No way Miami goes into week 2 of the preseason looking like the same team that we saw last week. Just no way Miami makes the same kind of mistakes such as pre-snap/killer penalties and show that they have no conceivable way to stop the run. Absolutely no way that the starting offense would look so vanilla. Oh wait, this is the Dolphins we’re talking about. Of course, they’re probably going to be like this. And yes, I fully understand that this is only the preseason, and this means nothing, and the real games don’t start for a few more weeks. I realize that. I know that offensively, that they’re aren’t going to show their whole playbook, but I would garner to bet that that train of thought is slightly overstated. Obviously, coaches aren’t going to reveal all the stuff they want to accomplish but I bet they put a little more out there than most think. Also, this isn’t all gloom either. Miami did some nice things as well. Like a classic Dolphin’s coach, insert anyone of them, after game press conference my stance is; we made mistakes but they’re correctable and we’re going to work hard to correct them. I hope they figure out solutions to these issues because if not, it’s going to be more of the same.
1. There were several key players who didn’t suit up. Stills, Parker, Gore, Ballage, Hayes and Phillips were all down for the game so that right there is part of the reason Miami performed the way they did. All these guys are starters or at the least key contributors except possibly Ballage so not having them out there isn’t stellar.
2. The Panther’s second drive was the equivalent to Little Mac using a star and knocking out Don Flamenco. I’m not saying that Christian McCaffrey is Little Mac but I’m also not not saying it either.
You're not catching @run__cmc!
— NFL (@NFL) August 17, 2018
As you could imagine, this is the play that Miami fans will look to as evidence that Miami’s suspect run defense is still Highly Suspect. Just a basic inside running play where Miami’s LBs stepped up and were easily met by linemen and McCaffrey slipped to the outside. It also doesn’t help that TJ McDonald is slower than current day Don Shula accompanied with TJ not taking the best angle and you get another example of Miami having a consistent problem that I hope that just magically gets fixed. Fair to say that McDonald isn’t known for his speed, but that fact still doesn’t make me feel any better.
3. Tannehill went 14-17 for 100 yards with neither a TD or INT and played with about 5 minutes left in the first half. The stat line is a typical Tannehill stat line. As a fan, I always complain/holler that I wish he had more stat lines that looked like 11-18 for 183 yards in the first half. But, that’s just not how this offense works with Tannehill. Everything was a safe throw or a check down. The offense is predicated on getting the ball out quickly and short throws. Get used to it. Tannehill looked like Tannehill which is to say that nothing jumped off the page. He was steady, on time with his receivers minus the miscommunication he had with Grant on a 3rd down when they were threatening the endzone. He also took a few hits and got back up and was ready to go. No one ever can doubt the toughness of Tannehill. The guy got his face kicked in on the regular for the first 5 years of his career, got back up and never complained.
4. The offense was very reliant on field goals, something that every Miami team seems to be all about. Pre-snap penalties and perfectly placed holding penalties really put a damper on drives. You simply can’t have penalties inside the red zone let alone inside the 10. Miami did just that last night and it resulted in settling for 3 points than putting up 7. The league is constructed to score points and when you get 4 less points than you should, you’re gonna have a bad time. The offense just seemed a bit choppy, but penalties have a way making offenses look like that. One particular observation I didn’t like was that there wasn’t many, if any, throws to the middle of the field. Everything was outside the numbers or a classic screen of some kind. Not sure if people know this or not, but the middle of the field is a pretty important and a large part of the field. Using it, could only benefit the team. Pass that along if you can.
5. Speaking of the middle of the field, where was Mike Gesicki at? I’m rather sure he wasn’t even targeted. You’d like to think that if they drafted a TE that is pretty much a pass catching TE that you’d want to incorporate him in the offense at least a little bit. But maybe this is one of those instances where cagy Adam Gase is playing the Gesicki hand close to the vest and he’s simply pondering a call. Wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing reports that Gesicki still doesn’t know the playbook all the way or something that says that he’s not up to speed and they’re moving him along slowly. To that I say, let the big dog eat.
6. Drake and Grant played very well. Drake had 8 carries for 54 yards and Grant had 4 catches for 45 yards. Without Parker their Grant got a bigger opportunity and he delivered. His Quicksilver like speed scares the life out of DBs and it was evident on a few plays where the DB was in a full retreat. Drake got many of his yards on this wicked awesome run
This was so sick of Kenyan Drake lol pic.twitter.com/xXOCMhZrsy
— Ian Wharton (@NFLFilmStudy) August 18, 2018
I feel confident in saying that Drake might be the best back in the league when his offensive line gets blown up. Last year, he made several visually awesome runs when his line got pushed back and he go the other way, or make some guy miss and fly for 50 yards. It’s awesome when he does that, but is it really wise to rely on that? Probably not, but when it happens, I’m all for it.
7. Once again, the Dolphins tried to execute a screen pass to a running back and once again it was sniffed out immediately and resulted in a negative play. I don’t know how regardless of what personal is there, the Dolphins can’t run a screen to the backs. I remember the Eagles of the early 2000s would do it seemingly 200 times a game and it would work 75% of the time. Miami runs it once every 3 games and the defense smells it coming a mile away. Just mind bottling stuff.
8. Defensively, Robert Quinn had a quality game. I like to think that he took the rage he must have had of barely missing McCaffrey on his TD run and channeled it into QB destroying concentration. Yes, let’s go with that.
Robert Quinn takes down Cam. #MIAvsCAR
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) August 18, 2018
Quinn had no time for Matt Kalil and his weak attempt of looking like a RB blocking. He showed that he has a one track mind and that track is to get fat on sack lunches. Nice to see Wake get a piece on the back end of this sack as well. I’m looking forward to see this a dozen or so times this year. Quinn wasn’t finished
Let’s once again check in on Matt Kalil pic.twitter.com/PXn5wckARB
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) August 18, 2018
I’m sure Panther’s themed blogs are all worried about Matt Kalil today and they have good reason too. Quinn was all over him thus he was all over Cam Newton. I don’t want to say that he’s playing with a chip on his shoulder, but it certainly seems that Quinn is putting all football throwers on notice. The rest of defensive line needs to a better job of not letting offensive lines get to their LBs because once that happens it’s all over.
9. As a man who prides himself on keeping things fresh, I hate phrases that get over used. One of those phrases is insert player’s name doing insert player’s name things. Twitter folk love that low hanging fruit phrase but I’m here to tell you, the Dolphin’s faithful, that I try and be a cut above the rest. So, I’m not going to say Xavien Howard doing Xavien Howard things. That being said, Xavien Howard showed once again why he’s being talked about as being a top flight CB not just in Miami Dolphin fan circles. Tannehill probably yelled out to Cam, ‘Now you know I fell every day.”
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 18, 2018
Howard has those instincts that you can’t teach but ones you can strengthen through diligent work and focused film study. There was a safety blitz on his side of the ball with a linebacker getting underneath coverage. Howard was playing nearly 10 yards off the ball in what looked like cover 3 and he just stayed home and waited for the crossing route by Olson from the other side of the field. I thought he was going to score it but he didn’t. Gotta work on taking that to the house because this offense has a tendency not to take it the house. Howard is looking like the best player on the team and soon the word will know.
10. The LBs were exactly how Miami linebackers always are; averageish. It seems that they have a tough time of shedding blocks, something that’s sort of important. They’re slight in stature so I don’t see that improving too much going forward. Raekwon McMillan got a little caught up on one drag route and another drag route came from the other side. He also looked a bit flat footed on the play and rookie TE Ian Thomas left him in his dust.
— NFL (@NFL) August 18, 2018
Crossing routes by multiple guys right in the LBs faces and Thomas gets wide open for the easy score. I’m sure McMillan will be alright but so many fans I see have him as this can’t miss player that will automatically be a stud and commander of the defense. Maybe let him play a few actual games before anointing him as da man. One play, that I can’t find a video of was Stephen Anthony trying fill a gap and tackle CJ Anderson only to get his ankles broken to pieces. He was right there and got nothing but air. I’m not that high on Anthony but they don’t have much behind him, so he’ll probably be a starter. The game was another example that Miami LBs can’t cover backs out of the backfield or TEs. I know it’s hard to cover guys like McCaffrey but it be nice to improve on that just a little bit.
11. The defense as a whole gave up over 200 yards rushing for second week in a row. Basically, it’s a reverse Ricky Williams if you think about it. Not gonna win many games if you can’t stop the run. Don’t think I’m breaking any grounds there. I’m guessing Matt Burke is going to be doubly mad this week. Might even throw a Gatorade cup.
12. Special teams looked good. Jason Sanders was 3/3 and Greg Joseph made his only attempt from 54 yards. Not much to say but whoever wins the job for starting kicker, make kicks when you’re called upon to make kicks and you’re golden.
Plenty of stuff to like, plenty of things to not like, plenty of things to scream about. The pre-snap penalties are unacceptable but Gase makes it seem that maybe they are acceptable mainly because they keep happening. This offense isn’t good enough to overcome unnecessary penalties. Snap that whip Adam like you’ve done in the past with other players. The team honestly looks like your typical Dolphin’s team. That’s a team that will be in constant, grinding type games where the margin of error is slim. I don’t think they will be blowing many teams out so get ready for some gut-wrenching outcomes that go both ways for this team.
I’m sure I missed plenty of things that happened during the game. I am human and proud of it. This was my first analysis of the season so I’m looking to get better but not lose my approach. Any kind of constructed criticism is welcomed. I’ll look to rewatch this again when it’s replayed. Either way, have a weekend you can be proud of. Have a few Genny Cream Ales for me and I’ll do the same. Cheers
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