Today, the Miami Dolphins were both awful and awesome. This game was devastating in terms of injuries. There were, between ambulance rides, some bright spots, which I would like to highlight here.
It was a game in which strange things started happening 43 seconds into the first quarter when Chad Pennington went down. This is not an unusual scenario for a Dolphins fan. Instead of recapping the game in its entirety, I will echo some of the sentiments from the stands since I was there. There were clearly undertones of “The same old Dolphins” but there were high fives abounding and people asking each other “who are these guys”?
1. Reshad Jones. A rookie DB from Georgia. Having graduated from that University, I do have bias, but this guy was acrobatic. He had a beautiful pic in the endzone and flew across the field for a near-second interception, but didn’t get both feet down. He smacked Vince Young for a sack and had two solid open field tackles. He showed an ability to know where the ball would be, tackling fundamentals, speed around the outside to get to the quarterback, good hands and amazing balance.
2. Patrick Cobbs. I know Patrick is not a new face, but lining him up as a receiver and letting him bull his way through the secondary was truly fun to watch. He showed speed bursts and the ability to knock defenders over. No dropped passes, either. This guy has clearly been underutilized and shows promise to set up screens that we have not yet been very effective in executing.
3. Tyler Thigpen. In watching our third string quarterback during preseason, it was clear that there was talent and a different dimension brought to the game. That was verified today. He brought a certain swagger to the offense who seemed to be reinvigorated when he was in the huddle. He was stout in the pocket, felt pressure, moved in and out of the pocket with a smooth side step and showed the ability to make an accurate throw while rolling out and throwing across his body. His footwork at the split second when he should take off up the center created a threat we have not seen yet. An outside mobile quarterback threat may open up the center for our running game. I thought the accuracy under pressure was impressive as well.
4. Dan Henning. I think he got the message. Five receiver sets while marching down the field to start the third quarter. Using Ricky Williams to the outside from the wildcat to buy time at the end of the third quarter so that we had options at quarterback prior to inserting Thigpen. Taking shots downfield. Allowing Henne and Thigpen to use their skills and calling plays to their strengths. The first half was like watching golf in slow motion, but the second half came alive.
Let me be clear. This is not the list of gameball recipients. These are just examples of whom I felt were surprises, whether known or new to the scene, in how they stepped up and made the game fun to watch. The defense, particularly the secondary, was impressive. Watching Randy Moss get shell-shocked and separated from the ball for an incompletion may have been the highlight of the game. The offense is in rapid evolution. I do give credit to the coaching staff in playing the cards they were dealt. The offensive line needs work, clearly.
This game brings more questions than answers and midway through the season, it appears that there will be much to talk about in the upcoming weeks.