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NOTEBOOK: Dolphins Earning National Praise; Other Notes

Posted Oct 29, 2012

SI’s Peter King leading the charge

Winning games not only breeds confidence, but it also breeds notoriety and that’s what the Miami Dolphins are finally starting to receive.

Three consecutive wins, with two of them coming on the road have put the Dolphins just a half game behind New England in the AFC East at 4-3. Their dominant performance Sunday at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands that resulted in a 30-9 rout of the New York Jets proved to be a big statement.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King was so impressed by the victory and by how Miami has performed over the last month that he moved the team up to No. 9 in his rankings that appear in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column for SI.com.

“Most surprising team in the league right now,” King wrote in his column. “Tell me: At the end of September, when the Dolphins were 1-3, with losses to the Texans, Jets and Cards, did you think there was any chance they'd be above .500 at any time before 2014? I didn’t. But you’re always in the game when you can play defense, and the Dolphins can play defense.”

King wasn’t finished; picking second-year safety Jimmy Wilson as one of his Defensive Players of the Week along with New York Giants defensive back Stevie Brown.

“The seventh-round pick from Montana in 2011 had one of the best all-around days any player had Sunday,” King wrote. “(He recorded) a sack of Mark Sanchez, two tackles, a pass deflection and a blocked punt when he and a fellow punt rusher ran a twist on the Jets’ line, fooled long-snapper Tanner Purdue and rushed in and smothered the punt, which Olivier Vernon recovered in the end zone to give the Dolphins a 10-0 lead they’d never relinquish.”

PHILBIN’S NUMBERS IMPRESSIVE IN FIRST YEAR

Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin has rocketed to the top of the rankings among first-year head coaches this season thanks to a perfect October. His 4-3 record (.571 winning percentage) is the best win percentage of the seven coaches leading new teams this season.

The Indianapolis Colts also are 4-3 under first-year head coach Chuck Pagano, who was hospitalized back on September 26th and is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia. Bruce Arians has been serving as interim coach since that time.

Jeff Fisher of St. Louis has the Rams at 3-5 and Greg Schiano (Tampa Bay) and Dennis Allen (Oakland) have both of their teams at 3-4. Romeo Crennel’s Kansas City Chiefs and Mike Mularkey’s Jacksonville Jaguars both are 1-6.

Philbin’s Dolphins are the only AFC team and one of four teams in the NFL to go undefeated in the month of October, joining the Atlanta Falcons (3-0), Chicago Bears (4-0) and New York Giants (4-0).

VERNON A DANCING MACHINE

Rookie defensive end Olivier Vernon unveiled a new celebration dance in the end zone after reeling in Jimmy Wilson’s blocked punt for Miami’s first touchdown in the first quarter. It was something he had hoped would have been a more choreographed routine.

“Actually, right before the game we were all in the locker room before the game started and the whole D-line was talking about it,” Vernon said. “We were like, ‘If any of y’all get a sack all of us are going to do it.’ But I didn’t expect to get a touchdown so I just started it before all of them.”

Defensive tackle Paul Soliai tried his own version after recovering a Mark Sanchez fumble but left a little to be desired.

“We’ve got to work on that,” Vernon said. “I told him we’ve got to work on it on Friday.”
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