Sept 8, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman walks the sidelines before the game against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphin Fans Question Mike Sherman

It seemed a perfect fit for a team that was changing coaches and philosophy.  Hire a former NFL head coach who helped build a championship in Green Bay to be the teams offensive coordinator.  Passes were issued in year one as a rookie QB struggled with no-name WR’s and a new system.  Now, after only one game, many fans are questioning whether OC Mike Sherman is the right man to call this teams offense.

Dolphins fans will be quick to point out the day that Reggie Bush had in Detroit which included as 78 yard catch and run by the former Dolphins RB.  They will also be quick to point out that yesterday’s running game was one of the worst in the history of the franchise.  And finger pointing is directed at the Miami Dolphins OC, Mike Sherman.

The Dolphins beat the Browns on Sunday and one could say they did so with a generic vanilla offense.  No motion or pulling schemes.  No attention to develop a mismatch with your number one WR.  It was run like a decoy offense.  use Mike Wallace outside and draw away the coverage on everyone else.  Is that what Miami bought with 60 million?  If it is, fans are none to thrilled.

Of course that is not what they bought.  Yesterday was one game, the first game at that.  It’s going to take time, an old cliche’ that Miami fans have been forced to buy into for the better part of a decade and a half.  It seems.

While the media want to stir up controversy to sell web hits and newspapers, fans are growing impatient with the promises that are being left miserably back in the training facility.

As 2012 came to a close fans of the Dolphins watched QB Ryan Tannehill mature.  He used his legs to gain yards and throw off defenders.  He moved out of the pocket and hit targets in stride while on the run.  Through pre-season and one regular season game Tannehill looks the part of an NFL QB but he is standing trying to look more like a Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning than a Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick.  While he doesn’t have the speed of the latter or the experience of the former, Tannehill seems to be lacking in one thing that all of those four QB’s share.  A pistol whipped desire to beat down the other team.

It’s not necessarily a knock on Tannehill.  I like him being our QB.  A lot.  Yet I wonder where his killer drive is at sometimes.  It’s almost as if the coaches have drilled the fear of death into him regarding turnovers.  He plays soft and methodical with minimum risks.  Unfortunately playing like that will eventually lead to mistakes.  On Sunday, Tannehill found a way to win in the 4th quarter but it’s something he needs to develop for an entire game.

This of course is not about Ryan Tannehill’s short comings.  It’s about his offensive coordinator.  Mike Sherman is the man who designed this offense and is the one who put it into game plan.  While Tannehill may not have time and Lamar Miller may not have space, the burden of figuring it out rests on Sherman.  Fans want to know where the QB running out of the pocket went from last year.  They want to know where is the speed that they were teased with.  This offense is not what they were asked to chew on and they are hoping it’s not the offense they are being asked to swallow.

On Sunday the Dolphins used minimal motion and none that I recall by their WR’s.  Why isn’t Mike Wallace being used as a motion receiver to change the coverage assignments?  The West Coast Offense is supposed to be fast.  Almost like a non-stop no-huddle.  The Dolphins took their time getting to the line after being in the huddle prior to each snap.  The offense lacked speed and once again we say dump off passes and pocket collapses.  Fans want to know why Mike Sherman can’t see what we see on TV?

Tannehill could avoid pressure by rolling the pocket left or right.  By attacking an opposing defense wide you take pressure off the middle of your weak line and put it on the shoulders of your tackles and ends.  Miami’s approach on Sunday was slow motion off tackle runs that went nowhere.

Fans have a reason to be upset.  They were told there would be fireworks and in week one they were given sparklers.  The offense of the Miami Dolphins lacks creativity.  It lacks the fundamental elements of an offense that makes it a top rated team.  While teams use “go-to” plays to pick up first downs and move the chains the Dolphins often use those plays as part of their regular offense and the issue with that is when it comes time to “go-to” that play, the defense already knows how it plays out.

It’s one game against a very very good front defense.  But great offenses stand in the face of those defenses and score and score again.  They eat up yards and put themselves into great position.  The Dolphins lumbered around on Sunday.  In part due to penalties.  In part due to bad line play.  In part due to the severely lacking rushing attack.  Also in part to a very non-creative offense that looked more like it was being run by Dave Wannstedt than being run as a shadow of Green Bay’s.  If this is supposed to be the Green Bay style of offense the Dolphins may want to go back to Wisconsin.

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  • m_martian

    I have to say, why lay all our cards on the line on the road, against cleveland? I may be wrong and Sherman may be a complete idiot but Miami never looked like they were going to lose Sunday. If I were coaching I would look at the next 4 weeks and say “lets do what we need to do to win this game and give Colts, Atlanta, NO and Ravens as little game tape to use against us as possible.” My guess is If Sunday’s game was Vanilla, look for Vanilla plus against the Colts and roll it all out for our homecoming. If they win the first 3 they easily make the playoffs.
    Look, even Sherman does not call the same running plays out of the same formations under the same conditions over and over again. Somethings up, I just feel it.

    • Tim

      I agree completely.Vanilla is fine as long as we stack the dubs. Why play an ace when you can win with a ten.

      • m_martian

        Not sure you saw the handoffs (twice) to miller where Tannehill rolled out after, that whole side of the field was WIDE open. If i saw that Sherman saw it. Then there was a fake sweep to our WR, that too was open. These were done early in the game and I thought for sure the dolphins were setting the browns up for late in the game. Then nothing… At that point i think the dolphins trailed back their plans. If I were any other team watching game tape on the dolphins I would say, stack the box and swing a safety towards Harlline, that shuts them down.
        We will see

        • Chris

          Stack the box and swing a safety towards Hartline…because Mike Wallace plays against Joe Haden every week?

  • diehardphin

    From what I’ve seen of this offense last year, there are no aces in the
    hole. What you see is what you get; more vanilla. All we did this past
    offseason was plug in a few new pieces that will hopefully create a better outcome.

    • m_martian

      You must have missed the read option they were doing at the end of last season and WR sweeps have been in our playbook for years. The way those plays were done (rollout after the handofff and the WR in the backfield before giving it to the HB) were designed to set up the defense for later. From what I saw we never even ran a counter. We ran up the middle, told them we were running up the middle and never attempted anything else. Either Sherman is a OC with a idiot level IQ or the game was never in danger and never followed through with what he had set up eariler in the game.

      • gofins60

        I’ll choose “Sherman is an idiot”.

  • William Varner

    I don’t understand. I must’ve watched an old tape of Browns vs. Dolphins on Sunday while alot of Dolphins fans watched a totally different game. We won. The game was never in jeopardy. Wilson and the Seahawks scored like 12 points. Luck and company struggled against the Raiders. Brady had to drive his team down for a late FG. Id rather win with a “Vanilla” offense that gets only 250 yrds than lose with an offense that put up 500 yrds. This is week 1 folks. Our first full game with our brand new offense. We did what 16 other teams couldn’t and that’s win! When the season is over and the Lomardi trophy is handed out, do you think the winner cares how many pretty plays they made? The answer is no. People look for the bad in this team too much. How about we gets some articles and comments about how badass our defense played and when we needed it the most our QB was damn near flawless.

    • Chris

      I completely agree. For running a Dolphins fan site, Brian seems to have one of the most negative outlooks of this team. We win our first game of the season for the first time in years and “we have a $60m problem” and Philbin and Ireland and Ross better fix it or they’ll all lose their job. Which is the case every year, apparently. Oh and let’s not forget our vanilla offense…that put up 23 points, which ties for the most points scored by an AFC East team last weekend. I thought, aside from some O-Line blocking/protection issues, these Dolphins played strong and look ready to compete this year.
      -Fins up

      • txmedic5

        Not even close man. You need to read my articles and not peruse them. I watched the game and actually question why the hell there is so much negativity towards the team after a loss. This article was not of my opinion but instead questioning the opinion of others from Twitter, FB, and various forums.

        This is not my opinion although I will say that in some cases I think Sherman could do a better job.

        • Chris

          I read every article that gets posted to this site very thoroughly. I was even thinking about approaching you guys to volunteer myself as a proof-reader to your articles seeing as how I often spot grammar/punctuation/spelling mistakes and I read every article anyways. I also pay attention to whose articles it is I’m reading and I think you come off as more pessimistic than optimistic. I was simply making an opinionated observation as a frequent PhinPhanatic viewer.

          • txmedic5

            Fair enough…I admit it was my approach to the article but not my opinion. In fact, I am one of the more positive writers about the team but there are times where I use the pessimistic approach to backhand a few “readers” out there. I’ll try to post more positives but it is difficult sometimes given the overall negativity of many fans towards to this team.

          • Chris

            Brian, thanks for the reply. I agree, the level of overall negativity from Miami fans and media is pretty egregious. I guess I felt like your columns were written in a negative light because of your own personal concerns with the team. Going forward, I’ll keep a more open perspective when reading your articles. You guys do a great job running this site. #WithGreatPower…

  • Johnny

    The facts::: We just seen about 40% of the playbook!!
    You will see about 65-70% at Indy.. And even more against Atl and NO… You’ll see… It’s pretty obvious we didn’t see that much of the playbook… Especially against Cleveland and their Base Defense..

  • Cid Fernandez

    Already fans are looking to pick up the pitch forks. Not surprising seeing that the fan base is starved for offense production. But lets take a step back for a second. Yes, do we need be more deadly offensively, absolutely. But one of you guys hit it on the nose. This game didnt feature a complete play book. Mike Wallace did his job. He took two DBs every play. That opened the field for Hartline, Gibson and clay. The run game is going to have to pick up and there is only one way to go but up after Sunday. There’s alot of things we can do better. Disguising our runs is number one. But bigger than that we hve to adjust what were running to what the defense is showing. Someone mentioned moving receivers around. I love the idea. Run Wallace out of the slot. Move him around. I say all this but again I believe there’s alot we haven’t seen by this offense so lets give it a chance.

  • Jcartwright67

    We beat Cleveland in the opener. I’m thrilled we did, but in truth, who among us didn’t think that would occur? We gained 23-yds on 20 carries and Wallace was targeted 5-times. Those are two glaring concerns; not necessarily problems. Yet! To what degree we need to start worrying about it will be determined this Sunday. Was it just an anomaly of a very exciting WCO or do we have scheme as well as coaching and personnel issues? My vote is anomaly and this week will see a different running game and Wallace involved.

  • txmedic5

    Two things peeps…one this is not my opinion as much as an observation of many Dolphins fans. 2nd, the article 60 Million dollar problem is a dig at the local media trying to stir stuff up. If you all have read me in the last 7 years you will know that I am far from Mr. Negative and tend to point me irritability at some in the fanbase and some in the local media.