Miami Dolphins Win First Pre-Season Ugly


It’s a common theme from year to year recently.  The Dolphins pull out a victory in a pre-season game in ugly fashion.  Last night, no different.  The Miami Dolphins opened their 2011 pre-season campaign with a win thank to the heroics of guys that likely won’t be on the roster when the real season begins.  The highlights of the game will surely not get anyone’s juices flowing and it’s safe to say that the excitement of footballs return is a little more than a bitter reality pill this morning.

I have yet to watch the game as I was unable to watch it live.  I will give it a solid look this week and cover the points of interest I wrote about yesterday.  There is no denying however the one position that I really wasn’t interested in dissecting in game one, will be the most talked about.  Yep, the quarterback position.

Chad Henne opened his 2011 season with 2 picks in 4 attempts.  No, that isn’t a mistake and yes, I know, most of you are not really all that surprised.  I’m not going to play Tony Sparano and say that Davone Bess ran a bad route on one of those INT’s…I saw the replay and the ball was badly thrown.  Nor will I say that the other was a bobbled ball by TE Anthony Fasano.  It was not a well thrown ball.

Some might say he redeemed himself with the 44 yard TD pass to Brian Hartline.  When the team is down 17-0 with your starters on the field, your offense better be doing something to straighten it out.  It’s obvious walking away from the first quarter of last nights game that the Dolphins have a lot of work to do with their starters.  On both sides of the ball.

There are some in the media who are pointing out the fact that Miami did not have Jake Long, Brandon Marshall, or Reggie Bush in the game offensively.  Would it have made a difference?  Hard to say how the Atlanta defense plays with two offensive weapons in the game.  It was also reported that Miami ran no pulling guard stunts and kept the offense very vanilla.  That’s not an excuse for the play of Henne…in fact, I would have expected Henne to play a bit better with a more simplified game approach.

One thing came out of last nights game, and again, I haven’t watched it to really dive into commenting on different players specifically, but it is safe to say that the play of Matt Moore will likely have Miami fans chanting for him next week when the Dolphins open at home against the Carolina Panthers.  Moore tossed one INT but also added two touchdowns.  According to someone at the game that I spoke with, there was a different vibe when Moore was in the game.  Something that many have commented on over the last two seasons when Henne is not on the field.

Henne took a leadership role this off-season when he was instrumental in getting the players together during the lockout.  Installing Brian Daboll‘s offense.  The question that remained was how he would take that leadership to the field of play when the games and contact actually started.  If the momentum of the offense is still sluggish under Henne, then the Dolphins need to figure out what they have in Moore.

The fact is that more than just Henne’s future is on the line with the 2011 season.  Despite extensions for both Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano, Stephen Ross will not accept another embarrassing season, especially at home.  The Dolphins are going to live and die by their choice at quarterback.  It will be the one position that will be scrutinized all year long.

Last night was game one of pre-season.  There should be no knee jerk reactions, no calls for Henne or Moore, no guarantees that Phillip Livas will make the final 53 because of his 75 yard punt return.  It’s a pre-season game.  The first one at that.  It’s a reality check.  And the reality is that the Dolphins have a lot of work to do.  Next week and the week after, the Dolphins will begin implementing actual game plans.  Then we will have a better idea of what the Dolphins have or have not.

But no, Chad Henne did not look good last night.