What if Jeffrey Loria owned the Miami Dolphins?

You know what would happen if Jeffrey Loria owned the Miami Dolphins, right?

Joe Philbin would have been toast a long time ago, probably after losing back-to-back games to the Bills and Jets to miss the playoffs in 2013.

092811 (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post) MIAMI GARDENS, FL Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria listens to New Florida Marlins manger Ozzie Guillen.
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria listens to Ozzie Guillen at the Sept. 28, 2011 introduction of the former Miami manager. (Allen Eyestone/the Palm Beach Post)

That would have started a wild hunt for an emotional leader with long, long experience turning teams around. Think Jack McKeon with the Marlins. And for the Dolphins, hey, why not Dick Vermeil? Yeah, that’s it. He’s only 78.

Of course, if the results didn’t satisfy Loria, and nothing ever does for long, it would be time to find a brash and quotable celebrity who runs the team his way and doesn’t care what anybody else thinks and gets fans excited about all the crazy things that might happen.

Ozzie Guillen filled that role for the Marlins. As for the Dolphins, are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Sure, Loria would have to go with Mike Leach, the 23rd-century playcaller with the 17th-century pirate obsession. He’s the fourth-highest paid coach in the Pac-12 and has a 7-20 conference record at Washington State so it’s likely that he’s gettable.

After that blows up, Loria would tear down the whole thing. Start over with a discount roster. Hire a Mike Redmond type to work with the young kids and establish some stability.

I’m thinking Chad Pennington here. A real pro, one who loves the game and would be willing to patiently work with anyone who feels the same way. Heck, Chad has only been out of the game since 2012, and it took four shoulder surgeries to make him retire.

[Great stinkbombs in the history of home openers by Miami’s pro franchises]

[Hey, somebody’s got to be No. 25, so Gators will take it, gladly]

[The comeback of Chris Bosh is as much mental as physical]

Problem is, none of these approaches comes with much of a guarantee. If there is success, it will take a while to build it. That’s a problem for Loria, who fired Redmond without a solid backup plan in place and quickly turned to general manager Dan Jennings to run the Marlins.

The results have been fairly predictable. Jennings is scraping to the end of the season with hopes of keeping his winning percentage above .400. Even if he does, he’ll have a lower success rate than Redmond did overall. Lower, in fact, than any Marlins manager ever has.

All the same, you see where this is going.

If Loria were the owner of the Dolphins, he would fire Philbin right now, three games in, and turn to his front office for a new leader already on the payroll.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet your new head coach of the Miami Dolphins, general manager Dennis Hickey.

Played safety at Tulsa so he knows the game. Scouted for years and ran the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ personnel department so he knows the players. Moved aside when Stephen Ross brought Mike Tannenbaum aboard in January as the Dolphins’ Executive Vice President of Football Operations, so he knows how to keep his head down and take orders.

Of course, there’s a chance that might not work out, either, which means that the Dolphins would be diving right back into the pool of coaching candidates.

While you’re screaming for Stephen Ross to make a change right this second, from Philbin to anybody with a whistle and a pulse, consider this.

Isn’t one pro franchise in constant chaos enough for this market?

Great stinkbombs in the home-opener history of Miami sports

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) makes a reception on a long pass play defended by Miami Dolphins cornerback Brice McCain (24) at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on September 27, 2015.  (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins (14) makes a reception on a long pass play defended by Miami Dolphins cornerback Brice McCain (24) at Sun Life Stadium on September 27, 2015. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Everyone was calling that lifeless 41-14 loss to Buffalo the worst home opener in Miami Dolphins history and it was easy enough to play along, since at the moment it felt like just about the worst anything anywhere.

Took a later look, though, to confirm. Not only is it true, but there’s nothing even close to this 27-point deficit.

Second on the lopsided list comes a 37-20 loss to Dallas in 2007, Cam Cameron’s one and only season as Miami coach. A big difference is that the Cowboys didn’t put that game away until the fourth quarter. Sunday’s slide, of course, was immediate, with the Bills up 27-0 at halftime.

Hey, wait a minute, tied for third-lousiest home opener is a 14-point loss to New England in 2011, Tony Sparano’s last season running the Dolphins. Just coincidence, right, when it comes to Joe Philbin?

There’s nothing more damaging than treating hopeful fans this way. It’s like inviting everybody over for a housewarming party and sending them all home with food poisoning. Makes you never want to come back again. Makes you feel like a boob for buying a season ticket for a season that’s already shot in September.

[Hey, somebody’s got to be No. 25 so the Gators will take it]

[The comeback of Chris Bosh is as much mental as physical]

[Home-run balls aren’t exactly landing in Mike Wallace’s mitts with Vikings either]

One game doesn’t have to mean everything, of course. In 1995 the Dolphins mauled the Jets 52-14 in the home opener, giving birth to Super Bowl dreams, but by year’s end Don Shula was out. Can’t get any more drastic than that when it comes to turnarounds.

Just saying.

Here are a few more stinkers in South Florida pro sports history. Sorry that so many of you were there to experience them in person.

The Miami Heat won their first NBA title in 2006 and planned a spectacular ring-presentation ceremony to open the following season. Trouble is, the Chicago Bulls were not in the mood to participate in the fun. Miami lost 108-66, got outrebounded by 20 and had just one player, Dwyane Wade, who scored in double figures.

If it had been an exhibition, both teams would have agreed to stop after three quarters, to avoid both injuries and further humiliation.

Naturally, a fan can shake something like that off in the wake of a championship run. What happened at the inaugural opening night at Marlins Park, on the other hand, was merely the first unforgivable sin in a 2012 season that featured manager Ozzie Guillen getting in trouble for saying he admired Fidel Castro and ended with 93 losses.

Here are the lowlights of the first regular-season game at Marlins Park, attended by a sellout crowd of 36,601. St. Louis went up 3-0 in a heartbeat. The Marlins didn’t have a baserunner until the fourth inning, when a hit batsman got erased in a double play. They didn’t have a hit until the seventh and they didn’t have a run until the eighth. Final, St. Louis 4-1, but it felt like 400-1.

Maybe the worst is over for the Dolphins, at least in terms of blowouts. To be fair, the Bills would only have won this game by 26 points if only Andrew Franks hadn’t missed an extra point.

Because of the quirk of the London trip, however, it’s going to be a while before Miami gets another chance to make it up to the home crowd directly. The next game at Sun Life Stadium is a month away, Oct. 25, against the Houston Texans.

Strange to think that this stuff used to be so automatic. The Dolphins won 13 home openers in a row between 1976 and 1988.

Back then the team was pretty shiny and the stadium drab, not the other way around.

 

 

Hey, somebody’s got to be No. 25 so Gators will take it

Beginning Nov. 3 the College Football Playoff committee will begin to sort all of this out, but for now the Florida Gators are back with the big boys of the AP poll. Barely.

Ranked 25th after Saturday’s wild 28-27 comeback win over Tennessee, the 4-0 Gators still don’t look like a team that ought to scare anybody. It’s more a matter of, hey, somebody’s got to be No. 25. This week it’s Florida.

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 26: Antonio Callaway #81 of the Florida Gators scores the winning touchdown during a game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 26, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE – Antonio Callaway of the Florida Gators scores the winning touchdown against the Tennessee Volunteers at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 26. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Consider that Tennessee was No. 25 in the AP preseason poll. The Vols, who couldn’t keep a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter at the Swamp, are now out and leaking oil at 2-2.

Last week the Missouri Tigers were No. 25 and now they’re out, too. The difference between them and Florida in the eyes of voters is that the Gators were able to beat Kentucky and the Tigers weren’t. Not the strongest of recommendations but, again, somebody’s got to be No. 25.

Not that the Gators don’t prize the spot, or that Miami wouldn’t. It’s an important step on the way back to national prominence. Next Saturday night’s game with Ole Miss sure makes it a slippery step, though, followed by No. 9 LSU and No. 8 Georgia down theline.

That’s the challenge of making these poll numbers stick, and why FSU’s streak of 58 consecutive appearances in the AP Top 25, second only to Alabama, is a vital part of Jimbo Fisher’s continuity in landing great recruiting classes.

Harris suspension leaves Gators scary thin at QB, but that’s the price of getting this right

You can’t count on Treon Harris, and at this point I don’t even care to know the reason behind his suspension for the Tennessee game.

That leaves the start of Florida’s SEC season in the hands of Will Grier. New coach Jim McElwain will need to have him ready for a better effort than the Gators showed in last week’s 14-9 win at Kentucky. Already what we’re seeing is too reminiscent of the Will Muschamp days, with the defense always on the hook to save the day.

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Treon Harris #3 of the Florida Gators scrambles for yardage during the game against the East Carolina Pirates at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE, FL – SEPTEMBER 12: Treon Harris of the Florida Gators scrambles for yardage during the game against the East Carolina Pirates at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Either way, McElwain has to keep grinding away at the rough edges of his team. When player discipline is needed, nothing else will do. Even if it means a few losses, even if some of Florida’s best players have to sit out, to compromise on that would be to undermine what McElwain is building for the long run.

Don’t want to hear that? Let’s dig in a little deeper, then. I don’t think Kelvin Taylor should have been carrying the ball late in the 31-24 win over East Carolina if McElwain was angry enough to scream and spew at the running back for drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty a few minutes earlier.

Taylor was flagged for doing a throat-slashing gesture in the end zone following the fourth-quarter touchdown run that put Florida up 31-17.

McElwain went ballistic on the sidelines while confronting Taylor. Later, before the media, the coach said, “Our lack of discipline and understanding of how you play the game crept up, and it was embarrassing. We’ve got a long ways to go. It starts with understanding selfish acts hurt the team and will be dealt with. And it’s not how it’s going to be around here anymore.”

Those words didn’t match the coach’s actions. After East Carolina scored to pull within a touchdown, Taylor was right back on the field as Florida attempted to run out the clock. Three times he took handoffs, gaining a net of 5 yards. It wasn’t enough to avoid a punt, or to avoid giving the ball right back to the Pirates, but in that situation, with a potentially disastrous home loss to an unranked opponent on the line, McElwain clearly trusted Taylor to handle the ball more than he did any other Gator running back.

Taylor didn’t miss any playing time the following week against Kentucky, either. Other than six carries by freshman Jordan Cronkrite, Taylor got every handoff in a game that was tense from start to finish.

Not saying that Kelvin, a former Glades Day star and son of Gator great Fred Taylor, should be drummed out of the corps for one stupid mistake. McElwain’s sideline show of disgust didn’t translate, however, into a clear demonstration of accountability.

Every coach struggles with weighing the importance of teaching against the fear of losing. McElwain, a head coach for all of 41 games between Colorado State and Florida, will get better at this, and at everything else.

For now it’s a matter of proving he’s serious. The suspensions of Harris and starting cornerback Jalen Tabor for the Tennessee game is a major part of that. The Gators wouldn’t have beaten the Vols last year in Knoxville without them.

[Chris Bosh’s comeback is as much mental as physical]

[Matt Moore gives Dolphins the kind of insurance other teams crave]

[Deep throws aren’t landing in Mike Wallace’s mitts in Minnesota, either]

For me, Tennessee hasn’t looked as good as everybody seemed to expect. Sure, the Vols played No. 15 Oklahoma tough in a double-overtime loss. The Sooners didn’t look like anything special last week, however, in a 52-38 win over Tulsa.

Tulsa ran up 618 total yards in a season-opening win over Florida Atlantic. Well, against Oklahoma the Golden Hurricane didn’t slow down much, totaling 603 yards and getting 427 of those on the passing of Dane Evans, who threw for four touchdowns against Oklahoma and had Tulsa within 38-31 last in the third quarter.

Put it all together and 2-1 Tennessee hasn’t done anything more amazing than Florida has to this point. It’s an even match, and one that the Gator defense could certainly wind up winning.

Harris and Tabor won’t like missing it, and McElwain won’t like missing them. There are bigger problems coming down the road, though, with Ole Miss, Missouri, LSU and Georgia all in a row.

It’s time to get this right, from the playbook to player attitudes. Matter of fact, the second might be more important right now.

The comeback of Chris Bosh is as much mental as physical

Chris Bosh doesn’t have to play basketball anymore.

The man’s got money. They don’t call those deals “max contracts” for nothing.

Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) poses for a photo on media day at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida on September 26, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Miami Heat center Chris Bosh (1) poses for a photo on media day at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida on September 26, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Bosh has got a beautiful family, too, and intelligence and creativity to spare. This is a guy you could see charming a television audience as an analyst, or a halftime studio panelist, or a talk-show host, and never even breaking a sweat in the process.

Still, he’s getting ready to return to training camp this weekend with the Miami Heat, more excited than ever about what the game means to him and what he means to his team. If the pulmonary embolism that could have killed him last year ever comes up in conversation, it’s because some interviewer asks a question about it.

How do you forget severe pain coursing throughout the left side of your body, prompting an extended stay in the hospital and the scare of a lifetime for everyone close to you? You don’t, and Bosh won’t, but he isn’t thinking about a chance of careers at 31, either.

“It’s given me a different attitude about life and about basketball,” Bosh said in a recent ESPN radio interview.

Is it possible to separate one without the other? There is no certain answer to that one, at least not for those of us who can change the channel on games that aren’t working out, those of us who never have and never will push ourselves as far as these guys do physically and mentally and voluntarily.

[Heightened anxiety just part of the package with Ndamukong Suh]

[I’ll say the Hurricanes finally win the ACC Coastal, but then I’m an idiot]

[Jack’s majors record may not be the only one that Tiger can’t quite reach]

Elite athletes in any sport are born to compete. The worst thing they can imagine is being denied that. Without that drive, they wouldn’t be who they are, climbing higher than all the rest. Without it, they wouldn’t be willing to accept a list of occupational risks that the average person doesn’t find reasonable, from football concussions to NASCAR crashes.

Think of Heat legend Alonzo Mourning returning to play in the NBA after a kidney transplant. That’s incredible, but it’s rarely the first thing that comes up when discussing his Hall of Fame career.

One day Bosh will reach the end of his career, too, about a million sprints up and down the court from now, and we will count his championships rings and add up his statistics and thank him for playing.

This comeback from blood clots in his left lung in 2014? It will be forgotten by most fans just as soon as Bosh gets back to averaging 21 points and seven rebounds, which he where he was last year when a medical emergency interrupted.

These guys never cease to amaze me, not only for the way they play, but for the way they play on, as if there really isn’t a choice.

Matt Moore gives Dolphins the kind of QB insurance other teams crave

 

It’s times like these when you remember that Matt Moore is on the Miami Dolphins’ roster, and then you remember to appreciate him, and then you remember to forget his lackluster preseason performance because, really, who cares?

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) and Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) walk to the field prior to preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on August 29, 2015. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) and Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) walk to the field prior to preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at Sun Life Stadium on August 29, 2015. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

In March, the Dolphins worked a one-year deal for $2.6 million to keep Moore around. They did it to avoid falling into the trap door that has swallowed other NFL teams just two games into the regular season. Smart move, and it’s looking smarter every day.

Look to Dallas, where Tony Romo is out with a broken clavicle and Brandon Weeden, 5-16 as an NFL starter, is the new quarterback.

Or Chicago, where it is hoped for a couple of reasons that Jay Cutler will be able to play with a hamstring injury. First, Cutler is a pretty good quarterback. Second, starting Jimmy Clausen at Seattle on Sunday would put the Bears in a serious pickle.

Then there’s New Orleans, where Drew Brees is dealing with a bruised rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. His backup is Luke McCown, who has started just nine games since joining the league in 2004 and still, frankly, feels a little overused.

Moore is better than any of those emergency options. Matter of fact, if Ryan Tannehill ever were to leave the lineup due to injury, and he’s bothered by a bad ankle right now, it would feel like maybe half of an emergency in Miami and not the full-blown disaster of a team that’s bubbling up possibilities from the waiver wire and the practice squad.

[Deep balls aren’t exactly falling from the sky for Mike Wallace with Vikings, either]

[Heightened anxiety just part of the package with Ndamukong Suh]

[Like other coaches, Chip Kelly must figure Tim Tebow scores all his TDs by accident]

Back in 2011 Moore was voted the Dolphins’ MVP after starting 12 games in relief of Chad Henne. It wasn’t much of a season, with Miami coming in at 6-10 and Tony Sparano getting fired as coach, but Moore had a couple of three-touchdown games and was the AFC Offensive Player of the Week in one of those.

Tannehill’s had all the playing time the last three-plus seasons, but nobody ever painted Moore as some kind of franchise quarterback. He’s a reliable backup, thoroughly immersed in the Dolphins system and ready to provide competent leadership for as long as needed.

Jerry Jones is just one NFL owner who would pay a lot more than $2.6 million to have that assurance right now.

Here are some career stats to prove Moore’s value to Miami. Doesn’t matter that he’s thrown only 10 passes since 2012 and never wears his helmet past pregame warmups. What matters is that the Dolphins have a Plan B that doesn’t digging through the scrap heap.

Player                             Record as Starter                 Comp. Pct.         TDs     Ints   Rating     Age

Matt Moore                         11-12                                      58.9                 33           28       79.2         31

Brandon Weeden                 5-16                                     56.4                  27           28       73.4         31

Luke McCown                       2-7                                       58.0                   9            14       68.3        34

Jimmy Clausen                     1-10                                      53.2                   5            11       60.0        28

 

 

Deep balls aren’t landing in Mike Wallace’s mitts in Minnesota, either

 

Back in July we posted a blog suggesting that Mike Wallace’s numbers should soar this season if Ryan Tannehill was the sole reason he didn’t get many deep balls in Miami.

So far it hasn’t turned out that way.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace (11) waits to enter the field during introductions in the season finale against the Jets at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on December 28, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace (11) and Ryan Tannehill wait to enter the field during introductions in the 2014 season finale against the Jets at Sun Life Stadium. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Working in Minnesota these days with Teddy Bridgewater, Wallace has no catch longer than 22 yards in the season’s first two games. He doesn’t have any touchdowns, either, in combination with his new quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater.

Last year with the Dolphins Wallace had 10 touchdowns overall and two in the first two games.

Hey, it’s too early to draw any conclusions on anything in the NFL, and Miami’s not exactly tearing it up either.

Every now and again, though, we’ll come back to this topic with fresh stats. If my original offseason premise is correct, the numbers will show that Tannehill is progressing at a fairly impressive rate, and that there are worse things than being one of his receivers, even if the home-run ball is your signature skill.

 

Comparing Mike Wallace’s QBs

                                                     TD passes           LG       Rating

Ryan Tannehill                                 3                   48          101.7

Teddy Bridgewater                         1                   49*         94.1

 

*- Underhand toss under heavy rush to Adrian Peterson, who got loose for a big gain

 

 

UM and Nebraska have whiffed a lot lately but now they get a healthy swipe at each other

 

It’s been too long since Miami and Nebraska have taken a big swing at anything epic. Digging through the numbers I came up with these comparisons.

SEPTEMPER 20: Quarterback Brad Kaaya #15 of the Miami Hurricanes looks over the Nebraska Cornhuskers defense during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 20, 2014 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Miami 41-31. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)
Quarterback Brad Kaaya of Miami looks over the Nebraska Cornhuskers defense during their game at Memorial Stadium on September 20, 2014. (Photo by Eric Francis/Getty Images)

Don’t really mean much for Saturday’s matchup, but maybe we can use them to give one program the edge over the other in my very unscientific points system.

 

Last bowl appearance for Miami: 2014 Independence Bowl

Last bowl appearance for Nebraska: 2014 Holiday Bowl

Edge: Even

 

 

Last bowl win for Miami: 2006 MPC Computers Bowl, 21-20 over Nevada

Last bowl win for Nebraska: 2013 Gator Bowl, 24-19 over Georgia

Edge: Nebraska

 

Last major bowl appearance for Miami: 2003 Orange Bowl, Hurricanes won 16-14 over FSU

Last major bowl appearance for Nebraska: 2001 Rose Bowl, lost 37-14 to Miami

Edge: Miami

 

Last 10-win season for Miami: 2003 (11-2 under Larry Coker)

Last 10-win season for Nebraska: 2012 (10-4 under Bo Pelini)

Edge: Nebraska

 

Last conference championship for Miami: 2003, shared Big East title with West Virginia

Last conference championship for Nebraska: 1999, beat Texas in Big 12 title game

Edge: Miami

 

Last national championship for Miami: 2001, 12-0 and beat Nebraska in Rose Bowl

Last national championship for Nebraska: 1997, 13-0 and split title with Michigan

Edge: Miami

 

Last meeting: 2014, Nebraska beat Miami 41-31

Edge: Nebraska

 

Ok, let’s see, that makes the score 3-3 with one category even.

Sure wish there was a tiebreaker to determine which historically-great program has accomplished the most lately.

Oh, yeah, see you on Saturday at Sun Life Stadium.

 

 

Extra scrutiny and heightened anxiety just part of the package with Ndamukong Suh

Did Ndamukong Suh deliberately knock the helmet off Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris with a post-whistle swipe of his leg on Sunday? The NFL isn’t convinced, having reviewed the video, and neither am I convinced that anything all that unusual happened.

Makes sense that he might have been tempted to act out in frustration, however, based on previous actions that required the NFL’s attention during Suh’s days with Detroit.

Add to that Miami’s inability to stop the run in the opening game. Signing Suh to the richest contract ever paid an NFL defensive player was supposed to stop that slop, or at least begin to clean it up.

The Redskins, who ranked 19th in rushing last year, rolled up 161 yards in a 17-10 loss to the Dolphins. That helped to keep the outcome in doubt until the closing minutes, and it represented no improvement over Miami’s average of 121 rushing yards allowed per game last season, before Suh arrived.

Why, I’m betting that you were pretty frustrated, too, watching Morris, the fantastic Florida Atlantic product, burst through gaping holes in the Miami defensive line. He had 82 yards by halftime, more than the Dolphins rushed for in the entire game.

Whatever bowl of chips or TV remote a Dolphins fan might throw across the room in the privacy of his own home, however, is of no particular consequence.

What Suh does every Sunday afternoon is the focus of a dozen network camera angles, including some isolated directly on him. It’s a tough spot to be in, sometimes the hero, sometimes the villain, but never just an extra in the cast.

Hockey has guys like this, enforcers, and they spend a fair amount of time in the penalty box. It’s part of the game.

With the NFL, fines are the consequence for most dirty deeds — and suspensions for the worst of them. Deliberate attempts to injure an opponent outside the violent and entirely legal norms are not supposed to be part of the game, and it’s particularly troublesome when one of a team’s best players is involved.

That is the reputation Suh has earned and it’s not going to change, even if he begins to change himself.

So we’ll probably do this dance at various points all season, trying to read the big man’s mind and trying to match those guesses with his actions. That’s what you get with Suh.

That’s why fans of the team for which he plays defend him and everyone else calls him a bum. Miami is Suh’s team now, which makes him Miami’s man.

When he stumbles into or onto a fallen opponent at the end of a play, fans in South Florida will be prone to dismiss it as a clumsy accident by a large human being. On the other hand, when he drives through blockers to drop a ballcarrier for a loss, fans in South Florida will just as quickly conclude that Suh is utilizing the balance and world-class athleticism of a man half his size.

Can’t really have it both ways, and that’s the challenge.

This time the league concluded rather swiftly, and correctly, that no action should be taken against Suh for the events, real or imagined, in Sunday’s game. There just wasn’t enough to see that can’t be seen on dozens of other plays involving hundreds of other players.

It’s an uneasy feeling, though, and one that never really passes. Suh is a sensational talent and a thoughtful interview. On the field is where he sometimes slips into a different kind of character, and a dozen camera angles will always look to find that character’s flaws.

Good, very good, that he’s on the team. Bad that he’s on the NFL’s list.

Here’s how that 69-yard punt return played out in Jarvis Landry’s mind

LANDOVER, Md. – Jarvis Landry’s first career punt return for a touchdown was a beauty Sunday, and the eventual game-winner in Miami’s 17-10 escape from Washington.

Watching it is one thing, however. Take a listen to what actually was going through Landry’s mind, step by step, as he cruised through, around and eventually past all those Redskins.

Miami Dolphins Jarvis Landry (14) returns a kick for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at FedExField in Landover, Maryland on September 13, 2015. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)
Miami Dolphins Jarvis Landry (14) returns a kick for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at FedExField in Landover, Maryland on September 13, 2015. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

“Get vertical, right now,” Landry said when asked what his original thought was when receiving the ball. “It’s just one of the things that we’re taught, just get vertical, find a seam, stretch the coverage.

“Initially we study the punter and know that he’s always kicking to our left, his right. He’s left-footed, you know, and their best gunner was No. 34 (Trenton Robinson) and Zach Bowman and Walt Aikens did a great job on him all day. That allowed me to get, like, 15-20 yards of space when I caught the ball. As a punt returner, that’s what you love.

“That’s just kind of how it happened.”

Sounds easy, but even on a motor scooter most of us couldn’t do what Landry did. His longest punt return as a rookie, by the way, was 32 yards.

Landry’s pass-catching is far better than a second-year player should be, too. The former second-round draft pick from LSU has a string of 10 straight games with at least five receptions.

That’s only a Miami franchise record.

The only player to come close is O.J. McDuffie, who caught at least five passes in eight straight games in 1998.

[Chip Kelly apparently figures Tim Tebow scores all his TD’s by accident]

[I’ll say the Hurricanes finally win the ACC Coastal]

[Goodell skipped NFL Kickoff opener but for everyone else it was irresistable]

You’d think there would be more with a team that featured so many great Dan Marino years. It’s a tribute to what Landry has come to mean to Ryan Tannehill. Now if only Kenny Stills can make the same kind of connection. He had one catch for 12 yards in his Miami debut.

Stills could have had a touchdown, of course, if Tannehill had been able to keep a deep sideline pass on target while throwing on the run. The speedy former New Orleans Saint was all alone but the ball was so far off the mark that he couldn’t grab it and keep both feet in bounds.

Again, though, Landry saved the day for a Miami offense that couldn’t get unstuck.

“Went out there and made a few plays,” he said.

Oh, and one of them was a 14-yard run on a handoff. Reminds me of a young Nat Moore in that respect. Nat carried the ball 40 times on a variety of reverses and other plays during his long Dolphins career and averaged better than 6 yards per pop.