At the start of training camp, there were 12 receivers in competition for only six spots on the Miami Dolphins 2012 roster. Surely a couple of these guys would step up and make some plays to separate themselves from the pack, right? Unfortunately, that pipe dream has not come to fruition. In a quarterback driven league where rules are designed to benefit teams who can pass the ball, this team appears to be in a world of trouble. We are just two weeks out from the season opener on the road against a very good defensive team in the Houston Texans, and our offense is not looking good. Is Ryan Tannehill set up to fail with these receivers?
Just like many of you who read this blog, I have watched every single play from all three preseason games. Other than Mr. Reliable, Davone Bess, there has been nothing to celebrate with this receiving crew. Prior to the start of training camp, I was actually excited and had faith that maybe one or two of these guys could step up and make impact plays. Excluding the rookies, I had confidence that players like Legedu Naanee, Roberto Wallace, Marlon Moore, Julius Pruitt, or even Clyde Gates could turn the corner and demonstrate their abilities to be playmakers once the lights were turned on. Maybe that was just wishful thinking….
Friday night’s preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons was considered the “rehearsal” to the season opener because the starters typically play into the second half and the coaches actually game plan against their opponents. The third preseason game is always the most important because it’s the best barometer of what to expect from a team on opening day. If this theory is true, then we are in for a very long season.
In case you lost count, there were seven dropped passes against the Falcons. On a team with no explosive, playmaking receivers, DROPPING PASSES CAN’T HAPPEN! This is especially true playing in a new offensive system with a rookie quarterback. This team cannot afford to encounter these mistakes, unless you are satisfied with fist pumping field goals. I do realize that three of those seven drops came from TE Anthony Fasano, one of which was a touchdown. However getting back to the troubled receivers, dropping passes and having issues creating separation has been a problem all preseason and in practice, not just against Atlanta.
Over the last three preseason games between Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Atlanta, the Dolphins have been outscored in the first half 43 to 10. I chose to only look at the first half scoring simply because it gives us a better comparison of our starters on offense against the other teams. During those three games, there has only been one touchdown caught by a Miami wide receiver. That was a six yard TD pass to rookie Rishard Matthews from Pat Devlin with just 3:17 remaining in the game against Carolina.
Another alarming stat I want to emphasize is that the longest pass play to a Miami receiver this preseason was 25 yards to Davone Bess, which occurred in the loss to the Falcons. As for the opponents, there have been five different receivers who have caught balls of 25 yards or more against the Dolphins. Simply put, we are not getting sufficient production out of our receivers to help out Tannehill and it’s KILLING this offense.
This article may anger many fans and I hope I don’t seem like a complete pessimist here, but what have you seen in preseason thus far to make you believe otherwise? In fact, based on the recent opinions of most NFL “experts,” this offense appears to be worse than last year’s team. Wow, is that even possible? Please feel free to call me out if I am way off base in my assessment of this sub-par receiving corp after three preseason games.
Just like many of you, I am extremely disappointed in the current production of these receivers and concerned that our offense will have issues scoring touchdowns this season. I hope they prove me wrong and I won’t mind eating crow if I completely underestimated their ability to be efficient receivers. But from what I have observed compared to other receivers around the NFL, I’m having a hard time believing in their abilities. In my opinion, I believe Ryan Tannehill is getting set up to fail in his rookie year.