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Game review: Miami Dolphins 10, Bucs 6

The good: Brian Hartline earned a starting WR job. Well, he wasn't actually annointed by the coaching staff, but trust me, he's going to be a starter in the regular-season opener at Atlanta in two weeks.

The kick return team also did a fairly good job, averaging 30.3 yards on three returns.

The bad: A much, much longer list for the Dolphins during Thursday night's 10-6 victory over Tampa Bay. 

"I would assess it this way," coach Tony Sparano said. "Our defense was on the field too long and our offense wasn't on the field long enough."

You think, coach? The Dolphins, ineffective on offense much of the first half, ran a total of 54 plays. The Bucs, relying on an offense that looked good-not-great while Byron Leftwich was in the game, ran 74 plays and was electrifying by comparison.

During the time Leftwich was in there, the Miami defense looked terrible. Miami defenders mounted precious little pressure on the quarterback. And the secondary blew a couple of coverages some times, while failing to make plays at other times even as defenders were draped around receivers. Luckily Leftwich is a mediocre QB so he didn't make the Dolphins pay for their problems.

"They converted too many third downs," Sparano said. "I have to watch the film and reserve judgment on that. But I thought they missed a few receivers at times during the course of that thing. I thought our guys battled hard and kind of bent but didn't break. We came up with a few good rushes and hit the quarterback a couple of times in certain situations in the course of the game."

This is where I remind you the Bucs did not play their two starting receivers. Antonio Bryant is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. Michael Clayton is recovering from a hamstring injury. Some dude named Stovall torched the Miami secondary for 73 yards on six catches in the first half. 

"We have to get off the field on third down," strong safety Yeremiah Bell said. "A completion is a completion no matter who you're against, no matter who's in the game. Like I said, the concepts stay the same, it's just that the first guys are normally better receivers. At the same time we have to make the plays and get off the field."

The ugly: Chad Henne may indeed become the starter at some point this year and more likely in 2010. But he's not ready for that baton to be passed quite yet -- not if this game was an indicator. Henne completed 2 of 8 passes for 55 yards with one interception.

Let me give you some perspective on Henne's night. His passer rating was 16.1. He completed only one more pass to his teammates than to players on the other team. It was a struggle.

"I wasn't excited about how we threw the ball as a whole tonight," Sparano said when asked specifically about Henne.

The Miami defense was disappointing in that it seems a step slow a lot. The rush gets there just after the passer releases the ball. The cornerbacks stick a hand in just after the receiver pulls in the pass. And there was too much shoddy tackling.

One more thing on the ugly. Lex Hilliard did a lot of things well the last seven months to earn a spot on the Dolphins' 53 man roster. And he might still earn that spot. But Thursday night did not help. He was ineffective running the ball, gaining only 32 yards on 11 carries for a 2.9 yard per carry average. He also fumbled, which is a transgression Sparano detests.

Did I mention Brian Hartline played well? I'm telling you he's the starter after he caught three passes for 79 yards. I asked Sparano if Hartline is the starter, because it sounds better coming from the head coach than a goofy columnist. But the coach wouldn't give up the money quote. 

"I got to watch the film," Sparano cliched. "I like what he did, OK? He did make some big plays, which is critical. One of the things we have to do a better job of on offense is we can't take 15 plays to score every touchdown. We have to get some chunk yards and Hartline was able to make some chunk yards tonight. [Greg] Camarillo was able to make a catch out there one time, too, but Hartline was able to get down the field that way, so that was positive."

Well, the head coach didn't give me what I wanted to hear. So I asked Hartline if he has adjusted his goals from simply making the club to winning himself the starting job. And ... bingo!

"Absolutely," he told me. "There's no reason why I can't ... I'm going to try to set goals to maybe so high I can't reach them. I have high goals and I'm always readjusting my goals. But as you saw tonight, we have a lot of good receivers on this team and any rotation or how we're going to use them, that's going to be the coach's thoughts. But I'm changing goals. Probably daily.

"There's a lot of things I know I'm going to learn from this film going against guys like ronde and other guys. There's stuff that I see that maybe you guys might not that when I get a chance to watch the film, I can correct and do better on."

Can I throw this out at you guys without starting an insurrection? Miami's two most productive receivers now, today, as you read this, are Brian Hartline and Greg Camarillo. Camarillo is still not at the level he reached just prior to his ACL injury last season. But he's progressing and he finds a way to make a play almost every game.

Ted Ginn Jr.? Almost invisible for the second consecutive game. He had one catch for 19 yards.

"The coverage was dictating where the ball was going and [Hartline] was able to make some plays for us and the ball was going his way quite a bit," quarterback Chad Pennington said. "We're just working on trying to get better. We got some things we have to clean up, polish up and get a little bit better which is disappointing. We've been doing pretty well on third down, made that an emphasis and tonight we didn't do a good job. And that's how you keep your defense off the field and how you keep drives going and create some momentum so we have to do a better job there."

Pennington started painfully slow, missing on five of his first nine passes, which is like a personal disaster for a guy who completed 67.4 percent of his passes last season. But Pennington recovered nicely and finished the night 9 of 16 for 128 yards and one TD. His passer rating was 103.1.

Finally, I've been hearing a lot this morning about how the Dolphins are excused for looking bad in the areas where they struggled because, well, they didn't prepare for the game. They didn't game plan. They didn't have much time between games.

Fair. But ...

They played an opponent that didn't prepare for the game, that didn't game plan, and didn't have much time between games.

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Pats looking at Mid season form... Damn.....

Sammo are you there? Anyway, regarding the comment on the bomb Chad P threw to Hartline. I was very impressed with the pass. It didnt float or get caught up like ther passes. I would love to see him do this more often, but I think we will have to settle for once in awhile. I do believe he probably put his all into that pass and a little running start kinda helped. Just remember like in baseball. A power hitter has a greater probability to hit a homerun when he gets an at bat. A pure contact singles hitter can once in awhile hit one out. Both can go yard, one very much more often than the other.

Apparently watching this game the pats are making a statement..THAT THE REDSKINS REALLY SUCK.....

Nantz made a goodp obsrvation. This is Brady with no pressure, no pressue and he's flawless. I know our pass rush early yesterday was not so hot, but things picked up in the second quarter on. So pressure Brady stay with the Patsies. Hopefully we got some blitz packages that will get the job done.

Despacio

Your right. You have to be able to pressure Brady. Otherwise he'll make you pay.

Which reminds me, Wakes and Moses played decent against the Bucs.

Haynesworth earned a little of that 100 million!
Get em again Albert!

Odinseye your crazy. I an an auburn fan and have watched Jason Campbell, he is another Jake plummer or Alex smith, so many chances for a qb not fit for the NFL, they have amazing wr and te, and the running game, and defense. Their qb sucks.

Now getting to the dolphins, did anyone notice that Chad pennington looks to the dump guy first on almost every play? I've never seen a qb do that. Teddy ginn should not start. It should be hartline and Camarillo with bess in the slot. It's time to realize ginn is a huge huge bust. He can't run routes unless he knows he's not going to get hit.
Chad henne was scary bad, but I'll take him over Chad pennington anyday. All pennington cares about is his numbers. There's a reason he looked awful like the rest of them and still had above 100 qb rating. It's what he does.

To distract Brady Bill Parcells should stand on the sideline and flash his man titties so J.T. of Porter can get back their and crush him.

TO ALL THE VIKING PEOPLE ,WATCH THE MASTER BRADY AT WORK.
RED SKIN CAN KICK FINS ASS ANY TIME

WATCH THE CLASS ACT BRADY NOT THE FAT NECK BUST

I FEEL I AM WATCHING 2 NFL TEAMS, NOY LIKE LAST NIGHT GAME WHERE 12 FIN PLAYERS NEVER TOUCHED THE BALL THE WHOLE GAME .

Have any of you other dolphins fans gone on to a pats comment section and ran ur mouth, because I'm guessing no and if u have then loom at GoPats, that's the level of gay that you are being.

Gopats u realize that u lost (and scored six points only) to a Carson Palmer-less bengals team last week, right? Not to mention last year u lost the afc to us....seriously u are a new level of pathetic. I enjoy u.

7tek

Your right I;m crazy, but you must be delusional. Washington has a great team they just need a QB? Sure, keep clicking your heels Dorothy!
Portis, a complete non-factor, he's done. Other than a WR Washington sucks at every level. Top to Bottom, coach to ball boy.
Haynesworth does not make the whole defense good. Their secondary is atrocious. They start a Detroit Lion cast off.
Campbell has good size and a CANNON. Great vision and good wheels.

WE HAVE ABOUT 5 FIN FANS ON OUR BLOG , VERY NICE AND VERY LOUD MOUTH PEOPLE I MIGHT ADD.

Gopats

Tommy Boy already got sent to the bench by Haynesworth.
Rookie Darius Butler soon followed.
That's what happens when your team is soft. It's a long season and Patriot Patsies are already dropping like flies.

Gopats

Did you see mistakes by rookies Butler and Chung?

They have a bust written all over thems. What you think, they need lots of work more than Vontae Davis and Sean Smith.

Odinseye it's okay, since u obviously have never seen Campbell until just now I won't take it personally.

Tampa game was an abortion all around, to many turnovers missed tackles, blown coverages, dropped balls, over and under thrown balls, special teams? Their special alright like the retard type. We are self-destructive

Gopats here's the thing: if I was going talk on a pats blog, as much as I hated them, I would be respectful and modest. Because otherwise I would just come off as a tool. At the dolphins jaguars game, there was such a tool sitting behind me, and the whole game, every time they hiked the ball, lost five yards, got some water...he would yell 'JAGUARS!!' and that's all he would do, and it never came after a good play. He said it fifty times a quarter, but nothing else. At our stadium. Complete TOOL.
So don't be that way, and we will hate ur team a little less (probably). All I'm saying

This is were a head coach earns his paycheck ( putting his foot up players anus's and motivating them properly or they need to go on a one way trip.) Sparano get to work!!!

ode .

do you want us to keep brady in the whole game ?
your team have chad.p only for 10 minutes a game to keep from injury b/c they know henne is a bust .

s.smith is going to be a great player since he played well in all games.
the rest of your player getting paid for not touching the football ever

7teks you are wasting your time. Been there done that.

7tek

I agree with you on Penny, but I don't want to hear about it. We played the guy twice a year his entire career. I used to watch him throw to Moss in college. We knew all about his strengths and tendencies before we signed him.
He, like Henne needs a strong running game to really shine. Which brings up the retardation of starting Hartline and Camarillo.
Everybody already plays us with 8 guys in the box. Geniuses like you want them have 9.

PS: It's been all campbell so far tonight.

Oracle have very nasty mind calling game an abortion and talking about coach putting things in players anus.

What all this about? What abortion have to do with football? They played the whole game.

7 teks,
you are right but most of the times i am playing along with people on the blog .no bad feeling .i agree with you in every thing you said.i will try to not be a tool like odinseye and ace .

Fins still need a backup qb lb. What is up w merling. Chad h looked awful. Roth back yet????
Tuna let's get going.

carlito, oracle is right on mark . screw you

7tek

I admit it, I havent seen Campbell......with MUCH talent around him.

GOpats

Report to the lockeromm. I repeat report to the lockeroom. Tommy boy's in need of a little TLC! Ahhhh HA HA HA!!!!

Gopats

He was scheduled to play 3 quarters. He didn't make it to halftime.

Gosh I hope it's not a separated shoulder.

I'm confused why is a pats fan on a fins blog and why do you u "so called" dolphin fans talk so much crap about your team!!!!

Mr. B iwill make you eat those words.putz

7tek

I apologize. I'm just keyed up, my bad.
It's football season, I'm leaving for Atlantic City in the morning and Haynesworth sent Brady to the lockeroom.

It just doesn't get much better than this.
Life is good!

CARLITO tell us a story about the first time you ate spaghetti w/meat balls .

Dolphin1 like I told 7teks, you are wasting your time with Gopats. Been there done that.

touch down pats by interception 99 yards .

You wonder if nj out there??? he hiding uder other name. He bad like Bush

7tek

I THINK Campbell's good. I KNOW he's better than Wilhite!

...DAMN.......

NJ is maybe at Kennedy wake service, since he love Wake so much.

Gopats was that Brady that returned the INT. AHHH......nope, Tommy's still drying his eyes in the lockeroom!!!!!

Nj very busy with pipes, he have career to think about

ode,

AFTER ALL THIS MONEY YOU SPENT ON PLAYERS AND THE COACH WHO'S DOING BAD JOB GETTING THEM READY TO PLAY. HALF OF YOUR TEAM NEVER TOUCHS THE FOOTBALL FOR THE ENTIRE GAME .

BRADY IS YOUR DADDY'. I HOPE YOU LOSE LESS THAN NORMAL IN ATLANTIC CITY

Notice how nj always say he has many companies. He better than all of you. He need to pay his share of taxes.

Carlito wishes he has more fancy homes than my friend nj phin

Gopats

At leadt Tony didn't get us slammed by the Carson Palmerless Bengals. As a matter of fact our team that doesn't touch the footbal hasn't lost a game yet.
You and the patsies on the other hand have lost a game and an overpaid QB.

Touche'

you right mr b my friend NJ have many he got off the back of his working poor employees. He need to pay more taxes

OH She-ite!

Please come home Matt Cassel. Please come home Matt!

2 int's and going.

ody is this the part where gopats tells you that you spelled the word "touch" incorrectly.

Did anyone else see the tap dancing Ronnie was doing...How about the nifty spin move in the backfield when no def. players were within 8 yards...We need to dump him for a high draft pick after this year...Give me a hard nosed runner that either is on time to the whole or makes his own...I've seen enough of the college moves for two yard losses...

ode,

who's the QB that we over paid for ?

you just released a player after giving him 6 mill in G money .

W Wonka

Probably.

I meant to say:tou·ché [too sháy]
interj
1. fencing acknowledgment of a scoring hit: a word used to acknowledge that an opponent has made a scoring hit
2. acknowledgment of a telling remark: a word used to acknowledge that somebody has made an especially witty, penetrating, or cogent remark, usually in retaliation

Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

is on time to the whole or makes his own...I've seen enough of the college moves for two yard losses...
posted by:Rob

You clown, what is "is on time to the whole" WTF, go back to high School you drop out

NICE GAME .....24-24

not like the senior citizens game last night .

Rob

Are you really Cam Ca-Moron using an alias?

Did anyone else see the tap dancing Ronnie was doing...How about the nifty spin move in the backfield when no def. players were within 8 yards...We need to dump him for a high draft pick after this year...Give me a hard nosed runner that either is on time to the whole or makes his own...I've seen enough of the college moves for two yard losses...

Posted by: Rob | August 28, 2009 at 10:27 PM

Gopats

You got me there.

Just the same, Tommy's still crying in the lockeroom.

Can you get us an update?

Rob,

You have been deemed unfit to be a Dolphins fan. Please turn in your jersey on the way out and don't let the door hit you in the @ss.

SHUT UP S beats before I slap your lil azzz

Carlito

I loved your response

You clown, what is "is on time to the whole" WTF, go back to high School you drop out

Posted by: carlito for golfito | August 28, 2009 at 10:30 PM

Too funny dude......

gopats you guys are in the shiznicks if brady goes down because odonnell sucks like beck and im not talking soccer lol

souljts ,

do you have more homes than carlito ?

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