What a painful loss in this early 2010 Dolphins season, compounded by the presence of many issues that Miami needs to address in all three phases of the game. The Miami Dolphins schedule is brutal this year and the Team cannot afford many losses at home. Here are the glaring issues I saw as I watched the Dolphins come up short against a very equally matched opponent, in the New York Jets.
First the Offense:
- Chad Henne played well, threw for 363 yards and got everybody involved. Made all the throws except one, just does not seem to be in-sync with his receivers when it comes to the “deep ball”. He has yet to hit his wide outs in stride when they beat the coverage deep. Seems like he really misses the speed of a guy like Ginn who can run under the ball when it’s launched by Henne’s canon.
- Where’s Ronnie Brown? And no I’m not talking about the “Wildcat”. The guy is averaging nearly 5 yards a carry in this game and you only give him 11 carries, and that’s with the apparent benching of Ricky Williams? Were any of those even in the “Red Zone”? Brown has a nose for the end zone and loves to punish defensive backs as he bulls his way in for the score. This guy is going to be in no mood to re-sign with the Dolphins if this keeps up, maybe that’s the plan. If it is, it’s a losers plan.
- Speaking of the “Wildcat”, it is time to minimize the dependency on this play. Teams have figured out how to stick to their gaps and defend this play. I’m not advocating a complete retirement, but it would be better to have teams not preparing for it and then you can catch them off guard every once in a while.
- I love Ricky Williams, but for a guy who has averaged 4.3 fumbles a year, he’s on pace to shatter that average this year. Contrast that with Ronnie who averages 1.8 fumbles a year. Ronnie is averaging 2 more yards per run this season than Ricky with nearly the same amount of carries. Brown gets stronger as the game goes on, but that’s insignificant if he’s only getting 11 carries a game.
- Letting Jason Taylor, who clearly wanted to stay with the Dolphins, go to your biggest Division rival is about as bone-headed a move as drafting Pat White in the second round. Having a player of his experience and skill set on a young improving defense is invaluable. Not to mention the depth it gives you when guys get dinged up (Jared Odrick). I can’t help but think if J.T. was wearing orange instead of green, it would have been enough to tip the scales in Miami’s favor. That being said, “it is what it is”, the Dolphins need to get more pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. Let’s hope that when Odrick comes back, he will become the disruptive force the Dolphins need on the front line.
- Vontae Davis is officially a shut-down corner, but that means nothing if he’s matched-up with the second best receiver on opposing teams. I’m not ready to give up on Jason Allen or Sean Smith for that matter, but with Will Allen gone for the year, you need an answer on the other side of the field. A good pass rush makes this less of an issue (see previous point).
- Just like last year, opposing teams are still exploiting Miami’s inability to cover Tight Ends. Can’t cover, can’t win.
I’ll keep it short and sweet. Miami’s kickoff returns are averaging 9 yards less than their opponents, last year they won that match-up by about a yard and a half. So they are definitely heading in the wrong direction in the field-position battle. I love Patrick Cobbs, but he is not the answer at Kick Returner. Miami is winning the punt return battle by an average of about a yard and a half.
I think all the aforementioned issues are correctable within the current Miami Dolphins roster with the exception of a kick returner/deep threat. I realize Ginn had worn out his welcome in Miami and is not exactly lighting it up in San Fran, but it would be nice if the Dolphins could find a 4.3 guy somewhere on the waiver wire or maybe via trade. If not, then look for the Team to absolutely address the need in the off-season or draft. Until then, let’s just hope the coaching staff can find a temporary fix that can help keep the Miami Dolphins atop the division, heading into the playoffs, and representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. I expect nothing less.