The Stop and Go: Rivalry Week
Breathe in. Breathe out. And take three steps back. As a fan of the Miami Dolphins, it is another week for perspective. Yes, Sunday marked the first home opener victory since 2005, but the Miami Dolphins beat a very uninspired Oakland Raiders squad. Behind Reggie’s 172 yard day and a rush defense that held the perennial stud Mcfadden to 22 yards on 11 carries, (cannot wait to see Shonne Greene), the Dolphins deserved the victory. As Coach Philbin said: “we have a million things we need to work on”. More importantly, as I’ve just said: “it is another week for perspective”, and another week to Stop and Go forward. The real test lies with the Jets.
Stop: Full quarter lulls
Good teams are able to play well for a full 60 minutes and close out a game. What I hope does not become a trend this season is something I will call “full quarter lulls”. In the second quarter of Sunday’s game the Dolphins produced three consecutive three and outs and big fat donut on the scoreboard. The Dolphins offense needs to bring their A-game for a full 4 quarters if they’re going to beat even the Bourgeoisie of the NFL like the Jets.
Start: Sacks and Tight Ends
The Miami Dolphins do not lack a pass rush per say, but they lack finishing ability. This past week the Dolphins pass rushers managed…wait they didn’t even manage a single sack. On the bright side, they did amass 10 QB hits and 14 QB hurries. The pressure is clearly there, especially as Cam Wake manhandled Oakland right tackle Khalif Barnes into 6 of the QB pressures, just a sack never materialized. The impact play—loss of yards that gets your defense off the field. Strong side rusher Olivier Vernon has got to make an impact with his limited plays (he did have a crushing hit on special teams).
On the offensive side of the ball, I think it is time to get Michael Egnew into the game. So he can’t block; split him out wide Jimmy Graham style and let him make some Tony Gonzalez-esque catches. Fortunately for the rookie tight end, teammate Charles Clay’s 1 reception for 2 yards start to the season could land him on the field sooner than we all expect. Egnew could finally provide the seam threat that we’ve been lacking at the tight end position.
Continue: Get Tannehill Rolling
It seems that Coach Sherman finally decided to roll the rookie QB out of the pocket. It was immediately obvious that this is a comfort zone and major strength for Tannehill. Keep the pocket moving, disguise the bootlegs, and keep wide receiver Brian Hartline rolling with him. Can anyone say number one receiver? I sure hope not. Hartline has shown flashes as a dependable target for the rookie, but many follow up performances are in order, if we are to pin the label on him. On the comical and bright side, Brian Hartline absolutely abused, toyed, and mocked, Raiders corners all afternoon. It was like a carousel as they repeatedly switched up the coverage and continuously the ball found Hartline’s hands. The Tannehill-Hartline connection must continue to be deployed by Commandeer Sherman if the Phins hope for aerial success against the Jets.
New to this 1-week old column is the “Incognito” Dolphin of the week—that is to say a player whose individual effort has gone unnoticed but was highly impactful in this past week’s game.
The “Incognito” Dolphin of the Week is: Cornerback Sean Smith. Smith was thrown at 8 times (of 45 passes), yielding only 2 completions, and surrendering an opposing QB rating of 53.1. Smith defended two passes, including a key third down on an in route by Denarrius Moore, en route to helping his Dolphins to their first win.
As Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath once said, “If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?” So my Dolphins, when the Jets come to town and you’re about to take your quarter off, keep playing, don’t Stop, and Go all the way until the fat lady sings.
Until next week,