Criticize Mike Sherman all you want. But he called a good game on Sunday. Granted, the Dolphins faced a terrible Jacksonville defense (31st in total yards, 23rd passing, 32nd rushing), but Miami’s offense has failed to produce against statistically “bad” defenses this year (BUF, TEN). Even though he is not popular or well liked throughout the Dolphin nation, I think OC Mike Sherman deserves some credit for his part in the Fins’ 24-3 victory over the Jaguars. Sherman put Tannehill in the position to throw down field, utilized Reggie Bush’s speed by getting him to the outside and running him off-tackle instead of running him up the middle (where he chooses to dance with opposing defenders instead of running over them or past them), and he even incorporated tight ends Anthony Fasano and Charles Clay.
Though Miami still ended up with more field goals than touchdowns, one particular play call by Sherman caught my eye. It came on Miami’s first touchdown with 7:34 remaining in the first half. On a second and goal from the Jacksonville 4 yard line, Reggie Bush came in motion from the far right side and Tannehill faked the sweep left hand off to him. This caused the Jaguars’ defensive line and linebackers to bite on the left-end run, and Tannehill was able to roll right easily and hit either Anthony Fasano on the right side flat, or fellow Aggie FB Javorskie Lane on a hesitation route. Lane ended up being wide open due to confusion amongst the Jaguars’ D, and he fell untouched into the end zone.
The play was essentially the same sweep run that Miami ran under the Wildcat with running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. However this play was modified perfectly to cause the Jags to over-commit to Bush’s left sweep to the outside, and gave Tannehill an easy four yard toss to Lane for the touchdown. I loved this play, not only because it worked well but because it was the first unique approach we’ve seen Sherman take inside the red zone. One could argue that one of the main woes for this team has been their inability to score touch downs while in the red zone. Instead of trying to pound it inside repeatedly, Sherman dialed up a beautiful play that resulted in a beautiful touchdown.
Even though this Dolphins’ offense has struggled to put up points (especially in the most crucial stages of games), I think Mike Sherman is doing the best he can with what he’s got. My only complaint is I’d like to see Sherman use Bush and the other running backs more in the passing game. However, he does not have a big, speedy wide receiver that he can use to stretch the field, nor does he have a Gronkowski type tight end that is dominant inside the red zone. However, I think we can expect to see similar play calling that we saw against the Jags in the future. While the Jags aren’t statistically the best defensive team, Miami’s offensive domination overt he Jags was a change from the recent offensive struggles of previous games. With a few play makers in the upcoming draft, Miami’s offense should grow and become even more dangerous. I’m interested to see Sherman’s changes against the Bills and Pats the Second time around.