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Old 10-19-2005, 07:26 PM  
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Interesting breakdown of the Dolphins from phinfever.com

OFFENSIVE LINE ... for better. Aside from the false start and the few holding penalties, you have to admit that they're playing better than you thought they would be. Sunday, the Dolphins OL did a decent job against the Bucs top ranked defense, and I'll tell you why: even though the Buccaneers are #1 against the run in the NFL, they crammed the box with everyone including the kitchen sink daring the Dolphins to pass the ball and the offensive line held their own. There weren't huge holes for the backs to go through, but they weren't pummelled behind the line of scrimmage either. For the running game to be effective it was up to Gus Frerotte to have success in the air. He did not and he can't blame the offensive line either as they gave him enough time to throw the ball. The offensive line was our biggest worry this year and they're playing ahead of schedule.

QUARTERBACK ... for worst. Last week, the Buffalo Bills strategy was to hold back a single safety in coverage and stack the line of scrimmage forcing the Dolphins to become one-dimensional. Gus Frerotte didn't respond to the challenge and missed open receivers. Sunday, the Bucs dared him to pass by taking away the running game and he failed for the second consecutive week as he missed wide open receivers in pitiful fashion. As much as Fiedler was inaccurate, he at least had hot spots in games ... Frerotte was consistently poor throughout the game with his accuracy. I'd like to push for a quarterback change as Frerotte has to be the most inaccurate starting quarterback the Dolphins have ever had, but who do you call for to start? Sage or Feeley? If it's possible to get Rivers I say let's do it. It is that bleak.

RUNNING BACK ... for better. I was vocally against Ricky Williams being on the team, but watching him play again is an exciting thing. He is explosive to the outside and I think we'll see what he can do very soon in games. Ronnie Brown is a load to tackle, but I am surprised that he does not have that explosiveness that I thought he would have. He's still dancing in the backfield at times looking for holes, but he is getting better.

RECEIVERS ... for worse. There's some playmaking ability here for sure, but they have to get the ball. Marty Booker is playing very well and is becoming a fan favorite. He was open Sunday several times as he usually faces single coverage, but the ball didn't get there. Chris Chambers is still Miami's #1 threat as defenses continue to double-team him. If the pass is hard to catch he usually comes down with it, but if it's an easy one he seems to have his troubles catching them. Go figure. He's also dangerous on the end arounds, but it would be nice to see him try to stay inbounds more. Wes Welker is better than I expected and seems to be the only receiver that is on the same page with Frerotte. David Boston ... he's been a huge disappointment.

TIGHT ENDS ... for better. Randy McMichael isn't seeing a lot of passes, but it's because he's being held inside to help block. Because of his improved blocking, he's increased his value to the team to where the Fins have locked him up for 4 more years. Lorenzo Diamond is intriguing, but we haven't seen much of him. And how can you when the ball is thrown over your head when you are wide-friggin' open. McMike had an uncatchable ball fired over his head as well yesterday.

SECONDARY ... for worst. Man, this is the weakest part of our team and it reminds me of the 90's Tom Olivodotti times as any quarterback can throw the ball down the field on us. With the trade of Patrick Surtain (who is having his share of problems in KC), the Dolphins were hoping for Will Poole to step into the position, but losing him this summer for the season due to injury was the biggest loss to this team. With other teams in the AFC East losing valuable starters the past couple of weeks, don't forget about our loss as well. Offense have been picking on Reggie Howard and rookie Travis Daniels with a lot of success. Joey Galloway ate them up all game. In my opinion, Daniels is playing better than Howard but he's learning rookie lessons. Sam Madison is still a good cover corner but he lacks the speed to stay with the fast receivers.We saw that a couple times Sunday as the safety help wasn't there. Madison is also poor in run support, but Daniels is a good tackler.

LINEBACKERS ... for better. There are really no complaints here except to watch the offsides penalties. All four of Miami's linebackers play the run and the pass well and very effective in Saban's blitz packages. Even though Junior Seau was out Sunday, Donnie Spragan filled in well. Channing Crowder made a bad adjustment on one play and it resulted in a 33 yard run by Pittman ... but it was Crowder who ran down the field to make the tackle. These linebackers are great in pursuit. It was very surprising, though, to see several big runs made against this defense against the Bucs. It was the first breakdown that I've seen from this group and it can be easily corrected.

DEFENSIVE LINE ... for better. I thought this group would play well and they have. They're an older group of players and maybe that would explain their slow starts every game as quarterbacks are given plenty of time to throw the ball in the first quarter. After that they are relentless. The Miami secondary relies on the defensive line to cover their weaknesses and in the first quarter, Brian Griese was slicing up the Miami secondary due to the amount of time he had to throw the ball. For this team to play better and not find themselves in a hole at halftime, the defensive line needs to start dominating sooner in games. As far as run defense, the defensive line does an outstanding job there as well. There is usually nothing given up the middle of the field.

SPECIAL TEAMS ... for worst. There are two bright spots on special teams: Olindo Mare and Wes Welker. Mare is back as he hit a 47 yarder and a 53 yarder. I don't know why they had him punt a ball rather than attempt a 52 yard field goal. It resulted in an 8 yard punt. Wes Welker is a premier punt returner as he set Miami in great field position. He averaged 17.5 yards per return on Sunday. His kick returns are very average and I'd like to see Travis Minor return kicks. Punter Donnie Jones lacks consistency and can never be relied on when you are deep in your own territory. He did average 45 yards a punt Sunday, so, he had a very good game. If he could continue to punt consistently ... well, there are a lot of "ifs" on this team.
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