By Jay Skurski
It will be a homecoming Thursday night for Palm Beach Post Dolphins beat writer Brian Biggane, who was born and raised in Buffalo.
The St. Bonaventure graduate started his journalism career at the Tonawanda News and Niagara Gazette from 1972-77.
"I'm dating myself here a little bit," he joked during a phone conversation this week.
Biggane then headed south, eventually landing with the Post in 1980, where he's since covered the Heat, Dolphins and Panthers.
Biggane still has a sister and brother living in Western New York. His brother operates the Byrd House restaurant in Orchard Park.
"If I owe any debts from 30 years ago, that’s where you can find me," Biggane joked.
He also took time to preview tomorrow’s game between the Bills and Dolphins, breaking down what went wrong for Miami last week, how rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has looked and other topics. The entire audio of the interview is at the bottom of this post.
Question: Just what the heck went wrong for the Dolphins on Sunday against Tennessee?
Brian Biggane: "Just about everything went wrong. Ryan Tannehill threw three interceptions, one of which went back for a touchdown, Chris Johnson went crazy running, which is something the Dolphins really haven’t worried about most of this season. They’re still ranked fifth in the league in run defense, but he had well over 100 yards running against them. It was just one thing after another. They just could not stop the bleeding and the game got away from them. It was 24-3 at half and in talking to the guys in the locker room after the game, they had a feeling if they could get a stop against Tennessee on the second-half kickoff, they could get a score and start turning it around, but Tennessee took the second-half kickoff, went down and scored and that was it. I mean, 31-3, the game was over. … They’ve been licking their wounds a little bit here. The talk has been they can’t wait to get back on the field, so I don’t know if that’s good or bad for Buffalo, but they’re anxious to get back and right the wrongs they committed the other day."
Q: Where is Ryan Tannehill at nine games into his rookie season?
BB: "I think for the most part he has played very well. He went head to head, or toe to toe, if you want to put it that way with Andrew Luck up there in Indianapolis. A really interesting, entertaining game. It came down to a couple plays at the end where Miami couldn’t quite pull it out and Indy won by a field goal, but for the most part he’s been what they hoped he’d be and probably even more. The expectation, as you probably know, he only had 19 college starts at Texas A&M, won the starting job midway through his junior year, so did not have much of a pedigree coming in, but the big bonus was Mike Sherman, who was his coach at A&M, came in as offensive coordinator. He brought the same offense, so he picked it up quickly, won the job in training camp thanks in part to an injury to David Garrard that put him out of the picture, because he probably would have started otherwise, but Ryan has been as good as expected. A lot of people feel like finally the search – much as the search continues to go on for Jim Kelly – the search down here for the next Dan Marino is hopefully over."
Q: How was Chris Johnson able to be so effective against the Dolphins when so many other running backs have struggled?
BB: "Cutbacks, in a word. Johnson’s very good at seeing a hole’s closed up and heading off in the other direction and the Dolphins did not do a good job of closing off the back side. Once he gets through a hole, I know he played up there a few weeks ago in Buffalo, and he can be electric. That's what happened on his two longest runs, one of which was a 17-yard touchdown, were exactly that. So they’ve got to be a lot more disciplined, because they’ve been saying this week they feel like C.J. Spiller is exactly the same kind of runner and you better keep him contained or he’s going to hurt you badly."
Palm Beach Post Dolphins beat writer Brian Biggane