Dolphins Need To Stop Using Garner As TE

Everyone has opinions on what is wrong with the Miami Dolphins.  Everyone has a solution as well.  It’s no wonder that so many people are biting back and forth to try and get their opinion heard, stressed, and/or accepted.  I got this blog so for me, my opinion can be left out here to fly in the wind…you however, get to chastise me in the comments, thereby getting your opinion out there to fly in the wind.

Today’s opinion?  Nate Garner.

Why is it that the Dolphins, specifically head coach Tony Sparano, are using Nate Garner as a TE?  The answer is simple, RT Marc Columbo is horrible.  At years end 2010, Tony Sparano stated that he needed to stop rotating his offensive line so much throughout the pre-season.  He needed to give the line time to gel together and become a cohesive unit.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t worked this year.  Go back to tinkering with the line Tony.

Moving Garner to what amounts to a second tackle on the right side does more than help Columbo block.  It completely takes away from your offensive packages.  This is not a two tight end set.  Garner does not catch passes or run routes.  With only 11 players allowed on the field, the Dolphins now are minus one when Garner enters the game for this formation.  That means that Reggie Bush, Charles Clay, or Daniel Thomas is not in the game.  It means that defenses have a better idea that the Dolphins are going to pass.

So far this year, the Dolphins have passed more out of that formation than have ran it.  When they have run the ball, Thomas has delivered up the middle more than to the outside.  Compounding the issue further is the fact that Garner really hasn’t been able to slow down the rush on that side of the ball.  Henne is still under extreme pressure most of the game.

So why do it?

For starters, there is little options left on the table for Sparano outside of replacing Columbo.  Which the team needs to seriously consider.  Moving Vernon Carey back to tackle may help the situation a little but why not just plug in Nate Garner in the RT spot and be done with it?  He’s already there enough as it is.

Maybe the Dolphins are trying to set up a new trick play out of it and are simply reeling teams in so that they can explode out of it like they did with the Wild Cat?  I’m kidding.  The Dolphins might also be better complimented if they actually lined up in a two tight end set with two TE’s.  You could keep Jeron Mastrud back to help Columbo but you could also use him on a TE screen or in an actual route.

There are so many other options available to Miami that it boggles the mind that they are still rotating Garner into the game in this formation.  How about rolling Chad Henne to the left?  He is already running for his life as it is so moving about 5 to 6 yards to the west may not be a bad idea.  It would buy him time.  How about running screens to the right side?  A defense will get burned once and then start to cover it.  Faking a scree after that would hold the DE long enough for other routes to get open and again buy more time for Henne.

Instead, Sparano lines up a lineman to help block.  Garner takes a position away from a ball handler and it gives Henne one less target and the defense one less person to defend.  So it makes zero sense to use it.

Granted the team isn’t using the formation all game long but there really is no good time to use it.  It makes no sense.  At this point however, a lot of things don’t make sense.

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Tags: Miami Dolphins Nate Garner Marc Columbo Tony Sparano

  • Lespaul

    I have said from the very beginning that the O-line was suspect and would be the back breaker on this team. They cannot pass block and they cannot run block. Nate Garner coming in on third down and long yardage plays to give Henne time is absurd. I completely agree with you…get rid of Columbo everyone has (Bears & Cowboys). He might have been a decent payer at one time, but has been so banged up over the years, broken leg, torn meniscus, high ankle sprains, he probably cannot stand his ground.

  • mscout99

    All depends on the intent.

    The intent of this formation is protection. Columbo couldn’t pass block his shadow, so I don’t view this as a problem at all. Maybe Garner excels at pass blocking and is a poor run blocker to put him out there full-time. I can agree with putting Carey back at RT, but he has enough problems moving his feet and blocking at the guard position.

    With the playmakers the Dolphins are supposed to have, the extra lineman isn’t an issue, If Marshall could actually hold on to a pass and not bail on his routes, this is a non-issue. If Bush is being used in space to create big gains, it’s not an issue.

    But putting Mastrud out there, who happens to be a horrible player anyway, to pass block? One of the basic rules about tight ends is that they’re NOT supposed to be good pass blockers. All a TE is supposed to do is run block and catch passes. Ask any high level defensive linemen or OLB, and they’ll tell you they smell blood when a TE pass blocks. It’s an easy sack, so it doesn’t matter if it’s out best TE in Fasano or even Ozzie Newsome; you NEVER put a TE out there to pass block. Ever.

    I don’t have a problem with this formation, but I would love to see more NFL teams go to an unbalanced line rather than an extra lineman. An unbalanced line used correctly creates chaos among defensive lines and utilizes the TE’s skill sets of both run blocking and pass catching.