We Waited 8 Months For This? Dolphins Loss Looks Ugly

I waited a few hours to see if the aftermath of the early Atlanta Falcons game would subside into something that wouldn’t come across so mean spirited. It didn’t work. The Miami Dolphins got a swift kick in the face and then some today at the hands of last years surprise wonder team. The kick wasn’t just a dead on shot to the chin, but the garbage that the Dolphins left on the field makes you wonder how they will fare against the better opponents on the schedule.

First, I suppose I should point out the good. Which really shouldn’t take but a paragraph, maybe two if I want to be really nice. Phillip Merling looked fantastic. He played his heart out and showed once again that despite the fact that he doesn’t practice well, he brings it come game time. Merling looked like a budding star. The return of Jason Taylor saw the LB get his first sack of the season and his continual up field play kept Matt Ryan on his heels. Joey Porter looked really good against the run as well. The defensive front did a solid job keeping RB Michael Turner in check the entire game and until the last series of the game had held the RB to under 40 yards on 18 carries. That was superb.

On offense Ricky Williams ran like the old Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown ran like, well Ronnie Brown. The Phins found more success on the right side between Vernon Carey and Donald Thomas than on the left where John Abraham schooled sophomore LT Jake Long. Oh, and then when school was out, he took him to study hall and beat the crap out of him.

That was it. Nothing else.

Rookie Sean Smith seemed to get a tad bit better later in the game after getting torched for two would have been TD’s had Matt Ryan not overthrown them. Will Allen, the Dolphins top CB looked like he just got off the rookie bus. Allen missed one tackle in the open field that left him somewhat flailing. Yeremiah Bell is a costly safety who was supposed to become even better with the addition of Gibril Wilson. Today he looked way out of place trying to cover TE Tony Gonzalez and then after the game could only piss and moan about how he felt Tony got special treatment. Maybe…from Bell.

The Phins lined up at times, 10 yards off the receivers and still managed to get beat. Neither Smith nor Allen nor any other secondary player stood out in this game. Their best player by far was Matt Ryan who missed on several downfield throws to open WR’s. Had it not been for the pressure from the front 7 this game would have been punched by half-time.

Which now brings me to the offensive, or completely offensive side of the ball. Chad Pennington who last year played his methodical game to near perfection looked like the Chad Pennington that was booed every Sunday in New York. Maybe they should have put the Jets on the schedule first again. His passes were disgusting. Often falling short into the ground or out of the reach of the intended target. While he started strong, 6 consecutive completions, it almost seemed as though he decided to become someone else. Where was the team leader that we saw last year? He sure wasn’t commanding the huddle. Maybe it was because he was afraid to say something to Jake Long.

Long needs to get his act together. A pro-bowler last year Long today made fans question whether the Phins made the right pick last year. John Abraham owned him from top to bottom and when Abraham wasn’t in the game, some guy I never heard of took turns one the Dolphins whipping boy. If Long wasn’t giving up a sack, he was giving up undue pressure, if not pressure he was getting tangled with his footwork. The billion dollar line so to speak looked like a Dollar General Store after Christmas sale. At least Donald Thomas looked good and stayed healthy.

That all brings me around to the wide-receivers and TE’s. Perhaps coach Tony Sparano should go back to pre-season and actually play some of his starters. Anthony Fasano was non-existent in pre-season and it showed today when he put not one, but two receptions on the field and into the hands of the Atlanta defense. Fasano blew an optimal scoring drive when his first fumble was at the Atlanta 10 and subsequently run back into Dolphins territory. He would fumble again in Miami territory saving the hassle of having a defender actually running it back.

O.k. enough about Fasano. There is no big secret that I don’t care much for Ted Ginn and today did nothing to change that opinion. When the best play that I have seen out of him in some time was when he became a defender and batted a ball down…well let’s just say I’m not impressed. Complain all you want but I have never seen an NFL football player try to avoid contact like Ted Ginn. My 5 year old son takes on more contact on his soccer team. 3 years is when receivers are supposed to blossom and I really could care less if he is a downfield guy with no one to throw him the ball. Speed is one thing, heart is another and Ginn does not possess the latter. To me, I saw more in the limited time from Brian Hartline who obviously spent more time learning from Anthony Gonzalez at OSU than Ted Ginn.

This game was absolutely putrid on the offensive side of the ball and you have to wonder if Jason Taylor isn’t thinking “go freaking figure”. There was zero offensive continuity out there, but honestly, I shouldn’t expect that from a team that really is built for nothing. They are not a power running team, they are not an air attack, hell, they aren’t even a finesse team. But they have Pat White and can line up in the Wild Cat.

Miami fans caught a glimpse of what this team could be under Tony Sparano and I have to believe that right about now, the no-nonsense coach is telling Bill Parcells enough with the bull-shit player acquisitions that do nothing. If he is not, then he should be. This offense has not stars in the making and their top RB is set to be a free agent and their number 1 WR can be outplayed by a woman. The rest of the WR’s except Davone Bess look like Wes Welker clones rather than NFL superstars. Which isn’t bad except we don’t need more than one.

I didn’t mention Davone Bess in the good things from this game and that was a slight on my part. Bess looked like he could very well become an Anquan Boldin type player. Physical and tough while running solid routes and his hands were like glue. The Phins need to get him more involved in the offense and that means a number 1 or number 2 spot, not the slot.

Come tomorrow this will be one game that was lost. 15 other teams will have lost their openers by Tuesday so Miami is far being alone. That is no excuse of the play of the offense today. This team was supposed to get better and instead, it took a serious step backwards. Dolphins front office staff, including Jeff Ireland and Bill Parcells needs to take a long look at what they are “trying” to do and what the Atlanta Falcons did. It’s obvious that the Falcons are much  further along in their recovery than the Dolphins are. If the Phins want to be a power team on offense then they need to decide what to do with Chad Henne. Play him and let him take his knocks or start looking for another QB to eventually replace Pennington. This offense needs someone who can spread the field and throw downfield. Pennington isn’t it. He was the caretaker and the Phins now need a manager.  They need something more than dink and dunk and wildPat.  They need an offense that can score.

There are 15 more games on the Dolphins schedule and the next 2 are not any easier. Next week Peyton Manning comes to town and he won’t miss the passes that Ryan did. The week after the team heads to San Diego where Phillip Rivers won’t miss either. Today, all the Dolphins did was miss. And to think we waited 8 months to see that garbage on the field. Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.

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  • Dolphan66

    I can’t believe how quick some Dolphins fans are to throw Pennington under the bus.  I guess everyone forgets that he completely saved this franchise last year, he finished 2nd in the NFL in MVP voting.  Pennington didn’t have a good game and neither did most of his teammates, but its one game in a 16 game season.  PLEASE stop overreacting.   They lost to a good Falcons team in Atlanta, and if Fasano doesn’t fumble twice they probably end up winning this one.  No, they didn’t play well but they’ll get back to practice and be ready for the Colts next week.

  • JC

    Wow…….you do have some valid points….but its only the first game. I know Pennington made mistakes, but EVERY team has its bad days….

  • http://phinphanatic.com Brian Miller

    66:  I am not throwing Chad Pennington under the bus.  In no way did I blame him for the loss the yesterday…entirely that is.  I was spot on with my critique of his game play yesterday.  I expect more from him especially when he isn’t asked to do too much.  Pennington is a caretaker QB, he was last year and supposedly the plan is for this year as well.  Still, what irritated me was there was no Chad Pennington the leader.  You saw Matt Ryan directing his team and on the sidelines, you didn’t see CP doing anything.  He should have been in Jake Long’s face after the second time he got knocked down instead of an “aww jeez” approach.  Pennington is supposed to be the leader and yesterday he wasn’t.

  • http://phinphanatic.com Brian Miller

    Oh, and it’s not about losing.  Everyone loses at least one game (New England…LMAO)  it’s about how you lose and yesterday the Dolphins lost with zero continuity on offense.

  • hawk9810

    Brian, I could not agree more!! This was a great chance for us to break out and show how good we can be! Instead we let Atlanta make the statement and we took a HUGE step back. No doubt we were 0-2 last year and finished 11-5 so it can be done. I just expected a lot more from this team than that!! This next game is a very BIG chance for us to again make a statment so I hope the team accepts the challenge and becomes very hungry to prove to people this was just a BAD game and nothing more…

  • Double D in Jet land

    I am alarmed. Was last year a tease? Like a blind date with Megan Fox and it turns out to be John Fox.
    Chad looked slow in every movement an accomplished NFL QB should have, dropping back, moving in the pocket, scrambling etc.. I didn’t expect the fire of Serena Williams on the sidelines, but this team got shut out, that last garbage TD meant nothing, and Pennington, Henning and Tony S. are responsible.
    If White is now the #2 QB, which he was listed in Atlanta, then lets get him ready to start week 4 and lets have some real fun with the wildcat. Listen, we passed on Matt Ryan, Brady Quinn, Joe Flacco, and couldnt swing the deal for Brees. The QB is everything for the success of a franchise. Lets gamble on White now and bail on Dinky Doo. Henne is another John Beck. White could be mini-Vick without the baggage, lets find out. 8-8 could be a tease too if Chad is not replaced.

  • OrlandoNole

    DD, Henne is still the back up. White was listed as the #2 so they could use him. If Penny would have gotten hurt Henne would have been in the game.

    I brought this up in the forum, but has the wildcat backfired. Are we spending too much time trying to be cute and not excecuting basic football and it is costing us. The last two meanigful games Miami has played they haven’t even shown up and have comitted 8 turn overs…just a thought.

  • http://www.miamisportsgeneration.com Miami Sports Generation

    Only one thing I wanted to point out about Chad Pennington. He ALWAYS starts off throwing low and progressively gets more accurate. Even with his poor showing, he completed over half of his passes.
    The reality was that Fasano messed up those two drives and made our passing game look terrible. Had he not fumbled both of those times, there would be 40+ more yards in the passing column. Plus, Miami would be in the redzone with a better shot at scoring.
    Those two fumbles really deflated Miami’s chances. The defense was out there way too long to hang with Tony Gonzalez, Roddy White and Matt Ryan’s golden arm. It really wasn’t as “doom and gloom” as it seemed.

  • http://www.sheddawgs.com shed dawg mike

    While I will admit I am somewhat worried about Jake Long and the rest of the O line it is just one game.  We were 2-4 last year and then reeled off 9 of 10 wins so lets step back from the ledge for a bit.
    We did not deserve to win that game and of course we didn’t.  The good news is despite the poor play, we still managed to hang around for most of the game.  Take away just 1 of Fasono’s mess ups and it is a different game.  Fasano really needs to pick up his game but that being said, he really did get rocked on the first fumble.  Hard to hold on to the ball when hit like that.  The second fumble was a little weak though. 
    Brian, you make a good point about Fasano not getting any playing time in preaseason.  Just like JT during Cams time here.  He was a gassed at the end of the opener against Washington that year.  I think maybe Fasano was not quite ready either…possibly due to lack of receptions in the preseason. 
    Let’s see how our boys bounce back against a tough offense next Monday.  I’m looking for Chad, Jake and Fasano in particular, to make amends for some poor play.

  • spooneman

    Wow, that was ruff. To start the blocking on kick off returns may have been the worst I have ever seen for any team ever. We couldn’t even get it to the 20 yard line. Fasano did kill 2 drives and I expect him to bounce back from that. The Defense actually played pretty good and Merling was great. In fact I would say Merling and Jason Elem should’ve gotton the game balls for the Phins, lol. Pennington seemed to have no feel in the pocket for the pass rush, ala Duante Culpepper. I was disappointed with Pennington just throwning the ball down in fustration on the last drive instead of at least trying to run or do something. Sure we scored on the next play but I expect more than that from Chad. Im not a big fan of the Pat White thing right now. The O-Line is supposed to be a strength but they looked like crap. With all that being said it’s one game and if I had to pick a game to where we beat ourselves it will always be game #1. The earlier in the season we can identify the teams issue’s the better.

  • idahomer

    One game does not make a season.. Plain and simple the phins offense struggled and did not look in sync. My biggest complaint with Penny was that after he fumbled and took another hit he did not stand in the pocket and wait for WR’s to open up. He didn’t scramble like he did last year, rather just tossed the ball at someone’s feet. When his first option was not open he was done. I expect much more from a QB with his experience. But it was just one game and I’m hoping he bounces back.

    Defense looked good as far as I could tell. Yes Ryan missed some throws, but he was also getting some pressure on those throws. Our run defense was great. Turner averaged over 6 ypc in the preseason, and close to that all of last year. We shut him down completely. It will take some time for this team to jell.

    I am worried about Jake Long.. What happened to this kid, all of a sudden he looks like a rookie. I think the o-line will also need some time to jell together. If we can come out with a win next week then 1-1 is about all I could have and would have expected from the first two games.

    We seem to play well against SD, so a 2-1 start would be excellent. We still have that chance so keep the faith..

  • Double D in Jet land

    You fans don’t get it. If you know anything about Pro Football we must start the cry to replace Penny now. He can’t through the ball downfield period. Defenses will jam the receivers at the line of scrimmage ala Ravens and games over. Forget last season you pathetic wannabees. It was an illusion. Henne or White now. My preference is White. Started every game in college and won all four bowl games he played in. He can zip it down field as witnessed last Sunday, in a wildcat over throw deep middle.
    You’ll here the same old crap ” Chad gives us the best chance to win” Not gonna happen, we gonna be 0-3 quickly with this guy. The funny thing is Chad is such a great teammate he wouldn’t say boo to a change.
    I am beating the drum early on this, the fans have to boo Chad out of the line-up, thats how it gets done boys and girls, new york style. DD out

  • spooneman

    If you knew anything about football you wouldn’t be a Jets fan.

  • double d in jetland

    Hey Spooneboy, in 1973 @ age ten I wore a Csonka sweetshirt my mother (Santa) got me for Christmas every weekend playing football at Alley Pond Park.
    Not uncommon for three tacklers to get me down. So put down your play station,stop twittering, and actually watch how pathetic Pennington has become. He might look good on your Madden 09 x-box crap, but he’s done. Four older bros. were Jet fans, its been a long stange trip for a dolphin fan in Queens, but I tell it like it is. I’ll be down Mon. nite football Oct. 12th. Meet me @ Hard Rock and we’ll do lunch. By then the QB change already done.

  • spooneman

    My mistake I took your scren name as a refrence to your fanhood. My bad, I would never intentially call a fins fan Jets fan. That is a insult no one deserves. It was just a off hand remark in jest. As far as the boy crap you can save that for one of your your nephews. By the way I dont twitter and my opinion has nothing to do with video games. If a QB change has taken place by Oct 12th I believe it will be because of injury and not performance. I can’t predict the future so I can’t say whats going to happen for sure.

  • Double D

    I bleed aqua blue Spooney. The season will be lost by Oct. 12th if a QB change is not made going into San Diego week three, after getting outgunned by Peyton 38-16 this Mon. night. If this wasn’t so serious it would be laughable, my exhumed grandma can through better down field then the comeback player in 08. Why do our fans constantly live in the past? O.K. we demolished the Pats in week Three last year…uh then they kicked our ass in S.Fla. with Porter melt-down in dec. I puke when I see the t-shirts 72 Phins ” Still the best team ever”. Go with Henne and mix in P.White. The Atlanta loss disturbed me, this could be a ruderless ship. Parcells drafted Penny years ago and has loyalty to a fault towards him. Lets hope I’m wrong. I did back flips winning Division last year, we tasted ployoffs since 01, I want back bad and kick Jets ass especially!