Mike Tirico, one of the voices for ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasts, sees change in Miami. He’s not the only one, as the Dolphins are slowly beginning to garner more national attention after starting 3-0 for the first time in a decade.
Tonight’s game in New Orleans is just another opportunity for Miami to show the football world just how far they’ve come.
“I think an awareness, for sure,” Tirico said in an interview with The Finsiders. “I think people will be tuning in to say, ‘Ok, what is that 3-0 made of?’”
In fairness to casual fans across the country, the Dolphins haven’t exactly been frequent visitors to the national broadcast scene. To put it simply, there’s still a fairly significant cloud of vagueness hovering over the franchise to most NFL spectators.
“Over the last couple of years,” Tirico said, “Joe Philbin has changed the roster, along with Jeff Ireland, significantly.
“So for a lot of people it’s an introduction this week especially with this game and we have them later on against Tampa on a Monday night, so I think people will start to get to know what this team is about and form a national impression of the Dolphins beyond the transitive property of hey they beat Indy and Atlanta who also beat good teams, so they must be a good team.”
As for Tirico personally, he likes what he sees from Philbin’s football team thus far. He likes the offense, although he reiterated the known cause for concern surrounding the running game, and he’s high on the Dolphins’ defense.
“I like the general feel to every part of this team and credit Joe Philbin,” Tirico said. “Maybe not the most electric sound bite out there, but he’s a heck of a football coach. He was in Green Bay and he’s proving it I think here so far in Miami.”
A majority of Miami’s early success has been predicated on efficient quarterback play by Ryan Tannehill, who appears to possibly be finally stepping out of the shadows of the other quarterbacks of the 2012 draft class.
“I think for a lot of the nation, because of all the attention on Russell Wilson in Seattle and RGIII in Washington and Andrew Luck in Indianapolis last year, they didn’t pay enough, or as much attention to Tannehill and what he did because they were two games below .500 at 7-9,” Tirico said. “And I think the maturation, the 3-0, the whole story of a top-10 pick at quarterback who didn’t get a ton of attention coming out and [he] certainly has played well here from what I’ve seen throughout the first three games. I think that will be a great test for Ryan, but also a great national coming out party for him.”
Looking towards tonight’s game, Tirico’s key for the Dolphins is simple.
“Stopping [Jimmy] Graham is the key to the game as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
Granted, that’s far easier said than done, but Miami did have success containing Tony Gonzalez last week. However, it’s no secret the Dolphins have had considerable difficulty slowing down dynamic tight ends and Graham is emerging as one of the league’s best as of late.
But when it’s all said and done, Tirico is expecting a close one in the Big Easy tonight.
“I feel really good about the pressure Miami’s defense brings,” he said, “so I don’t think it’s going to be one of those nights where New Orleans scores 30-35 points and play tilt on the pin ball machine.”
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The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.