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Dolphins Watch


January 11, 2010 10:24 PM

Dolphins fire Pasqualoni

PASQUALONI.bmpAfter a season in which the Miami Dolphins fell to 22nd in total defense and were last in the league in yards per attempt, it was announced that defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni would not return in 2010.

Even in a year when the Dolphins suffered key injuries to nose tackle Jason Ferguson and starting cornerback Will Allen, someone had to take the fall for the defensive shortcomings that helped send the Dolphins to 7-9, and Pasqualoni turned out to be the man.

When the Dolphins won the AFC East in 2008, Miami struggled against the pass, ranking 25th in the league, and this season the unit fell two spots lower.

Too many big plays given up, as evidenced by the Dolphins tying Detroit for most pass plays (17) given up of 40 yards or more.

Miami will now have to replace their coordinator, as well as two other assistants who took other jobs, in the offseason.


Playoff observations
It was a pretty ho-hum NFL playoff weekend, until the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals staged the kind of game I used to see all the time from the Dolphins in the mid-1980s.

Arizona finally won behind an otherworldly display by quarterback Kurt Warner, who threw for 379 yards and five TDs, and was 29-of-33 passing. I don't care if his career ends next week, Warner is a sure-fire Hall-of-Famer in my book.

The Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets delivered the biggest surprises of the weekend, knocking off the favored Cincinnati Bengals and New England Patriots.

That sure looked like the end of the Patriots dynasty in Foxboro Sunday, didn't it? Never has Tom Brady played so badly, and never has Bill Belichick been so severely outcoached.

Something had to be wrong physically with Brady, because he did not look like a confident quarterback, and he passed up several easy opportunities to run with the ball. I wouldn't be surprised if those reports about his broken ribs turned out to be true.

But if it turns out he wasn't hurt, well then, it may turn out his career will never be the same after his knee injury last year.

As for the Jets, could they have had a luckier draw than they did the last three weeks: At the Colts when Indy wanted to rest their starters, then playing a Bengals team that also had nothing to play for, and then against the same Bengals team that looked like one of the weakest playoff contestants to begin with?

I think Rex Ryan's time will come this week in San Diego, though I feel the game will be closer than most people think, because the Jets run the ball well and San Diego gives up 4.5 yards per carry.

Not only that, but the Jets' defense is very sound, and Vincent Jackson will likely be swallowed whole by the man who's becoming the new Deion Sanders, Darelle Revis.

As for the Eagles and Cowboys, could Donovan McNabb have looked more inept than he did the last two weeks against Dallas?

I know there has been much hand-wringing in Philadelphia over the last two days about McNabb's status, and I know the Eagles have other things they need to fix: the defense, the running game and Andy Reid's overreliance on the pass are just a few.

But it's time for the McNabb Era to end.

I thought after watching Kevin Kolb play those two weeks McNabb was injured (4 TD passes, 3 INTs) that he looked like a quarterback of the future.

In those two starts, he had a third as many three-TD games as McNabb had, and he threw for 300 yards in both outings.

McNabb only had four 300-yard passing games in the 14 games he started. Kolb also acquitted himself well after an awful start against New Orleans.

McNabb has had over a decade to get Philly over the hump, and aside from the 2001 NFC Championship and last year's NFC title game, he has mostly come up short in huge playoff moments (and he lost both aforementioned games).

His gagging two-minute drill against the Patriots in the Super Bowl in 2005 should tell you all you need to know about his clutch skills. Also, can anyone remember a definitive McNabb moment, even in the regular season?

It doesn't seem like he has one, and now it would be best for the Eagles to cut the cord -- and also with Reid, who manages the clock like Saturday Night Live's MacGruber, and who never met a passing situation he didn't like.

He and McNabb came to Philly together; they should leave together.

Later this week, I'll put together my end-of-season grades for the Dolphins, and make some playoff selections for the divisional round. (My preseason Super Bowl pick, the Packers, let me down, but the Ravens are still alive).

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