I almost feel guilty piling on during this week of understandable and mostly warranted venom being directed at our beloved SoFlo Sea Mammals, but I can’t hold back. Today, weighing heavy on this fan’s mind as he cries into his Mitchell and Ness Marino jersey? Why in the hell do we make things easier on opposing defenses?
In today’s NFL, throwing the deep ball is NOT about actually completing the damned pass. Okay, to a degree it is. However, have the Fins forgotten that pass interference is the most generous penalty in the game? Does it escape us that every week entire games are decided by P.I. calls? Have we also forgotten that making the defense respect the deep ball loosens things up closer to the line? Did we bring Kenny Stills in for his hair care tips? Send the man deep! Parker! Matthews! John Denney! Anybody! Wing that pigskin down the field. Between completing it, getting a pass interference call and loosening up the defense the benefits far outweigh the costs. Does the thought of getting picked off make you queasy? Boo hoo. Think of it as a punt. Well worth it to have an offense that can even be mistaken as dangerous. Perhaps the deep heave to Matthews Sunday will serve as a reminder to an offense that’s trying to survive in four yard chunks and failing miserably at it. Throwing it deep isn’t some horrific gamble. It’s an absolute must.
But wait, there’s more! I have never seen a team with this shabby a pass blocking unit run this few screens. Screens are the exact response called for when defenders are blowing through your line, preparing to feast on your quarterback like Turkey Day came early. RB chips, then spills out behind those overzealous defenders. One or two jail breaks on screens and defenders have to watch for it. Is there a more beautiful play in football than a perfectly executed screen? It’s certainly top three.
Lastly, the team has forgotten that the best we’ve looked was that stretch last year when Tanny was running for 40-50 yards a game. I’m tired of talking about his mobility and then watching our play calls do nothing to take advantage of it. He isn’t a great pocket quarterback. Fine. Well, wouldn’t it be great if he was a guy who played wideout for years, is a threat to break off 8-yard runs left and right, and throws well while moving? Oh wait, that’s exactly his skill set. The closest thing we did to a roll out resulted in a TD. The deep pass was thrown while he was on the run, and also resulted in a touchdown. Was that one a great throw? No. But he bought Matthews time using his legs and had a one on one situation that vastly favored the offensive player.
Not letting Ryan use his athleticism is even more glaring when our line can’t create a legitimate pocket for him. Why try to fit a square peg into a round, crumbling hole? Are we afraid our “investment” might get hurt if he runs? So we’d rather keep him upright and never sniff the postseason? Also, he’s just as likely to get hurt being battered in a shi**y pocket. Defenses should have to worry like hell about Tanny’s legs, and I guarantee you opposing coordinators are pleasantly surprised when we leave him in there like a statue all game.
This Philbin Era officially has a “feel” about it, a complete lack of testicular fortitude. Five-yard passes, gutless strategy (I’m still reeling from that punt from THEIR 38 against Jacksonville), a fear of risking what it takes to make big plays, to score points, to win. If you’re gonna win small-ball slug fests you’d better have Vince freakin’ Lombardi getting those guys to go to war. Our guys seem more ready to go on vacation.
And it’s only three games in.
GO DOLPHINS, and feel free to follow us on Twitter @TheBottlenose