News , views and chews ….

As Major League Baseball awaits the victor of the ALCS series which now stands at 3-2 , with the Kansas City Royals leading the Toronto Blue Jays in the series. We await the outcome of game six which will be played at the Kauffmann Field , in Kansas City . Missouri, on Friday evening.

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Taking the mound for the home team will be former AL Cy Young winner David Price who will face Yordano Ventura of the Royals in what will be a pivotal game for both teams. A win for Kansas puts them in this year’s World Series , while a win for the Blue Jays forces an exciting game-seven decider between the two AL teams. Awaiting the winners of the AL Pennant will the their NL counterparts the New York Mets , whose convincing series’ win over the Chicago Cubs was as good as the Mets have been in a recent postseason foray. Both their pitching and offense was of the highest level expected from a well-managed Terry Collins’ team.

Away from the on-field foray has been the big news to hit the world of baseball with Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers mutually agreeing to part ways. Unfortunately, the public explanations being given in the interviews granted to the press remain unconvincing from both parties , with neither the front office executives or Mattingly , himself , being truly convincing with their summation as to the reasons behind their abrupt dismemberment. One thing is for certain , Andrew Friedman as the Head of Baseball Operations has been given full control to make the decisions necessary to bring about a real turnaround for this franchise. The complacency seen which has been seen from the Dodgers over the past four seasons during the MLB postseason , is unlikely to be tolerated by Friedman or the team’s general manager Farhan Zaidi.

Having spent over $1 billion on salary since their acquisition of the franchise the owners have seen the team simply implode at almost every hurdle during recent postseason play . This season in particular the Los Angeles Dodgers were never good enough to convince anyone they could be seen as the presumptive favorites for the World Series. A $315 million payroll , the highest in the game , and all we witnessed from the Dodgers throughout much of the season were the thrills and spills of a highly overrated team. Granted, Zach Greinke had an exceptional season for the team and will likely be crowned the 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Typically, one would laud the feat as being a great achievement, but in retrospect , singular awards while credible , for this franchise the only success sought, was that of a World Series’ triumph , something last achieved by the Dodgers in 1988.

There can be no denying the NFL season so far has proven to be nothing more than the usual storm in a teacup. Granted, there are several teams we knew would be either be bad or just mediocre , while there will always will be one or two surprises which have left us bewildered. Who knew at this point of the season the Cincinnati Bengals (6-0) would be one of the best teams in the AFC as well as the league in general ? Coming off a week six victory over the Buffalo Bills. The Bengals have a bye-week during week seven , whereby they can rest and recuperate before resuming their schedule in week eight , with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 1st November,2015.

Two games on this weekend’s schedule , will likely have the fans’ attention, will be conference contests featuring the New York Jets facing the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro’ Massachusetts. Tom Brady is having an excellent season and it would appear the idiocy of the Deflate-Gate scandal now seems to be in the rear view mirror of the four-time Superbowl winning quarterback. No doubt Brady will be looking to extend his regular season record against the Jets , while the team seeks to increase their lead over the Jets within the AFC East. The other game of note, pits the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Giants , in a must-win contest for both teams. Given the mediocrity of the NFC East . there remains the possibility that the winner of the division could be no better than 8-8 or 9-7 at the end of this season.

Eight weeks into the College Football season and as expected , the talk begins as to which teams are deserving to be called the best in the nation. The Ohio State Buckeyes remain unbeaten and atop of the heap in the College Football rankings . Saturday afternoon , the Buckeyes will be on the road as they visit Piscataway , New Jersey to fact Rutgers University. Somehow , I believe this game will end in a rout , with Ohio extending their unbeaten run to twenty games dating back to last season. This Buckeyes’ team is playing at an exceptional level , barely being challenged by their opponents this season.

Texas Christian (TCU) , Baylor, Utah and LSU (Tigers) are among the unbeaten teams all vying for a playoff berth. Les Miles head coach of the Tigers will be hoping to see his team prove their worth in their scheduled contest on Saturday afternoon when they face Western Kentucky. Leonard Fournette , Louisiana’s all blistering running back will be looking to excel in this game while also showing himself to be a viable candidate for this year’s Heisman Trophy.

With four games left to the College Football schedule , there remains a great deal to play for as the season seeks slowly winds down .

The NBA regular season will begin on Tuesday 27th October , but for the moment the preseason is still winding down. Defending NBA champions the Golden State Warriors will be looking to make a successful defense of their title while also seeking to become the first back-to-back titlists since the Miami Heat were able to were able to achieve the feat in 2012 and then again in 2013 . The team was unable to make it a triple , succumbing to the San Antonio Spurs in 2014 . This season the Heat will seek to make their presence felt within the Eastern Conference where the Cleveland Cavaliers will be seen as the prohibitive favorites for the conference title.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are the elder statesmen on the Heat’s playing staffand they are being entrusted to lead a roster with a mix of youth and experience. Erik Spoesltra and his coaching assistants will certainly have their work cut out for them over the course of Miami’s schedule. The team will begin their regular season schedule with a home game against the Charlotte Hornets on 28th October, 2015 . However, I believe the true test for the Miami Heat will come in their conference meetings with the Chicago Bulls , Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks , three of the better teams within the Eastern Conference , based on last season’s standings. The Heat will also be counting on their young rookie Justise Winslow to make a major contribution to the team this season , as he comes under the wings of his mentor Dwyane Wade.

For the Eastern Conference champions of last season , the Cleveland Cavaliers after being soundly beaten by the Golden State Warriors in last season’s NBA Finals , this season will be their chance at seeking redemption. The Cavaliers’ front office led by team owner Dan Gilbert and GM David Griffin have acquiesced to all of LeBron James’ whims facilitating him with a roster , he believes can win the franchise a title. Big money contracts have been offered to players such as Tristan Thompson , with the hope Thompson can prove to be productive for the team.

LeBron James and his Cavaliers’ teammates will begin their regular season schedule against divisional rivals the Chicago Bulls in their game to be played at the United Center in Chicago , Illinois,. While I believe the Cleveland Cavaliers remain the best team in their conference, and likely to repeat as conference champions this season, my belief remains the this team will struggle to beat any of the top-three teams within the Western Conference.

Kevin Garnett has returned to the franchise where he first made his professional league debut. The fact that Garnett now in the twilight of his career is once again with the Minnesota Timberwolves seems not only fair , but brings back memories of a time when he was among the best all-round players in the league, able to play every position possible , without there being a problem for this once agile player. Now he brings to this team , age , experience and a basketball mind second to none , with perhaps only Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant with an adept knowledge of the game and what is needed to succeed. Having won a title with the Boston Celtics as well as multiple appearances as NBA All Star and a League MVP in 2003 . It could be said Garnett’s career has come full circle, without him having much else to prove , other than being a mentor to a young team in need of real leadership.

Flip Saunders , head coach GM , Head of Basketball Operations as well as a minority stakeholder in the Timberwolves, will seek Kevin Garnett’s assistance in providing the on-court stability needed to make Minnesota competitive this season. Karl-Anthony Towns the franchise’s first round draft pick , alongside Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio are seen as the primary contributors for the team as they embark upon their schedule. The true test for the Minnesota Timberwolves will come when they take on the best the Western Conference has to offer , beginning with their regular season opener against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Speculation will continue to surround the events which led to former NBA star Lamar Odom being found lying unconscious in the room of a Nevada brothel. Unfortunately, this simply adds another episode in the life of a player who never lived up to the expectations sought as a parent or as a teammate , in spite of the sympathetic words now being used as a cacophony to make up for another athlete’s shortcomings as a habitual drug user.

Odom through his publicists and his estranged wife Khloe Kardashian have thanked the press and public alike for their well-wishes , but this latest episode cannot hide the fact the NBA actually continues to enable and facilitate the use of banned substances within the game. The league’s so-called policy on banned substances remains weak and the fact the NBPA has sought to weaken the original structure of the policy simply goes to show how much of a ferret David Stern just happened to be, before handing over the reigns as commissioner to his chosen heir-apparent Adam Silver. The NBA Commissioner has yet to issue a public statement concerning Lamar Odom’s issues, purely on the basis the player is no longer active within the league. However. it should be noted , Odom never officially announced his retirement from the NBA and was still hoping to pursue a career , by returning to the league, signing with a team seeking an experienced veteran.

The NBA Commissioner has yet to issue a public statement concerning Lamar Odom’s issues, purely on the basis the player is no longer active within the league. However. it should be noted , Odom never officially announced his retirement from the NBA and was still hoping to pursue a career , by returning to the league, signing with a team seeking an experienced veteran. It seems doubtful a franchise would be willing to risk all. after this latest debacle concerning Lamar Odom.

Speaking of athletes with some off-field issues , with his recent plea agreement with the State’s Attorney’s Office former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones has been reinstated by the UFC , allowing the fighter to makes his return to the octagon. Jones was stripped of the title , after it was revealed he fled the scene of traffic accident while under the influence. It was later revealed the fighter had high level traces of cocaine within his system. Now while he has attended drug intervention program and the fact UFC President Dana White issued an indefinite suspension of the former champion. What cannot be denied, has been the fact, White has been very lax in whom he chooses to punish with impunity when he feels it is necessary.

Jon Jones in his last bout before being stripped of the title tested positive for a banned substance and it was widely reported that several top executives were prive’ to the fact Jones’ test had come back positive on the eve of his title defense against Daniel Cormier. Dana White for his part brushed aside those claims aside , stating it was pure fabrication on the part of detractors of the UFC. However, the Nevada State Athletics Commission which governs the sport within the state has records to prove the UFC hierarchy were well aware of the positive tests. Cormier the current Light Heavyweight Champion would like to make a defense against Jon Jones , knowing such a match-up would lead to a big money payday for himself as well has his challenger. There are very few fighters with the appeal and athleticism of Jones within the UFC at present and the biggest draw currently is the Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey who seems be totally unbeatable within her weight class.

Rousey will be looking to parlay her ongoing fame and notoriety in her next bout when she meets Holly Holm at UFC 193 scheduled to take place at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne , Australia on the 15th November, 2015.

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In light of the latest occurrences in the world of sports what do you feel will be the main talking points in the coming days or over the next week ?

Tophatal …

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Author: tophatal ...........

An avid sports' fans that's all !!!!!

22 thoughts on “News , views and chews ….”

  1. A game six victory for the Kansas City Royals (4-2) , defeating the Toronto Blue Jays (2-4) in the penultimate game of the 2015 ALCS. With the victory the Royals now go on to meet the New York Mets in this season’s World Series which will begin on Tuesday 27th October , 2015 at Kauffmann Field , in Kansas City , Missouri ,.

    Starting pitchers in game one have yet to be decided by respective managers Ned Yost of the Royals and Terry Collins of the Mets .

    Tophatal ……

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  2. I do not believe we will get to see the teams in the NBA hit their full stride until at least twenty games into the schedule of this season.

    A new lineup will be on show with the New York Knicks with Carmelo Anthony still being the centerpiece of the Knicks’ ambitions. The coaching staff also remains intact , but I believe there is even greater possibility we will see even greater input from Phil Jackson as to the coaching philosophy and play taking place on-court.

    Last season we know to be one of the worst in the franchise’s history where the productivity itself was at an all-time low for the New York Knicks.

    Carmelo Anthony missed a litany of games due to injury and it remains to be seen if the player will be back at his best during the upcoming season. Anthony will be joined by rookie and first round , fourth overall draft pick Kristaps Porzingis , who many believe will be productive for the Knicks this season. Double-digit productivity is certainly essential from the player if the team is to have any chance of winning their division much less gaining a playoff berth within the Eastern Conference.

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  3. There can be no denying there is a sense of urgency this season for the Denver Broncos(6-0) whose lead within the AFC West is very handy and unlikely to be passed by any of their divisional rivals. Though questions have been raised concerning the play of quarterback Peyton Manning , what cannot be denied has been the fact Manning still finds ways to win and pull out victory from the jaws of defeat. Those questioning Manning can only do so when they feel his game is not 100% , but they fail to question the fact the coaching philosophy and lineups have changed around Manning repeatedly during his time with Denver Broncos.

    Peyton Manning ,left and Aaron Rodgers.

    This season with a new coaching staff in place, Peyton Manning and his teammates have embarked on a successful start to the their season.

    Week seven will see the Denver Broncos with a bye-week before resuming their schedule to face the Green Bay Packers (6-0) in week eight , a game with major ramifications for both teams .

    Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers will certainly be looking to gain one-upmanship on the four-time League MVP Peyton Manning in a clash between two of the NFL’s best and elite quarterbacks over the past five seasons.

    Denver Broncos news

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  4. Alcides Escobar won the ALCS MVP Award for his heroics in the ALCS against the Toronto Blue Jays . Having gained their place in the 2015 World Series against the New York Mets this match-up between the Kansas City Royals and the Mets promises to be one of the more thrilling postseason finales in recent MLB postseason history.

    For the teams who were part of the MLB postseason, but failed to advanced to the championship series , they will now enter the off-season seeking to bolster their rosters with the usual plethora of free agent acquisitions we have come to expect at this time of the year.

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  5. The Philadelphia Phillies after three years of considerable decline and a multitude of idiotic trades , poor farm system , have suddenly seen fit to now rid themselves of Ruben Amaro Jr as the team’s general manager. Speculation has begun to mount Amaro will join the front office of the Boston Red Sox where former Angels’ general manager Jerry Dipoto now heads the organization’s Baseball Operations. Also with the departure of Don Mattingly from the Los Angeles Dodgers , it would appear the Miami Marlins are interested in hiring Mattingly in the capacity of becoming their new manager , succeeding the ousted Mike Redmond and current interim manager , Dan Jennings .

    Baseball is not only a fickle business , but like the NFL , NBA and NHL , it tends to regurgitate its roster of coaches at the managerial capacity . Hence the reason why there seems to be little graduation for assistant coaches within the game and when it does happen , the situation where such a scenario arises are quite rare .

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  6. The untimely death of Minnesota Timberwolves’ head coach Flip Saunders who as well being a front office executive was also a minority stakeholder / part-owner of the Western Conference based franchise. Glen Taylor , principal owner had a close relationship with the deceased coach, as did season veteran and current player Kevin Garnett who made his professional debut with the Timberwolves twenty years ago as a first round draft pick in the 1995 NBA Draft .

    Kevin Garnett (right) and Flip Saunders

    Garnett issued an emotional and impassioned statement with the passing of the head coach with players and front office executives as well members of the coaching staff said to be devastated by the death of Flip Saunders , due to cancer.

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    Tophatal ……..

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  7. Early afternoon results of today’s games in the NFL , with some coming as no surprise.

    The can now be no doubt as to who the best team in the AFC East just happens to be with the New England Patriots getting past the New York Jets in a hard fought game winning by a seven-point margin 30-23 .

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  8. SportsChump / Chris Humpherys

    The New York Mets have the pitching as we have seen over the course of the postseason . Here is the caveat , Ned Yost is the only one of the two coaches here with postseason managerial experience. Terry Collins is still learning the ropes , but it has been the team perhaps being motivated at this chance to win their first title almost three decades .

    Kansas City for its part will be motivated by the fact, history is on its side when it comes to a losing team from the World Series making it back for a consecutive reappearance or just reappearance has always been the victor .

    So even with his recent stupidity and claims of the team improving Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers leads the fans up the garden path of the yellow #hit road by showing how fu#king mediocre and incompetent they just happen to be . The Buccaneers’ loss to the Washington Redskins was a damn joke filled with guffaws of hilarity and incredulity .

    Buccaneers’ quarterback Jameis Winston on his best day remains a frigging joke , as does this team and the coaching staff led by Smith, himself . If a mediocre quarterback such as Kirk Cousins can get the better of Tampa Bay , just think what the likes of the other quarterbacks the team will face this season are likely to do to the Buccaneers over the remainder of their schedule.

    I wonder what the likes of the Tampa Bay Tribune , Pewter Report and the franchise’s own official website are saying about the loss at this juncture . No doubt those clueless @ssholes as well as the fans and Brighthouse Networks’ & Bay News 9 sports’ anchor Rock Riley are soft-soaping it all with their abject banality and lack of intelligence as is their want within the Tampa Bay area.

    Was Riley given the name “Rock” to appeal to male machismo or simply as a lame ass sales’ pitch by the network because they thought it would have some appeal ?

    ” I’m telling you this season the Buccaneers are playing with a passion and they can succeed ” .

    Bay News 9′ Rock Riley

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  9. Dallas Cowboys’ general manager and team owner Jerry Jones is not only seeing the team spiral out of control , but genuine and justifiable criticism is being leveled at him and his handling of the Greg Hardy situation.

    Dallas’ loss in week seven to the New York Giants was an embarrassment for the franchise in a number of ways. Matt Cassel having replaced Brandon Weeden as the starter has proven that the Cowboys’ offense will continue to splutter along no matter who is the quarterback on the roster.

    Greg Hardy, left and teammate Dez Bryant .

    Video of the incident showing the heated verbal exchange between Hardy and Bryant.

    The NFC East has now become one monstrous bore and eyesore to watch , with all four teams within the division simply being mediocre.

    The fact that Greg Hardy and his teammate Dez Bryant had sideline verbal spat , without Jason Garrett or any member of the coaching staff seeking to intervene , shows how much disarray there now appears to be with the Dallas Cowboys.

    Dallas Cowboys’ news

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  10. After the Monday Night Game result in the NFL , could anything now be much clearer as to how bad the league just happens to be at the moment ? There is a great deal of inconsistency among several teams at the present.

    With the Oakland Raiders’ unexpected victory over the San Diego Chargers , several Raiders’ fans and members of the press are now showing a great deal of optimism and the belief the team might just be playoff bound .

    Granted Derek Carr of the Raiders had a great performance with the Raiders clicking on all cylinders in the contest against their AFC West divisional rivals . The result also pointed to the lackadaisical approach of the Chargers during this game.

    The Baltimore Ravens’ hapless season continues with their loss to the Arizona Cardinals in last night’s game .

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  11. Game one of the 2015 MLB World Series begins tonight with the first pitch being thrown out at Kauffmann Field in Kansas City , Missouri between the Kansas City Royals (0-0) and the New York Mets (0-0) . The opposing pitchers will be Matt Harvey of the Mets on the mound to face Edinson Volquez of the Royals in what is sure to be a pitching duel between two of the game’s best starters this postseason.

    Mets’ starting pitcher Matt Harvey.

    Edinson Volquez of the Royals .

    If the Royals can maintain the form shown over the postseason and get off to a fast start , then there is no reason to believe they cannot win the series in six games or less . History favors the team who has won back-to-back LCS , going on to win the World Series.

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  12. Speculation continues to mount , though the Miami Marlins have yet to confirm or deny they have met with Don Mattingly to gauge his interest in becoming the team’s new manager . All signs seems to pointing to the fact team owner , Jeffrey Loria , SVP David Sansom and GM Michael Hill want Mattingly in the role as manager of this playing roster. However, I feel while Don Mattingly might be interested in the position , the Marlins to my mind have equally pressing needs concerning the team and the fact they lack players who can play at a consistently high level .

    From left to right , GM Michael Hill, foreground Julie Loria . wife of Miami Marlins’ owner Jeffrey Loria , far right.

    During this off-season , Michael Hill have several serious decisions to make concerning the impending free agents as well as quite possibly seeking to slash the payroll to a more manageable size .

    Last season Giancarlo Stanton was not only the highest paid player on the roster but among the highest paid in the game. Stanton was among a select group of players earning in excess of $23 million a year. We are already he signed the most lucrative contract in baseball history , which to my mind was simply idiotic , but nothing the Marlins have done in the past six years has made any sense including the building of the Marlins’ Ballpark , which is rarely filled to capacity for a home game

    Giancarlo Stanton was among the most productive offensive players on the Marlins’ roster as well as in baseball and the National League as a big-hitter , but at the end of the day this Miami team was simply not good enough to win their division the NL East much less qualify for a wildcard berth within the National League .

    Don Mattingly (pictured) is is said to be interested in the vacant Miami Marlins’ managerial position, succeeding interim manager Dan Jennings .

    Jose Fernandez , left and Giancarlo Stanton .

    Other than Jose Fernandez a former NL Rookie of the Year , production from within the Marlins’ farm system seems to have been constantly bare and somewhat mediocre in return.

    The players drafted by the Miami Marlins from this season’s MLB Draft are unlikely to make an immediate impact and it could be at least two or three years before those players are likely to make the jump to the majors .

    Miami Marlins news

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  13. The Houston Texans (2-5) have seen their season fall apart and now they have lost running back Arian Foster for the year and the front office has made the decision to release quarterback Ryan Mallett after the player’s poor play during the course of their schedule and his lack of accountability as a teammate and player .

    Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien has not been able to turn things around and the stellar defense combination sought with Jadeveon Clowney and JJ Watt have been nowhere to be seen this season for the team. Furthermore from an offensive standpoint Houston has been one of the least effective franchise in the AFC as well as the league as a whole .

    Jadeveon Clowney (left) and JJ Watt .

    Bill O’Brien’s job is now on the chopping block and he is likely to one of at least three head coaches who could lose their job before the end of this NFL season .

    The Houston Texans’ next game will be against divisional rivals the Tennessee Titans (1-5) on 1st November during week eight of the NFL schedule.

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  14. Well the first game of the 2015 World Series has come to a close with the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals playing a very exciting contest in-front of a packed crowd at Kauffmann Field in Kansas City, Missouri. Heroes of the night were Eric Hosmer and Chris Young as the Royals pulled off the 5-4 victory over the Mets.

    Game two will again provide us with two front-line starting pitchers , when Jacob deGrom (14-8, 2.54 ERA, 205 K’s) of the New York Mets faces Johnny Cueto (11-13, 3.44 ERA, 176K’s) .

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    Tophatal ……

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  15. Opening night tip-off in the NBA and the teams who played won with style and athleticism . Tonight’s games will have a litany of contests on the schedule .

    In their season opener the Cleveland Cavaliers led by four-time League MVP LeBron James fell at the first hurdle losing to the Chicago Bulls in a road loss .

    There are fourteen games being played on Wednesday’s schedule with many of them being divisional and also intra-conference games .

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    Tophatal ……………….

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  16. I’m sorry , but how gullible do you have to be to buy into this idiocy that the Miami Dolphins are or have really improved since Dan Jennings took over from Joe Philbin as head coach of the team ? Granted. prior to last night’s debacle suffered at the hands of New England Patriots in their 36-7 loss , the Dolphins had won two games straight with the defense being good , but that was all to no avail against a Patriots’ offense firing on all cylinders with Tom Brady shredding Miami’s defense , picking it apart almost at will throughout the game.

    Somehow all of these prognosticators with their rather inane insights , are just buying into the idiocy of Miami being a good team when in reality their record and standing reflects something else altogether.

    It will be interesting to see whether or not the Miami Dolphins can overcome the loss when they resume their schedule in week nine with a game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park , New York . Apart from the Miami Dolphins’ defense being so ineffective the offense has also been at best, simply puerile , with Ryan Tannehill being mediocre in just about every facet of his play this season .

    Miami Dolphins news

    Tophatal ……….

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