Miami Win Should Spark A Debate
Now that the dust has settled on the amazing game between the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans there are a lot of questions this coaching staff has to answer. Miami was able to pull out the victory in a ‘must win’ situation to keep their playoff hopes alive. They battled hard, got a few breaks here and there, and pulled out the much needed win.
As I wrote last week, Miami is indeed very much alive in the AFC playoff picture because of their schedule. It is easier than the schedules the teams ahead of them have. I looked for Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and the Jets to lose at least 3 of their remaining 8 games, Baltimore and Pittsburgh took care of one of those this week. The Jets were able to squeak out a road win against a Cleveland team that is playing thier hearts out for thier coach right now.
I was glad to see Chad Pennington get the start, mainly because I too wanted to see if it was Dan Henning or Captain Checkdown, Chad Henne, that was responsible for the terrible offensive production of the Miami Dolphins. Once I saw the first play and the hit Pennington took, I thought the experiament was over. He somehow got back up for two more plays, then took himself out after he tried to make a throw. That first hit was the one that caused the damage, and essentially ended the season and possibly the career of Pennington.
I took several things away from this game. First of all, I think this is the best draft the Miami Dolphins have had under the current regime. I know it’s still too early to make any judgements, but you can’t help but get excited about what is to come with this Miami defense. Koa Misi seems to find himself involved in several plays each game, and is only getting better. Odrick was a starter and looked good in his games prior to his injury. His return next year will be like getting an extra first round draft pick since he only played in a little over 2 games this year. The book is definitely out on AJ Edds, we have no clue what he will be able to do at this point in time. The two 5th round picks are players, Nolan Carroll and Rashad Jones are going to be good. Jones saw the most playing time he’s seen all year and he made the most of it. I know it was only 1 game, only 1 quarter for that matter, but he showed signs of being the ball-hawking safety Miami desperately needs backing up their two good corners. Doesn’t it seem like it’s only a matter of time before Nolan Carroll takes a kick back for a TD? He gets close each game, I think he will break one or two over the rest of the season. Spitler is getting time on special teams as well, something that has been getting better for Miami over the past few weeks.
The second thing I took away from this game is the play calling. Where has this big play, go for the gusto offense been all year? Pennington only had 3 plays, but one of those was a nice crossing route by Brian Hartline for a big gain, Henne can make that throw….right? After Henne was back in there, the big plays kept coming. Henne kept throwing the ball deep to Hartline all day. They even ran a flea-flicker! Then when Miami turned to the Wildcat, Brandon Marshall launched one deep, and by the way, didn’t he throw a nice ball? That dude has a cannon! Too bad he threw into quadruple coverage. But Miami took their shots for a change, and it worked. I hope to see more of this as the season goes on. Doing that will surely open up the field more for the offense, which will result in more points scored.
Finally, and this is what I think should cause some debate over the rest of the year, Chad Henne to me doesn’t seem like the guy Miami should build their franchise around. I know he had good stats while he was in there, but did he play well? He got 54 yards on the flea-flicker, but I have a feeling that play was designed for Pennington because of how early it came in the game. To me, during the first half, Henne just looked like he didn’t want to be in there playing quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. Now, was that because the playcalling started to change back to what it was in games past? Was it because he was upset about being benched? Did he have the mindset going in that he wasn’t going to play at all? Did he get mad at Brandon Marshall because Marshall probably told him something for not even looking his way in the redzone? No matter what it was, he just had a look on his face like he would rather have been somewhere else, and I don’t feel good about moving forward with him at the helm.
I was glad to see Tyler Thigpen get a chance to play. He played well for a horrible Kansas City Chiefs team a few years ago, and also led Miami to a near comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers late last year. I think he will make it possible for that offense to score more points. He has the ability to keep plays alive with his feet, and he doesn’t give up on plays too early and go to the check down receiver. A lot of routes the receivers run in this offense take time to develop, and I think Thigpen has the patience to let that happen. I’m not saying I feel Thigpen will lead Miami to the promise land, but I do think he gives Miami the best chance to win week in and week out. And that means that at this time, I don’t feel like Miami has their franchise quarterback to build around for the future. Wait……wasn’t it rumored that one of the reasons Bill Parcells quit is because he was unhappy about the progress of Chad Henne? I think if this coaching staff doesn’t realize Tyler Thigpen deserves a fair chance at being the starter, they are making a big mistake. Henne did look good at times during the game, but he’s looked good quite often this year until Miami has gotten into the redzone, nothing changed against Tennessee. Henne just can’t get the ball into the endzone. Thigpen deserves a chance to show what he can do. If he can convert in the redzone, Miami needs to roll with him, because that will give them their best shot at winning!