Danny Amendola is latest Texas Tech tough guy to join Dolphins, following Zach Thomas and Wes Welker

Finally the Miami Dolphins have figured out a way to put the pinch on Tom Brady.

By signing Danny Amendola to a free-agent contract, the Dolphins deny Brady the use of one of his most reliable targets and a key member of the NFL’s top offensive unit.

Can’t call Amendola invaluable, of course. If Bill Belichick thought that term applied to

Former New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola (80) makes a catch between Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Koa Misi (55) and Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Philip Wheeler (52) at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on December 15, 2013. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

the slot receiver, New England would have outbid Miami for his services. Already, Amendola has taken some $10 million in paycuts the last three offseasons in order to stay with the Patriots.

Think, though, of the toughness Amendola brought to the Patriots’ huddle, and the leadership he will bring to Miami’s locker room. See if any of this fits the new “culture” that the Dolphins and coach Adam Gase want to build, albeit three years late.

Amendola signed with the Patriots just as Wes Welker was leaving them, a demonstration of his willingness to take on a big challenge.

He started only half of the Patriots’ 2017 games but had such a rapport with Brady that he was targeted more times (86) than anyone but Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski.

Amendola caught just two touchdown passes during the 2017 regular season, nothing dramatic, but then he caught two more in the fourth quarter of New England’s comeback win over Jacksonville in the AFC title game. Altogether, in 13 playoffs games with New England he caught six touchdown passes.

What’s more, according to the Boston Herald, Amendola kept on playing through a torn groin in 2013, knee and ankle injuries in 2015.

Not bad for a guy who went undrafted out of Texas Tech after playing there for Mike Leach, one of the most inventive coaches around.

Matter of fact, I’m going to suggest that the Dolphins look to Texas Tech more often in the talent searches of the draft and free agency.

That’s where linebacker Zach Thomas played his college ball on the way to a great Dolphins career that featured seven Pro Bowl selections.

And how about Welker, another Texas Tech star who the Dolphins didn’t really prize until he had left them and, in a New England uniform, transformed himself into the NFL’s leading receiver.

Jakeem Grant, 5-feet-7, is another little hardhead from Texas Tech. He and Amendola will be playing together now in Miami and maybe even sharing time in the slot position, unless Adam Gase decides he only needs one of them.

Will Brady be able to keep his offense moving without Amendola? Of course. He never slows down, no matter who is running the routes.

This addition of Amendola, however, will return to Ryan Tannehill some of the third-down certainty that was lost with the trade of Jarvis Landry to Cleveland for money reasons alone.

This may not work out so well if Amendola, 32, continues to have trouble with a bad knee that’s been bothering him the last few seasons. Can’t blame the Dolphins, though, for taking what Brady wants.

At least make the Patriots work a little harder on their way to the Super Bowl. At least make them do that.

[Not feeling confident about Gators, Canes and Noles in NCAA tourney]

[Justin Thomas’ climb to No. 2 in world gives Honda Classic another boost]

[Marlins’ inaugural spring training 25 years ago was a Space Coast blast]

 

What Jim Kelly told an astonished crowd in Boca Raton three years ago still applies in facing down cancer

  Three years ago this month Jim Kelly gave a speech at an Inspiration Breakfast benefiting the YMCA of South Palm Beach County.
  A large crowd was on hand to hear him at the corporate headquarters of Office Depot in Boca Raton. Not just because Kelly is a Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, inducted in his first year of eligibility back in 2002. Not just because he starred at the University of Miami during Howard Schnellenberger’s foundational work there, either.
BLOOMINGTON, MN – NFL Hall of Famer Jim Kelly does a show on Super Bowl LII Radio Row at the Mall of America on February 1, 2018. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

What drives people to Kelly’s side more quickly than any of that is his very public battle with oral cancer and the bold and hopeful attitude he brings to the mission.

  Cancer touches every family at some point or another. No, “touches” is the wrong word. Cancer pulverizes.
  So when Kelly gave that speech here in 2015, one like so many others he has given nationwide, it was to build as much immunity as possible against the despair that is this killer’s specialty. He spoke of the strength he derived from all the encouraging cards and promised prayers he had received. He spoke of faith as the armor to be worn in this personal struggle and any other.
  And now, in a statement released on Thursday, Kelly is announcing that his cancer, beaten back for a time by extensive surgery and chemotherapy and radiation treatment, has returned.
  It’s not an unusual story in terms of recurrence and the need to ramp up for another scary wave of certain punishment with uncertain results, but fortunately Kelly is an unusual man, and his family is every bit as impressive. No doubt, in time, they will be back before another large group, summoning courage from all who are there and inspiring all to stay “Kelly Tough.”
  Until then, the best I can do is return to my column from that Boca Raton appearance three years back. There is inspiration here, and it comes with no expiration date.
(Here follows a column from the Palm Beach Post on March 25, 2015)
by Dave George
Palm Beach Post Columnist
 It pays to be sitting down when Jim Kelly runs through the menu of surgical procedures he has gone through, and much of it in the last few years since cancer was discovered in his upper jaw.
“In two years’ time, I had a plate and six screws put in my neck, and then six months before that I had two plates and 10 screws in my back,” Kelly said Tuesday at the YMCA of South Palm Beach County’s Inspiration Breakfast. “I had double hernia surgery. I had six root canals. I was diagnosed with cancer and I had my jaw removed.”
There were gasps in the audience at the Office Depot corporate headquarters as the former University of Miami and Buffalo Bills quarterback rattled through that daunting list as rapidly as if he were calling out plays in the huddle.
Then came the clincher. Just a few months ago, with the gravest danger behind him and MRI cancer scans becoming less frequent, Kelly, 55, learned for the first time that doctors had given him less than a 10 percent chance to survive in the midst of his most aggressive cancer treatments.
Why did it take so long for him to hear that? Because his wife and daughters and friends wanted to keep Kelly’s psyche safe while his body was under attack.
“People that walked into my hospital room, even though I was having some of the worst days of my life, for those minutes and hours that those people were in my room, they made a difference,” Kelly said. “Hey, I grew up in a family of six boys. I had physical toughness. Where I needed it was the mental toughness. I needed people to tell me and show me with their smiles that I could do it, and don’t ever give up.”
Not a bad lesson to all of us who struggle with knowing what to do or say when someone close is critically ill. Keep the energy positive. Recycle a few giggles from sillier times. They might still have a little charge left in them.
Imagine, for instance, how often Kelly has heard about his great Bills teams losing four consecutive Super Bowls. Howard Schnellenberger, his old Hurricanes coach, even spent a few light minutes on that topic Tuesday while inviting Kelly up to the stage.
That didn’t even faze Kelly, who used a few squirts of mouth spray before his speech and explained that it’s not because of bad breath. Truth is, he no longer is able to produce saliva.
Can’t believe how good he looks, trim but not gaunt. Can’t believe he worries about lisping ever so slightly as a result of the prosthetic jaw and teeth that followed surgery. Nobody at the YMCA event noticed that. They were too busy coming up to Kelly to tell survival stories of their own and to thank him for the inspiration.
“So good to see you,” many of them said.
“Better to be seen than viewed,” Kelly regularly shoots back.
There are many appearances like this for Kelly, who still lives in Buffalo and in October will speak before a group in Rochester that provides services for the mentally ill. As always, his charitable activities center around the Hunter’s Hope Foundation, established to aid research on Krabbe Disease, the genetic disorder that ended the life of Kelly’s son, Hunter, in 2005 at the age of 8.
At Kelly’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, he dedicated his speech to Hunter, an exceedingly brave little boy.
To spend much time with Kelly, however, is to laugh a lot, and eventually to talk about the Bills, who are trying to rev it all up again under new coach Rex Ryan.
“I love it,” Kelly said in the VIP reception room after posing for photos with a long line of YMCA donors. “The biggest question is whether it’s going to be EJ Manuel or Matt Cassel, but I just hope that one of the quarterbacks steps up because that’s all we need.”
Just a whiff of hope and the tank is filled once more.

Please, NFL, takes us back to the days when a catch was a catch

I’m with Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti when it comes to the NFL’s nit-picky reviews of what is a catch and what isn’t, a debate that slowed celebrations again at two crucial moments in Sunday’s Super Bowl LII.

“The whole thing is stupid,” said Bisciotti, whose team didn’t even play in that game. “Start over. It’s just ridiculous.”

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz dives for a touchdown past New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty in the third quarter of Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)

Secure the ball. Two feet down in bounds. Bingo. That’s what is required by the NFL in the rule’s simplest form, and how it used to be judged in real time by referees who got most of them right and missed a few without the support or the dissent of an instant-replay review team in New York.

Now, however, doubt is the strongest instant emotion that fans can afford to invest in any spectacular catch. It’s up to a frame-by-frame analysis of the video, examined over several minutes, to determine whether it is finally safe to cheer or boo or head for the exits based on what just happened right in front of their eyes.

Wait a minute. Did the ball wobble in his arms while a receiver is getting blasted by a linebacker, or do we give him due credit for merely retaining possession of all his teeth under the force of that hit? To me, it’s the latter.

There are hundreds of amazing catches in the history of this league that would be wiped out if the video vultures went back and feasted on them now. With the amount of coordination and pluck that is needed to fit some of those passes in there and to snatch them out of the air in heavy traffic, is it realistic to demand an additional layer of precision, almost surgical precision, before a catch can count?

In baseball there are arguments every inning over what constitutes a strike, but if a player or a manager can’t accept that judgment call in the moment, he gets tossed and the game goes on without him. The way that instant replay is creeping into bang-bang calls at the bases is a worrisome trend. It slows down a game that already is too slow. It pretends that sports can be made perfect.

This wonderment over the shifting definition of a completed pass in football is a result of our love affair with technology. It has reached its zenith in tennis, where calls on whether a ball is in or out are settled by the display of an animated replay that is accepted with the same validity of an actual camera shot. The Great Cartoon has spoken. The Great Cartoon knows all and sees all.

As that other great cartoon, Charlie Brown, often says, I can’t stand it.

What is a basket in the NBA? Everybody knows that, and if the answer was even a little bit fuzzy they couldn’t play the game.

It works the same way in other sports, too, when it comes to the absolute basics.

What is a lost ball in golf? When you can’t find it, right?

What is a strike in bowling? When all of the pins get splattered and much of the beer gets spilled.

What is a knuckle sandwich in hockey? Again, you don’t even belong in the arena if a clinical explanation is needed.

So the NFL stands at a real crossroads here. Figure out the catch thing. This isn’t a video game. It’s real, and it’s really hard to get it right when the league keeps piling on reasons why a difficult touchdown grab is wrong.

[Eagles go from losers to champs in one year, but what about Miami?]

[Dan Mullen predicts national title for Gators but doesn’t say when]

[Eagles coach Doug Pederson once saved Shula’s bacon as backup QB]

 

Look past Brady to bottom of depth chart and you’ll see what makes Belichick so Super

Whenever something goes right for the New England Patriots, everybody says, well, that’s Bill Belichick for you.

Playing angles that other coaches don’t see. Getting more from particular players than anyone else has. Digging deeper and demanding more, so that man on the roster or on the staff either owns a vital role in the franchise’s continuing success or he is quickly replaced.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JANUARY 29: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots arrives at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for Super Bowl LII. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Oh, and if I don’t mention that on occasion Belichick and his team have been caught cheating, somebody out there is going to say I left something out of his personal toolbox, so there’s that, too.

The point is that while we’re all focusing on Tom Brady and his singular contributions to all those Super Bowl titles, Belichick is working so far behind the scenes and doing it so well that most of it never gets noticed.

For instance, Belichick spent a fifth-round draft choice on a long snapper in 2015. That may not seem like such a big deal, but Brady was a sixth-rounder when he came to the Patriots from Michigan in the 2000 NFL draft.

For that matter, Danny Amendola, whose two fourth-quarter touchdown catches completed New England’s comeback win over Jacksonville in the AFC title game, wasn’t drafted by the Patriots or anyone else when he came out of college in 2008.

So for Belichick to use a fifth-round pick on a specialty item like long snapper, well, it had to mean something. And it does. Joe Cardona is a highly-disciplined guy who played college football at the U.S. Naval Academy. He will play in Sunday’s Super Bowl, just he played in the last one, only after receiving permission to reschedule his weekend duty with a Navy reserve unit.

Belichick grew up around Navy football and graduated from Annapolis High School. His father, Steve Belichick, was on the football staff at the academy forever, coaching special teams and producing some of the most detailed and useful scouting reports anyone has ever seen.

Those are the reports that the future Patriots coach studied and absorbed as soon as he was finished with his homework. Those are the influences that would lead Belichick to prize the minute details of snapping and kicking and punting so highly, and to call Cardona personally in 2015 to let him know that New England had used the 166th overall pick on a specialty player like him.

Only a handful of Navy athletes have been selected in the history of the regular NFL draft, not much more than a dozen. Roger Staubach and Napoleon McCallum are the best known.

As for long snappers in general, Cardona was believed to be only the fourth in history to be drafted by an NFL team at the time he joined New England. Since Belichick made such an unusual priority of that position, however, a long snapper has been selected in the sixth round of the last two drafts, one by Detroit and one by Pittsburgh.

None of this will ever matter to anybody watching Super Bowl LII on Sunday unless there is a bad Patriots snap on a kick, and I’m figuring there won’t be. Cardona can be trusted to come through. He’s a Belichick guy and has been from the start.

We could jump all over the Patriots roster and find other names that explain why this team is so great.  You get the picture. There’s a coach here who know what he wants – consistency, reliability and a high football I.Q. – and he never compromises.

Yep, that’s Belichick for you.

[Dan Mullen promises national title for Gators but doesn’t say when]

[Who knew Hoffman was bound for Cooperstown when Marlins traded him?]

[Nothing remains for LeBron to do except giving it a try as player-coach]

Eagles could go from losers to Super Bowl champs in one year, but what about Miami?

How far are the Miami Dolphins from winning a Super Bowl?

It seems a ridiculous question coming off a 6-10 season, but there is a history of losing teams making the jump to NFL champion in the space of just one year.

New England did it in 2001. The Patriots were 5-11 the previous season and there was

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nate Sudfeld, second from bottom, is followed by running back LeGarrette Blount, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, and quarterback Nick Foles, as they arrive for the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in Minneapolis. Philadelphia is scheduled to face the New England Patriots. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

nothing much to recommend them except that they never got shut out. Miami suffered that indignity twice in 2017, and it very nearly happened a third time.

The 1999 St. Louis Rams won a Super Bowl after going 4-12 the previous season and sticking Dick Vermeil with the worst record of his 15-year NFL coaching career.

San Francisco won it all in 1981, just one year removed from a 6-10 clunker that was similar in some ways to what the Dolphins are going through. Bill Walsh, for instance, was in his second year as an NFL head coach and he had no more luck igniting his creative offensive ideas with Steve DeBerg at quarterback than Adam Gase did with Jay Cutler.

So what happened to transform those losers into Super Bowl champs so quickly? Obviously there was improvement throughout the rosters, but the most glaring similarity was a significant upgrade at quarterback.

Tom Brady, Kurt Warner and Joe Montana all were first trusted to handle full-time starting roles in those breakthrough seasons. They got their teams through some tight spots and continued to do so for years thereafter.

So about those Dolphins. Can’t see Ryan Tannehill or even some first-round draft pick suddenly giving Gase all that he needs at quarterback. It’s not impossible, though.

The Philadelphia Eagles were 7-9 a year ago and it’s not impossible that they might become Super Bowl champs on Sunday, even with a supposed downgrade at quarterback.

[Mullen promises national title for Gators but doesn’t say when]

[Who knew Hoffman was bound for Hall of Fame when Marlins traded him?]

[Nothing left for LeBron to do but give player-coaching a try]

Former backup QB Doug Pederson saved Don Shula’s bacon and now Nick Foles is doing the same for the Eagles’ coach

It’s not the way he would have wanted it, but it’s kind of cool that Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson is headed to the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback, Nick Foles.

11/14/93 – Dolphins backup QB Doug Pederson in action. Palm Beach Post File Photo

In a storyline that you’ll hear much more about in the two weeks before the Eagles face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, Pederson himself was a career backup in the NFL and bounced around in the World League of American Football, too.

He started 17 NFL games in his 10-year career with Green Bay, Philadelphia, Miami and Cleveland but is best remembered for a game he didn’t start.

It was Pederson who came off the bench in 1993 to help Don Shula to his 325th career victory, the one that moved the coach past George Halas and into first-place all time.

The game was in Philadelphia, as if there aren’t enough circular connections to this thing, and the Dolphins already were without Dan Marino because of a torn Achilles. Scott Mitchell had been doing a credible job in his stead for a couple of weeks but then Mitchell, too, was knocked from the Eagles game early in the second half with a separated throwing shoulder.

In came Pederson, whose name Shula sometimes had trouble remembering during the crazy scramble to find viable depth and the race to get the new guy ready for an emergency. Pederson had never thrown a pass in an NFL game and he showed some early nerves, fumbling the ball away at the 1-yard line on the first scoring opportunity that he got.

“He (Shula) just told me to keep my head up,” Pederson said. “He told me to just do the things I knew how to do. Kept giving me support and encouragement.”

In the end the Dolphins had just enough to get by, winning 19-14 on a couple of field-goal drives as Pederson (3-for-6 passing for 34 yards) tried simply to make the basic plays that were required of him.

He wasn’t with the team much longer as Shula, who was carried off the field that day at Philadelphia, turned back to 39-year-old Steve DeBerg and eventually to Mitchell to finish out a 9-7 season. The Dolphins were 7-2 on that magical afternoon, however, and Shula, in his wildest scramble since having to start halfback Tom Matte at quarterback in his Baltimore Colts days, had not given up hope.

“I would love to see this football team continue to win and go all the way to the Super Bowl,” Shula said. “We have to continue to believe in ourselves.”

That’s how Pederson is working this Eagles’ postseason run now in the absence of starting quarterback Carson Wentz, and so far it’s working. Foles, by the way, is far more competent than Pederson was and came make all the plays, as demonstrated in a 38-7 NFC title game win over Minnesota on Sunday.

Eagles are only conference finalist that Miami doesn’t play next year

So the Miami Dolphins are trying to bounce back from a 6-10 clunker of a season and this is what happens?

Three of the four teams in the NFL’s conference championship round are on Miami’s

Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Cam Robinson on the sideline duting an divisional round game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan. 14, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

2018 schedule. There’s a trip to Minnesota, a home game with Jacksonville and the usual AFC East home-and-away with New England

The only one left out is Philadelphia, the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

There’s no guarantee, then, that the Dolphins will have to play the defending Super Bowl champion next season but, really, has anything else been going their way lately?

The last Dolphins coach to beat a defending Super Bowl champion other than New England was Jimmy Johnson, who knocked off Denver in the 1999 season opener.

 

[Looking like one of those weird years in NFL playoffs]

[Mullen, Gators need to join parade of true freshman QBs]

                   [$10 million sure didn’t buy much with Jay Cutler]

 

Brady towers over other QBs in NFL’s final four but it’s looking like one of those weird years

If we’re going by the power of high-level draft analysis alone, former first-rounder Blake Bortles is the best bet among the quarterbacks who have reached the NFL’s final four.

Nick Foles was a third-rounder. Tom Brady was a sixth-round afterthought and Case Keenum didn’t get drafted at all.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Quarterback Case Keenum celebrates as he walks off the field after the Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints 29-24 to win the NFC divisional round playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 14, 2018. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Or maybe we could measure the players’ values using measurements, like they do at the combine. In that case Foles towers over the rest at 6-feet-6. Bortles is 6-5, Brady is 6-4 and Keenum is 6-2.

Ok, ok, before this gets any weirder, let’s cut to the chase.

Brady has won more playoff games (26) than any quarterback in NFL history.

That’s more than Peyton Manning and Troy Aikman combined.

Or John Elway and Roger Staubach combined.

Or Dan Marino, Steve Young and Jim Kelly combined.

Now you don’t need me telling you that Brady has been around for a while or that he’s won a lot, but the other three quarterbacks in the conference championship round have appeared in a combined total of five playoff games.

That’s not exactly apples and apples when it comes to big-game savvy, or even apples and oranges. It’s apples and rotten rutabagas.

Of course, there has to be a first time for everyone so there’s no choice but to stay tuned.

Check out this string of Super Bowl winners from the 1999 season to 2001 if inspiration is needed.

For openers, Rams quarterback Kurt Warner was the Super Bowl MVP, winning it all in his first season as a starter and repeating for a million questioners the story of his days as an Arena Football League player.

Next came Trent Dilfer, who never got Tampa Bay over the top in five seasons there but won a Super Bowl in his first season at Baltimore, buoyed by a ravenous Ravens defense.

Finally, the topper, a team that won the Super Bowl as a two-touchdown underdog and with a 24-year-old quarterback who had never started a playoff game before that season.

Some kid named Brady, and he did it with just 145 passing yards on Super Sunday.

[Mullen and Gators need to join SEC parade of true freshman QB’s]

[$10 million sure didn’t buy Dolphins much with Jay Cutler]

[Never would have thought a Bama national title could come as a surprise]

 

 

$10 million sure didn’t buy Dolphins much with Jay Cutler

 

It was a nice round number back in August when Jay Cutler signed for $10 million to provide the Miami Dolphins with one season of competent quarterbacking.

Easy to remember. Fairly easy to swallow, since it was Stephen Ross’ money and not ours, and since Ryan Tannehill shockingly was out of the season.

Also, $10 million in “special money” is what Jeffrey Loria spent for the one-year rental of Hall of Fame catcher Pudge Rodriguez, a key figure in the old Florida Marlins’ 2003 World Series championship run. That worked out pretty well.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler on the sidelines in the first quarter as the Miami Dolphins host the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday, December 31, 2017. (Allen Eyestone, Palm Beach Post)

Now that Miami’s 6-10 season has ended, however, there are many ways to show what a waste Cutler’s signing was in a league where journeyman quarterbacks play, and sometimes win, for so much less.

The Minnesota Vikings, for instance, earned a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs at 13-3. Their quarterback Case Keenum, signed in March to provide depth behind Sam Bradford, is working on a 2017 salary of $2 million.

Other quarterbacks in the NFL playoffs either because of injuries or because their team had no one else include Philadelphia’s Nick Foles ($1.6 million) the Rams’ Jared Goff ($6.4 million), Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles ($6.57 million), Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota ($6.6 million) and Buffalo’s Tyrod Taylor ($9.7 million).

These numbers come from a Sports Illustrated report in August and are based on 2017 cap hits alone, not overall contract values.

So Cutler got a pretty good deal to come out of retirement at 34. And what did he give Miami in return? Pretty much what he’s given every other team that has started him.

In 14 starts Cutler had a quarterback rate of 80.8. That’s slightly below his career average of 85.3 but certainly in the ballpark. Jacoby Brissett, the tough Dwyer High School product who has started 17 games as an emergency quarterback in New England and Indianapolis, is a fair match for Cutler’s numbers in this category.

Cutler threw 14 interceptions for the Dolphins. His average was 16-plus over the seven previous seasons where he avoided missing major time due to injury.

By throwing 19 touchdowns in 2017 Cutler came in just under his average of 23 over those same seven seasons where he was mostly healthy.

Cutler averaged 190 passing yards per game in Miami. That’s 29th in the league and two spots ahead of Bears rookie Mitch Trubisky.

Overall, the Dolphins would have been better off with Tyrod Taylor, who always seems to beat the Dolphins and throws fewer picks. Buffalo’s got Taylor, however, and Buffalo is in the playoffs.

There are other ways to quantify how badly the Dolphins overpaid to get a quarterback that coach Adam Gase believed capable of saving the season, but here is the simplest way to state who Cutler is and who he’s always been.

With Miami Cutler was 6-8 as a starter. Over his career he is 74-79 in the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs.

Nothing worth writing home about, or writing a big check, either.

[Does anybody out there want a piece of UCF now?]

[Jeter missed memo on how fed up Marlins fans are with fire sales]

[It’s OK to start wondering again if Tiger will play Honda Classic]

Remembering what Ricky did there, Dolphins shouldn’t fear a snowy day in Buffalo

Let it snow.

I’m saying that because absolutely anything can happen when a football game is played in wintry conditions, and because the Miami Dolphins are at the stage of the season where absolutely everything must happen in order for them to make the playoffs.

ORCHARD PARK, NY –  LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills scores a touchdown to win the game during overtime against the Indianapolis Colts on December 10, 2017 at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

So when the Dolphins play at Buffalo on Sunday, a real mid-December treat from the NFL schedule-makers, might as well root for the kind of accumulation that turned last week’s game there between the Bills and the Colts into a snow-globe classic.

Light snow and sleet and eventually a full-on barrage of near whiteout conditions didn’t stop Ricky Williams from rushing for a career-best 228 yards at Buffalo on Dec. 1, 2002. That remains a Miami franchise record, and it came on a day when the temperature was 25 degrees at kickoff with a wind chill of 13.

The Dolphins’ first snap was a handoff from Ray Lucas to Ricky, who rumbled 45 yards around left end for a touchdown. The field was slippery, but so what?

In the third quarter Ricky cut loose right up the middle for a 55-yard score. The snow was building from a fine powder to a regular winter wonderland by then, but so what?

Truth is, Ricky would have had a chance at 250 total rushing yards if not for a leg injury that removed him from the game early in the fourth quarter.

“I was a little nervous about it,” Ricky said, admitting postgame that he had been checking the weather forecast on his cellphone all week. “It wasn’t bad, you know. It was just cold. Once you get past the mental part of it being cold and you being miserable, then it’s just football.”

Drew Bledsoe, the Bills’ quarterback at the time, clearly agreed. While Lucas was laboring on a 6-for-11 passing day with two fumbles, Bledsoe threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Included in there was a 73-yard touchdown pass from Bledsoe to Peerless Price, the play that put Buffalo ahead to stay in a 38-21 victory.

How would Kenyan Drake fare on an icy field if it comes to that on Sunday? That would be a new experience for the Dolphins’ new feature running back, who grew up in Georgia and played college ball at Alabama. All I know is that Buffalo’s LeSean McCoy rushed for 156 yards and the winning touchdown in overtime last week in snow up to his ankles, and it was his best game of the season.

In the end, there need be no particular advantage for either team, not when the Bills have an indoor practice facility to use on snowy weekdays.

So bring on the blizzard. The Dolphins and Bills are each trying to slip and slide their way into a wild-card playoff spot anyway. Might as well make it truly epic.

[A dream night for Jakeem Grant, but what about that TD drop?]

[It’s OK to start wondering if Tiger Woods will return to Honda Classic]

[Bobby considered FSU a destination job but Jimbo? Not so much]