The Finsiders
Andy Cohen In The Morning will appear every Monday through Friday until the end of the season, except for the bye week. The column will be posted each day at 6 a.m.
By on December 20, 2014 at 2:25 pm

121814-weekThis week with the Dolphins was a very special one for alumni, as this week revolved around Dolphins from the past. It featured the Alumni Week Golf Classic, and will culiminate with a special moment this weekend, where former defensive tackle Manny Fernandez will be inducted into the Dolphins’ prestigious Honor Roll. Miami will look to cap off the week on a positive note and get back to their winning ways, taking on the (6-8) Minnesota Vikings at home at Sun Life Stadium.

Check out the week that was with the Dolphins from December 15th through December 19th:

Monday, 12/15

Moving Towards Minnesota

  • As part of his weekly show with The Finsiders, Coach Joe Philbin discussed the progress of rookies Jarvis Landry and Ja’Wuan James while also looking ahead to Sunday’s game against the Vikings. (More…)

Reviewing The Pats Game

  • Dolphins.com’s Andy Cohen expounded on Miami’s 7-7 record entering Week 16. (More…)
  • Miami can still make the postseason, but they’ll need a lot of help to get there. (More…)
  • During his weekly show with The Finsiders, Coach Philbin spoke with Greg Likens and John Congemi to review Sunday’s Dolphins-Patriots game. (More…)

Miami Makes Roster Moves

  • The Dolphins announced a pair of roster moves on Monday afternoon. (More…)

Tuesday, 12/16

Going Deep

  • Miami attempted six passes of 30 yards or more against the Patriots, and four others between 20 and 30 yards. (More…)
  • Dolphins great Nat Moore spoke with The Finsiders to analyze the play of rookie wide receiver Jarvis Landry and discuss the state of the team following 14 games. (More…)

Playoff Potential

  • While Sunday’s loss damaged Miami’s chances at making the postseason, there is a way the Dolphins can still make the postseason. Former Dolphins Sam Madison and Kim Bokamper joined Greg Likens as The Finsiders analyzed the multiple results that the Dolphins need to have inside of the AFC over the next two weeks to qualify for the 2014 playoffs. (More…)

Wednesday, 12/17

Highlight Reel

  • NFL Network revealed their top 5 catches of Week 15; a list that concludes with Mike Wallace‘s one-hand touchdown catch against the Patriots. (More…)

Award Winners

  • Wide receiver Brandon Gibson was voted as the Dolphins’ 2014 winner of the Ed Block Courage Award, which is voted on solely by players. (More…)
  • Defensive end Olivier Vernon has been nominated for the 2014 Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award, which is given annually to the player who best exemplifies a commitment to philanthropy and community involvement. (More…)

Battling Through Injuries

  • Charles Clay has faced a rash of injuries, but it hasn’t stopped him from getting back on the field to make an impact. (More…)

All About “Juice”

  • Rookie receiver Jarvis Landry has now put together seven straight games with at least five receptions, the first Dolphins receiver to do that since O.J. McDuffie 16 years ago. (More…)
  • Landry spoke with reporters about the impressive production that he’s been able to post during his rookie season with the team. (More…)

Thursday, 12/18

Around The Locker Room

  • Defensive end Cameron Wake answered questions from reporters about the mentality of the team heading into the final two games of the regular season with a 7-7 record. (More…)
  • Offensive lineman Mike Pouncey discussed his attitude for Sunday’s game against the Vikings at Sun Life Stadium. (More…)
  • Cornerback Brent Grimes spoke with the media about this week’s matchup against Vikings rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater, a native of Miami. (More…)
  • Running back Lamar Miller spoke about his mindset for the last two regular season games of 2014. (More…)

Behind Enemy Lines

  • Paul Allen, the radio voice of the Minnesota Vikings, joined The Finsiders to provide an inside perspective on Sunday’s opponent for the Dolphins, the 6-8 Vikings. (More…)
  • There’s plenty of connections between this Dolphins team and the Vikings, especially on the defensive side of the ball. (More…)

Friday, 12/19

Previewing Dolphins-Vikings

  • Get hyped up for Sunday by watching footage of the Dolphins as the team prepares to battle the Vikings in a Week 16 contest at Sun Life Stadium. (More…)
  • Greg Likens and John Congemi preview all the angles of Sunday’s matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. (More…)
  • The final injury update of the week was issued for the Dolphins and Vikings in advance of Sunday’s game at Sun Life Stadium. (More…)
  • Dolphins.com’s Alain Poupart examined the Vikings’ strengths and weaknesses. (More…)
  • Check out what’s being said around Miami’s locker room in anticipation of Sunday’s game against the Vikings. (More…)
  • Head coach Joe Philbin answered questions from the South Florida media for the final time before Sunday’s Dolphins-Vikings game at Sun Life Stadium. (More…)

Please Note:
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.
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By on November 15, 2014 at 1:13 pm

111514-JarvisIt was quite a week for the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins took down an AFC East rival in the Buffalo Bills, 22-9, on Thursday Night Football thanks to a complete team effort from a clutch offense and a stout defense.  In addition to the Dolphins win on Thursday night thrusting them into second place in the division, this week we also learned how the team has gotten involved with veterans overseas as part of the NFL’s Salute to Service.

Take a look at the week that was with the Dolphins from November 10th through the 14th:

Monday, 11/10

Coaches’ Corner

  • In the second part of his weekly show with The Finsiders, Coach Joe Philbin looked ahead to Thursday night’s huge AFC East showdown with the Bills. (More…)
  • Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle met with the media to discuss Dion Jordan, Jamar Taylor and other members of the defense following Sunday’s game against the Lions. (More…)
  • Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor held his weekly press conference to answer questions about the state of the offensive line after the season-ending injury to Pro Bowl LT Branden Albert. (More…)
  • Philbin met with reporters to comment on Branden Albert’s unfortunate season-ending injury and the potential move of Ja’Wuan James to left tackle, a position he filled in at in Sunday’s game following Albert’s injury. (More…)

Traveling Abroad

  • The Miami Dolphins cheerleaders traveled to various military bases in Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Africa to visit with our troops. (More….)

Tuesday, 11/11

Veterans Day

  • Former Dolphins Director of Player Personnel Charley Winner was member of this country’s “Greatest Generation,” Winner was a decorated airman in World War II, playing a dangerous role in a conflict that saved the world from the tyranny of Nazi Germany. (More…)
  • Winner also appeared on The Finsiders to talk about his experiences in the league, and outside of it. (More…)
  • As part of a Veterans Day tribute, Dolphins.com’s Andy Cohen wrote a story about a Dolphins fan currently stationed across the world. (More…)

All Access: London

  • Check out Part 1 of Dolphins Productions’ behind the scenes look at Miami’s trip to London. (More…)
  • Here’s Part 2 of Dolphins Productions’ behind the scenes look at the Dolphins’ trip to England. (More…)
  • Take a look at Part 3 of Dolphins Productions’ look at Miami’s trip across the pond. (More…)
  • And here’s the conclusion to the four part series covering the Dolphins’ trip to London as part of the NFL’s International Series. (More…)

Wednesday, 11/12

Talking Dolphins-Bills

  • Before Thursday’s game, Dolphins.com took a look at what was being said around Miami’s locker room ahead of Thursday night’s AFC East showdown with the Buffalo Bills. (More…)
  • On Wednesday, The Finsiders went “Behind Enemy Lines” and talked to Tim Graham, writer for the Buffalo News, for his insight on the state of the 5-5 Bills as before they played Miami. (More…)

Mic’d Up

  • Dolphins safety Louis Delmas was mic’d up against his former team the Detroit Lions. (More…)

In The Community

  • As part of Miami’s Salute to Service initiative, Dolphins players gathered to play troops over seas in Call of Duty. (More…)
  • The Dolphins were able to train nearly 100 middle school Physical Education teachers from Miami-Dade County to teach flag football. (More…)

Thursday, 11/13

Previewing Primetime

  • Broadcaster Phil Simms sat down in studio with Greg Likens and John Congemi to share his opinions on Ryan Tannehill, the changes on the Dolphins offensive line and other key aspects of tomorrow night’s Dolphins-Bills showdown, which Simms called on NFL Network alongside Jim Nantz. (More…)
  • The excitement surrounding Thursday’s Dolphins-Bills contest at Sun Life Stadium led to the game being officially sold out Thursday afternoon. (More…)
  • Before Thursday’s game, The Finsiders went Inside The Matchup, and broke down Miami’s position units against the Bills. (More…)
  • The Miami Dolphins Women’s Organization hosted local female Veterans for a NFL Style Lounge experience before the game at Sun Life Stadium on November 2, 2014. (More…)

Friday, 11/14

Recapping Miami’s Big Win Over Buffalo

  • Check out highlights from Miami’s all-important 22-9 win over AFC East rivals Buffalo. (More…)
  • Step into the Miami Dolphins locker room after a big Thursday night win as Head Coach Joe Philbin addressed the team. (More…)
  • Get all the notes and statistical milestones from Miami’s 22-9 win over Buffalo. (More…)
  • Dolphins.com’s Andy Cohen broke down Miami’s big win over the Bills. (More…)
  • Take a look at Dolphins.com’s images of the Dolphins’ win over the Bills on Thursday night. (More…)
  • Here are a few observations from Thursday night’s win against the Bills. (More…)

Please Note:
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.
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By on October 25, 2014 at 4:43 pm

102414-reviewThrough six games and a bye week, the Miami Dolphins sit at 3-3 on the season, two games back of the division leading Patriots in the win column. Reaching Week 8, we’ve essentially hit the midpoint of the season, and Miami has a prime opportunity this week to start a winning streak, facing off against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Everbank Field this Sunday at 1 p.m. This week with the Dolphins, another player returned from suspension, the team is likely the healthiest it has been this season, and we received an exclusive look inside the team’s locker room.

Check out the week that was with the Miami Dolphins from October 20th to October 24th:

Monday, 10/20

Coaches Corner

  • Head coach Joe Philbin joined Greg Likens and John Congemi for his weekly show to look back on several of the key elements in the Dolphins 27-14 victory over the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday. (More…)
  • Philbin met with reporters to answer questions about Ryan Tannehill, Reshad Jones and others following his film review of Sunday’s big road win in Chicago. (More…)
  • Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor discussed the play of Ryan Tannehill, Mike Wallace and others in Sunday’s 27-14 victory in Chicago. (More…)
  • Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle held his weekly Q & A session with reporters to talk about the impressive performance of his defense in Sunday’s win over the Bears. (More…)

Highlight Reel

  • Quarterback Ryan Tannehill completed his first 14 passes and finished the game with a 123.6 rating, leading his team to a 27-14 win against the Chicago Bears. (More…)
  • Tannehill is making a dent in the Dolphins records books with his rushing ability this season. (More…)

Tuesday, 10/21

Dion Jordan Returns

  • Defensive end Dion Jordan says he’s ready to help and finding a role on a thriving defense is not a concern. (More…)
  • Jordan met with reporters in Davie on his first day back with the Dolphins after serving a six game suspension. (More…)
  • Defensive lineman Jared Odrick responded to questions from reporters about the return of Dion Jordan to the defensive line and the team on Tuesday as the team begins preparations for Sunday’s game in Jacksonville. (More…)
  • Pro Bowl defensive end Cam Wake answered questions from reporters about the return of Dion Jordan to the team on Tuesday following suspensions that have kept him away from the team since late August. (More…)
  • Reshad Jones talked about the state of the Dolphins defense as the unit continues to get many key contributors back from injury or suspension. (More…)

Wednesday, 10/22

Wallace In The Groove

  • Wide receiver Mike Wallace spoke with reporters about his improved chemistry with Ryan Tannehill and the strong production of the Dolphins offense in recent weeks. (More…)
  • The former Pro Bowl wideout sure has been getting touchdowns in different ways so far this season, and he’s been getting them on a consistent basis. (More…)

Pouncey On Guard

  • In an interview with The Finsiders, Pro Bowl offensive lineman Mike Pouncey talked about his transition to a new position this season. (More…)

Connecting With The Fans

  • Rookie Chris McCain has made it a pregame habit of bringing a kid onto the field for a quick chat, a quick walk and a memory that will last a lifetime. (More…)
  • The Miami Dolphins and Sun Life Financial visited locations in South Florida to award scholarships and grants to the community. (More…)

Thursday, 10/23

Cam Mic’d Up

  • Defensive end Cameron Wake was mic’d up during the Chicago Bears game. (More…)

Don’t Sleep On ‘Em

  • According to cornerback Brent Grimes, the Jaguars are an opponent that cannot and should not be underestimated this week. (More…)
  • Offensive lineman Mike Pouncey discussed Jacksonville’s ability to get after opposing quarterbacks and what the offensive line must do to contain it. (More…)
  • Head coach Joe Philbin met with reporters for the final time before Sunday’s game in Jacksonville. (More…)

Friday, 10/24

Previewing Dolphins vs. Jaguars

  • Watch footage of the Dolphins and Jaguars as the teams get set for a Sunshine State showdown on Sunday in Jacksonville. (More…)
  • Dolphins.com’s Alain Poupart examined the Dolphins opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. (More…)
  • If the Dolphins are going to truly challenge in December, they not only must win against the teams they could beat, they need to win against the teams they should beat. (More…)
  • Dolphins.com columnist Andy Cohen joined Greg Likens of The Finsiders to analyze the recent play of Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins heading into Sunday’s game in Jacksonville. (More…)
  • The Dolphins and Jaguars each issued their final injury reports of the week in advance of Sunday’s battle in Jacksonville. (More…)

Please Note:
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.
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By on September 20, 2014 at 1:39 pm

091714-FieldComing off of the loss in Buffalo, the Miami Dolphins (1-1) look to rebound at home this Sunday  against the Kansas City Chiefs. There will be a sea of aqua this weekend at Sun Life Stadium, as the team plans to give out aqua T-shirts to the first 65,000 fans in attendance for the game.

This week for the Dolphins, a Pro Bowler started practicing for the first time this season and we learned a little bit about the amount of success Miami has had against AFC West opponents at home.

Take a look at the week that was with the Dolphins as team prepares for this Sunday’s contest against Kansas City:

Monday, 9/15

The Coach Philbin Show

  • Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin sat down with The Finsiders for his weekly show to give his final analysis on Sunday’s defeat in Buffalo. (More…)
  • In the second part of his weekly show with The Finsiders, Coach Philbin provided insight on his message to the Dolphins players as the team looks to move on from Sunday’s loss and prepare for an important home game this week against the Chiefs. (More…)

Inside The Numbers

  • Since they moved to their stadium in Miami Gardens in 1987, the Dolphins have a remarkable 24-5 record at home against the four teams from the AFC West. (More…)

Coming Back

  • On Monday, the Dolphins re-signed a player they are very familiar with. (More…)

Tuesday, 9/16

Pouncey’s Return

  • Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey practiced for the first time since undergoing hip surgery in June. (More…)
  • Pouncey spoke with reporters about his return to practice on Tuesday at the Doctors Hospital Training Facility. (More…)

Defense Eyes Kansas City

  • Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes sat down in studio with The Finsiders to review the tough game in Buffalo and to discuss his excitement to be back at Sun Life Stadium for Sunday’s crucial battle with the Chiefs. (More…)
  • Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake shared his thoughts on the matchup with Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense that the Dolphins will face this week. (More…)

Wednesday, 9/17

Talking Tannehill

  • Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill sat down with Greg Likens of The Finsiders for an exclusive 1-on-1 conversation to discuss the state of the offense heading into Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. (More…)
  • Tannehill feels that he still has plenty of room to improve. (More…)

Albert Facing Old Friends

  • Pro Bowl left tackle Branden Albert will be facing the team with which he spent his first six NFL seasons and made him a first-round pick in the 2008 draft. (More…)
  • Albert talked with reporters about his respect for Andy Reid and the entire Kansas City Chiefs organization. (More…)

Odrick Mic’d Up

  • Defensive tackle Jared Odrick was mic’d up for last week’s game against the Bills. (More…)

Thursday, 9/18

Perfecting The Passing Game

  • Bob Griese, the Hall of Fame QB and radio analyst for the Dolphins, joined The Finsiders to share his views of Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins passing game through the first two games. (More…)
  • Finsiders Columnist Andy Cohen explained how it’s now time for the Dolphins passing game to pick it up after a slow start. (More…)

Under-The-Helmet

  • In a special produced by Dolphins Productions, we learned a little bit more about the life and background of star defensive back Brent Grimes. (More…)

Running Hard

  • The Dolphins running backs are looking to keep the chains moving until Knowshon Moreno can return from his elbow injury. (More…)
  • RB Damien Williams sat down with Greg Likens of The Finsiders to discuss his mindset as he prepares for a possible increase in reps this weekend following the injury to Knowshon Moreno. (More…)

Friday, 9/19

Breaking Down The Chiefs

  • Dolphins.com Lead writer Alain Poupart examining the Dolphins opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. (More…)
  • Former Dolphins WR O.J. McDuffie joined Greg Likens to analyze Sunday’s AFC clash between the Dolphins and the Chiefs. (More…)
  • Want an early look at this week’s game program? Here’s The Finsiders Playbook for the Dolphins’ Week 3 matchup against Kansas City. (More…)
  • Here’s the final injury report before Sunday’s game. (More…)
  • NFL On CBS Broadcaster Rich Gannon stopped by The Finsiders to discuss Sunday’s game. (More…)

A Dynamic Duo

  • In an exclusive 1-on-1 interview with Greg Likens of The Finsiders, quarterback Ryan Tannehill spoke about his play so far this season, as well as his chemistry with Mike Wallace. (More…)

Please Note:
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.
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By on September 13, 2014 at 9:19 am

091214-weekinreviewThe Miami Dolphins are riding high coming off a 33-20 victory over the New England Patriots and now face the task of traveling to Buffalo to take on the 1-0 Bills. This week, Miami had two players receive awards thanks to their terrific opening game performances, and another player nominated for the Pepsi Rookie of The Week. Also, we learned that the Dolphins will have three permanent captains throughout the season.

Check out the week that was with the Miami Dolphins from Monday, Sept. 8 through Friday, Sept. 12.

Monday, 9/8

The Coach Philbin Show

  • Coach Philbin joined Greg Likens and John Congemi for his weekly show to look back on Sunday’s impressive win over the Patriots. (More…)
  • In Part Two of the Coach Philbin Show, the coach spoke to The Finsiders about the message to the players heading into this week’s AFC East clash with the Buffalo Bills. (More…)

Coordinators’ Corner

  • Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle met with the media to answer questions about the state of the team’s linebackers after following several injuries to the starters on the unit, including a season-ending injury to OLB Dannell Ellerbe. (More…)
  • Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor discussed the strong performances of Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller in Sunday’s important win over the Patriots as he meets with reporters in Davie. (More…)

Tuesday, 9/9

Stepping Up

  • For longtime special team ace Jason Trusnik, injuries in the Dolphins linebacking corps has given the veteran an opportunity to have a more increased role on defense. (More…)
  • Cornerback Will Davis talked to reporters on Tuesday about how he feels he fared in the opening game of the season. (More…)

Opening Weekend

  • Check out a timelapse of Sun Life Stadium, after the home of Miami Dolphins played host to three major sporting events over the span of the three days. (More…)

Albert Leading New Look O-Line

  • In an interview with The Finsiders, left tackle Branden Albert joined the show to discuss the chemistry of the Dolphins new-look offensive line. (More…)

Wednesday, 9/10

Leading The Way

  • For the first time in Joe Philbin’s tenure as head coach, the Dolphins will have permanent captains this season. (More…)
  • After an impressive performance in the season opener against the Patriots, Cameron Wake received player of the week honors from the NFL on Wednesday. (More…)
  • Quarterback Ryan Tannehill talked to reporters on Wednesday about this week’s upcoming game against the Buffalo Bills. (More…)

Mic’d Up

  • During Sunday’s game against the Patriots, cornerback Cortland Finnegan was mic’d up. Check out some of the sound from gameday right here. (More…)

A Brand New Experience

  • Thursday, the Dolphins unveiled a new mobile app offering a personalized and unique experience for members and fans. (More…)

Thursday, 9/11

Juice And Juice

  • In an interview with The Finsiders, rookie wide receiver Jarvis Landry explained the story behind his “Juice” nickname, and how he’s looking to replicate what a former Dolphins wideout, who went by the same moniker, did during his career. (More…)

Award-Winning Performance

  • Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno was named the FedEx Ground Player of The Week. (More…)

Reflecting on 9/11

  • Current and former Dolphins recalled what they were doing when they first heard of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. (More…)

Friday, 9/12

Previewing Dolphins-Bills

  • Greg Likens and John Congemi of The Finsiders analyze Sunday’s AFC East battle between the Dolphins and the Bills. (More…)
  • Dolphins.com’s Alain Poupart broke down the Dolphins’ opponents on Sunday. (More…)
  • Check out what’s being said around the Dolphins’ locker room as the team prepares for its Week 2 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. (More…)
  • According to Finsiders Columnist Andy Cohen, the Bills pose a formidable challenge. (More…)
  • Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin met with reporters in Davie for the final time before Sunday’s AFC East battle against the Bills. (More…)

TOP VIDEOS OF THE WEEK

TOP PHOTO GALLERIES OF THE WEEK

 


Please Note:
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.
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By on September 12, 2014 at 6:00 am

140912_AC_AM

Andy Cohen In The Morning appears on dolphins.com every Monday through Friday, except for the bye week, until the end of the season. The column will be posted each day at 6 a.m. Be sure to follow Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins

Have a question for A.C.? Submit your questions to Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins.

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The memory remains both vivid and painful. The Dolphins had just beaten the New England Patriots last December at Sun Life Stadium. They travelled to Buffalo the next week, just needing a victory to get into the playoffs. They responded with an ugly 19-0 loss, a performance so uninspired it left Joe Philbin searching for answers long into the offseason.

We just didn’t show up with the right mindset that day,” Philbin told me in an interview before training camp began.

So here we go again. The Dolphins once again have beaten the Patriots at Sun Life Stadium. Once again are feeling awfully good about themselves. Once again are traveling to Buffalo the following Sunday, which happens to be this Sunday. Once again need a victory over the Bills to further validate what happened against the Patriots.

Did they learn their lesson? We’re about to find out.

No, this may not have the sex appeal of a game against Tom Brady and the Patriots. But it is essential, as this team tries to grow into something special, to follow last Sunday’s performance with another strong showing. To do it in Buffalo, where so many horror stories have surfaced over the years, would both ease the pain of what happened last December as well as further cement the positives that surfaced in the season opener.

This is the challenge facing these Dolphins. Put together two victories to start the season. Make a statement against another AFC East team. And do it against a Buffalo team that has had your number far too long.

Someone asked me this week if there is a concern that the Dolphins will take this game too lightly. My response: Are you kidding? On the second week of the season? In Buffalo? Against a team that won at Chicago a week ago? We saw plenty of reasons last Sunday to think that this is a different Dolphins team with a different mindset and far more talent. Sunday could give us further proof. That underlines the importance of this game.

This will be a difficult test. Like the Dolphins, the Bills enter with more talent than they had in a while. Like the Dolphins they want to validate a 1-0 start.

There’s a lot to break down in this game, but the way I see it one concern dominates all others. The Bills arguably have the best defensive line in the league. The Dolphins have five new starters on their offensive line. Focus on this matchup. It probably was the deciding factor in each game, both Dolphins losses, last season.

The offensive line did well last week against the Patriots. The running game produced almost 200 yards. Ryan Tannehill was sacked just once. But as proficient as the Patriots are on defense, they simply do not have a front four that can approach the Bills.

Remember the names: Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Jerry Hughes. Each poses unique challenges. Each has the ability to dominate. It was Mario Williams, you may recall, who had the game-defining play in the first game last season against the Dolphins. This time he goes up against left tackle Brandon Albert, clearly a more formidable test.

“Got to put on our hard hats against those guys,” Albert says.

We feel good right now about the Dolphins offensive line, and we should. But we’ll know a lot more after they face the Bills.

I am not foolish enough to expect a dominating performance by the offensive line. What I would take, though, is enough of a standoff to bring other factors into play. Like Tannehill against the Bills secondary. Like Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon honing in on quarterback E.J. Manuel. Like Knowshon Moreno doing what he did against the Patriots.

But it will start up front and that will dictate the importance of everything else. The Dolphins would love to come back to South Florida at 2-0 and would probably love just as much to clear an imposing hurdle they failed to clear a season ago.

(On Monday, AC in the AM breaks down what happened against the Bills.)

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Please Note:
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.
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By on September 11, 2014 at 5:55 am

140911_AC_AMAndy Cohen In The Morning appears on dolphins.com every Monday through Friday, except for the bye week, until the end of the season. The column will be posted each day at 6 a.m. Be sure to follow Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins

Have a question for A.C.? Submit your questions to Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins

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Cameron Wake looks up toward the top of Sun Life Stadium and sees the names on the wall. It is an imposing group of names. A coach. An owner. A Perfect Team. Great players in Dolphins history. Iconic players. Names like Marino and Griese and Taylor and Thomas.

“I know they are up there,” Wake says. “I’ve met a couple of them. It’s clear to me that this franchise is about winners.

So today I ask you this: Will Cameron Wake’s name someday be placed on  that prestigious Honor Roll surrounding the inside of the stadium? Will he finish his career here as one of the top defensive players this franchise has seen? Will he reach, or even approach, the level of some of those names on that wall?

I asked Wake this as he sat alone by his locker after a recent mid-afternoon practice. This is his sixth season here. He came into this season with 51 1/2 sacks, averaging more than 10 a season. Now he’s got 53 ½ after an impressive opener against New England. I figure if he puts together three more seasons like the past five, he’s got a real chance to get his name on that wall.

Wake ponders the thought for a long moment. He smiles. He shakes his head.

“I don’t look at myself like that, at least at this point in time,” Wake said. “It would be an honor to even be considered. It would be amazing. Really amazing. You can’t ignore the history of this team. You walk in the lobby and you see the history. You walk down the hallway to the locker room and you see pictures of the great players. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be one of those players.”

He paused and then added: “I’ve got a lot of work to do first.”

Cameron Wake, you can argue, is the best football player on this team. He is an unquestioned leader. He keeps himself in unreal physical condition. He shows up every Sunday with the same attitude, the same hunger, the same desire to make a difference.

He is 32 years young now but his inner belief tells him that he has yet to play his best season. Could this be the year? He certainly got off to the right kind of start (two sacks, two forced fumbles) against the Patriots.

“I prepare for every year like it’s going to be my best season,” he says. “I’m one of those 2009 cars with 2,000 miles on it. I still have a great engine running. There is no reason I can’t perform at the highest level, no reason I can’t have my best season. Why not?”

Why not, indeed. Look at the numbers. They truly get your attention. No player in team history has had as many sacks in his first five seasons than Wake. He is already seventh on the team’s all-time sack list and, with another double-digit sack total this season, will vault up to fifth. Do it again in 2015 and he’ll find himself second all time, with only Jason Taylor ahead of him. Jason Taylor’s name, by the way, is on the stadium wall.

“I’m still having fun,” Wake says. “You gain so much wisdom as the years increase. It’s like the game slows down. You develop an inner belief of knowing what’s coming. You have a better appreciation for the game. As a young player, you just run fast, push hard and make a play. Now you say to yourself: ‘I know this player. I know what I need to do. I know the techniques I need to use.’ That part of it a lot of fun.”

But there is no fun like winning. While the sack totals pile up, while the big plays continue, Wake longs for the feeling of a playoff game. There hasn’t been a winning season since he arrived in 2009. It eats at him and has created a void that only winning can fill. You can have all the sacks, he says. He’ll trade it all for a game in January.

“I remember my first Pro Bowl,” he says. “It was a great feeling. But it wasn’t enough for me. Five years? It’s been too long. It’s not like we’ve been in a slump and have had some awful teams. We’ve been right there every year, maybe one or two plays away. It makes it harder knowing we’ve been so close.

“I always ask myself: Could I have made more a difference.”

He began this season with that as his mindset. Make a difference. Make more of a difference. Never slow down. Never take a half step. The sacks are great, and certainly will help define his career. But Cameron Wake wants more than that. He wants victories. He wants success.

So the Honor Roll will have to wait. So will that hallway with the pictures of all those Dolphins greats. Cameron Wake, you see, is still enjoying the journey. And, the way he sees it, there is still a long way to go.

(On Friday, AC in the AM takes a close look at the game against Buffalo.)

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Click here for more A.C. In The A.M. Columns.


Please Note:
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.
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By on September 10, 2014 at 5:55 am

1acam_FansAndy Cohen In The Morning appears on dolphins.com every Monday through Friday, except for the bye week, until the end of the season. The column will be posted each day at 6 a.m. Be sure to follow Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins

Have a question for A.C.? Submit your questions to Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins

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Q. Andy, can Knowshon Moreno carry the ball 20-25 times a game all season to take some of the pressure of Ryan Tannehill? @SteelCityOwlfan

AC: I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if he touched the ball at least 20 times a game. Consider he didn’t catch a pass against the Patriots and that’s one of his real strengths. So when you combine his carries with some receptions, you’ve got a lot of touches. Moreno is durable. He is tough. He is still young at 27. There is no reason he can’t handle a major workload.

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Q. The way the back-up linebackers played against New England, what does this mean for Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler? @ljc7975

AC: Well, Ellerbe is now lost for the season and Wheeler still has some issues with his hand so we’re going to be seeing a lot more of guys like Jason Trusnik, Jelani Jenkins, Chris McCain and even Jordan Tripp once he returns to full strength. Despite the loss of Ellerbe, this is a promising situation with some young players clearly on the rise. I’m anxious to see how they respond and which one of that group elevates his game to earn more playing time. Right now, Trusnik’s stock is real high.

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Q. After Moreno’s statement game, do you still split carries with Lamar Miller? @ecantres

AC: They didn’t split carries against New England: Moreno had 24, Miller had 11. That’s about how I expect it to continue. Miller is more a home run threat while Moreno will just pound you all day. It seems to be a good situation for both players. More than likely, the Dolphins will stay with the hot hand.

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Q. How much of a pleasant surprise has it been to see linebacker Chris McCain make a huge impact on both special teams and defense? @az_dolfan

AC: Very pleasant and very unexpected. You just can’t know if an undrafted rookie is going to stick around, let alone play right away. McCain has already shown that he clearly belongs. He has the size, ability and right mental frame. I like the way he plays. I like his hunger. Yet another move by new GM Dennis Hickey that seems to be working out well. Keeping track?

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Q. Andy, your thoughts about Caleb Sturgis. I know he hit all four field goals on Sunday, but it’s my impression that he is below average. @OKC_Sweden

AC: With all due respect, it my opinion that he is above average. Yes, there were some consistency issues last season. But he is healthy again, hit all four against New England and seems to be getting excellent length on his kickoffs. It’s too early to make any final judgment on a second-year player. But I believe Sturgis has a chance to kick in this league for a long time. The Dolphins will play in a lot of close games this season. They need Sturgis to come up big.

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Q. With so much put into beating the Patriots, do you have a concern of a letdown against Buffalo? @jrn26

AC: A letdown? Against a team that beat you twice last year and has won three of the last four? Against a team that just upset the Bears in Chicago? Against an AFC East rival in a matchup of 1-0 teams? I also know the Dolphins played their worst game of the season when they visited Buffalo last year. All of those factors should be motivation enough. A letdown? I’d be shocked.

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Q. What was your impression of the rookie debut of right tackle Ja’Wuan James? @fins4evr

AC: With the exception of a holding penalty that negated a touchdown, James played well. The moment didn’t see too big for him. I’ve already seen enough of James to believe that you can pencil him in at tackle for the next decade or so. Yes, he has a chance to be that good.

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Q. Do you believe that Ryan Tannehill can significantly improve his accuracy and his leadership to become a franchise quarterback? @finfanatic12

AC: First, leadership doesn’t appear to be an issue. From the first day of training camp, Tannehill has shown a willingness to lead. As for his accuracy, my major concern remains the deep pass. He seems to have an excellent feel for most of the short and intermediate throws. But until he shows a real consistency on his deep throws, I’m going to continue to wonder. I can not diminish the importance of this. Tannehill must develop a better feel for the deep passing game.

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Q. Andy, why can’t we beat the Buffalo Bills in Buffalo? @rodneyworks23

AC: Too many chicken wings the night before the game? No, seriously, I’ve covered this team a long time and many of the most depressing moments have occurred in Buffalo. I’m not sure you can put a finger on an exact reason. But I know it needs to change. Joe Philbin told me in the offseason that the only game last season that disappointed him in the effort department was at Buffalo. I believe the players have gotten the message. I really expect the same type of effort this Sunday as we saw last Sunday against New England.

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Q. Admit it, Andy, you were shocked like all of us to see that second half performance against the Patriots? @rigormark39

AC: OK, I admit it. After three turnovers in the first half, after falling behind by 10 points at the break, I never imagined a complete reversal of form. That’s why this great game is so unpredictable.

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Q. Andy, now that we’re 1-0 and have beaten the mighty Patriots, are you ready to start talking playoffs? @maryrodgers343

AC: Slow down. Take a deep breath. Check out the calendar. It’s still early September. Playoffs? After only one game? Come back in late November and I’ll have a better idea.

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(On Thursday, AC in the AM wonders whether Cameron Wake is already one of the top defenders in team history).

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Click here for more A.C. In The A.M. Columns


Please Note:
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.
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By on September 9, 2014 at 5:55 am

140909_AC_AMAndy Cohen In The Morning appears on dolphins.com every Monday through Friday, except for the bye week, until the end of the season. The column will be posted each day at 6 a.m. Be sure to follow Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFinsHave a question for A.C.? Submit your questions to Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins

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I am well aware that the proper thing to do on the Tuesday morning following the first regular season game is to look ahead. The opener is now yesterday’s news. You know, ancient history. Got to focus instead on what’s right in front of you and in this case for the Miami Dolphins it happens to be the Buffalo Bills.

But I truthfully can’t do that just yet. The “proper thing” will have to wait until tomorrow. My mind, you see, is still racing with thoughts of Sunday’s victory over the Patriots. You can’t put together a win like that one, you don’t exorcise so many demons on one magical afternoon, and just quickly wipe it out of your mind. It lingers. It breeds. It absorbs you.

And you really don’t want it to go away. At least not this quickly. At least not without some quality ST: Savor Time.

So for those who can’t quite let go (like me), and before we turn our full attention to the imposing challenge of the Bills in Buffalo, here are some more sweet morsels to digest from Sunday’s statement victory:

• So many wonderful stories emerged. But could there have been a better one than undrafted rookie linebacker Chris McCain blocking a punt and getting a sack and then afterward sitting by his locker with tears in his eyes? This is a player who took the long road to get here, the tough journey. “I’m blessed,” McCain whispered.

• I’ve got two lingering memories of Ryan Tannehill’s day, one something he said and the other something he did.

What he said was: “If we correct our mistakes, it’s kind of scary what this offense can do.” Scary and the Dolphins offense in the same sentence? My how times quickly change.

As for what he did: Of all the quality passes he threw, his finest pass of the day fell incomplete and it shouldn’t be overlooked. It was a pass to tight end Dion Sims in the fourth quarter. Would have been a touchdown. Sims was blanketed by a defender in the corner of the end zone. The ball was perfectly thrown. Landed right in his hands. Unfortunately Sims couldn’t hold on. But know this: It was a throw any quarterback would be proud of.

• After a shaky preseason, the special teams were outstanding against the Patriots. I’m talking every phase. Don’t lose sight of the importance of that.

Joe Philbin told me in the preseason that this was the deepest team he has had in his three seasons here and we saw that on Sunday when two starting linebackers (Koa Misi and Dannell Ellerbe) went down. Jason Trusnik? Jelani Jenkins? Before Sunday both were known far more for their special teams play. But without both stepping up on defense against the Patriots, the Dolphins don’t win that game. That’s the right kind of depth, especially needed now with Ellerbe lost for the season.

• Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this season-opening win was that the Dolphins did it despite turning the ball over three times in the first half. You just don’t do that and expect to beat a disciplined team like the Patriots. At least, that’s what we thought.

There are so many neat little aspects to this new-look offense, it’s hard to just focus on one thing. I like the wide-open sets. I like how any player can be in motion on a given play. I like how Mike Wallace is being utilized and how rookie Jarvis Landry seems to be everywhere. And I really like the fact that we are probably going to see new things every Sunday.

Dennis Hickey is looking pretty good right now for signing running back Knowshon Moreno. You just can’t measure the amount of toughness he brings to this offense.

• That second half on Sunday was, from top to bottom, as good a half as I’ve seen here in a long, long time. Especially considering the opponent.

• OK, back to reality. Time to turn our thoughts to Buffalo. The Bills might have the best defensive line in the league, a major test for the Dolphins’ new-look offensive line. But there will be tests everywhere, not just up front.

As impressive as it was beating the Patriots at home, trying to do the same to the Bills on the road is an entirely different manner. You know the history. You know what happened last season. But this is a different Dolphins team. We’ll continue to find out how different on Sunday in upstate New York.

(On Wednesday, AC in the AM answers fans questions)

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Click here for more A.C. In The A.M. Columns.


Please Note:
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.
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By on September 8, 2014 at 5:55 am

140908_AC_AMAndy Cohen In The Morning appears on dolphins.com every Monday through Friday, except for the bye week, until the end of the season. The column will be posted each day at 6 a.m. Be sure to follow Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins

Have a question for A.C.? Submit your questions to Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins

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Does it get much better than this? Hard to imagine. Not as far as season openers go. Not when you’re talking about beating the Patriots the way the Dolphins disposed of them on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon at Sun Life Stadium.

They passed over the Patriots. They ran through them. They put together as impressive a second half performance – 23 unanswered points – as I’ve seen here in a long, long time. Down by 10 at the half, it was the Dolphins who made the adjustments, the Dolphins who left Bill Belichick searching for answers, the Dolphins who clearly made the boldest, most powerful statement of the day.

This is no longer last year’s team. This is a new season with a new mindset and a 1-0 record that helps validate everything this team has done during the long offseason and the six weeks of training camp that brought us to Sunday.

“We’ve waited a long time for this,” said veteran defensive tackle Jared Odrick. “We’ve worked hard to get here.”

What impressed you more? That the Dolphins rushed for almost 200 yards? That an offensive line with five new starters could begin their season with a performance as dominating as this one? That a defense missing its starting three linebackers could shut down Tom Brady in the second half? That Knowshon Moreno would step up the way he did?

Indeed, it was all as impressive as it was convincing. And, as the final seconds evaporated, as the reality of a 33-20 victory hit home, as the handshakes and celebrations began, you could almost see an entire franchise breathe a collective sigh of relief. Make no mistake, these Dolphins needed this win. Boy, did they need it.

They needed it because they lost their final two games last season and they simply couldn’t pick up where they left off. They needed it because it was the Patriots and if the Dolphins are going to be a factor in the AFC East, what better measuring stick can there be? They needed it for themselves, and for their fans and for all those people who kept wondering: Will these be the same ‘ol Dolphins?

Not this day they weren’t. Nope, not this day. And certainly not in the second half when the Dolphins outgained the Patriots 222-67, held them to just five first downs and made Tom Brady look every bit of his 37 years.

Yes, this was a day filled with some delicious storylines, a day that saw so many players rise to the highest of levels. There was Moreno slashing his way for 134 yards and, along with Lamar Miller, giving this offense a real sense of balance. There was that offensive line opening holes for Moreno and Miller, giving up just one sack and generally showing a level of consistency that you wouldn’t expect from five guys who had never played together in a regular season game before Sunday.

There was the defense sacking Brady four times in the second half, two of them by Cameron Wake, who seems to never slow down. There was undrafted rookie linebacker Chris McCain who blocked a punt in the opening minutes and then got a sack at the end of the third quarter. Wonder what he’ll do for an encore? There were linebackers Jelani Jenkins and Jason Trusnik replacing injured starters Koa Misi and Dannell Ellerbe and playing as if they had been there all along.

Go down the list. Check out the stats. Joe Philbin was quick to call this a total team effort. Hard to dispute that. Look at Ryan Tannehill. Struggled some in the first half. Had an interception he’d love to have back. But Tannehill, like the rest of the team, took his game to another level in the second half. He was brilliant, exactly the player we had hoped he would be, making one big throw after another and leading this new-look offense with a calm and consistency.

“This was one step in a long journey,” said Philbin.

Yes, just one step. But an important step. A promising step.  Only in the weeks to come, beginning next Sunday in Buffalo, will we truly have a feel for the long-term impact of this victory. But at least for now, at least for one wonderful Sunday in early September, it can’t get much sweeter than this.

(On Tuesday, AC in the AM takes one look back at New England and a look ahead to Buffalo).

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Click here for more A.C. In The A.M. Columns.


Please Note:
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.
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