The Miami Dolphins come out of their first preseason game with a 27-10 win against the New York Giants. Everyone will be dissecting every nuance of this game especially the first teams performance or lack there of.
One thing of note on the Dolphins defensive side is the “first team” had a lot of players not playing notably Wake,Suh and Williams so it was more of a show of depth and backups.
In this video you can see Ryan Tannehill building good chemistry with the back sideline crew (chain gang) member who makes a spectacular one-handed grab.
Looking closer you can see that Olivier Vernon edge rushes on Jordan Cameron who looks to be in a zone blocking scheme meaning you take on the fist defender in your area and expect to get help from your fellow lineman in this case it’s Branden Albert.
So what went wrong here? Jordan Cameron sort of “passes off” Olivier Vernon to Branden Albert in order for him to take on the next defender (zone blocking scheme) problem is Branden Albert couldn’t get a hand on him to fully engage Olivier Vernon, also it seems Jordan Cameron never fully engages Olivier Vernon (man blocking scheme) in fact you can see he is already turned toward the next defender while engaged with the first.
It seems that the zone blocking scheme is easily defeated merely by sending defenders in a slightly offset pattern. If Ryan Tannehill does have the full ability to call audibles which include changing the blocking assignments then it is not apparent from seeing so much reliance on the zone blocking scheme up to this point and not some kind of hybrid system especially in the critical situations.
This play in the game stood out, is Shane Vereen known for being shifty? What stands out is Isa Abdul-Quddus needs to work on containment, keep the defender in front of you try not to bite on fakes at least be close enough to get a hand on the defender if so.
It is of most importance for Isa Abdul-Quddus to get this down as he needs to be close or even on an equal level as Reshad Jones was last season (he lead the team in tackles) for DC Vance Joseph to implement his interchangeable left/right safety set up. If this can take place it will go a long way for this defensive backfield to be more aggressive and even deadly.
After all assuming the wide nine works teams will most likely be looking for completions toward that part of the field.
Other game notes
Matt Moore started off with a first throw interception but looked better as the play went on culminating with some luck on a 51 yard TD toss to Matt Hazel that was tipped first by A.J. Cruz had it not been tipped it would not have counted as Hazel had stepped out-of-bounds. (see top video)
Bobby McCain started with a illegal hands to the face call and some shaky play but turned that around and looked strong nabbing the first interception on NYG QB Nassib (see top video) followed by an interception from A.J Hendy later Walt Aikens would get in the act with a stripped ball of his own, Spencer Paysinger picked it up and made an attempt to run it but lost the handle (out off bounds) thankfully.
Rashad Jennings bounced off Kiko Alonso for a TD in the red zone for a 2 yard score. There is absolutely no excuse for this Kiko launches himself too early he needs to establish contact and drive his sholder. It is just as bad as Quddus (see above) not having containment in the backfield. If this new look defense is to improve on last years malady these type of things need to stop sooner rather than later.
Matt Darr punted from the end zone after that 3 and 10 Tannehill connection with the back sideline crew (chain gang) member in the top video, the punt traveled 63 yards by my account and he does have 4 punts on record last season of 70 yards. In fact he has punted last season for more yards than Tannehill has tossed, ( 4380 yards to 4208) a real saving grace when the team is backed up.
Andrew Franks bounced one on the left upright defecting in for a 49 yard FG.
So far there seems to be no special kick off attempts to do some type of lob preventing runners from catching the ball in the end zone and deciding to run it out, the new rule places the ball on the 25 yard line should the returner down it in the end zone. It is still early though so watch for this.
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Ending on a strong note, Jakeem Grant: he showed no signs of jitters at all from his first NFL experience even the fist time he touched the ball, he settled right in and even put moves on many defenders. During the game the announcers stated that it was the team owner Steve Ross that wanted the Dolphins to acquire him, so thank you for that Mr. Ross. Grant had the most yards from returns and receptions, unfortunately he did sustain and injury that kept him out late in the game the good news is that its minor.