  Miami hung on to him during the offseason despite getting plenty of offers, and instead cut ties with White, a 2009 second-round pick.  Don’t be surprised if the underrated Thigpen seizes the opportunity and establishes an immediate rapport with Brandon Marshall on Thursday night. 

At the very least, let’s hope he can make it through the game — I really don’t want to have to write anything positive about Patrick Ramsey.

Dolphins Bench Henne for Pennington

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Like most Dolphins fans, I was surprised (somewhat pleasantly) by Coach Tony Sparano’s announcement that quarterback Chad Pennington will start over Chad Henne going forward.

chad-penningtonA little over a year ago, when Miami started 0-3 and Pennington averaged only 138 passing yards per contest while committing four turnovers, the fans wanted him benched in favor of the up-and-coming Henne.  21 games later, there’s a growing sense of excitement about Pennington’s return to the field as a 4-4 team clings to its fading Playoff hopes.

According to beat writer Omar Kelly, the coaching staff felt that “Henne had become extremely predictable,” leading to decreased confidence in locker room.  Henne made too many bad decisions and committed far too many costly turnovers, throwing four interceptions without a single touchdown pass in Miami’s last two games.  Whether he’s still the Dolphins QB of the future remains to be seen, but it’s certainly not inconceivable that Tyler Thigpen will get an extended look later this year or during the offseason.

Offensive coordinator Dan Henning’s play calling has certainly raised a lot of valid questions, since his system has been more tailored to Pennington’s “water pistol” arm all along.  Henne averaged 6.9 yards per pass attempt and 10.8 yards per completion his season, both of which are below Pennington’s career averages.  After three surgeries on his throwing shoulder, Pennington doesn’t have the arm strength to throw deep passes, but then again, Henne has only two completions of over 40 yards in eight games.

One factor that can’t be understated is Pennington’s accuracy, which is miles ahead of Henne’s.  Pennington holds the highest completion percentage (66.1%) in NFL history among players with at least 1,000 pass attempts, and led the NFL in that category during his last full season in 2008 (67.4%).  He has the 12th-best career Passer Rating (90.1), and ranked second in the league behind Phillip Rivers two years ago.  While Henne has thrown four more INTs than TDs, Pennington has nearly twice as many scores as picks over 11 years (though it should be noted that he threw four costly INTs against the Ravens in Miami’s last Playoff game).

It’ll be interesting to see how the 34-year-old fares against the Tennessee Titans defense, which has given up the 10th most passing yards but leads the league with 3.3 sacks per game.   If Pennington improbably leads Miami back into the postseason, he deserves to win an unprecedented third Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Dolphins Waive the White Flag

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

By now, you’ve probably heard that much-maligned Dolphins quarterback Pat White has been shown his walking papers after one disastrous season in which he became just the fourth QB to not complete a single pass with at least five attempts since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.  It’s hard to argue that it was the wrong decision, especially with three better-qualified players ahead of him on the depth chart, but I’m a little dismayed by how the situation was handled by the coaching staff.

Pat was White trash to the Dolphins... <em>(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)</em>

Pat was White trash to the Dolphins... (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The Dolphins never gave White much of a chance to succeed.  During the regular season, he was inserted into the occasional ”Wildcat” formation in which he could never fully show what he had to offer aside from scrambling on the ground.  In the final game, he was thrown into the fire against a stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense in the thick of the Playoff hunt.  And then, in the 2010 preseason, White took nine total snaps (none in the fourth game), kneeling down three times and throwing (and completing!) four short passes in garbage time.

It’s clear that the Dolphins front office was convinced that White wasn’t part of the team’s future plans before the preseason started and didn’t bother to give him an extended look or attempt to increase his trade value for QB-needy teams.  And that’s the part that I’ll never understand.  The Dolphins are hardly the first team to give up on an early-round draft pick — hell, the Arizona Cardinals released Matt Leinart, the 10th overall selection in 2006 — but the fact that White wasn’t on the field for even a single quarter at the expense of injury-prone veteran Chad Pennington, who hardly needed the extra work, or given the opportunity to battle Tyler Thigpen for the third QB spot doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Of course, White isn’t without fault himself.  There have been indications that his heart wasn’t fully into football after he took a vicious hit that knocked him unconscious during last year’s finale.  Despite possessing the quickness (4.44 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine) and shiftiness that would make him well-suited to play part-time wide receiver, a la Brad Smith and Joshua Cribbs, White refused to switch positions and indicated that he’d rather play baseball.  Those aren’t exactly the kind of words that management wants to hear out of players on the roster bubble.

Be that as it may, White is gone and somewhat surprisingly, wasn’t claimed off waivers despite having most of his 2010 salary paid by the Dolphins.  I asked Sun-Sentinel reporter Omar Kelly to do some NFL Betting on where White will end up — the CFL, the New England Patriots, or the New York Yankees.  Kelly didn’t even rule out a full retirement from football to be a “regular Joe” in White’s hometown.

Other News and Notes:

*Did the Dolphins think they could save some money by releasing TE David Martin and then re-signing him after the first week?  It’s hard to believe Miami was prepared to rely on John Nalbone, who entered training camp fourth on the depth chart and didn’t blow anyone away during preseason, in its two tight end packages.  Martin ended up signing with the Buffalo Bills, who quite coincidentally, I’m sure, happen to play the Dolphins in Week 1.  The Dolphins could quickly end up regretting their decision.

*In a less surprising move, last year’s third-round pick, WR Patrick Turner, was released over the weekend and signed with the division-rival New York Jets.  Undrafted rookies Marlon Moore and Roberto Wallace must have extremely impressive during practice for the team to keep them at Turner’s expense, because there isn’t a glaring difference in the preseason numbers.

Player Rec Yards YPC Long TD
Marlon Moore 9 106 11.8 34 1
Roberto Wallace 8 101 12.6 31 1
Patrick Turner 5 90 18.0 34 0

Turner could revive his career with the Jets while playing alongside his former USC QB Mark Sanchez, but chances are slim after he couldn’t get on the field last season and was beaten out by a pair of undrafted rookies in camp.

UPDATE: Yep, Turner has already been cut and is now on the Jets’ practice squad.  So the Dolphins paid him a $714,000 signing bonus and $310,000 in salary to make zero regular season catches and become a practice squad player on a division rival a year later. Awesome.  (more…)

Phins Fantasy Football: QBs and WRs

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

With the NFL season right around the corner, and fantasy football drafts already in full-swing, it’s time to take a look at what to expect from the Miami Dolphins’ skill players in 2010.  Today, we’ll cover the quarterbacks and wide receivers, with running backs, tight ends, and the defense to be posted in the coming weeks.

Sorry, Chad!

Sorry, Penny!

Chad Henne, QB - All things considered, Henne had a solid 2009 after being thrown into the fire following Chad Pennington’s shoulder injury in Week 3.  (As a sidenote, I still feel responsible for causing that to happen, because I spontaneously decided to pick up Henne in my fantasy league minutes before that game started).  Henne completed 60.8% of his passes and had 12 TD passes in 14 games despite having one of the weaker WR corps in the league.  He threw for over 300 yards in three of his last five games, and should have no problem continuing that trend with the Dolphins’ acquisition of two-time Pro-Bowler Brandon Marshall.  Considering that Kyle Orton threw for over 3,800 yards and 21 TDs last season with Marshall as his top receiver, Henne could be in line for a spectacular year if he can improve his decision-making (10 INTs in the final six games).  He’s a borderline number-one QB, and has more potential than the likes of Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning, and Matt Ryan, all of whom are all  being drafted ahead of him in ESPN leagues.

2009 Statistics:  2,878 passing yards, 12 TDs, 14 INT
2010 Prediction:  4,161 passing yards, 25 TDs, 13 INT

Chad Pennington / Tyler Thigpen / Pat White, QB - Unless you’re in a 14-team, two-QB league (like me), none of the Dolphins’ backups should be on your radar.  Thigpen is likely to begin the year second on the official depth chart, though it wouldn’t be surprising if Miami turned to the veteran Pennington if Henne were to miss any games.  White, who didn’t complete a single pass last year, is, um, still on the team as of this writing.

Brandon Marshall, WR – Marshall, who set the NFL record with 21 receptions to go along with 200 yards and two TDs in Week 14, will catch more passes by Week 3 than the Dolphins’ previous #19 did all year (38).  The problem is that the volatile WR has been arrested at least four times on charges of assault, domestic violence, and DUI, and was suspended by the Denver Broncos for the final week of 2009 for exaggerating an injury.  Still, Marshall’s talents are undeniable — he’s caught over 100 passes and totaled over 1,100 receiving yards in three straight seasons and has averaged the fourth-most receiving yards per game (80.7) in the NFL since 2007. His off-the-field problems, combined with playing for a new team and a different offense, make him a somewhat risky pick in the second round (currently being drafted 19th overall), but you could talk me into taking Marshall ahead of the aging Randy Moss and the Kurt Warner-less Larry Fitzgerald (especially in Point Per Reception leagues). 

2009 Statistics:  101 catches, 1,120 receiving yards, 10 TDs
2010 Prediction:  107 catches, 1,250 receiving yards, 8 TDs

Predicting Bess' 2010 output can get a little hairy...

Predicting Bess' 2010 output can get a little hairy...

Davone Bess, WR – Bess had a fantastic sophomore campaign, leading the Dolphins in catches (76; 22nd in NFL), receiving yards (758), and punt return yards (209).   His stats are bound to take a serious hit with Marshall firmly entrenched as the top receiver, but Bess should still get his fair share of targets out of the slot.  Bess is a decent fourth WR in PPR leagues with some upside, and at the very least, is a smart insurance policy if Marshall gets in Coach Sparano’s doghouse.

2009 Statistics:  76 catches, 758 receiving yards, 2 TDs
2010 Prediction:  57 catches, 570 receiving yards, 4 TDs

Brian Hartline, WR - Hartline led the Dolphins in TDs (3) and yards per catch (16.3; 11th in NFL) , and finished third on the team in receiving yards (506) as a rookie.  He dropped only three passes in 54 targets,  and could end up being the beneficiary of Marshall’s double-teams if he wins the number two receiver spot in training camp.  Still, with Bess expected to see more targets and Greg Camarillo also in the picture, Hartline is only worth a late-round flier in standard leagues.

2009 Statistics:  31 catches, 506 receiving yards, 3 TDs
2010 Prediction:  43 catches, 660 receiving yards, 3 TDs

Greg Camarillo, WR - Camarillo, who should be fully recovered from a torn ACL he suffered in November 2008, was one of the most sure-handed receivers in the NFL last season, catching the highest number of passes without a drop and a stellar 70% of his total targets.  He quietly placed second on the team in both receptions (50) and receiving yards (552) in 2009, but stands to see a reduced role behind the quicker and younger Hartline in 2010.

2009 Statistics:  50 catches, 552 receiving yards, 0 TDs
2010 Prediction:  38 catches, 414 receiving yards, 1 TDs

Coming soon:  How will Ronnie “The Wildcat” Brown and Ricky Williams share the backfield?


Copyright 2010-13 Driven By Boredom Productions. All Rights Reserved.
No computers were harmed in the 0.171 seconds it took to produce this page.