Well, I finally got to watch the Dolphins 3rd preseason game against the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Let me just say, there was a couple of good things, and a LOT of bad things. Considering this is game 3 of the preseason (man this is moving fast eh?) we should be clean, crisp, solid, disciplined, and roaring to go for the start of the regular season.....on BOTH sides of the ball.
Not so much.
Chad Henne was one of the VERY FEW good things I saw tonight. Chad Henne is such a different quarterback. No more hesitation, no more "scared" looks on the field. Chad looks more like a captain, a leader, a veteran.
Funny thing is, seeing Chad out there on the field is almost scary. It is something we are not used to seeing from #7. Chad is calling audibles at the LOS, Chad is clapping if the line doesnt make a good play, Chad is making progressions, scanning the field, mobile in the pocket, and more precise with his decisions and throws.
Also tonight, Brandon Marshall looked good. He didn't get a lot of quantity, but the quality of his few receptions were great. Of course the 60 yard touchdown was incredible. Amazing Yards After Catch that we were so excited to get when we traded two 2nd round picks for "the beast" last season.
Now the fumble, I won't crap on BM for. Brandon was fighting and making more out of little and the Tampa defender just made a damn good play.
Tip your cap to him.
Marshall looks slimmer, cut, fresh and ready to go. And that is exciting.
Daniel Thomas looked ok at times, Reggie Bush made good catches out of the backfield, Fasano was good, Langford as well. Cool to see Jason Taylor scrumming with younger Buc offensive guys standing up for his teammate.
Now to the bad.
And god was it bad. Our offensive line is abysmal. Guy's, I am not kidding, I think we have a lot of good pieces to make a decent run this year. But if our offensive line doesn't hold up it's end of the bargain, we don't win more than 8 games.
We need a running game. No matter how much Henne has improved, he can't win us 10 or 11 games throwing the ball 40+ times a game.
It just is not plausible.
The ironic thing is, Tony Sporano was brought into Miami because of his work with the offensive line in Dallas. That is Tony's bread and butter. And ultimately, the offensive line could be the reason he is unemployed after this season. Because let's be honest, Tony doesn't survive this year if we finish 7-9 again. We need 10 or 11 wins and competing for the East all the way into December for Tony to have his job safe. If our o-line plays this regular season like they have in the preseason, then we won't get a running game going and we WON'T win a lot of games.
Our running game was not great. But, I will give them the benefit of the doubt because of the crap o-line play.
Our starting defense. Oh my god!!! There was one point watching my DVR recording of the game, and I see Josh Johnson (No marlin fans, not the ace pitcher) running, throwing, and dissecting our STARTING defense.
I see Dansby, Davis, Smith, Burnett, Bell....getting worked in the passing game, with Tampa's back-up's in the game.
Tom Brady is licking his chops.
Now I will be fair. There were plenty of times where if we WERE playing Tom Brady, we would have had massive, explosive sacks.....but Josh Johnson and Josh Freeman were too fast, too strong, or both.
On multiple occasions we had Josh Freeman running for his life for what looked like a sure sack, except Josh would escape, run for yards, and make us pay. Seems like scary foreshadowing for the Eagles game later in the season.
I know our defense was pretty good last year. But if this was signs for things to come, Tom Brady and the rest of the AFC East are excited to play us.
Because, like my last point about us getting sacks if it was Tom Brady.....there were plenty of throws Josh Freeman MISSED that Brady would not have. So you need to be fair there.
All in all, it was an ok performance. The Bucs are a team that won 10 games in arguably the best division in football. The Dolphins held their own. Henne looked better, and there was some bright spots.
Let's hope when Monday Night Football comes, for our sake, we were playing vanilla because of it being the preseason. If not? Might be a LONG, embarrassing night for everyone in the nation to see.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisCullen561