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Miami Dolphins

With all the Belichick greatness talk, let’s not forget Don Shula

Florida Football Insiders



Photo by Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

The Patriots are about to play in their seventh Super Bowl since hiring Bill Belichick, which is a record for any NFL coach in the Super Bowl era. And while he is clearly the predominate name in the modern era of football, we should not over look another Pro coaching icon: former Dolphins boss, Don Shula.

The now 87 year old Shula is still synonymous with the city of Miami and Dolphin lore, as he should be.

He won an astounding 328 NFL games, which has stood as the record for more than 2o years and is still almost 100 in front of the closest active coach, Belichick.

Did you know/remember that Shula started his head coaching career in Baltimore and actually was the losing head coach in the famous “Joe Namath Guaranteed” Super III win by the Jets?

Obviously, you know that he led the Dolphins to the only “Perfect” season in Super Bowl history, as his 1972 Dolphins went 17-0 and defeated the Redskins in the Biggest game. (Sorry Pats fans, you lost to Giants, when it mattered the most).

But probably most impressive on Shula’s resume’ is his coaching diversity and willingness to adapt. You see, he won in the 60’s and 70’s in the “power run game, tough nosed defense era ” of the NFL. This is where most teams ran the ball 75% or more of the game and defensive low scoring slugfests were common.

Shula’s teams of the 70’s had the famous backfield of Czonka, Kiick and Mercury Morris and loved to grind opponents with them. But he also had Bob Griese throwing the ball downfield on occasion to Paul Warfield and that would be a prelude to his adjusted offensive philosophy of of the 1980’s.

That’s where he true coaching greatness would come through. While others would still mainly looking to line up in the eye formation with two blocking tight ends and run, run, run, Shula coached to his new QB. His gun-slinging QB out of Pitt in Dan Marino would change the NFL forever with, pass, pass, pass.

That 1984 season where Marino, Duper, Clayton, etc. seemingly smashed every single season NFL passing/receiving record, on their way to a 14-2 season and AFC Title, still stands out more than 30 years later. Even though they lost that Super Bowl to the Walsh/Montana led 49ers, it’s still amazing to watch those highlights and how far those Fins were ahead of their time in throwing the ball.

And it happened in no small part, because Don Shula embraced changing his coaching DNA and was willing to play to that team’s strength and ability. It should be pointed out that Shula also went to his six Super Bowls with four different QB’s (Earl Morrall, Griese, David Woodley and Marino). Belichick’s seven trips have obviously been with one phenomenal, (but only one) QB, Tom Brady.

So yes, you will hear about the greatness of Belichick over and over again leading up to Super Bowl LI, but we at F.F.I. want you to remember long before “The Hoodie,” there was a Shula.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Shecky

    January 25, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Yup, love me some WAAAY overpriced steaks from an angry and embittered host.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins grabbing RB Frank Gore looking smarter and smarter

Florida Football Insiders



Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins were right about Frank Gore.

And the risk they took in signing the 35 year-old as a free agent in March and making him a prominent part of their run game, paid off in their dramatic 31 – 28 win over the Chicago Bears in overtime Sunday.

Gore gouged the Bears for 101 yards on 15 carries and ran stronger and harder as the game wore into the extra session.

His 32 yard run help set up the potential winning touchdown, only to have fellow running back Kenyan Drake cough up the fumble at the goal line to keep the Bears alive.

Still, when Chicago missed their field goal and the Dolphins had new life, Gore was again out there pounding on the Bears defense, as Miami eventually lined up and kicked the game winning field goal with rookie Jason Sanders.

The Colts elected not to resign the the 14-year veteran this past March. And, Gore’s desire to come back home, where he grew up and starred for the Hurricanes made the marriage with the Fins a natural one.

Still, the Dolphins could have elected to go get another back in free agency, but did not. They did draft Arizona State Kalen Ballage in the fourth round and have hopes that he will mature into an every-down back.

For now, Gore is not only a mentor to Drake and sharing the load, but he actually delivered when the Dolphins were desperate and Drake’s confidence was shaken.

Gore was limping at the end of overtime after taking a shot on one of his runs late, and who knows how much more he can give Miami as this season wears on at 35 years of age?

However, you cannot disagree that the Dolphins took a calculated risk and it’s already paying off to have Frank Gore in their backfield.

As the saying goes, there’s no substitute for experience, and Miami’s backfield has it with #21.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins continue trend of winning wild home games

Florida Football Insiders



Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Say this for Dolphin fans buying tickets at Hard Rock Stadium: they have gotten their money’s worth and then some, on crazy plays and drama. Oh, and Sunday was no exception, as Miami needed every second of five periods to triumph 31-28.

By the time rookie kicker Jason Sanders (above) booted through his game winning field goal, as time expired in overtime, it had to feel more like Fins fans had been on a three hour roller coaster ride against the Bears Sunday.

After all, Miami controlled the first half and led Chicago 7-0 at the break. This after the Bears in their last game, two weeks ago against the Bucs, set a franchise reord with 38 first half points in a blowout win.

However, in the third quarter Chicago capitalized on backup QB Brock Osweiler’s interceptions and scored three touchdowns-all in less than two minutes off the clock each time.

You couldn’t blame fans for thinking “here we go again” as Miami was staring at a third straight bad loss.

Still, the Fins dealt with a circus 7 hour twice weather delayed game with the Titans that opened the season with a victory. Then two weeks later, beat the Raiders with plays that included a flipped “jet sweep” TD to speedy Jakeem Grant and eventually, a clinching score from Albert Wilson for a long catch and run TD.

Sunday was “Deja Vu” for Wilson and the big play: a replica catch and run by Wilson that tied the game late:

75 yards on the scamper by Wilson tied the game and set into motion a wild “bonus period” of football, too.

A period that had the dramatic low of Kenyan Drake fumbling on the one yard line going in for the game winning TD-only to have Chicago recover and move into winning field goal range.

Only, wouldn’t you know it, former Dolphins kicker Cody Parkey, who left for the Windy City and big bucks, misfired wide right for the win to give Miami life, again.

Drake redeemed himself, along with Osweiler, with a 15 yard catch and run of his own into Bears territory to set up Sanders winning boot. And once it went through, the third year back went to his knees and then face on the ground with tears in his eyes, relieved that Miami had won 31-28.


It hasn’t been pretty in all cases, but it also hasn’t been boring.

And Fins fans can’t complain about being 4-2 at this stage, when they won only six games all last year. Most of all, when Miami plays at home, big plays and wild endings have been the norm.

And if you stay until the end, you are rewarded.

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Miami Dolphins

Gameday- Suddenly struggling Dolphins host Bears

Florida Football Insiders



Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

What: Dolphins (3-2) vs. Bears (3-1)

When: Sunday 1 p.m.

Where: Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens

Spread: Bears by 4 points (Courtesy

Can the Dolphins, who were once 3-0, stop their sudden slide of two awful road losses? Will the Bears, off their bye week, be ready to deal them another defeat? Here’s what we are watching:

Is there a psychological crisis in Miami?

The Dolphins responded off of their blowout loss in New England playing good football for two and a half quarters in Cincinnati last week. However, leading 17 – 0, Miami proceeded to melt down, including giving up too easy defensive scores deep in their own territory as part of a Bengals 27-17 win.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who was under duress, had two of those giveaways get returned for the scores, and has to take better care of the ball in this match-up with the Bears.

Tannehill participated fully in practice on Wednesday and Thursday but was listed as limited/questionable for the game today.

And there is now doubt as to whether he can make the throws or complete the game:

ESPN’s Jeff Darlington, who is covering the game, reported later Sunday morning that Tannehill is “doubtful to start” as the shoulder worsened Friday and Saturday.

Osweiler has started 25  games previously in Houston and Denver (seven last year) over the last three seasons. It will also be interesting to see if David Fales or rookie Luke Falk will the be the active “third QB” today in this scenario.

Will Trubisky continue his roll?

When last we saw Chicago second-year quarterback, he was torching the Tampa Bay secondary for five first-half touchdown passes and six of them overall in a 45 – 10 victory

The Bears, have had the week off, have good weapons in the backfield in running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen, but it’s trubisky play that will help them sustain some drives.

Trubisky has to stay away from turnovers, as well. The Dolphins secondary has more interceptions than any other unit in the NFL.

Get Khalil Mack blocked

It seems simple enough, yet through the first four games of the Season, no one has been able to get in front of the All-Pro pass-rusher acquired from the Raiders on the eve of the season.

Mack has five sacks, four forced fumbles and an interception return for a touchdown in his first four games for Chicago. There was good news late in the week for the Dolphins when left tackle Laremy Tunsil cleared concussion protocol and will be able to block Mac some one-on-one when he lines up on right defensive end.

That will be a match-up to zero in on as the game unfolds.

The rest of the time? You might have to have two or three people try to engage Mack, but you’ve got to contain him or it will be a tough day for the offense.


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