Miami Dolphins: The Number 34
Have you ever seen that one Jim Carrey movie?
It wasn't the one where he solves pet crimes, or the one where he finds a mask, or even the one where him and Jeff Daniels prove that IQ is just a state of mind.
So I guess I answered my own question then, didn't I?
Well it was The Number 23 . And no, I didn't see it either. But thanks to the wonders of Google and Wikipedia I've ascertained that it's about a man who becomes obsessed with a number that's not 17 and is inescapably 23.
The number comes to dominate the man's life until something happens and then something else happens and the credits roll. But the main point is that he notices a trend in his life that revolves around 23.
Enter the Miami Dolphins.
Now, they're not obsessed with 23. That would be stupid and would make no sense to write about.
They're actually obsessed with the number 34 , which is a completely more interesting number (because it's 11 more!).
For Miami, this season has been hard to define. A few games got away, but their indestructible schedule has started to crack. They now enter a crucial stretch of the season that could make or break them.
And it all comes back to 34.
Let's get to it. It's going to be SMMMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOOKKKKKKKKIIIIIIN'.
Oops, wrong movie.
We'll keep it simple first, and the easiest place to start is with the Dolphins sub-par record. Fortunately, Miami has yet to be completely dominated by any team, and has found themselves in every game they've played.
But being a team with a narrow margin of error means that some of those winnable losses could come back to haunt Miami. And Halloween's over, so that's some seriously spooky stuff.
Those crazy number are back again, this time as part of Miami's 3-4 defense. The Fins are using the 3-4 to play especially stingy against the run, keeping opponents to 3 .6 yards per carry, and only 92.4 yards a game (sixth in the NFL).
Miami has also given new life to pass rushers like Jason Taylor, Randy Starks, Cameron Wake, and Joey Porter by using the 3-4. Which is why Miami is also sixth in the league with 19 sacks.
It's this toughness up front that has kept Miami in games and forced teams to seek other ways to beat them. Which they've done...but that's for another day. So let's just go to...
34 years old
That's the age of the Duchess of York, Jason "Fergie" Ferguson. The lynch pin of Miami's defense has managed to keep himself healthy and man the nose tackle spot for the Dolphins.
Keeping Ferguson healthy is something that is tantamount to Miami's continued success against the run. His name isn't called every play, but that doesn't ease the burden of NFL offensive linemen who have to move the bulky Ferguson.
If you had to go to work everyday with a 320 pound man breathing in your face would you feel comfortable?
Businessman one: Jenkins, I want those TPS reports on my desk by Monday.
Businessman two: Sure thing, but could you ask this large, scary, man to get off my desk first.
B1: You ask him.
B2: What does TPS stand for anyway? (Intimidating man on desk growls) OH GOD HE'S ANGRY.
Erricke Lynne Williams Jr. is experiencing yet another renaissance, while sporting the number 34 for Miami. For a guy who's been left for dead so many times throughout his career, Williams is having a lively season.
Ricky has rushed for 4 23 yards thus far in the season, with a 5.3 yards per carry average. He's also got himself five touchdowns and has asserted himself as one of the key cogs of Miami's offense. Without Williams, Miami is limited, but with him they're proving that the NFL is now a two-back league.
For Miami to succeed in the remainder of the season, they need to see continued production from number 34. There's no reason to suspect they won't get it either-...must resist...temptation...to make...drug joke...ARRGHHHHHHHHHH.
BECAUSE THE RANDOM DRUG TESTS ARE OVER!
Three Interceptions, Four Touchdowns
Those are quarterback Chad Henne's numbers after five games, four of them started by Chad No. 2. He's proven to be adept at managing a game for the Fins, but he is isn't blessing anyone's fantasy team with a cornucopia of points.
As teams start moving more and more defenders into the box, the onus is on Henne to keep them honest. It has been refreshing to see that Miami isn't up an excrement-filled body of water without Chad Pennington though, and Henne still has room to improve.
The yards Ted Ginn Jr. averages a kick return. After landing squarely in Tony Sparano's dog house, Junior exploded through the ceiling and raced out to two touchdowns against the New York Jets last Sunday.
Now Ginn hasn't displayed the surest of hands receiving, but his kick returns are giving Miami an element of danger that hasn't been seen since Joey Porter started doing his deep breathing exercises. It's just another thing opponents are now forced to devote more focus to in stopping the Fins.
Ted Ginn Jr.: Putting the special back in special teams since November 1, 2009.
Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
Now he's not a number, but as of this year he is the third head coach in four years for Miami. Sparano is now 14-9 as head coach of the Fins, and despite some questionable decisions (going for two while up by 11?) he's made Miami a team to be respected in the NFL.
After the collective horrible tastes that Nick Saban and Cam Cameron left in Fins fans mouths, Sparano is the Listerine for the Miami faithful. He's proved that he coaches schemes to fit his personnel, and not vice versa.
Sparano is also one of the most fun coaches to watch in the NFL. If it's not witnessing the Wildcat, it's spotting him fist pumping like a drunk frat boy after sinking the last beer pong cup. It's good to see that this is a coach that lives and dies by his team, and so far it's been fun and enjoyable having him as coach.
3-4...last time I swear
Last season Miami was 3-4 at this point of the year as well. They then proceeded to own the second half of the season and make the playoffs.
The schedule may be tougher, but a precedent has been set. High expectations are nothing to fear, they're to hold franchises accountable for keeping their fanbase happy. And making another big run would bring so much joy to these fans.
34 years ago the Miami Dolphins went 10-4 under coach Don Shula, WITH NO ONE ON THE TEAM WEARING 34. Fate or coincidence?
1975 was the season that saw Miami without Larry Csonka for the first time in six seasons, and the Fins failed to make the playoffs. Well, Csonka has yet to suit up for Miami this season, mostly because everyone is still afraid of him. But he was one hell of an American Gladiators announcer.
Also, 34 years ago this week the Miami Dolphins beat the New York Jets. Will the date empower Miami this week against the New England Patriots? Or is that one parallel too far to draw?
I'll end my 34 fetishism here. Mostly because I'm out of tinfoil to keep the satellites from spying on me.
Now I'm no Jim Carrey (I'm far too good-looking), but the number 34 and the Miami Dolphins have taken over my life. Let's hope this has been fun for you, because it's pushed me to the brink of insanity.
For more articles written about random numbers, head to The Chirp Show ! I promise I'll be out of the asylum in time to spruce it up a bit.
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