The last time the Miami Dolphins offense was making a stir was way back when Dan Marino was playing. The ground and pound offenses of Jimmy Johnson and the rest of the ill-fated Miami coaches did nothing but run the teams legacy into the ground and their career status’ to the unemployment line. That’s not say that when all is said and done Joe Philbin will not have used up all his mulligans and is looking for any team needing an Oline coach.
It’s been four practices since the Dolphins broke the off-season and returned to Davie, Fl. Mike Sherman told reporters today that the offense is running upwards of 160 plays a practice. For those wondering, that is a large amount of plays. They can do this for two reasons. One, they are working both first and second team offenses at the same time on opposite ends of the practice field while the defense works either with them or on the other field. Two, the pace and tempo of practices is such that they are able to get more work done.
The faster pace practices will help condition the players as well and according to Richie Incognito who I spoke with on Saturday, it should help the team wear down their 1 o’clock opponents this September.
The fast pace however isn’t the reason that media and fans in attendance are talking positive about the offense. It’s the play. While the receivers still seem to baffle at times and it’s unclear who is going to jump up and take control of one of the slots, there are guys impressing from the unit. Chad Johnson is emerging as a guy that players are talking about positively. Saying that he is helping the others and is running good routes. Roberto Wallace and Julius Pruitt are impressing not only the viewers from the stands but the coaches and defensive players as well.
And Brian Hartline hasn’t stepped out on the field yet.
The offensive line is holding it’s own against a very solid defensive front and if your looking for something positive there, Paul Soliai is not resting on his contract and is said to be looking very solid at the tackle position move from NT he played last year.
I mentioned yesterday the open holes for the TE’s in the seams and that is continuing but the runners are finding daylight as well. All three of the Dolphins top runners, Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, and rookie Lamar Miller are reportedly looking very very good. Miller had his first contact practice yesterday and both players and media came away impressed with what they saw.
The real talk however has to be the QB position where one day someone thinks David Garrard has the lead and the next it’s Matt Moore. The back and forth is making both of them better and the amount of reps the offense is taking is helping the QB’s get the needed reps with each unit. Ryan Tannehill who is working 3rd on the charts got his first action yesterday and reports from then and today are saying good things as well.
According to reports, Tannehill looks sharp and is throwing the ball well but his hang-up is the blitz packages that come at him. Omar Kelly said he looked “puzzled” in the face of pressure. Kelly also said that he “sprays the balls all over the place” when he is blitzed. He mentioned one particular play where he threw the ball away on a blitz…which could be a good thing.
There is a lot to take in from the various reporters and fans who Email me what they see. It’s hard to piece it all together as everyone has their own opinions about what they see in front of them. Still, the overall image that is being portrayed is positive and at times exciting. In about two weeks the Dolphins will take the field for their first pre-season game and we will get our first real look at the teams dynamics as well as the in game coaching style of Joe Philbin.
It’s difficult to read a team in pre-season games but in the case of teams like the Dolphins, you can read progression from the previous year and you can view how a teams system is being picked up by the teams players and how it is being executed in a non-controlled environment.
For now it’s simply a matter of taking the positive reviews of training camp thus far and clutching the belief that it will continue and hope that maybe, just maybe, finally, the team may have turned a corner…even if that corner is only the first one on the track.