Some thoughts on Phins-Panthers

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Some thoughts on Phins-Panthers

Post by JMP on Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:12 am

The first Dolphins' drive was ugly...highlighted by Sims missing a block that led to a Tannehill fumble (recovered by Miami, fortunately).

On the next drive, the Phins started in Panther's territory and scored a TD. However - the Dolphins went for it on 4th and goal (which resulted in a Panthers' penalty), so in the regular season that would have been a FG attempt. The key play was Miller taking a short pass and turning it into a 36-yard gain. Awesome play, and exactly what we need from Miller in the passing game.

The Dolphins got a TD on the next drive as well, thanks in part to a Panthers penalty that negated a 10 yard loss on a run by Willliams. This drive was significant because it actually featured two deep passes, both incomplete...one a terribly overthrown pass to a wide-open Stills, and the other an on-target but late pass that was knocked away from Cameron. Tannehill also threw a near-interception that Kuechly just missed. I know we got a TD on the drive, but it disturbs me to see Tannehill continue to struggle with deep accuracy and general ball placement.

And that brings me to my problem with the Dolphins' offense...it's exactly the same as last season. The gameplan is almost entirely quick short passes to Tannehill's first read. Sure, it's nice to get a few yards on every play, but you're really putting way too much pressure on your offense when you constantly expect them to put 15-play drives together. And what happens when tannehill's first read isn't open? Sooner or later, Lazor has to spread the 20-yard passing box a bit wider. Of course, it would help if Tannehill could hit a deep pass every now and then, and it would help even more if the offense could generate more huge yards-after-catch plays like Miller's reception - but I dont' think we can count on either of those things happening too often. As for the running game, it's pretty much non-existent right now, as none of the linemen or TEs appear to have any run blocking ability whatsoever.

I think we can all agree that Landry is our best receiver. In this game, he picked up right where he left off last season: his 4 catches gained 8, 1, 8 and 3 yards, respectively. It frustrates the hell out of me to constantly watch Landry being used as little more than a short-yardage possession receiver. I think Landry has the ability to be an explosive, big play receiver - but Lazor refuses to turn him loose. These three-yard crossing patterns made me sick last season, and it looks like we're in for another heavy dose this season. Thank God we haven't seen any passes to Landry behind the line of scrimmage yet this preseason...but I'm sure Lazor is saving them for the regular season.

Anyway, the starting D looked mostly good, although in these two games I am definitely noticing that this D can be run on. Part of that is due to DEs that are just so-so against the run, but most of it is due to awful LB play. I think run defense and short-pass defense are going to be weak this season...but that's to be expected when you ignore the LB position. Losing Delmas also hurts, as Aikens looks very inconsistent right now.

In this game I was once again struck by just how poor the depth on this team is. It's really, really weak across the board. I'm starting to think that the depth at QB is even worse than the depth at LB. Matt Moore looks completely lost in this offense. Bethel-Thompson hasn't even shown enough to earn a practice squad spot IMO. And Josh Freeman is an absolute trainwreck who shouldn't be in the NFL. Ugly.

Players that stood out for good reasons include RB LaMike James, who had a strong showing on both offense and as a returner, TE Gerell Robinson, who actually gave Josh Freeman one positive play on the night with a beautiful catch-and-run 56-yard TD, and WR Matt Hazel - a player I don't like at all, but who stepped up with several key catches. Damien Williams deserves honorable mention for his 2 TDs, but he is just not a good runner. He is a very good receiving back, but as a ball carrier he is below average IMO.

So, there you have it. A lot of good things, a lot of bad things. Again, I'm simply not seeing much difference from last year's team yet. It's only preseason, but I was hoping to see more progress at this point.

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Re: Some thoughts on Phins-Panthers

Post by Degarmo on Tue Aug 25, 2015 8:30 am

The offense looks the same to me, but I thought that pass to Cameron was actually quite good. The one to Stills was an abomination, but I'll take 50 percent accuracy over 30 yards any day.

LaMichael James really impressed me with the work he's put in, and he's right now got the gig for third back in my estimation. We still sorely need a power back, but watching the preseason, it seems to me like power football is done and over with. I've watched team after team try to get 1-3 yards to get into the endzone and have no success. I think it has a lot to do with the zone blocking scheme and a different kind of offensive lineman, not to mention the lack of fullbacks, but we can get into that some other time . . . maybe merc can comment Smile

Our first team defense looks really good, but one or two injuries WHICH WILL HAPPEN and we're in a lot of trouble, particularly if it's in the linebacking corps. I keep saying this, but it bears repeating.

Delmas is gone, so it's time for someone to step up.

Here's my biggest issue. I'm not sure we can hide our flaws for very long. We may very well come out smoking, but I think the better teams will exploit the hell out of our depth and our weak spots. If they can get the ball out in 2.0 seconds, they'll tear us apart. Quite frankly, though, playing against our first team offense should help us figure out how to combat that . . . but that's not going to happen during the regular season.

Injuries are more part of the game now than ever, due to the guys not really being in hitting shape anymore. The human body needs to adjust to the kinds of hits you take on the football field, and with more limited practice time, there are less-conditioned athletes on the field. So, it goes to figure that you are going to have more injuries. This team cannot withstand more than a couple injuries and compete.

My final thought is that Bethel-Thompson looks pretty good for a developmental QB. I like the fact that he's willing to get the ball out of there and looks to make a lot of good decisions. Moore is bleh, and we know what we have in him. He's a guy that can't win games when needed to. At best, he's a 7-9 backup. Josh Freeman flashes talent, but can't consistently do anything against guys who were average college players. He's got to go.

I can add more later if I think of something, but it's pretty much the same as last week.
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Re: Some thoughts on Phins-Panthers

Post by JMP on Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:30 am

The offense looks the same to me, but I thought that pass to Cameron was actually quite good. The one to Stills was an abomination, but I'll take 50 percent accuracy over 30 yards any day.

The problem with the pass IMO is that it arrived too late. Cameron was open at one point, but by the time the ball got there, Shaq Thompson was in Cameron's pocket. I don't know if the ball was thrown too late or if it had too much air under it - maybe both? So yeah, the pass was on target, but the timing was off.

LaMichael James really impressed me with the work he's put in, and he's right now got the gig for third back in my estimation.

James has got to get more consistent. He looked terrible in week one, and good in week two.

My final thought is that Bethel-Thompson looks pretty good for a developmental QB. I like the fact that he's willing to get the ball out of there and looks to make a lot of good decisions.

I want so much to like B-T, because we desperately need a developmental QB. I just don't see anything in him.



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Re: Some thoughts on Phins-Panthers

Post by JMP on Tue Aug 25, 2015 2:46 pm

We still sorely need a power back, but watching the preseason, it seems to me like power football is done and over with. I've watched team after team try to get 1-3 yards to get into the endzone and have no success. I think it has a lot to do with the zone blocking scheme and a different kind of offensive lineman, not to mention the lack of fullbacks, but we can get into that some other time

I was at one time a proponent of the ZBS, and was happy to see Miami adapt it. But now that I've lived with it a few seasons, I'm starting to hate it. At least in the Dolphins' version of the ZBS, the OL focus is almost entirely on athleticism, particularly at the interior spots. This focus leads to soft linemen that don't know how to be physical. I liked it better when the focus was on guys that could kick the crap out of the guy they line up against.

Last night I was watching the NFL Network America's Game with the Dallas offensive line that paved the way for Emmitt and Aikman. They were talking about Erik Williams - he grew up on the streets of Philadelphia, and he was a boxer. Dude was built like a tank and was as strong and tough as a friggin' ox...a guy you just didn't want to mess with, who had the battle half-won the second he stepped on the field because he was a tough SOB with a mean streak. His goal was to punish the guys on the other team. There was footage of him tossing Reggie White around like a rag doll.

That's the type of linemen I want on my team. I'm tired of the wussy athletes like Jonathan Martin and Dallas Thomas and Jamil Douglas that can run and move, but get pushed around and too often look like weak little girls going up against motherfucking monsters. Screw all these finesse offenses built with athletes instead of football players - it only gets you so far. As long as contact exists in football, toughness is going to win out in the long run. I'm not saying we have to go back to the Parcells dinosaur era, but IMHO the NFL in general and the Dolphins in particular need to get back to developing football players, not just athletes.

Rant over. Basketball

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Re: Some thoughts on Phins-Panthers

Post by DolFan 316 on Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:30 pm

I officially love this thread. That is all Very Happy cheers

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Re: Some thoughts on Phins-Panthers

Post by white1 on Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:44 pm

I'm not even watching the preseason games anymore.

Saw the first two quarters or so of game one. I'm too scared of seeing an injury live. Also, I'm tired of turning every play into a prediction about how the offense or defense will perform during the regular season.

It's all fantasy draft prep for me, and reading the updates from Sun Sentinel and the Herald - until week 1 when the live action starts. Then I'm all in.

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Re: Some thoughts on Phins-Panthers

Post by CarsonChris on Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:01 am

Miami's offense dinks and dunks it's way down the field. I'm ok with that. We led the NFL in redzone appearances last year we just couldn't put the ball over the line. We signed Cameron and drafted Parker to finish off the drives. I'm going to wait until game 4 to predict doom and gloom.

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Re: Some thoughts on Phins-Panthers

Post by JMP on Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:02 am

CarsonChris wrote:Miami's offense dinks and dunks it's way down the field. I'm ok with that. We led the NFL in redzone appearances last year

Actually, you need to look inside the numbers to get a true picture.

Consider this: the Dolphins led the entire NFL in average starting field position. In other words, all those trips to the red zone were a result not of a successful dink and dunk offense, but of having a shorter field to work with. Defensive turnovers and a pretty good kick return game were the reason for the great starting field position.

We saw the limitations of the quick-pass, dink and dunk last season. Defenses let the Dolphins complete all those 3-5 yard passes, and then when the field tightens in the red zone they take away all the underneath routes - leaving Tannehill nowhere to go with the ball, and resulting in FG attempts instead of TDs.

Asking your offense to constantly sustain long drives of 10+ plays is a recipe for disaster - too many things can go wrong. And what happens when you need a quick score at the end of the game? This offense doesn't know how to score quickly. As long as we play this style of offense, we have to hope and pray for missed tcakles in order to generate 'chunk' yardage plays. That puts a lot of pressure on the offense.

And what happens when Tannehill's first option is covered? He doesn't yet know how to go through progressions, not consistently, and our porous OL only compounds the problem.

Bottom line: this offense as currently constructed is limited. Unless the new receivers are monster tackle-breakers, and I don't know that they are, I don't think we're going to see much difference between this season's offense and last season's.

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Re: Some thoughts on Phins-Panthers

Post by JMP on Thu Aug 27, 2015 12:26 pm

Getting back to my ZBS rant, I saw this tweet from Omar this morning:

@OmarKelly

"He's a good athlete. One of the things that intrigued us when we watched his college film is position flexibility,"Philbin on Dallas Thomas

What's interesting to me is that there is no mention there of how good a football player Thomas was or wasn't. What intrigued the Phins was that he's athletic and can play more than one position. That's exactly what I'm talking about...the focus is on things other than 'can this guy play football?', and I think that's a mistake. By no means are the Phins the only team that thinks like this...we are in an age where off-field athletic metrics take precendence over on-field production. It's why the league has gotten so watered down in recent years.

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