The Morsel of Hope I’m Clinging to for Next Season

27 Jan

“The number one factor in how we do it and specifically how it looks is going to be the ability of the players we have.” – Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor

It’s a simple enough sentence, and a simple enough idea. Yet why did former offensive coordinator Mike “Snooze Bar” Sherman have so much trouble grasping it?

How many times did defenders burst through our Swiss cheese offensive line and we didn’t have a running back popping out behind them for a screen pass? How many times did we keep our 4.65-40-running, former wideout QB in crumbling pockets instead of rolling him out and giving him the option to use his legs?

The Dolphins knew. They knew once discussions about Branden Albert ceased that we were going to be rolling the dice hugely at left tackle. Jonathan Martin graded out poorly there in Jake Long’s place in 2012, and sure enough was a human turnstile this past season.  But if they knew, how in the world didn’t they adjust the offense accordingly? Roll him away from the pressure? Make aggressive defenses pay with screens? Buy receivers a little more time by moving your freakishly athletic gunslinger? We barely did any of that.

In the 39 times Tannehill ran, he averaged more per carry than Kaepernick, Wilson, Griffin and Newton. The dude has legitimate wheels. Half of his college highlight reel was him running, and ironically Mike Sherman witnessed it all first hand.  Tannehill’s ability is strangely ideal for a team with crappy pass protection. However, guys like Sherman are often married to their plans. Calcified. You would’ve thought we had Broncos-quality pass blocking by the frequency with which we left Ryan back there like a statue. It’s a near miracle he wasn’t badly hurt.

So what a breath of fresh air it is to hear our OC say (gasp!) that the offense will be tailored to the strengths of the players. Did anyone sense that philosophy in Davie last year? Felt like a whole lot of “square peg round hole” on the offensive side of the ball. We’re reminded of an SNL sketch with Christopher Walken. It was a “Top Chef” spoof that started with this:

“So for tonight’s quick-fire challenge, you will all be required to take one of the most well-known Chicago staples, the Deep Dish Pizza… However there is a catch. You may only use the following ingredients: Beets, couscous, frozen yogurt, medicine, a paper bag, stale Peeps, and this gum.”

So, amid a mess of an offseason, and the chorus of grumbles around the Dolphin Nation, that Bill Lazor quote is what we’re clinging to like a life preserver. Perhaps he’ll deploy our guys based on their strengths.  And perhaps, for the first time in way too long, we’ll have something cooking in that side of the ball.

GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose

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5 Responses to “The Morsel of Hope I’m Clinging to for Next Season”

  1. lostworlds1 January 27, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    Dan: the only thing I can say in Sherman’s favor — and I’m glad he’s gone — is that he was dealt a typically Dolphin incompetent hand. The mess that was the offense was the culmination of years of Parcells/Ireland mismanagement. In six years they managed to make the OL worse year after year until this year’s masterpiece of ineptitude. Two wideouts in a passing league where other teams bring out 4-5. No speed in the slot. No time for guys to get open, separate, due to an OL that couldn’t play in the SEC. No depth, no development of talent. Sherman had to try to protect Tannehill — run him or keep him in the pocket, he was dead meat in this offense. Whatever Sherman did — and everything he did was wrong — was doomed by the mess that Ireland put on the field. Sure, Sherman stank, sure Philbin’s shown nothing — I’d like ‘em all w/ Turner and Coyle gone — but look what they had to work with. When Grimes signs elsewhere the Dolphins will fall to 4-12 where they belong. For those of us who’ve followed this team since the 70s, well, we’ve had a replacement team since Uncle Fester forced Shula out.

    • Dan Ewen January 27, 2014 at 11:44 am #

      Fair points, but I do think Sherman isn’t exactly adept at making lemonade out of lemons. The best do. And Grimes ain’t going nowhere. He’ll be franchised if he doesn’t sign. Thanks so much for the comment.

  2. Doug Ro January 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    Christopher Walker should have been hired to be our GM.

  3. Josh January 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    I felt this article was covered all the points that kept us from 10-6 last year. It really is unfortnate how the season ended last year because we have a talented team on both sides of the ball. Ireland finally put up the talent and had the right to be upset with the staff those last two games. He saw what we could all see. Inept play calling. The defensive playcalling in my opinion was very good (except for on 3rd and long when we kept rushing 4 and dropping 7) and we kept everyone except the Saints high powered offense in close games despite our anemic offense. We gave up to many yards on the ground but didn’t give up points and that is all that really matters. When our offense came on the field it made me seriosuly anxious and nervous. I knew the play calling was not good enough despite all the talent we had minus the offensive line. Rollouts, screens, and draws were nonexistent. (Understandably no play-action) Running stretch plays with D. Thomas on 3rd and short and never drawing up any Tannehill read options until way to late in the season. They didn’t give the ball to Lamar Miller nearly enough with all the big play ability he has and never threw him the ball in open space. I read an article about how the league is a matchup league and Sherman runs a progression offense and I entirely agree. You get Mike Wallace on a slow corner forget the progression, let the QB decide quickly where to go and make his own decisions. The game is down on the field and the best coordinators let the players run the offense to their strengths; The Hennings and Shermans don’t and have a communist like control over the plays. Hopefully Bill Lazor (cool name) is more of an innovative Josh McDaniels than a stone age (Sherman). Even somewhere in the middle is good enough to get us to the playoffs. Great article.

  4. speraltar2012 January 31, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    Anyone know how i can contact this Blog’s Admin? I have an NFL blog called http://www.afcenews.com and would like to see if we can discuss some article sharing

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