Just a handful of thoughts, mixed with musings, peppered with observations, as we now stand just 21 days from opening night against the Patsies.
*One bad game, one solid one. Welcome to Henne-ssee. To be fair, Chad didn’t have a whole lot of first string weaponry out there against the Falcons. It looks like the plan is to keep the game in the first twenty yards of the field for him. Dumps, slants, quick outs. Probably a good idea, as Henne hasn’t shown much touch on the deep ball. So, why try and force a square peg into a round hole? Henne is better at these throws. Spread the field, and nickel and dime defenses to death. Marshall is great after the catch. Bess is a slot guy, and money in that first ten yards of space. And Reggie Bush? Well, there aren’t many guys who can consistently turn screens into twenty-yarders. A great addition to allow the Dolphins to still move the ball without much of a vertical passing game. Our fear is that we’ll be wasting Clyde Gates, a guy who could end up blowing past DBs forty yards down the field, mostly for his own cardiovascular health.
*And how about that Reggie Bush guy? By all accounts he’s been working his de-Heismaned tail off, staying late, even attending O-line meetings. He looked fantastic in his Dolphin debut. He ran fast, which we expected. But Bush ran tough as well. The question is how many carries can #22 handle? Daniel Thomas will provide valuable snaps to keep Reggie from being overworked, but our team will simply be better when Reggie is on the field. Striking that balance will be important, because if he ends up on the trainer’s table, points will be a lot harder to come by.
*The Kevin Burnett signing was brilliant. KB has been all over the field, strong in every facet. I would put Dansby/Burnett side by side with the best ILB tandems in football. Our defense is rising, and was top 6 last season. But to build a truly dominant squad you can’t be complacent. So even though we had an almost exclusive offensive draft, and even though Channing Crowder was a solid player, we pounced on an upgrade. We’re excited to watch Mike Nolan do his thing with this crew. Odrick looks like a man out there. JT should provide some pass rush opposite Wake. Jimmy Wilson was a huge find. Get him on the field. Somewhere. He will make plays.
*I see us running left a lot. A whole lot. Long, Incognito, Pouncey. The right side of the line? Well, it hasn’t hit its stride just yet. Carey’s learning on the fly at RG. By the way, kudos to Big Vern for making a sacrifice to stay in Miami. A pay cut, voiding two years of his deal, and a move to a brand new position? Wow. Not many players would have rolled with that. Right tackle? Well? Murtha (which means “holding” in Gaelic)? Colombo? Garner? Not settled over on the that side. Our backs may have to do a lot of chipping over there to keep Henne on his feet. Reggie Bush, chip and release for screens, all day long.
*Do we really have four fullbacks? Daniel Thomas 230lbs, Lex Hilliard 240lbs, Charles Clay 240lbs, Lousaka Polite 245lbs. So maybe they’re not all technically fullbacks, but look at that beef! If Reggie Bush goes down we’ve got a stable of bruisers sporting 4.63 40s. Three yards and a cloud of dust, baby. If Clay’s blocking is up to par, we think we should politely send Lousaka packing. This team needs big plays. Speed. To keep a redundant fullback on the roster instead of a guy like Livas would be hindering our big play ability. Livas would get 70 attempts as a KR/PR. There’s potential for a serious impact. Compare that to the potential impact of a second fullback. Exactly. We hope the Dolphins honor the importance of the return game. Livas needs to pop another big one soon to remind everyone just what he brings to the table.
*Daboll was fired. Sparano was half-fired. If Tony’s ever going to start going for it on 4th and short, it’s this season. If Brian is going to do whatever it takes to put points on the board, it’s this season. They are both in danger of entering Assistant Coach Purgatory. Or worse, Coaching at Somewhere Like Portland State Purgatory. They may not be flashy, or have the most impressive resumes, but we will get the best out of Tony and Brian. Their careers depend on it. Circumstances should dictate a sizable increase in testicular fortitude as far as Tony’s kick-happy ways are concerned. There are a couple of riverboat gamblers on top of our division in Rex and Bill. We’ve got to put our stones on the table if we want to compete. So far I like what Daboll is drawing up, working to Henne’s strengths. Our offense doesn’t need to be the Saints, but if Brian can return us to the middle of the scoring pack, we’ll be in the mix.
GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @thebottlenose