Where Is The Energy?
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have more problems than simple play calling and tackling. The issues with the team are more reaching than the lingering questions regarding Chad Henne and the future of the position on the team. All of that stuff will be hammered out over the coming months and decisions will be made. There is another problem however that I am not sure will get resolved, and that is coaching.
I will preface this entire article by stating that I support Tony Sparano and Mike Nolan, not Dan Henning. This is not another in a long line of Henning bashing articles either. This does reflect, directly on Tony Sparano and his approach to the game. This team lacks energy. It lacks charisma. As boring as it is to watch our overly conservative offense on the field, it’s as boring to watch all the time. I would never insinuate that this team gives up or doesn’t try, they work to hard and have far too much pride to quit, but they lack that core need to push forward and overcome. They rely on physical toughness rather than mental acuity.
On the next page, I will show you a photo that I took during the most recent game. Look at it. Closely. Then read what I am trying to drive home here. This is more a problem for the these Miami Dolphins than simple missed tackles and poor throwing.
Notice how the Cleveland offense is coming to the line of scrimmage but the center is already over the ball and ready to center snap it to Jake Delhomme. In the photo, there are nine players on defense that have yet to get into position. How many times this season has an opposing offense been able to quick snap against this team?
The lack of effort on this team, the lack of urgency as it were, puts this team into a difficult position both offensively and defensively. On the opposite side of the ball, there is no “2 minute” drill. We have seen it only once this entire season. As the clock winds down to halftime the Dolphins are comfortable running the clock out instead of putting more points on the board. Especially troublesome when you get the ball back first to start the second half. It’s an opportunity for two quick scores.
The photo above was taken pre-snap on the same play that TE Ben Watson was hit for Clevelands’ lone touchdown. Three players were taken out of that play by RB Peyton Hillis. Including Yeremiah Bell and Karlos Dansby. Both of whom as seen above were not in position. Dansby is looking at Watson in the flats, uncovered, and Bell is coming into the picture on the right.
This is a coaching issue and it stems from the conservative nature of the team itself. There is no hurry or as mentioned before, urgency to get to the line of scrimmage, to get into position, or for that matter, to get a two minute drill working properly.
The Miami offense has issues with their play calling and the drive killing momentum stalling use of the Wild Cat formation, but it’s coaches can control the tempo of the game and thus far, that tempo is very slow. Good teams make opposing teams play at their pace, they dictate the tone and the speed on the field. Very few teams find it difficult to play a slower game. For the Dolphins, they just may be the slowest team out there.