Miami Win Should Spark A Debate

Now that the dust has settled on the amazing game between the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans there are a lot of questions this coaching staff has to answer.  Miami was able to pull out the victory in a ‘must win’ situation to keep their playoff hopes alive.  They battled hard, got a few breaks here and there, and pulled out the much needed win.

As I wrote last week, Miami is indeed very much alive in the AFC playoff picture because of their schedule.  It is easier than the schedules the teams ahead of them have.  I looked for Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the Jets to lose at least 3 of their remaining 8 games, Baltimore and Pittsburgh took care of one of those this week.  The Jets were able to squeak out a road win against a Cleveland team that is playing thier hearts out for thier coach right now. 

I was glad to see Chad Pennington get the start, mainly because I too wanted to see if it was Dan Henning or Captain Checkdown, Chad Henne, that was responsible for the terrible offensive production of the Miami Dolphins.  Once I saw the first play and the hit Pennington took, I thought the experiament was over.  He somehow got back up for two more plays, then took himself out after he tried to make a throw.  That first hit was the one that caused the damage, and essentially ended the season and possibly the career of Pennington. 

I took several things away from this game.  First of all, I think this is the best draft the Miami Dolphins have had under the current regime.  I know it’s still too early to make any judgements, but you can’t help but get excited about what is to come with this Miami defense.  Koa Misi seems to find himself involved in several plays each game, and is only getting better.  Odrick was a starter and looked good in his games prior to his injury.  His return next year will be like getting an extra first round draft pick since he only played in a little over 2 games this year.  The book is definitely out on AJ Edds, we have no clue what he will be able to do at this point in time.  The two 5th round picks are players, Nolan Carroll and Rashad Jones are going to be good.  Jones saw the most playing time he’s seen all year and he made the most of it.  I know it was only 1 game, only 1 quarter for that matter, but he showed signs of being the ball-hawking safety Miami desperately needs backing up their two good corners.  Doesn’t it seem like it’s only a matter of time before Nolan Carroll takes a kick back for a TD?  He gets close each game, I think he will break one or two over the rest of the season.  Spitler is getting time on special teams as well, something that has been getting better for Miami over the past few weeks. 

The second thing I took away from this game is the play calling.  Where has this big play, go for the gusto offense been all year?  Pennington only had 3 plays, but one of those was a nice crossing route by Brian Hartline for a big gain, Henne can make that throw….right?  After Henne was back in there, the big plays kept coming.  Henne kept throwing the ball deep to Hartline all day.  They even ran a flea-flicker!  Then when Miami turned to the Wildcat, Brandon Marshall launched one deep, and by the way, didn’t he throw a nice ball?  That dude has a cannon!  Too bad he threw into quadruple coverage.  But Miami took their shots for a change, and it worked.  I hope to see more of this as the season goes on.  Doing that will surely open up the field more for the offense, which will result in more points scored. 

Finally, and this is what I think should cause some debate over the rest of the year, Chad Henne to me doesn’t seem like the guy Miami should build their franchise around.  I know he had good stats while he was in there, but did he play well?  He got 54 yards on the flea-flicker, but I have a feeling that play was designed for Pennington because of how early it came in the game.  To me, during the first half, Henne just looked like he didn’t want to be in there playing quarterback for the Miami Dolphins.  Now, was that because the playcalling started to change back to what it was in games past?  Was it because he was upset about being benched?  Did he have the mindset going in that he wasn’t going to play at all?  Did he get mad at Brandon Marshall because Marshall probably told him something for not even looking his way in the redzone?  No matter what it was, he just had a look on his face like he would rather have been somewhere else, and I don’t feel good about moving forward with him at the helm. 

I was glad to see Tyler Thigpen get a chance to play.  He played well for a horrible Kansas City Chiefs team a few years ago, and also led Miami to a near comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers late last year.  I think he will make it possible for that offense to score more points.  He has the ability to keep plays alive with his feet, and he doesn’t give up on plays too early and go to the check down receiver.  A lot of routes the receivers run in this offense take time to develop, and I think Thigpen has the patience to let that happen.  I’m not saying I feel Thigpen will lead Miami to the promise land, but I do think he gives Miami the best chance to win week in and week out.  And that means that at this time, I don’t feel like Miami has their franchise quarterback to build around for the future.  Wait……wasn’t it rumored that one of the reasons Bill Parcells quit is because he was unhappy about the progress of Chad Henne?  I think if this coaching staff doesn’t realize Tyler Thigpen deserves a fair chance at being the starter, they are making a big mistake.  Henne did look good at times during the game, but he’s looked good quite often this year until Miami has gotten into the redzone, nothing changed against Tennessee.  Henne just can’t get the ball into the endzone.  Thigpen deserves a chance to show what he can do.  If he can convert in the redzone, Miami needs to roll with him, because that will give them their best shot at winning!

Phins Up!


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Tags: AJ Edds Austin Spitler Baltimore Ravens Bill Parcells Brandon Marshall Brian Hartline Chad Henne Chad Pennington Jared Odrick Kansas City Chiefs Koa Misi Miami Dolphins New York Jets Nolan Carroll Pittsburgh Steelers Rashad Jones Tennessee Titans Tyler Thigpen

  • John

    How in god’s name do you see Miami getting to 11 wins this season? Here’s how I see it, giving you the benefit of the doubt that Thigpen will play fairly well.

    Fish sked – CHI (W), @OAK (W), CLE (W), @ NYJ (L), BUF (W), DET (W), @ NWE (L). Final record: 10-6. That’s giving the benefit of the doubt wins against CHI and OAK.

    NYJ sked – HOU (W), CIN (W), @NWE (L), MIA (W), @PIT (L), @CHI (L), BUF (W). Final record: 11-5, although they could win one of their remaining road games seeing as they are
    5-0 on the road

    PIT sked – OAK (W), @BUF (W), @BAL (L), CIN (W), NYJ (W), CAR (W), @CLE (L). Final record: 11-5, although they could easily win in BAL and/or CLE

    BAL sked – @CAR (W), TPA (W), PIT (W), @HOU (W), NO (L), @CLE (L), CIN (W), Final record:11-5

    No way the dolphins are catching any of these teams.

    • Bruce Lamb

      I never said Miami would win 11 games, I just said that their schedule will help them stay in the playoff race.

  • Tofu Dan

    Yes, FINALLY some deep passes. You throw those for so many reasons. Sometimes you hit ‘em. Sometimes you get PI calls (see the call on Vontae vs Randy, wasn’t that Tennessee’s longest gain of the day?). Even when you don’t hit on those plays, they can keep defenses from cheating up on every play. And lastly, even when you throw a pick (Henne’s), it’s like a punt. MORE, MORE, MORE!

    Re: the remaining schedule/playoffs, I have a sickening feeling that the Steelers debacle is going to loom large at the end of the season.


  • alabamaphinfan

    I think Miami’s Defense is getting better each game. Not sure what will happen with chicago on thursday but when they face the jets and pats again i think the phins will give em a game if the offense can play mistake free ball. Defense wins championships……..when the offense doesn’t lose points.

  • Jimbo111

    Finally someone with some sense! I see it exactly as you do, Thigpen looks in control, Henne looks lost. Thigpen has accuracy, Henne lacks accuracy. Thigpen isn’t afraid to go deep, Henne would seem to have checkdownitis, even his receivers seem to have lost faith in him. Lets see what Thigpen can do with a few games under his belt. I personally would have liked to have gotten Sanches, Tebow, or McCoy, as I never have had faith in Henne.

  • Jimbo111

    Henne 2010 (9 games) 2140 yards, 9TD’s and 11 INT’s.

    Thigpen 2008 (11 games) 2994 Total yars, 21 TD’s 11 INT’s.

    “Thigpen, who began his career as a seventh-round draft choice of the Minnesota Vikings, is no stranger to starting. He was pressed into service for 11 starts with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. He threw for 2,608 yards with 18 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and also ran for 386 yards and three scores.”

  • SpyingDolphin

    I think that Henne is a very good qb. The problem is the silly offensive play calling. Are we a running team or a passing team? This system cannot let any qb develop. We cant run the ball and everyone knows it. BUT Thigpen brings mobility and experience and that is a good thing for the rest of the season. Henne just needs a offensive co-ord who knows what the hell is going on. Remember when Miami could not move the ball a few years back? They came up the wildcat, now it doesn’t work! So what happens now? And it is the same coach and coordinator. I think Stephen Ross drank the cool aid on Sparano and Sparano is shi….tting in his pants! He needs to go

  • Jetro

    Im wondering how much of the issue with Henne is his chemistry with Marshall. Henning’s play calling last week was considerably better than normal however it is a little troubling when I’m hearing that opposing players are able to predict what the Phins are going to do on offense. Nevermind the average fan who’s watched game after game who sees the same sputtering pattern for the last two years.

    I think most fans have accepted the fact the Phins aren’t going to make the playoffs and if they do, itll be one and done so trying out Thiggy is for the best. If he does well, give him the keys for the offense for a year. If he bombs, draft a QB..

  • Bob

    Congrats to Dan Henning for changing up some plays to keep us fans oh yes and Tennessee off track of what to expect. Special Teams really needs to be especially good from here on out for field position The secondary seems to be coming along good… Sunday nights game Pats pick apart steeler Defense the catches made the tackels the game plan and I

  • daddymack

    I think Marshall should have ripped Henne a new one on the sidelines. Someone has to wake him up. Thigpen’s emotion and run ability was a welcome sight. How many times did Henne run with what seemed like yards in front of him, only to be tackled for a 0-1 yard gain? I still question Henning’s playcalling. On a 3rd & 1 or 2, why call a high risk deep throw rather than the short slant to pick up the first and keep the drive going? It’s happened too many times this season. AND WHO CALLS A FAKE PUNT THAT DEEP IN YOUR ZONE???!!!!

  • JL

    I have to agree with what I am reading. Miami’s play calling this year has been puzzling and sometimes downright weird. As far as Henne goes, I started the year a firm supporter. However, as the year went on his locking in on receivers and constant checkdowns for meaningless gains started to drive me crazy. The problem is that although I have seen all the games (thank you Sunday Ticket) on TV I can’t tell if Henne is checking down because everyone is covered. I would love to hear from a fan that has seen the games live whether or not Henne’s checkdowns were justified or not. I find it hard to believe that Miamis receivers are all covered 2 out of every 3 plays.
    One thing I could see though is that when Thigpen was running the offense he threw the ball DOWN the field and that made me very happy. I understand that in the past he has thrown some bad picks, but man I have to say that at this point I would take my chances to see us move the ball and open up things for the running game.
    I think Henne is a fine young man with a great arm, but I just don’t see that spark in him that the really good QBs have. Once again it is hard to know how much is the OC’s fault when I can’t see the routes all the receivers are running.
    I guess we will find out on Thursday. I am nervous, but at least I am excited too.