“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