Miami Dolphins Must Continue to Put Players in Best Positions to Succeed

Robert HoffmanCorrespondent INovember 14, 2011

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 13:  Reggie Bush #22 of the Miami Dolphins walks into the endzone during a game against the Washington Redskins at Sun Life Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Want to know why the Miami Dolphins have won two games in a row after starting the season 0-7? There a couple of reasons, but perhaps the best is that they have started to take their skill players and put them into positions to succeed.

Running back Reggie Bush is not an every-down, between-the-tackles runner. I know that, virtually every Dolphin fan knows that, and most importantly, the coaching staff has to know that. Yet, for 12 of Bush's 14 carries yesterday, he never gained more than four yards, and that was because he ran between the tackles.

So, with the Dolphins up 13-9 and driving in the fourth quarter, Miami finally put Bush in a position to succeed by bringing him across the formation in motion with a full head of steam.


Bush scored on an 18-yard scamper around the right end, and Miami had an insurmountable 20-9 cushion that proved to be the final score.

Even Bush's earlier one-yard score came on a bounce play around the left end where the Dolphins sealed the edge.

Again, it's called putting a player in a position to succeed.

On to Brandon Marshall.

Here is what doesn't work with Marshall. On the team's first offensive play, the Dolphins tried a Wildcat play where the ball was pitched back to quarterback Matt Moore, who then threw it deep for Marshall. It wasn't the best pass, but it could have been hauled in.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 13:  Brandon Marshall #19 of the Miami Dolphins catches a pass guarded by  DeAngelo Hall #23 and  London Fletcher #59 of the Washington Redskins during a game  at Sun Life Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

But Marshall isn't a vertical down the field receiver, and he doesn't come up with the catch. Thankfully for Dolphin's fans, Miami quickly went back to what Marshall (seven catches for 98 yards) does best. They sent him on shorter patterns or on plays deep down the middle, where he could use his physical frame to pull in catches and pick up additional yards.

In my mind, the best of Marshall's catches was a simple bubble screen that he turned into a 12-yard gain because he is so tough to bring down in the open field. It might not show up on a highlight reel, but it's plenty productive.

Please, no more fades to Marshall in the end zone either. It doesn't work, because he is going to have tight coverage and will likely have to fight for a questionably thrown ball. That's not a recipe for success from a receiver that doesn't typically make the difficult grab. A quick flare in the flat to Marshall or even Bush has a much better chance of producing seven.

Finally, you have Anthony Fasano. Good pass-catching tight ends in the NFL work the seams of the field. Fasano is a good, just not great tight end. Yet, he hasn't caught more than three balls in a game since Week 1 (a five-catch, 82-yard day against New England). In some games, he is rarely even targeted, even though he is Miami's best offensive weapon other than Bush and Marshall.

Against the Redskins, his three catches went for 28, 21, and 11 yards. Each was a critical play, and he could have had a fourth important grab if a deep pass from quarterback Matt Moore wasn't off target.

Fasano loves working the right seam, and he is going to be open during a game. Moore needs to look in his direction consistently.

Look, Fasano is going to drop some balls. But he hasn't dropped enough to have only 15 catches in nine games, especially when he averages 16.7 yards per grab and has three touchdowns.

The bottom line is that the opponents are about to get much tougher for Miami, but they can still win ball games if they put their best players on offense in positions that match the player's strengths, instead of asking these players to do what is outside of their skill sets.