Did you get an extra hour sleep last weekend when the clocks were rolled back an hour?
I was working in the office on our Week 8 releases when I checked the clock on my computer and it read 3:14. “Okay,” I said out loud, I had plenty of time to finish up my work given with the extra hour it was really just 2:14 in the morning.
An hour later when I finished my update on all the point spreads, weather reports and injury situations, the clock on my computer said 4:25. Turns out, while I thought that meant it was really 3:45 a.m., I noticed the clock on the wall in the office read 5:25. Uh oh, I made a mistake, forgetting that the clock on my computer automatically adjusted off daylight savings at 2:00 a.m.
Okay, no problem, I’ve worked times where I’ve had only an hour after one day ended and the next one began many times on Sunday. Turns out, I lost that hour too. The phone rang at an ungodly hour as if the clock switch didn’t matter at all.
It was Paul, who I had worked with until midnight, and now he was calling hours before the Sunday kickoffs as excited as a kid on Christmas morning.
“It’s the Dolphins,” Paul announced with the first words after I answered the phone.
Paul is my brother’s son. When he was in grade school he would come into my San Francisco office to stuff envelopes and watch my staff work on the NFL games. When he was a student at Serra High School, the alma mater of Tom Brady and Barry Bonds, he would keep the stats on the newly developed computer systems we introduced in our office. When he was a student at Cal Berkeley, he developed a mathematical method to determine the value in the point spread, which we use to this day and is available on this site with the Point Spread Price table.
So, even without sleep, I could hear the enthusiasm in the man’s voice.
He hadn’t taken advantage of the extra hour sleep offered by the clock rollback either, he had been working all night on tracking NFL team development in search of edges … and he thinks he found one with the Miami Dolphins.
On Saturday night, I had discussed with him the disappointment Ryan Fitzpatrick had expressed on losing his starting quarterback job when he was playing as well as he had in his long NFL career. He had guided Miami to a pair of recent wins with decisive scores over the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets, 43-17 and 24-0 respectively.
But, the Dolphins organization knew they had to evaluate whether their top 2020 draft pick was going to be the franchise quarterback they are looking to guide them back to NFL prominence. With a rich quarterback class coming up, probably five will be selected in the first round in the 2021 draft, the Dolphins had to find out if they needed to pick one of them or do they have their guy with Tua Tagovailoa?
Tagovailoa made his first NFL start last week. He didn’t have a statistically brilliant day against the tough Los Angeles Rams defense but the Dolphins won the game, 28-17.
The rookie Miami signal caller will make his second NFL start Sunday in Arizona, and challenge a talented Cardinals team on their home field.
The Cardinals had spent a top draft pick two years ago on a quarterback they had hoped would be their long time starter, selecting Josh Rosen with the overall 10th pick in the 2018 draft. Arizona brass then determined they made a mistake, and with the first pick in the 2019 draft took quarterback Kyler Murray.
It was a very good move.
The ability to admit a mistake and quickly change direction landed the Cardinals one of the most dynamic young quarterbacks in football today. Murray had a solid rookie season, and this year has the Cardinals challenging for the division lead in pro football toughest division, the NFC West.
The Dolphins are looking to do the same. By getting Tagovailoa playing time this year, they will know whether he is their guy or they dip into the quarterback talent pool next April.
On Sunday, the Cardinals host Miami as a bet-on home favorite after they had two weeks to celebrate their overtime win against the Seattle Seahawks the last time they played … Arizona had their bye last weekend while I was losing sleep. It parallels the Las Vegas Raiders situation where they beat the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead before their bye week, and then got drilled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on their home field in their first game back.
If Paul’s early morning call is right, then missing my extra hour sleep will be well worth the untimely loss of an extra hour, in this case, the only hour of sleep last Sunday morning.
My money is on Paul … and the Dolphins.
Qoxhi Picks: Miami Dolphins (+4½) over Arizona Cardinals