Dating back to last season and a 6-10 finish, optimism reigned true with coaching search and plethora of coaching candidates that interviewed for the head coaching job in Miami. As Joe Philbin was hired, many fans praised the hiring of an offensive football coach by Ireland in that the Dolphins were going to undergo a culture change for the better. With Philbin being labeled as the mastermind of the Green Bay Packers Offense, Dolphins fans fantasized about Aaron Rogers type quarterbacks ready to lead the team since Dan Marino. Outside of the organization, bloggers and beat reporters grew excited about the Dolphins offense changing to put points on the board run a multitude of quick plays and compete with the likes of AFC foes New England and the New York Jets.
However after three weeks of training camp and two preseason games later, the Miami Dolphins look like the same team from 2011 providing a lack-luster effort up and down the roster. More and more the Dolphins look and seem like the 2007 Dolphins who finished 1-15 under a coach who shall remain nameless. Of course I may be wrong, but here is why I feel that the Dolphins are headed for disaster:
First, the Miami Dolphins are not finishing drives in the pre season. The offense has accounted for a total of 7 first half points, countless three and outs and drops galore on offense. Sure the Miami Dolphins have a shiny new ferari at quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, but his numbers reflect positively only because Tannehill has yet to throw an interception or cause a turnover and has thrown for more yardage than other rostered QBs and two scores. However, Tannehill fails to step up in the pocket when trying to avert a rush and has not completed passes on 3rd downs to sustain drives early in a game. The running game looks non-existent and scared to hit the hole on a 3rd and short. A paltry 2.9 yards per carry on Friday is akin to the Miami Dolphins season in 2004 without Ricky Williams.
Next, the defense's effort is not showing up on gameday. Regardless of the injuries to Wake, Dansby, Burnett, and McDaniel, the defense missed tackles left and right in the first quarter of the Carolina Panthers game. In fact, even though the reserves were in there, the zone defense they played got flat-out carved up by second year quarterback Cam Newton finding his tight ends over the middle. Opposing offenses have been able to attack the middle on this defense no matter who has been playing out there dating back to last season. New coach Kevin Coyle has to tighten things up and evaluate and decide on the best 11 for this defense. Many are starting to doubt that this defense was better when run by Coach Nolan last season. The physical nature of the defense is just not there.
Lastly, there is no "I" in team. It is apparent that certain players such as Chad Johnson, who has been released for good reasons and Vontae Davis are making each battle in a game about themselves. I don't understand the battle between Steve Smith and Davis and how that was good for comradery of the team defensively in the long run. Davis has been shown pouting about the heat and challenging the coaches on his conditioning while on Hard Knocks, but this latest demonstration of immaturity reeks Vernon Davis, his older brother. Perhaps Vontae Davis will repeat this performance and then actually be kicked out to the locker room during a game by Joe Philbin.
Frankly, from the outside, the Dolphins after two games this preseason look like a mess. Joe Philbin has his hands full of a myriad of issues: Players are not executing the systems in place, coaches are not reaching the players and gaining their trust, and the media is hovering over Davie and starting to doubt this first year coach.
Maybe Ross and Ireland had all of this wrong when he hired Philbin or maybe the Dolphins are just as broken as they are and cannot be fixed.
Week 2 of the preseason has now come and gone and the Dolphins haven’t exactly got off to the most encouraging start. Whether its poor preparation or poor execution, the team hasn’t been hitting on all cylinders to say the least.
There are several question marks remaining before the season starts with the most obvious being who will Joe Philbin name his starting quarterback.
With Ryan Tannehill coming out in weak 2 with an average performance, he might have actually taken a step forward as his main competition Matt Moore did nothing to step up and take a strangle hold of the QB battle. Tannehill however wasn’t given a lot of time to prove what he could do as he was constantly under pressure with an O line performing very poorly.
The safe money however barring any radical changes in the competition would be that Ryan Tannehill will debut as the team’s starting QB.
Major questions that came from the second game many different areas
1) Offensive Line ( rookie Jonathan Martin ) – While the offensive line struggled as a whole, the rookie Martin’s struggle were on display getting beat several times including on more
than one occasion which led to sacks. The offensive line has to learn how to gel and play more as a unit. Many of Martin’s issues are coachable and can be fixed. Philbin mentioned he is not disappointed in the young lineman and still has high expectations for him.
2) Absence of a number 1, 2 or even 3 receivers – One thing that might hold back the Dolphins from starting Tannehill is the fact he wouldn’t be given many weapons at his disposal. No WR
has really shined with the opportunity to move up on the depth chart. We are still waiting for a breakout performance from any of the receivers. No WR has really taken advantage of the fact that Chad is no longer in the mix.
3) The secondary – The secondary didn’t really make any strides after a poor performance in week 1, Davis is still struggling to impress and find himself back with the number 1 unit
4) Lack of depth on defense – With Wake, Burnett and Dansby all out, no backup player really was able to rise to the occasion and make an impact. The 1st team unit came out with a
lack of fire and intensity and it lead to a quick 17-0 Carolina lead. While the defense wasn’t really a concern going into this season, the unit certainly hasn’t instilled confidence into the fan base.
5) Tight End coverage still seems to be a concern, it’s been 3-4 years now this defense has struggled covering tight ends and when having to face Gronk + HernDog and Dustin Keller amongst
others it could make for more fans covering the faces with their hands.
This team has a lot of work to do and I think the preparation by Philbin and his stuff needs to get better as well. Execution and intensity seem to be an issue with this team, as the
fire just doesn’t seem to be there. On the bright side at least we MIGHT have found a QB.
Back in 1983 the Dolphins drafted a first round QB named Dan Marino, the organization was never the same following that day. Fast forward the clock to 2012, where the Dolphins for the first time since 83’ used a first round draft pick on a QB.
As the second preseason game is underway tonight, the Ryan Tannehill era begins. Will this be the first start of many to come down the road in the next 10 years? The fan base is sure to get a boost of excitement as rumors of a great week of practice for Ryan have fans curious and eager to see what the kid can do against a first team defense.
Ryan is also schedule to play almost, if not the whole 1st quarter. Tannehill is set to take around 20-30 snapes tonight. All eyes will be watching the young QB to see if he can lock up the starting job for week 1. Should Tannehill have a performance similar to his week 1 preseason debut, it just might seal the deal on him being the opening day starter. Granted Tannehill might have won the job the unconventional way (David Garrard’s injury), the rookie just wants a chance to lead this team and become the player the Dolphins hoped he would be when they used a high draft pick on him. There is no going back now however, the Dolphins have given Tannehill the keys to the car.
Note that the Panthers defense isn’t fully loaded as their pro bowl middle linebacker will be out this week. Tannehill will have to build a strong relationship with his average receiving corps and will hopefully look to find the endzone at least once this week.
Last week, Tannehill avoided creating any turnovers and he will look to follow that up this week.
Well the wait is over, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise but the Ryan Tannehill begins tonight. If things work out remember the date 08/17/2012. If not well then add him to the list of Dolphins QB flops.
Here’s to hoping! PhinsUp !no comments
The Dolphins added a linebacker to their current roster making it 90 players trying out for 53 spots. Josh Linam last played at University of Central Florida and stands 6'3" 237lbs.
The spot was open after the recent release of Chad Johnson on Sunday.
The Dolphins presumably will use Linam on Special Teams or as a linebacker this weekend to see what he has.
His career was highlighted by 165 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, and three interceptions while at UCF.
He was most recently released by the San Diego Chargers on July 27th.
We will see what Linam can bring to this team defensively and maybe provide a spark and depth to the linebacking corps.
The very anticipated second episode of Hard Knocks got off to a very suspiring and emotional start.
HBO gave us a glimpse into the heart wrenching loss that Joe Philbin had to suffer when he lost a child. The passing of Reid's son must have been extremely difficult for Philbin to deal with and Hard Knocks just showed another reason why the Dolphins head coach should be admired.
The show then progressed into the Les Brown story line which probably wasn't what the national audience was looking forward to. The show did progress as we got to hear Ryan Tannehill's vocals as he sang Lean On Me to the whole team.
Philbin had a chance to talk to Dolphins legend Bob Greise and told him how much he liked Tannehill.In some interesting news Jeff Ireland had a one on one with SI's Peter King in which he told King he was a fan of the Phins receiving core. ( That makes one of us ) However he did say he believes the team is full of 4,5 and 6th string receivers and they need 3,2 and 1's. Our first glimpse of Chad on Hard Knocks was watching him fail to gain separation from Sean Smith which could be the real reason why the Dolphins didn't keep him around. Also somewhat apparent is that Johnson might have had trouble picking up the playbook.
In the first real informative part of the show we learnt that Garrard injured his knee playing in the pool with his son. Jeff Ireland was not pleased with the news David Garrard required surgery and would miss up to 4 weeks.The show began to drag out a little bit as everyone was awaiting the news on how Chad was let go. Lauren Tannehill provided a slight distraction however I am sure most of the national audience watching must be a little dissapointed at this point of the episode.
Finally HBO got to the story everyone was waiting for, we got to witness Philbin adressing the whole team about Chad's arrest. According to Coach Philbin, Chad knew what was coming and that he was going to get cut.
From Ben Volin @BenVolinPBP : Chad Johnson called director of security Stu Weinstein and thought he might get cut. Chad to Stu: "This is gonna be my death penalty."Chad knew he screwed up and told Joe, that he let him down. Philbin responded, "It's not just what happened last night. ...I wish it was different. I wish I could tell you something more encouraging."
Philbin then continued to tell Chad he thinks its best that him and the team part ways. It was very tough and sad to watch but was covered very well and in the end it seemed that Joe Philbin just didn't want Chad Johnson on his roster.
Just when things seemed better in Davie, Miami radio media dealt an ugly blow to the Miami Dolphins Franchise. This morning, while conducting his daily program, Sid Rosenberg launched an offensive by having defensive player and team captain Karlos Dansby on the program.
Dansby is quoted as saying:
"I hate that we didn't stand behind him. I know the guys in the locker room would. But the organization felt a totally different way about the situation, and they probably had more information than we know. And they had to do what they had to do.
"It's going to be an even bigger distraction right now, I think, because of the simple fact we let him go. I think if we were going to be with the guy, if he was going to be our guy, we have to stand behind him ‒ even though the situation came about. He didn't get that third strike."
First, Dansby is right from a team standpoint that they really wanted to help Chad as a teammate and friend. That is a very human response and very family like thing of him to say. Dansby as the captain and often interviewed spokesperson has a right to respond to media questions on his own time. There is no issue there. However, the main issue that a fan may have with this is that Dansby erred in responding without knowing all of the facts. It's one thing to say something supportive, but it's another to take what Dansby doesn't know and place indirect blame on Head Coach Joe Philbin.
Interestingly, a tweet that did catch my attention was from @ckparrot (Chris Kouffman) who said:
"might be the only one happy to see Karlos Dansby speak out against the Johnson release. My reaction if I'm Philbin? Message sent."
This idea of media swirling around during this important time in Dolphins training camp is not absurd. It is a fact. What's also very interesting is how the media took exacly what happened yesterday at face value and accepted the decision of the Dolphins. Many media members echoed the sentiments of the Dolphins having only "high character guys" and sticking with it.
Even Peter King yesterday said that Chad Johnson was just plain "dumb" in his time in Miami, while writing his MMQB.
So, where do the Dolphins move on from here?
First Philbin has sent a message and he needs to stay consistent. I think the same conversation will be had with Karlos Dansby and Karlos Dansby might want to stay on his good side.
Next, there are 7 receivers that are all vying for a shot at this team. Of course, fan favorite Robert Wallace wants to take Johnson's spot, but he has to do a better job of reading the defense and catching the ball in the redzone.
Dolphin land is always ripe for reality TV especially in the year that is officially Hard Knocks, so as a fan all there is to do is: buy the tickets, merchandise, and root for the Aqua and Orange!
When Joe Philbin said he was implementing a zero tolerance policy he meant it. Per Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero Joe Philbin made the decision to let go Chad Johnson and the ownership was behind him 100 %.
Although Chad does not have a long history of criminal offense and he generally only causes headaches with his mouth at press conferences, after everything the Dolphins went through with Brandon Marshall they were left with no choice but to move on from the diva receiver.
Joe Philbin passes his first test under pressure in Miami as he absolutely made the right decision to move on from Chad Johnson. This team cannot afford off the field distractions and Johnson’s
arrest goes against the family and strong culture Joe is trying to build in Miami. This move tells you everything you need to know about Joe, that he is a man of character.
Johnson released won’t cost the Dolphins much money as his contract was based on if he made the week 1 roster. This is not the Marshall trade where it cost them 2 draft picks, this was a zero risk signing. Chad's career as a Dolphin will be remembered as one dropped preseason catch and what could have been.
The Dolphins now might look to signing another vet receiver as a roster spot how now freed up however look for Roberto Wallace to receive a big jump in reps and an opportunity to become one of the leading options for this receiving core.
Wallace won’t be given an opportunity like this many times in his career and he must continue his strong play so far and continue to impress.
For Chad this might be the end of the road as it would be hard to believe that anyone at this point would be ready to take the plunge and offer him a contract.
Hard Knocks might not be as appealing for the national media but at least it there will be less headaches in Davie and more focus on football and only football. Hard Knocks is must watch tv for all Dolphins fans this week.