The Miami Dolphins lost thier third straight pre-season to the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night but it wasn’t as bad as the 23-6 score made it out to be. The majority of the points scored by Atlanta came in the second half against Miami’s back up squad. Miami’s defense was all over Matt Ryan forcing him from the pocket and sacking him twice. Miami’s secondary was finally playing up to par in the first half, doing a great job of covering Pro-Bowlers Reggie White and Julio Jones and limiting their production for most of the game. The Defense is finally showing their teeth and looking stingy against the run again and still missing their captain and middle linebacker Karlos Dansby.
The Offense honestly wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t good either. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill went 11 for 27 for 112 yards and 1 pick, which is not exactly a great game but that is including 7 drops by receivers including one in the end zone. Tannehill also rushed for 2 first downs after being forced from the pocket when the line collapsed under pressure from an Atlanta Blitz. Even Jake Long gave up a sack, while still getting used to the new zone blocking system that was brought in this year. Unfortunately Jonathan Martin is still getting beat up and pummeled on the right side of the line, but did an “ok” job in run protection.
The real problem Miami had in this game is the same problem that fans have been screaming about for the last few months. They need immediate and serious help at the receiver position and fast. Devon Bess had a string of amazing catches as well as great blocking and clutch plays, as always. Other then Bess no receiver had more then 2 receptions and the majority had only one. TE Anthony Fasano, who usually has great hands and is very dependable, had 3 drops including a drop in the end zone. The other receivers also had four drops and a tip ball that lead to Tannehill’s only pick of the game. The receivers weren’t scaring anybody on Atlanta’s defense who were playing Miami’s receivers pretty loose and giving up the short routes. There was no one breaking loose on deep routes or getting serious YACs(yards after reception), because they were going down right after the catch or heading for the sideline.
The problem is obvious, now what is the solution? Unfortunately there aren’t that many free agent wide receivers left that can really make a difference right now but there are some that can challenge the receivers Miami has now. Arguably the best receiver available right now is Plaxico Burress who didn’t have a good season with the New York Jets last season but still has gas in the tank. Next up has to be Mike Sims-Walker who hasn’t had a god season in a while but could come cheap, has veteran experience and could definitely challenge anybody on the roster. After that it gets alot worse with receivers that are old or injury prone or just not productive. The only real option for a real threat at receiver is Pittsburg Steeler’s Mike Wallace.
Now the front office in Pittsburgh has said the Wallace is not on the trading block, but I’m sure that with the right offer they will be willing to part ways with the Pro-Bowler. The Steelers are know for building through the draft and would be willing to part ways with Wallace for a couple of good draft picks, like maybe a 1st and 2nd in 2013 and 14. Perhaps they would take a running back like Steve Slaton or even Daniel Thomas and a draft pick. No one knows what they are willing to take or what Miamis willing to give if the trade were to happen, but it is very evident that something has to happen. Miami needs to make a move on a quality receiver and they need to do it now because the receivers on the roster right now are not talented enough to be a real threat. Eventually the running game will suffer when defenses start crowding the line to stop the run because thier not scared of he passing game. Defenses are already starting to crowd the line because of the rookie QB Miami has, now get him some help on the outside so they can open up the field and really spread out the offense.