Patriots vs. Dolphins: Why Dolphins' Offense Has Potential to Be Great

Joseph HealyCorrespondent ISeptember 13, 2011

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 19:  Chad Henne #7 of the Miami Dolphins rushes during a preseason NFL game against the Carolina Panthers  at Sun Life Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Most, if not all, of the discussion about the Dolphins offense in the offseason was negative.

Fans clamored for Chad Henne to be sent out on the first plane out of Miami and the exchange of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams for Reggie Bush and rookie Daniel Thomas was seen as a lateral move at best.

Based on what we saw in their opening game against the Patriots, though, the tone of discussions about their offense should improve. The Dolphins offense has the potential to be among the most powerful in the league.

The 38-24 final score in favor of the Patriots is a little deceiving. To be frank, the Dolphins could have beaten the Patriots had their defense made a few stops. Henne and the offense more than held up their end of the bargain.

Henne completed 30 of his 49 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns. He did throw one interception, but I can look past that because he was being forced to sling the ball around a lot as his team tried to frantically get back into the game. If you take out Brady's freak 99-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker, a case can be made that Henne outplayed Brady.

It's about more than Henne, though. The receivers showed up in a big way. Brandon Marshall showed why he is considered an elite target, as he caught seven passes for 139 yards. Davone Bess caught five passes for 92 yards and Anthony Fasano caught five passes for 82 yards. That's to say nothing of Brian Hartline, who caught a touchdown pass.

The running game didn't do a whole lot in this game, but there is obviously hope that they will improve. Reggie Bush only put up 38 yards on 11 carries and Lex Hilliard only got two carries, period. It's unlikely that this group will play this poorly every week and it's not like Bush did nothing. He caught nine passes out of the backfield.

It's going to be tough for the Dolphins to compete in their division this season. The Jets and Patriots are both playoffs teams that stand in their way. They may not compete, but it won't be because of a sub-par offense. This group has the potential to be special.