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Dolphins' Notes, Christmas With Cranehead

Another year is about to go into the history books, so it's time to reflect a bit on where the Miami Dolphins are and where they're headed for 2018. In typical Dolphin fashion, the team waited until they were almost completely out of postseason contention before getting it together, but I'll take a win over New England anytime I can get it, regardless of the circumstances.

If you're a proponent of an offensive lineman in the first round next spring, you're a little closer to realizing your goal, what with Miami's draft status taking a hit after two consecutive victories. If, like me, you'd rather see a stud defender selected in round one, since players like that are in short supply, while guards and offensive skill positions can be found up and down the board deep into the draft most years, your wish has become less likely to be fulfilled after back to back wins the past two weeks. Going into next season, I have the team's three biggest needs as linebacker, interior offensive linemen, and free safety. While it's true that at linebacker Miami has a couple of guys at the position who haven't been fully integrated into the unit, the Dolphins have a logjam in the middle and not much on the strong side or weak side. If I were a member of Miami's front office, my number one concern would be going all out to stop the huge gains opposing teams are able to amass almost every week, by throwing to their tight ends and running backs. linebacker, interior offensive linemen, and free safety. While it's true that at linebacker Miami has a couple of guys at the position who haven't been fully integrated into the unit, the Dolphins have a logjam in the middle and not much on the strong side or weak side. If I were a member of Miami's front office, my number one concern would be going all out to stop the huge gains opposing teams are able to amass almost every week, by throwing to their tight ends and running backs.

Second-year corner Xavien Howard has bailed me out the past two weeks; I've been saying all offseason that he's going to be a big-time player, but for much of this season he didn't look like he had progressed much from his rookie year. On Monday night, in particular, he was downright defiant; "Go ahead -- try throwing it over here again." Good cornerback play might be even more important than good quarterback play, to make it to a Super Bowl. After all, since 1990, of the 56 starting corners in the big game, only one of them hasn't been selected to the Pro Bowl at some point in his career. Even last year, though, you could see why Miami traded up in the second round two years ago to ensure getting him. If they hadn't, Howard would probably be a Chicago Bear today.

Alright, we've got a special Christmas column for you today, but before we get to the festivities further down the page, I've got a couple of things I want to go over first. One thing I've worked hard to address since I arrived here a few years ago is to push back against what I call 'exceptionist' thinking. What is exceptionist thinking? It's giving unwarranted weight and credence to something that very seldom happens. An example of the exceptionist philosophy is someone buying a lottery ticket. Did you know that if you played the lottery every single day, from zero b.c. to today -- 365 days a year for two thousand eighteen years, the odds that you wouldn't win would still be greater than the odds that you would win. I'm referring to the big game, the one that pays out millions of dollars. The reason states came up with the lottery is because it's a huge moneymaker; the idea of plunking down a dollar or two and getting back a cool ten or twenty million is just too seductive for many people to pass up, and so those couple of bucks that could have been used for something else now go into the states' coffers to pave roads and build schools. This is why they call the lottery the tax of the ignorant, because no truly smart person would ever buy a ticket.

We often apply the principles of exceptionist thinking as a psychological defense mechanism against a concept or point of view that we don't like or don't want to accept. To wit, the Dolphins had an extraordinary run of good fortune in 2016, which helped them make the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. Was their success solely and exclusively due to 'blind luck', as one of our readers put it? Of course not, but then again, I never said that. A textbook example of exceptionist thinking was the fellow who, last week, claimed that, when the Browns missed not one, not two but three field goals against the Dolphins a season ago, we shouldn't assume that Cleveland would have won the game, because the Dolphins might have the returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. You're kidding, right? So, something that is successful, a field goal, about 70-75% of the time, that was missed three times, could very easily be superseded by something else, a kickoff return for a touchdown, which only occurs one or two percent of the time? As Troy Aikman once said in that commercial, get real. But this is the danger of exceptionist thinking; it causes us to embrace things that aren't real, to avoid having to face reality. The man who's living in poverty that can't afford the two dollars for those lottery tickets goes ahead and buys them anyway, because he doesn't want to face the reality that he's poor, and will probably always be poor, unless he gets a really good job. We, as fans, get angry when someone dares to suggest that the Dolphins were fortunate to win ten games in 2016, and try to come up reasons why that person is wrong. I guarantee you that if Adam Gase were here on this page right now, chatting with us, and we asked him if Miami deserved to win the game against Cleveland last season, he said, 'Hell no', they didn't deserve to win that game. But when someone says the Dolphins were lucky, we take it personally and go after that individual with everything we've got, simply because we don't want to admit that person is right. That's what exceptionist thinking does for us, it helps us believe that the exception is every bit as likely to occur as the rule. The Dolphins weren't good enough to win in 2016 without some fortuitous breaks, and they weren't good enough to win without those same breaks in 2017. Hopefully, next year they will be good enough to win with or without the breaks.

Alright, comments, we've got comments! We have another new guy who's been making some very good observations, in my opinion. His name is Francesco Pergolini. A couple of weeks ago, he said, "We have already spent second and fifth round picks on linebackers, and we don't know whether they can play or not. Guard is a need, but not a draft need." You can tell that Francesco is new around here; he apparently doesn't know that Dolphins spend high picks on offensive players, in general, and offensive linemen, in particular, more than just about any NFL team. (My Guy) Fly said, "I don't get why some think tight end is a need. We've got a slot WR who gets a million targets at two yards a catch, so a TE wouldn't get much done, anyway." Fly, you're starting to be right too many times; I predict that you're going to become the third member of the 'Eggs and Tomatoes' club, after CT and myself. When you're right too many times, the eggs and tomatoes come out. You better learn how to make omelets and spaghetti sauce, because it's coming. Later, in the same comment, Fly had this gem: "We need an NT that can put the D deep into both A-holes." That reminds me of a conversation I had with a customer who was calling every day when I worked in the telemarketing boiler room. I had already used three different names and accents to try and keep them at bay, but still, they kept calling. I asked them if they wanted to speak to a supervisor, and they said, "I don't want to talk to that redneck guy, and I don't want to speak to that Middle Eastern fellow, either. I want to speak to someone in the executive office." I told them that there was one more person I could have them speak to if they wanted. But I warned them that he usually wasn't in a very good mood when he had to speak to a customer. I said to them, "Hang on for a moment, and I'll go get him. His names Rod, Rod Everhard."

I'm going to cut the comments short this week because we've got a lot more to go. With that, I present to you, a Dolphin fan's 'Twelve Days Of Christmas'

On the first day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, a center not Named Mike Pouncey.

On the second day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, two first down runs and a center not Named Mike Pouncey.

On the third day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, three new linebackers, two first down runs and a center not named Mike Pouncey.

On the fourth day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, four practice squadders, three new linebackers, two first down runs and a center not named Mike Pouncey.

On the fifth day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, five prime time wins . . . four practice squadders, three 'backers, two first down runs and a center not named Mike Pouncey.

On the sixth day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, six bombs for touchdowns, five prime time wins . . . four practice squadders, three 'backers, two first down runs and a center not named Mike Pouncey.

On the seventh day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, seven coaches coaching, six bombs for touchdowns, five prime time wins . . . four practice squadders, three 'backers, two first down runs and a center not named Mike Pouncey.

On the eighth day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, eight kickers kicking, seven coaches coaching, six bombs for touchdowns, five prime time wins . . . four practice squadders, three 'backers, two first down runs and a center not named Mike Pouncey.

On the ninth day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, nine straight home sellouts, eight kickers kicking, seven coaches coaching, six bombs for touchdowns, five prime time wins . . . four practice squadders, three 'backers, two first down runs and a center not named Mike Pouncey.

On the tenth day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, ten thick cheerleaders, nine straight home sellouts, eight kickers kicking, seven coaches coaching, six bombs for touchdowns, five prime time wins . . . four practice squadders, three 'backers, two first down runs and a center not named Mike Pouncey.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, eleven sideline catches, ten thick cheerleaders, nine straight home sellouts, eight kickers kicking, seven coaches coaching, six bombs for touchdowns, five prime time wins . . . four practice squadders, three 'backers, two first down runs and a center not named Mike Pouncey.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, the Dolphins gave to me, twelve Sutton columns, eleven sideline catches, ten thick cheerleaders, nine straight home sellouts, eight kickers kicking, seven coaches coaching, six bombs for touchdowns, five prime time wins . . . four practice squadders, three 'backers, two first down runs and a center not named Mike Pouncey.

Ah, but we're not done yet; when you come to this column, you expect more, and you're going to get it. I'm here for everybody, but I want to give a shout out to the bachelors here. Bachelors and the guys who like to drink. At the Phinsider, it seems like just about everyone is married. When you're a bachelor, it always seems that way, doesn't it? But, married, single or widowed, this next one is for everybody. Are you fed up with the Christmas season yet? Tired of "Honey, we're out of _____ _, can you go to the store and get some more ?" Tired of screaming kids running from room to room, and the dog going berserk every time the doorbell rings? Do you want to get away? Well, you've come to the right place. You see, in the 1970's and 80's, there was a group from England called 'Hawkwind' and they recorded a double live album in December 1972 called 'Space Ritual'.

CLICK HERE

The album is nearly two hours in length, but fortunately for you, I know exactly where the best six minutes of the entire two-disc set can be found. Does the La-Z-Boy in the living room come equipped with a seat belt? Because Cranehead is about to send you into space. I'm not kidding; we're gonna go, guys. Cue up the album to exactly 52:00, and strap yourself in. If you hear the words 'Ten Seconds Of Forever', you'll know it's time to fasten your seatbelt and prepare for liftoff. From the fifty two minute mark to about fifty-eight minutes is the sweet spot. That's where you want to be listening.

Ah, but there's still one more thing . . . who wants a stock tip? We're not going to talk about it on here. Message me at [email protected] and I'll tell you what it is. Alright, guys, have a great weekend, everyone.



This post first appeared on The Phinsider, A Miami Dolphins Community, please read the originial post: here

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Dolphins' Notes, Christmas With Cranehead

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