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I am reserving my full in-depth analysis until the day after Dolphins games so emotion has no factor in my writing. The morning after feature shall be written after the dust settles and a clear mindset is at hand. Without further delay, let’s tackle week one.
|3rd Down Conv||8-18||3-14|
Henne – 21/34 182 YDS
Edwards – 18/34 139 YDS, TD
Brown – 13 RUSH, 65 YDS (5.0 AVG), TD
Williams – 18 RUSH, 62 YDS (3.4 AVG)
Jackson – 4 RUSH, 19 YDS (4.8 AVG)
Spiller – 7 RUSH, 6 YDS, (0.9 AVG)
Marshall – 8 REC, 53 YDS, 13 Targets
Bess – 6 REC, 51 YDS, 7 Targets
Fasano – 3 REC, 46 YDS, 3 Targets
Johnson – 3 REC, 40 YDS, 5 Targets
Parrish – 2 REC, 35 YDS, TD, 3 Targets
Evans – 4 REC, 34 YDS, 7 Targets
Sacks – 1 Misi (1), 1 Wake (1), 1 Dansby (1)
Tackles – 8 Bell (8), 8 Dansby (8), 6 J.Allen (6)
Sacks – 1 Posluszny (1), 1 Ellis (1), 1 Scott (1)
Tackles – 10 Florence (10), Whitner
Quarterback – Chad Henne honestly looked afraid out there. Something was off. Most of his balls were low and away, as if he were thinking interception before he even let the pass go. A deep pass to Brandon Marshall should have been caught even though it was under thrown. His best pass of the day came on a perfectly placed touch pass to Anthony Fasano near the goal line in the first half.
Backs – Ricky and Ronnie split the load and both were effective at times. Brown looked exceptional and showed no signs of any lingering effects from his major injury last season. He was quick to hit the hole and displayed a bounce in his step.
Receivers/Tight Ends – Brandon Marshall had a nice, yet unspectacular debut in a Dolphins uniform. First, his production was limited because of the attention the defense showed him.
There were often shifts in the defense towards Marshall’s side, which opened up the field for guys like Devone Bess and Anthony Fasano, in addition to the running game. Marshall will be more of a threat for greater chunks of yardage as the season progresses and he develops more chemistry with Henne.
Grade: B -
Offensive Line - The line was solid, but nothing special. The running lanes weren’t as big as I’d want them to be and the pass protection was no better than average as they gave up three sacks. Don’t forget this line underwent major changes this summer and they need time to gel.
Defensive Line – Against the run this unit was dominant. They were a big reason why Buffalo could not move the football for the majority of the game.
Linebackers – Superb play by the entire linebacking crew. Despite Channing Crowder’s absence, they were dominant all afternoon, racking up three sacks and controlling the Bills’ passing attack with immense pressure off the edge.
Cameron Wake and Koa Misi looked like seasoned veterans, while Karlos Dansby proved why he deserves that big chunk of change he earned this offseason. He is every bit as good as advertised and I was pleasantly surprised at the way he impacted the game.
Secondary – The greatest concern coming in was the starting cornerback play opposite of Vontae Davis. Jason Allen took that role and ran with it. He was excellent in pass coverage and limited Lee Evans to 34 yards receiving.
If not for his dropped interception late in the fourth quarter—which would have been taken to the house for six—he would have played a perfect game. Free Safety Chris Clemons followed suit in his debut with his steady play. He adds another dimension to the defense with his range in the secondary.
Special Teams – Punter Brandon Fields just might have had the play off the game with a late fourth quarter punt that pushed the Bills offense back to their own one yard line. Dan Carpenter was solid as usual, despite missing a makable 43-yard field goal. The return game was nothing special.
Coaching – I can’t applaud defensive coordinator Mike Nolan enough for the job he did on Sunday. The defense played fast and had a physical, swarming presence. They put pressure on the quarterback at will and dominated Buffalo’s rushing attack.
I love this new attacking style. Opposing quarterbacks are going to have their hands full this season. I would have liked to see a more aggressive approach on offense. With Henne's somewhat tentative play, I understand the lack of deep passes called.
Top 5 Impact Dolphins
1. Mike Nolan
2. Karlos Dansby
3. Ronnie Brown
4. Cameron Wake
5. Randy Starks
Next Week: @ Minnesota (Sunday 1:00 p.m.)