1) It is FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22. I'm up in Random Evidence Laboratories summoning Sunday's notes-column package. 2) Happy 70th birthday, Billie Jean King. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ted Wells brings fabulous mustache to Miami, NFL's anti-bullying initiative, Elvis and Lennon as they'd look today, 790 fires P.D., Dolphin cheerleader on Beautiful People list, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy, SOPY rankings & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter (gregcote), Instagram (Upsetbird), Vine (Greg Cote) and Facebook (Greg Cote).
It was 50 years ago today: John F. Kennedy's assassination on Nov. 22, 1963 happened in my lifetime, but barely. I have a first grader's faintest memory of being sent home from school, walking into my house in west Hollywood, and seeing my mother transfixed by the TV, watching history unfold in black and white, and sobbing. JFK was not a man or a president to me, he was an image, a symbol. Fifty years later he is still that, handsome and unaged. Any fellow oldies out there who remember 50 years ago today?
THE RIGHTS AND WRONGS OF THE 2013 DOLPHINS: Miami at 5-5 is one of nine AFC teams with five or four wins and in a mad scrum for the final playoff spot. Should make for a finish
to the season that is more exciting than the team itself. Here are some things that have gone Right and Wrong to land the Dolphins where they are, which is teetering between good and bad, between a team that gives you hope and gives you headaches. Four Rights, Four Wrongs in random order:
Right: Charles Clay: The young tight end is blossoming into an offensive force. Not Rob Gronkowski/Jimmy Graham, but good enough and better than Miami has had lately. He has 42 catches for 474 yards, and a team-leading four TD receptions and 258 yards-after-catch.
Right: Pass defense: It isn't great or consistent, but it has exceeded expectations. Helped by the Cam Wake-led pass rush, Miami's defense has the sixth-lowest opponent passer rating (77.4) and is tied for sixth with 13 interceptions. Only three teams have given up fewer than Miami's 11 touchdown passes allowed. Dimitri Patterson's four INTs and Brent Grimes' three (with 12 passes defensed) have given the secondary some unaccustomed impact.
Right: The punter: Seriously. Brandon Fields' 49.3 average leads the league and his 42.4 net average is fifth. On a field-position-minded team not exactly making scoreboards break with overuse, that's big.
Right: Ryan Tannehill: The is a marginal 'right' but I see progress. His completion percentage and TD/INT ratio are improved. He is on pace to make a run at 4,000 yards. Given the O-line nightmare, Wallace's underperformance and an erratic running game, Tannehill is moving closer to being the answer.
Wrong: A low-impact draft: They traded way up for DE Dion Jordan, who has been largely invisible. Mel Kiper Jr. just ranked 45 rookies based on current impact. Dolphins among them: Zero. Seldom a good sign when a kicker is your big find. Jordan and a couple of others may yet prove themselves, but based on immediate impact the '13 draft was a bust. That's on GM Jeff Ireland.
Wrong: Mike Wallace: Team is not getting sufficient return on its $60 million free-agent investment. Wallace has caught barely half of the balls thrown to him (44 of 85) for only 534 yards and one TD, with far too many drops. Miami paid for an elite, star receiver and is getting just another guy.
Wrong: Offensive line shambles: I don't mean Bullygate. I mean the state of the O-line even before the scandal, and now moving forward. The state is sad. It stinks. Center Mike pouncey is the team's only proven, quality blocker, a situation that drags down the entire offense.
Wrong: Run defense: The interior D-line anchored by Paul Soliai and run defense were supposed to be the team's strength. It's been mediocre. Miami ranks 25th of 32 teams allowing 122.6 yards per game. The past four games it's been an unacceptable 154.3.
UPSET BIRD DAY: WEEK 12 NFL PREDIX: DOLPHINS BEAT BULLYGATE, BUT WON'T BEAT CAM: The ongoing distraction of Bullygate isn't beating the Dolphins, as proved last week vs. San Diego. But overcoming Cam Newton and an excellent Carolina defense won't be as simple for Miami at home Sunday. Click on Week 12 Gems for full prediction capsules on the Dolphins and all other games, and on Manning Vs. Brady for my Friday Page NFL notes column, leading with Sunday's classic quarterback duel and how history will view each man. My week got off to a mixed start last night. I (unwisely) picked Saints to cover a 9-point line in Atlanta and Falcons kept it close.
Click back. Will be updating/adding to this latest blogpost...