The sky is falling! The sky is falling!
That was the not so subtle message sent by a few media outlets and received by fans after the Miami Dolphins much publicized scrimmage on Saturday. After all, the reports were that coach Tony Sparano looked and sounded "down" in his post-scrimmage press conference after his defense dominated the suddenly anemic offense.
Well, let's hold off on the doom and gloom with a quick dose of reality.
The offense had an admittedly less than stellar day. No one is denying that.
Brandon Marshall, who had been dominant for the majority of camp, had two catches for 11 yards and (gasp!) actually had a football go through his hands.
News flash-It's going to happen folks. Even the best wide receivers drop balls and have off days. Sean Smith who had been victimized repeatedly by Marshall during the first week of camp actually covered the talented wide receiver and deflected away a long pass. Heck, fans should be celebrating Smith's progress if anything.
Chad Henne completed roughly 50 percent of passes in the intrasquad contest. Oh no! You mean a second-year starter wasn't perfect in a scrimmage? Knowing the nature of Dolphin fan paranoia, I'm sure some people will start calling for Tyler Thigpen or Chad Pennington as the new starter.
Calm Down. Sparano estimates that Henne has completed approximately 75 percent of his passes during camp, which is pretty darn impressive.
Henne certainly would have had better numbers on Saturday if the offensive line, minus Jake Long, hadn't him and the other quarterbacks scrambling for their collective lives.
So, that's the reason we should perch ourselves on the edge of a cliff today. The offensive line can't protect anyone. Never mind, that the Dolphins are still trying to get rookie John Jerry meaningful first team snaps even though its a stretch to assume he'll be the opening day starter.
The same John Jerry who allowed defensive end Charles Grant to be the scrimmage star with three sacks. Grant might only be a recent pickup, but he did start 16 games for the defending world champion Saints last season. Give the rook a break and a few more snaps.
Consider that likely starting center Jake Grove didn't play in the scrimmage due to injury.
Miami is also rotating interior line players in and out like partners in those ridiculous square dances back in elementary school.
One of those rotation guys is Andrew Hartline who was seen as a long shot to make this team just a week ago, yet is taking first teams at center because Sparano got "bored" watching him work against third-string defensive lineman.
Then there is the issue of the defense. As a former defensive coach, I certainly admire Mike Nolan's creative blitz packages. There is definitely an argument to be made in throwing the kitchen sink at Miami's offense early on to see how they hold up. The defense which has a bunch of new players also needs time to learn and practice Nolan's different fronts, stunts, blitzes, and coverages.
But, it is a scrimmage and I am a little hesitant to pass judgment on an offense that likely didn't game plan against cornerback and safety blitzes or fronts where the defensive end lined up over center. Were all of these wrinkles necessary for the first scrimmage of the year?
Time will tell.
I'll be a little more concerned if the Dolphins struggle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers base defense this upcoming Saturday in the teams' first preseason game.
Let me re-emphasize that it wasn't the offense's best day at the scrimmage. Even right tackle Vernon Carey put it fairly succinctly "We played like horse-(expletive) Saturday and we need to get better," he said according to Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald.
You're right Vernon. The offense does need to get better. Let's all just give the Dolphins a little more time to achieve that goal.
At least until the Dolphins play a preseason game or two.