Pats @ Fins MNF Rewind

Ahhh finally Dolphins football season was getting ready to kick off. A MNF home opener! My best friend since kindergarten has moved back to Ohio and we can watch our first game together in years. The foundation of said friendship is based on a Miami Dolphins “Starter” jacket. Unfortunately we were playing the Pats. And while I believe in “Any Given Sunday”, great movie by the way. It’s always rough going up against an established team with an identity vs a young team trying to have one. And a shortened off-season didn’t help. So here goes my opinions and review of Monday nights game.

So first off my expectations were the Dolphins young defense would play well but eventually breakdown due to alot of 3 and outs by the offense. And…I was wrong. I think 517 yds and 4 tds  is all that needs to be said before we dive into the positional grades.

Offense

QB– I have to say overall I liked what I saw out of Chad Henne this game. Alot of improvement from last year. Only one game I know but hey progress none the less. I want to drop this stat real quick about Henne I found in this ESPN article http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/story?id=6952361&_slug_=nfl-miami-dolphins-surprise-playoff-contender&action=upsell&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnfl%2fstory%3fid%3d6952361%26_slug_%3dnfl-miami-dolphins-surprise-playoff-contender. Last year Henne had 19 INTs and only 1 pass that went as a “dropped INT” vs say Marc Sanchez who had 13 INTs and 15 passes that were ruled a “dropped INT.” After reading that Monday afternoon I started gaining a little hope for the fins and maybe Henne’s luck.

Positive

 
     Audible
I loved how Henne saw and read the D before the snap. Last year he wasn’t given the option to make audibles. He did this game and I think he did well with the exception of the redzone attempt to Marshall. One that stuck out in my mind was 1st quarter audible to a run off the right side for almost 10 yds(play ended being replayed due to penalties on both sides) but the fact he saw an opening and audible to the run was encouraging.
    Mobility
Henne did a great job of stepping up in the pocket and into his throws. He was sacked 4 times but did protect the ball. Even tho it seemed Pats were playing soft coverage, he recognized it and had some good runs and when needed got out-of-bounds to stop the clock. Heck he had a rushing TD of course it looked like he had 2 left feet when he ran but hey it was 6pts.
   Protecting the Ball
He also did a good job of protecting the ball in pocket when pressured. His only INT was last play of game which was just a desperation pass. Many of Henne’s underneath/ crossing throws were at or below the numbers. IT was nice to see balls weren’t sailing on him.
Negative


  Communication
A few times on hot reads Henne and his WRs weren’t on the same page, particularly Marshall. In the redzone its important to know what routes are being run/need to be run. Like to see improvement in this area going forward. Also the fumble on the attempted “pitch” to Bush was a blown play that looked like rookie Pouncey had sealed the corner for Bush. Cant give up big play potential.
  Game management
Two timeouts on the opening drive? That’s ridiculous! That’s going to burn your coach up. You’re at home and the first 15 plays or so are mainly scripted.  So what the heck happened?
  Long Ball
This is one thing I hoped for improvement after watching Henne and Marshall connect for a 60 yd bomb this preseason. Once again almost every deep ball Henne threw was about 5 yds too long. On one hand great better long than short but with Marshall out there you have to throw some 50/50 balls.

Conclusion
Henne overall played better than I expected and look forward to the development of his game. Now were his stats of 30/49 416yds 2 TDs and 59 yds rushing with another TD on the ground, inflated due to a soft pats D? If so he still did what he was supposed to and expose a weakness.

Grade B-

RB-So with Ronnie and Ricky gone it was time to see what Bush had to offer as the fins featured back.
Positive


  Between the tackles

Bush did a much better job than anticipated. He hit the holes hard between the tackles. With Charles Clay being inactive Lex Hilliard filled in as FB. Hilliard did a nice job on a 3rd and 1 play to keep his feet moving to get the short yardage first down. A play that last year Polite was clutch on.
   Protection
Bush did a great job for a smaller back against a big inside D line (Wilfork and Haynesworth) of keeping the rock safe.

Negative


    YAC
Normally this would be a positive with Bush. And he did have a receiving TD where he made a great diving effort. But what I want to point out is there were 2 plays I can think of where Bush caught the ball out of the backfield and needed to head north south. He didn’t have that open space to make alot of moves. He has to know when to juke and when to use his speed to get up field.

Conclusion
Bush had a good not great first game as a Dolphin. Certainly 38 yds rushing doesn’t show it. But with Henne having over 400 yds passing trying to play catch up, Bush didn’t have alot of opportunity. He also had 9 rec for 59 yds and a TD.

Grade C+

WR/TE Marshall Hartline Bess Fasano

Positive


  YAC
I think all WRs especially Marshall did a great job of getting yards after catch along with keeping the ball safe. (Stats for YAC havent come out yet)
  Circus Catch
Loved the effort by both Marshall and Fasano on their redzone receptions. They were actually almost in the identical spot. Fasono one-handed grab was def a Top 10 catch. And Marshall went up and got a 50/50 ball.

Negative


   Drops
The stats havent come out yet but I can think of 3 dropped passed on slants in Monday’s game. Those have to be high % throws and they were right on the numbers.

   Communication
This goes along with what I said about Henne. The QB and WRs have to be on the same page with hot reads and redzone routes no matter what! It makes a huge difference. IE Brady Welker 99 yd TD.

Conclusion
Minus the drops and communication issues, I loved seeing the YAC. They were looking to make plays and that shows with 10 20+ yd plays.

Grade B-

O-Line

Positive

I guess Henne had enough time to throw for 400yds? Also Pouncey did a nice job on a couple plays were he was pulling out for a run. (One was useless because of the “pitch” mishap.)

Negative


    Goal Line
All goal line package plays were awful. The only one ending in first down was the Hillard run which I think was more of him staying with it than the line.  Even on the half yard line they went to shotgun and a fade route to Hartline? That shows you the confidence they had in their goal line package.

  Penalties

Richie Incognito enough said.

Grade D+

Overall Offense
The offense had 10 plays of 20+ yds in the passing game. Last year we had a total of 44. Henne had a 61% completion %. While 3.8 yds per rush for Bush isn’t great. I will take it going forward as his first “feature” back game.

Grade C+

Defense
Do I have to?

D-Line


Positive


  Wake’s Motor
Cam got man handled for most of the game by the Pats RT rookie. But his motor never stopped. He ended up with a sack where he released “The Animal” and had a pressure.
  INT

I suppose Odrick for being in the right place at the right time.

Negative


  Pass Rush
Where was it? I heard all this talk about the Pats beat up D line but the Fins line couldn’t find a crack in their line. Brady had all day to throw. And while the secondary certainly didn’t play well it doesn’t help when Brady has that much time. Brady throw the ball 48 times and got hit twice!
  Conditioning
This goes for the entire defense. This is our home field? We should be acclimated to the heat right? Guess not.
   Hands Up
Only 2 pass deflections by the D-line. If you’re not going to put pressure on Brady at least get your hands up!

Grade D

LB
Positive
I really have nothing to say

Negative


  Conditioning
See D line negatives
  Coverage
So we acquired Dansby last year and now gave Barnett 21 million dollars to sure up our ILB. Ya about that. If DBs couldn’t cover TEs, these guys didn’t have a shot. 0 Pass deflections.
  Two Minute D
Dansby D play caller? So maybe they shouldn’t have been substituting every play. A number of times the fins were still in their D huddle while NE was snapping the ball. You gotta figure it out. I mean Bruce Gradkowski even connected with AJ Green in the Browns Bengals game for TD in the same situation. What do you think Tom Brady will do?

Grade D-

Secondary

My favorite part of the D. Mostly because beside a kicker only position my size would allow me to play. Also I love Vontae Davis. If your feeling generous throw a jersey my way. And even tho some mocked his statement of “best cornerback tandem in the league.” I loved it. Its bold. And at that position you must have swagger. But you also have to perform and put max effort into every play.

Positive

  INT
Only one and it was Benny Sapp breaking up the WR screen and getting a pick that Odrick could grab and rumble stumble his way inside the 10. I hate WR screens. Mainly because we usually get burned on them. That was probably the one play I saw max effort and intensity on by any member of the secondary besides Jones/Bell. (And now Benny Sapp has been cut. Please sign Will Allen)

Negative


  Conditioning
See D line negatives

  Zone coverage
Several times when secondary was in zone coverage at the goal line they didn’t protecting it. I’m thinking of mainly the touchdown where Sean Smith had over top coverage and Gronkowski.   Had TD reception at goal line.

  Confusion
It seemed like the entire game, even when the Pats were NOT in their 2 minute offense, the secondary was scrambling to figure out their assignment. Not sure if calls came in late or they were just clueless.

  Nolan Carroll

Thats all.

Conclusion
The secondary just got flat-out burned. Reshard Jones seemed like the only Dolphin that remembered how to tackle. He led the team with 12 tackles which is never a good sign. If the fins secondary wants to play with swag and attitude(which I like) they have to back it up. They need to play with some confidence.

Grade F

Overall Defense
Whether the pass rush gave Brady too much time or secondary blew too many coverages. Or D plays weren’t getting in fast enough. You can’t make it that easy for one of the best QBs in the league

Grade D-

Special Teams

Positive
Only thing special about this was Brandon Fields big leg and that was it.

Negative
   Penalties
While my wife was excited about the signing of Jason Trusnik I was just hopeful. She was good friends with him in high school and had a few dates as well. But man two holding penalties on returns in your first game with a new team? Not a good way to start. Hope fins don’t have too much of a knee jerk reaction with him and give him a second chance. Still waiting for some free tickets 🙂

   Onside Kick
I liked the onside kick formation and apparently so did Gruden I think he talked about it for 10 minutes. And it was there. A nice high bounce and no patriot caught it. You got to get downfield and get that ball. It comes down to who wants it and who doesn’t.

On the bright side I think last year against the Pats they had a punt and fg return for a TD, and that didn’t happen so we have that going for us.

Grade D+

Final Thoughts
Like I said earlier I expected the defense to outshine the offense. That was hardly the case. Even if the fins scored on that 4th and goal making it 31-24, I have no confidence that the D would have been able to stop the Pats and give Henne a shot. If the D played half what I expected I think it could have been more of a game. The conditioning on D was awful and has to improve going forward. Good news is we don’t play Brady and the Pats 16 times a year.

Looking Forward
Offensively I’d like to see the aggressive play calling continue and Henne changing plays when appropriate. Also want to see more of Reggie Bush. Maybe some more designed screen plays to get him in space with some big boys in front of him. Defense needs to wipe the board clean. Learn from your mistakes and move on. You have to have a short memory and get back out there and return with the same swag and attitude. Honestly I’m kind of excited to see how this young defense responds. Hope they come out next week against Schaub and Andre Johnson ready to play.

Until next week FINS UP!

 

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  1. I couldn’t have said it any better and definitely agree with everything. I am disappointed, but was satisfied with actually seeing an offense that looked explosive at times. We still need to learn how to finish drives in the redzone though. I have faith the D will get things turned around, but with the best WR in the game coming to Miami, it’s not going to be easy. If we start 0-2 at home, the hot seat is already going to be heating up for Sparano and Ireland.

    • Its getting a little warm in south beach already for the coaching stuff for sure. Time to welcome in the Texans

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