The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 7, 1997 · Page 43
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December 7, 1997

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 43

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Sunday, December 7, 1997
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, 88 THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1997 .. 1 i f 31 1 5 ,5 -.2 I 'it,. "li T iiJuLdLiJI 1 fm mm w p m gas I : ? r . j ! . 1 J m-j DOLPHINS VS. LIONS INSIDE THE DOLPHINS Brigance and special team WHERE: Pro Player Stadium. WHEN: 8 p.m. TV: ESPN. RADIO: WJNO-1040AM, WQAM-560AM. INJURIES: Dolphins S Bracey Walker (leg) is on injured reserve. TE Frank Wainright (pectoral) is doubtful. FB Jim Kitts (groin) is questionable. Lions CB Corey Raymond (foot) and LB Richard Jordan (hamstring) are doubtful. LB George Jamison (shoulder) is questionable. PICK: Lions, 27-25. BOSIEflS Detroit Lions Offense v: Miami Dolphins Offense PM. NO. PLAYER HT. WT. OB 13 RB 33 '" FB 36 WR 80 i WR 81 . LT 78 ' ' L& 77 :" I RT- 76 - TE 84 . K ' 10 Defense Dan Marino Karim Abdul-Jabbar Stanley Pritchett Brett Perrlman O.J. McDuffie Richmond Webb Jeff Buckey Tim Ruddy Everett Mclver James Brown Troy Drayton Olindo Mare M 228 5- 10 200 6- 1 245 5- 180 5-10 194 6-6 320 6-5 305 300 318 6-3 6-5 (6 6-3 330 265 5-10 190 They are flawed, all of them, aren't they? These outrageous, hideous athletes of the 1990s? Dumb, mean, spoiled, macho. O.J. Brigance refers to his wife as his "queen." ( ' - Account for that. I JC?Jsj Not that Brigance, the i 59 G?W Dolphins' second-leading special teams tackier, isn't flawed. Sure he is. He is a J slowpoke. He drives slow. rJ He moves slow. He was 40tron dviir f i-onli7fl of Ethan J. Skolnick the woman a family friend wanted to introduce him to was the woman, Chanda, who would become his wife. He first saw her in a parking lot, eight years ago. His friends whooped and hollered. He noticed. But he went home, while his friends went to a graduation party. Later, Brigance received a phone call from the mother of the boy having the party. She wanted him to meet a girl who was there. Brigance declined. She called again. He declined again. She called again. He relented. He was curious. He threw on old shoes with no shoelaces, and a ratty T-shirt. "Way too small," Chanda recalls. "And blue acid-washed jeans. He looked terrible." When Brigance came in, he saw who he was to be introduced to: the girl in the parking lot. Uh-oh. He shuffled to the bathroom, to straighten up. "No fixing that up," she told him. She took his number, but did not give his wife are a Play money As a form of motivation, playoff shares were scribbled on the grease board in the Dolphins locker room this week. Each player's amount for reaching the: WILD CARD (Div. winner) $ 1 5,000 WILD CARD (entry) $ 1 0,000 DIVISION PLAYOFF $15,000 CONFERENCE CHAMP $30,000 SUPER BOWL LOSER $30,000 SUPER BOWL WINNER $48,000 That means the most any player can earn is $108,000, roughly one game of pay for Dan Marino, whose base salary is $1,765 million. him hers. She played the game. Five years later, they were married. They still are. Brigance has found a place in the NFL, albeit in a more limited role than he had in the Canadian Football League, in which he was a star linebacker. He found this new place by calling 28 teams, requesting a chance. Cleveland worked him out, but he didn't impress. Other teams pulled offers back. The rest told him, "No, no, no. Too small. No, we're full." TODAY'S GAME POS. NO. PLAYER HT. WT. QB 19 Scott Mitchell 6-6 230 RB 20 Barry Sanders 5-8 203 FB 44 Tommy Vardell 6-2 230 WR 84 Herman Moore 6-4 217 WR 87 Johnnie Morton 64 190 TE 86 David Sloan 64 254 LT 72 Ray Roberts 64 308 LG 77 MikeCompton 64 297 C 53 Kevin Glover 6-2 282 RG 64 JeffHartings 6-3 283 RT 71 Larry Tharpe 6-4 300 K 4 Jason Hanson 5-11 183 Defense LDE 91 Robert Porcher 6-3 270 NT 95 Mike Wells 6-3 287 DT 94 Luther Elliss 6-5 291 RDE 97 Tracy Scroggins 6-2 255 OLB 59 Reggie Brown 6-2 241 MLB 57 Stephen Boyd 64 247 OLB 58 George Jamison 6-1 235 LCB 32 Bryant Westbrook 6-0 199 RCB 24 Kevin Abrami 54 175 SS 28 Ron Rice 6-1 206 FS 27 Mark Carrier 6-1 192 P 18 JohnJett 64 199 Non-starters QUARTERBACKS QB 12 Matt Blundin 6-6 233 QB 14 Frank Reich 6-4 210 RUNNING BACKS RB 23 Terry Battle 5-11 197 FB 30 Cory Schlesinger 64 230 RB 33 GlynMilburn 5-8 177 RB 34 Ron Rivers 5-8 205 RECEIVERS WR 15 TommieBoyd 6-0 195 TE 81 Pete Chryplewicz 6-5 253 TE 82 EricStocz 6-4 258 WR 83 KezMcCorvey 64 180 TE 89 Pete Metzelaars 6-7 254 OFFENSIVE LINEMEN G 62 Tony Semple 6-4 286 C 66 Hessley Hempstead 6-1 295 T 70 Andre Johnson 6-5 314 T 73 Juan Roque 6-8 333 T 75 Tony Ramirez 6-6 296 DEFENSIVE LINEMEN DT 67 Travis Klrschke 6-3 286 DT 92 MarcSpindler 6-5 290 DT 96 Shane Bonham 6-2 275 DE 98 Marvin Thomas 6-5 264 LINEBACKERS LB 52 Scott Kowalkowskl 6-2 228 LB 54 Matt Russell 6-2 245 LB 55 Antonio London 6-2 234 LB 99 Richard Jordan 6-1 265 DEFENSIVE BACKS CB 25 Greg Jeffries 5-9 184 CB 31 Corey Raymond 5-11 185 CB 35 Robert Bailey 5-9 174 CB 38 Daryl Porter 5-9 188 S 42 Ryan Stewart 6-1 207 I LDE 93 Trace Armstrong 6-4 267 ' LOT 95 Tim Bowens 6-4 315 RDT 92 Daryl Gardener 6-6 315 - RDE 99 Jason Taylor 6-6 255 - OLB 51 Anthony Harris 6-1 235 .MLB 54 Zach Thomas 5-11 235 .OLB 59 Derrick Rodgers 6-1 225 LCB 27 Terrell Buckley 5-9 180 RCB 29 Sam Madison 5-11 185 SS 22 Shawn Wooden 5-11 205 FS 38 Calvin Jackson 5-9 185 P 17 JohnKIdd 6-3 215 Non starters QUARTERBACKS OB 7 Craig Erlckson 6-2 210 OB 11 Damon Huard 5-10 190 RUNNING BACKS RB 21 Lawrence Phillips 6-0 223 RB 30 Bernie Parmalee 5-11 210 RB 32 Jerris McPhail 5-11 210 RB 35 Irving Spikes 5-8 205 FB 20 RayNealy 5-11 235 FB 42 Roosevelt Potts 6-0 254 FB 48 Jim Kitts 6-2 243 RECEIVERS TE 82 Frank Wainright 6-3 250 WR 83 Brian Manning 5-11 188 WR 85 Lamar Thomas 6-1 175 WR 86 Oadry Ismail 6-0 196 WR 88 Charles Jordan 5-11 185 TE 89 Ed Perry 6-4 250 OFFENSIVE LINEMEN G 60 John Bock 6-3 295 T 68 Mike Sheldon 6-4 305 G 69 Keith Sims 6-3 318 T 74 Brent Smith 6-5 305 DEFENSIVE LINEMEN DE 70 MikeChalenski 6-2 280 DT 72 Barron Tanner 6-3 310 DE 75 Shane Burton 6-6 310 LINEBACKERS LB SO Dwlght Hollier 6-2 242 LB 56 Mike Crawford 6-1 238 LB 57 0 J. Brigance 6-0 236 DEFENSIVE BACKS Good week for distraction He did not call Houston or Miami at first, figuring for different reasons that neither would be interested. It turns out those would be the two teams that ultimately wanted to sign him. Bob Ackles, the Dolphins' director of football operations, was familiar with Bri-gance's CFL coach, Don Matthews. "I was blessed," Brigance said. He and Chanda speak of prayer in their lives, not in the grating and ridiculous God-helped-us-win-this-game way, but in a way that makes you believe them. Brigance's Dolphins teammates cannot remember the last time he cursed. Larry Izzo came to Rice University as Brigance was leaving. "He was a legend," said Izzo, a special teams player who has missed this season with an Achilles' tendon tear. "A real man." A man who plays football, who is described by special teams coach Mike Westh-off as "athletic, quick, tough, fast," who studies tape, who comes in on his day off. Who hasn't been in trouble with the law, or caught philandering. "We love each other to death," Chanda says. There are more of these guys than you'd think in professional sports. Regular people who happen to have a talent in athletics. No, Brigance isn't perfect. And he doesn't represent every athlete. There are other bright, upstanding people who play for the Dolphins such as Shawn Wooden, and Derrick Rodgers, and Jeff Buckey and on . . . Do these guys represent every athlete? No more than Lawrence Phillips or La-trell Sprewell do. MATCH DPS LIONS WR HERMAN MOORE VS. DOLPHINS WR BRETT PERRIMAN. When Perriman didn't re-sign with the Lions after last season, a primary factor was his strained relationship with Moore. The guys straining Sunday may be the short cor-nerbacks. Moore, 6-foot- Moore 4, will be covered by 5-9 Terrell Buckley, or at best, 5-1 1 Sam Madison. Perriman is only 5-10, but 5-8 kevin Abrams draws the assignment. LIONS RB BARRY SANDERS VS. HISTORY. Sanders has 1 1 consecutive 100-yard games. The Dolphins are the only team he has faced that he does not have one against. Lately, he covers 100 yards in two runs. "Teams have controlled him for a quarter, or a half, or three quarters," defensive end Trace Armstrong said. "And then he busts one." Miami's defenders must play disciplined, and avoid overpursuit. LIONS QB SCOTT MITCHELL VS. THE BLITZ. Actually, Mitchell won't face it as much as Oakland's Jeff George did, though Mitchell can be equally skittish. "There's a big difference," Jimmy Johnson i' i . i ' i ,. . j , " M; I . J Mitchell STATS Detroit Lions PASS. ATT COM PCT YDS Avg. TO INT Mitchell 414 236 57 0 2819 15 11 Reich 29 10 34 5 110 0 2 Blundin 1 0 00 0 0 1 TEAM 444 246 55.4 2929 15 14 OPP. 410 224 54 6 2784 13 13 RUSHING ATT YDS AVG LNG TD Sanders 263 1594 6.1 82 9 Rivers 26 164 6 3 31 I Vardell 27 109 4.0 41 6 Mitchell 27 62 2.3 13 1 Morton 2 29 14.5 20 0 Schlesinger 7 II 1.6 4 0 Reich 4 -4 -10 -1 0 TEAM 356 1965 5.5 82 17 OPP. 384 1430 3 7 74 12 S 23 George Teague CB 24 Jerry Wilson S 25 Corey Harris i CB 34 Tim Jacobs 6-0 206 5-10 187 5-11 205 5-10 187 Miami Dolphins Marino 450 Erlckson 18 TEAM 468 OPP. 449 260 57.8 3124 8 44.4 121 268 57.3 3245 272 60 6 3066 RUSHING ATT YDS AVG LNG TD Abl-Jbr Spikes McPhail Parmalee Jordan Erickson Kidd Pritchett Nealy Marino TEAM OPP. 239 63 11 16 3 4 1 2 1 762 180 125 60 12 I 4 3 2 3.2 2.9 114 38 4.0 20 40 1.5 2.0 -.7 32 4 1 22 14 71 12 1 71 43 14 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 17 s 16 -12 356 1144 357 1473 RECEIVING NO. YDS AVG LNG TD McDuffie Drayton McPhail 66 831 12.6 34 487 14.3 27 209 7.7 23 249 10 8 22 420 19.1 22 197 9 0 20 296 148 Parmalee Jordan J Abl-Jbr L. Thomas Barnett J Perriman 3M,-Parry Manning "Spikes Pritchett Qotson 166 9.8 179 16.3 35 3.5 85 12.1 70 10.0 17 170 4 4.0 . TEAM 268 3245 12 1 272 3066 11 3 t OPP. 17 t r t i INT. NO. YDS AVG LNG TD Teague 2 25 12 5 23 0 Wooden 2 10 5.0 10 0 Madison 1 21 210 21 0 Z.Thomas I 10 10 0 10 0 Buckley 1110 10 TEAM 7 67 9 6 23 0 OPP. 10 243 243 100 3 SACKS NO Rodgers 5.0 TEAM PASS. ATT COM PCT YDS Avg. TO INT RECEIVING NO. YDS AVG LNG TD Moore Morton Sloan Sanders Metzelaars Vardell T. Boyd Miiburn Schlesinger Chryplewicz McCorvey TEAM OPP. 89 1125 12 6 61 778 12.8 26 213 8 2 24 256 107 15 125 8 3 13 171 132 5 86 17.2 5 77 15 4 4 68 17 0 3 27 9 0 1 3 3.0 246 2929 11 9 224 2784 12.4 79 73 24 66 22 37 32 43 33 12 3 79 78 6 5 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 15 13 Lawrence Phillips' arrival might be a problem tonight, but the Dolphins can look ahead to division rivals. By Ethan J. Skolnick Palm Beach Post Staff Writer DAVIE The Miami Dolphins play a football game tonight. An important, if not essential, football game. That's been easy to neglect in the Week That Lawrence Arrived, and if the Dolphins lose to the streaking Detroit Lions, many will attribute the defeat to the distraction caused by the signing of a certain running back. But the real distraction may have been caused by the schedule-maker. Since Jimmy Johnson took over, he has stressed the overwhelming importance of division games. His Dolphins players, heeding the call, have won 10 of 14 AFC East games under Johnson, and three of six games against other AFC teams. They are 1-6, including 0-3 this season, against the NFC. Detroit is the final NFC team on the schedule. Miami's final two opponents are division rivals Indianapolis on the road and the New England Patriots at home. Miami will win the division if it takes all three games. But if it loses one, this is the one to lose. Wins against the Colts and Patriots will clinch a playoff spot. "I try not to play the what's-on-paper game," receiver Lamar Thomas said. "I hate biting my nails. It's best to win all three." Sure it is. And the Dolphins had to sip Lawrence Phillips whenever he was available. But signing him now, in this week before an interconference game, was better than later, before a pivotal division contest. If the Dolphins lose to the Lions, and win the final two, including an electric Monday night game with the Patriots, they would still enter the playoffs soaring. Johnson gets sore when it's suggested the Phillips signing was a distraction. He concedes it caused a media circus on Wednesday, but otherwise says it was no more a distraction than the signing of any other player during the season, and less of a distraction than signing fullback Roosevelt Potts. "We needed to get him ready to play that week," Johnson said of Potts. They do not need to get Phillips ready, but they will. Expect him to play in a few situations tonight, and to play more during the final two weeks. Especially during those division games. "There's more discussion about division INT. NO. YDS AVG LNG TD Carrier 4 83 20 8 66 0 Brown 2 83 41 5 45t 2 Abrams I 29 29 0 29 0 Raymond 1 17 170 17 0 Porcher 1 5 50 5 0 S. Boyd 1 4 4 0 4 0 Bailey I 0 00 0 0 Jeffries I 0 00 0 0 Malone 1 -5-5 0 -5 0 TEAM 13 216 16.6 66 2 OPP. 14 155 11.1 50 2 SACKS NO. Porcher 12 0 Elliss 7.5 Scroggins 6.0 Brown 2.5 Abrams 2.0 London 24 Bailey q Bonham .o Jamison i'g Waldroup 10 Wells in TEAM 370 OPP. 340 Bowens 4.5 Bvrton 4 0 Taylor 40 Armstrong 3.5 Wilson 2.0 A- Harris 1.0 Stubbs 1.0 Z. Thomas 1.0 Gardener 0 5 Jackson 05 TEAM 270 OPP. 164 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Miami coach Jimmy Johnson doesn't think the signing of controversial running back Lawrence Phillips threw off his team's preparation for Detroit. It was. Early in his five-year tenure in Dallas, the Cowboys lost to everybody, and by the end, they beat everybody. In Dallas, Johnson was 21-19 against the NFC East, 13-11 against the rest of the NFC, and 10-6 against the AFC. "Division games matter more than non-division games," Johnson said. "So when I look at opponents, I don't care if it's AFC or NFC, but I do care if it's in the division." Johnson has not lost a division game at home since Sept. 15, 1991. He has won 17 straight since. What the Dolphins need now is acting baseball commissioner Bud Selig or NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to resign from their respective leagues, join the NFL, and hammer through radical realignment. Or Miami could just pretend Detroit is in the AFC East. "It's weird for me, playing against NFC teams and not beating them," Thomas said. "I started wondering, 'Am I back in Tampa?' " Tampa Bay, actually, was one of the three NFC teams, all in the Central, that beat Miami. "We really didn't play well against them," linebacker Derrick Rodgers said. "That was our worst game. The Bears game was a fluke. And against Green Bay, we were in that game, we could have won." They didn't, and yet they still can win their division, if the tattered Jets lose once in the next three games, simply by handling division foes. Those foes, everybody knows, determine how ths season goes. Z" Score byqrts. 1 2 3 4 0T TOT ' " TP AM 50 94 46 101 3 294 37 97 38 67 3 242 OPP. SCORING TOTRUSRECRET XP FGLFG PTS Mare Abl-Jbr Jordan Drayton McDuffie McPhail 0 X 22 42 IS 14 3 0 SeilEDULE SCORE BYQRTS. I 2 3 4 OT TOT TEAM OPP. 32 114 78 98 0 322 69 91 30 54 6 250 SCORING TOTRUSRECRET XP FGLFG PTS Hanson Sanders Moore Vardell Morton Brown Scroggins 35 23 55 104 Detroit Lions Detroit 28, Atlanta 17 Tampa Bay 24, Detroit 17 Detroit 32, Chicago 7 New Orleans 35, Detroit 17 Detroit 76, Green Bay 15 Buffalo 22, Detroit 13 Detroit 27, Tampa Bay 9 New York Giants 26, Detroit 20 (OT) Ocf 26 Open Green Bay 20, Detroit 10 Washington 30, Detroit 7 Detroit 38, Minnesota 15 Detroit 32, Indianapolis 10 Detroit 55, Chicago 20 Dec. 7 at Miami, 8 p.m. Dec. 14 at Minnesota, I p m. , ' Dec. 21 New York Jets, 4p.mj , said. "Number 20 (Sanders). If you gamble too 1 much and get out of your base ' defense, he'll make you pay." DOLPHINS RB KARIM ABDUL-JAB-BAR VS. FOOTSTEPS. They're com, ing quickly, from newly signed Lawrence Phillips. Abdul-Jabbar is the model citizen, but Phillips is the running back model of size and speed. Abdul-Jabbar needs a ; big finish to the season, and even that might not be enough to . keep his job. LIONS DE ROBERT PORCHER VS. DOLPHINS RT JAMES BROWN. Porcher has 12 sacks. Miami's line hasn't gotten enough credit for allowing a league-low 16 sacks. The success is not entirely attributable to Dan Marino's ; ; quick release. ; 'l games in the off-season, and we talk about the division throughout the season," Johnson said. "When players are reminded weekly that the Miami Dolphins Dolphins 16, Indianapolis 10 Dolphins 16, Tennessee 13 (OT) Green Bay 23, Dolphins 12 Tampa Bay 31, Dolphins 21 Sept. 28 Open Dolphins 17, Kansas Citv 14 Dolphins 31, Jets 20 Dolphins 24, Baltimore 13 Chicago 33, Dolphins 36 (OT) Buffalo 9, Dolphins 6 Dolphins 24, New York Jets 17 Dolphins 30, Buffalo 13 . - New England 27, Dolphins 24 Dolphins 34, Oakland 16 uec. ueTroir, a p.m. Dec. 14 at Indianapolis, 1p.m. Dec. 22 New England, 9 p.m. goal is to win the division, the intensity picks up during those weeks. We're in a situation now where we know we have to win regardless of who the opponent is." Johnson was asked if he knew his record against the NFC. It used to b pretty good, years ago." he said, lauehing. '

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