Miami Dolphins Coaching Staff Should Get the Game Ball for Win over Jets
The score indicates a rout, and that holds true upon a second watching of the game. What stood out, though, was the well-devised game plan by the coaching staff.
That's not something that will ever show up in a box score, but it can often be the difference in the game.
Certainly, the players executed a solid game plan by getting consistent pressure on Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and by taking care of the football. We know the Dolphins defense is capable of getting big plays on a very consistent basis, and they did so again on Sunday, but players don't simply take the field and demolish opponents the way the Dolphins did to the Jets.
Especially not when the box score isn't indicative of any distinct advantages the Dolphins had over the Jets.
Really, it came down to a few key plays that the Dolphins made where they took some chances and took advantage of some weaknesses they saw in their opponent. The credit goes to both the coaching staff for calling these plays, and having the courage and conviction to do so, but also to the players for executing them.
Take, for instance, the pair of cornerback blitzes in the first quarter that helped stall out Jets drives and even forced a turnover.
The first blitz came on a 3rd-and-7 with Sanchez lined up in the shotgun.
Sanchez looked up the seam for an open receiver, but they hadn't yet entered their breaks and were nowhere near ready for the ball to be launched in their direction. That, combined with an inside rush from Karlos Dansby, forced Sanchez to roll out and look for other options. He was unable to find one, and was sacked by Wilson.
That set up the Jets with a 4th-and-15, where they would have the punt blocked (more on that later).
The second corner blitz came on 1st-and-10 with Sanchez lined up under center.
This time, Sanchez didn't even see the pressure coming because he was locked into the receivers on the right side of the field.
The Dolphins have blitzed effectively this season, and they did so 28 times out of 59 dropbacks (47.5 percent) on Sunday, but the corner blitzes were a new element. They worked well on Sunday; who knows if they will remain a part of the game plan going forward or if they were just a wrinkle installed during the long week of preparation for the Jets during the bye.
Either way, credit goes to the coaching staff for finding that advantage and exploiting it.
Of course, who they blitzed was just as important as who they didn't blitz. Defensive end Cameron Wake, one of the league's best pass-rushers by nearly every metric, was dropped into coverage at times to confuse left tackle Austin Howard.
On one occasion, it allowed defensive tackle Tony McDaniel to come through the line completely unblocked, decking Sanchez as he delivered a pass.
The same goes for the blocked punt, which was returned for a touchdown.
The "stunt" move by Jimmy Wilson allows him to get through the line without getting picked up because no one is really sure who is supposed to protect him at the line.
It was a solid play designed to take advantage of an inexperienced personal punt protector in Tim Tebow. He hasn't played the position all that much, and never before in his time with the Jets, but teams hadn't taken advantage of his lack of experience enough leading up to Sunday. Now that the Dolphins have done so, other teams might follow suit in this copycat league.
The ability of the coaching staff to get it right in the week of preparation leading up to a game—exposing the weaknesses of an opponent, adding in a few wrinkles to keep them guessing and then executing all of those things in the game—is the stuff that wins are made of.
Philbin touched on all of that in his postgame press conference (via MiamiDolphins.com):
"Daring is usually not associated with me. Like I said, we felt like it was the right thing (to do). There’s going to be times, I’m sure, down the road where we think about these things, we have meeting about these things and discuss them, and sometimes a situation arises where we think it’s an opportune time to utilize them. But let’s face it, there’s going to be a time where we think that and the other team does a better job executing and it’s not going to work.
"...I think as long as there is a good thought process to what you do things, and there is more than one way to do things, but I think if at least you think about why you’re doing something is sometimes more important than what you’re doing. So if you have a why, at least you can justify it. Everybody else may not agree with it, but that’s ok. So I think we’ve had a couple of reasons as to why we did, and we were fortunate they worked. The players executed the plays."
When will the Miami Dolphins make the playoffs?
Those creative plays have certainly helped, but the way this team is playing, it could be argued that it could win games without those plays.
We decried the lack of talent on this roster heading into the season, but thus far, the coaching staff has put the pieces together for a winning season to this point.
The offense is efficient, the defense is off the charts, the special teams are viable and with an underrated coaching staff, the Dolphins have one of the most important ingredients in building a contender for years to come.
We could be seeing the growth of that contender before our very eyes in 2012.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.
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