“I’ll take it”. That pretty much sums up how I felt at the conclusion of the Dolphins 23 – 10 victory over the Browns in Cleveland. It wasn’t a great performance by any stretch of the imagination but the ‘Phins came out with a crucial week 1 win. While it’s difficult to call a game this early in the season a must-win, Miami faces a brutal early season schedule and this victory could end up being the difference between the playoffs and a comfortable seat on the couch at home (which has become all too familiar to Dolphins fans and players over the past few seasons.) With week one in the books, let’s take a look back at the ‘Phins performance Clint Eastwood style with the good, the bad and the ugly
While Tannehill did make a couple of errant throws, one being his lone interception on the day, in general Tannehill showed great improvement from last season. He looked comfortable and confident going through his progressions on each play and spread the ball around very effectively. He also made good decisions, throwing the ball away or to his check down rather than trying to force a play. In the future I’d like to see him use his legs a little more to extend some plays but overall I thought the second year’s performance was very encouraging
Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson
Wow, obviously Jeff Ireland new exactly what he was doing when he signed these two guys to big contracts in the off-season. Hartline had one of the best performances of his career turning 15 targets into 9 receptions for 114 Yards and a TD. He looked the part of a legitimate number one receiver and clearly has established an even greater rapport with Ryan Tannehill in the offseason. Brandon Gibson also made it clear that he is perfectly capable of taking over the role formerly filled by Davone Bess. He made several crucial catches on third down and showed a lot of toughness gaining yards after the catch. I really like what the team has moving forwards with these two guys, Mike who?
Man, if the secondary plays like this every game this is going to be a tough team to score on. Granted, the Browns aren’t exactly known as the best passing team and were also without their go-to-guy Josh Gordon, but I was impressed with the work-rate and tenacity of the Dolphin’s inexperienced cornerback group. In particular, Dmitri Patterson always seemed to be around the ball. However, the true stars on this defense are clearly the front seven. Cam Wake was unstoppable, as always, and the interior line simply made it impossible for Trent Richardson to move at all. The additions of Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler also had a clear impact clogging up the middle but also getting to the quarterback and knocking down some passes. This kind of performance for the Dolphins defense will have fans excited and rightfully so.
Great performance from the rookie kicker, I feel more comfortable that I did with Dan Carpenter last season already. Keep it up.
Where’d he go? Wallace was targeted just 5 times by Tannehill and had only 1 reception for 15 yards. He had a tough assignment, going up against Joe Haden, but the speedy receiver simply couldn’t get any separation. Do I think he’s going to be a bust? No the guy is the most talented receiver on the team, but clearly Tannehill is more comfortable looking at Hartline first right now and Mike Sherman is going to have to figure out some way to get Wallace more involved soon.
Okay so we knew this was going to be an issue. Tannehill was sacked 4 times and the run blocking was atrocious. The bottom line is that this is a weak position for the Dolphins and the team doesn’t have much if any depth at the position. This could be a real problem against the best defenses in the league unless Jonathon Martin and Tyson Clabo step up their game.
The Running Backs
Yeah, they didn’t get the best blocking, far from it, but seriously? The Dolphins had one of the worst running performances in team history combining for just 20 yards on 23 carries. Lamar Miller looked completely lost, carrying the ball backwards more than forwards and neither he nor Daniel Thomas showed any signs of being dangerous. The longest carry on the day was for 5 yards, come on! I still like the ability that Miller has; he’s explosive and usually displays great vision, but today he just ran straight into defenders all day. This just isn’t gonna cut it.
Well, that’s my take from the day, good to see the ‘Phins open the season on a high note. Agree? Disagree? Questions? Shoot me a tweet at my new twitter @thecuffester