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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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Rob you are a whiny punk, keep my azzz off your mind, I don't like dudes, sorry....

Come back when you learn something about football and have something intelligent to say


That was impostor carlito, I never speak in such classless way.

Ody thanks I love to make you laugh. I am Carlito for golfito. Not "from" like the other fool. My name is carlito and i like to play golf or golfito to put a latin twist to it. Do not confuse me with Carlito from Golfito.


I'm with you. When one guy start talking about slapping another guys A#S.

It makes him sound like a...like a......well like a Patriot fan!!!!

carlito from golfito I just explained it to ODY, our names are different you moron! I am entitled to my name my brown little friend


O'Connell does it like Beck, John Beck! LOL


carlito is very funny

odinseye is very funny

rob not at all, he's an insult to farmers

Soulja you are a worthless human piece of garbage, now shut up

who's john beck ?


Golfito From?

F it, now I'm just confused.


Who's Matt Cassel?

Ody it very easy, I am for golfing. So I am called carlito for golfito

carlito for golfito=nj phin

the pats defense is going to suck this year and that is why the pats wont win the division...u guys let JASON CAMPBELL who has been crappy all prreseason tear u apart.defense wins championships and from what ive seen u guys dont have one


fish and chips

nj always say he is defender of country and constituiton. He should be called Captain America, he so tough and bad.


Is it hard work jumping on and off the bandwagon chump?


Another drive stopping turnover, Brady goes down= season over. LOL


Keep working it souljeesha, I am going to shut that mouth of yours


make me some tea


It takes a real tuff guy to talk $hit over the internet... What you gonna do? huh? nothing... thats right...

unless you have something to say about football, beat it

peace out fella's


Posted by: FF13 | August 28, 2009 at 10:48 PM

Figures you would think it's funny. Talking stuff about the guy when he's not here to defend himself.

My Jr high school principal said that's what cowards do.

good night ,every one go to to your basement


Looks like your Pattycakes are in for a "Gillette" scalp treatment tonight. LOL

Gopats there are not basement in Florida

Odinseye what he heck are you talking about? Just because I found something funny you berate me.

we have garages in Fla

odi show he got nj 's back to earn points w/him

Sore shoulder?

I bet it is. Oh well two pre-season losses in a row and a sore shoulder.

I hope this is just a prelude of things to come.


Sorry for the berration dude. I was trying too be funny.

Oh well ya win some ya lose some......


Nj has had my back here. That's why I have his. Not for some twinkie dink brownie points!

When a Norse Viking Warrior has your back, it's till the END!
Till the wheels fall OFF!

odin mean to say he afraid of nj rage

there's only one carlito, the one from golfito

thank you gopats. even though you are pat fan, you get free pass.

there's only one carlito, the one FOR golfito


Which one of your "personalities" are most worried about Mr Bunchen(snicker)?

Dolphins4life, carlito for golfito, ff13, cuco, chivo, rob, mr. b, whatever you want call him been talking to himself all night.

Odinseye , ff13 and cuco are none other then the same idiot talking to himself . LOL , don't you see that. Thanks for having my back though .

gopats good and classy fan, he not include in this prision lineup

the real dolphins4 life is a classy guy . not like the creep who just posted w/ his name and talking to himself all night .now go make me some tea

how many homes do you really have ?

What is over/under for if Mando have Tom Brady article tomorrow?

one point 4 od


why i feel odinseye is gay

carlito for golfito and GOpats been talking to themselves allnight too.

Tigers love pepper, they hate cinnamon!

NJ buy foreclosed homes of his workers and then resells them to make more money off their hard work and sweat,sad.


That's what I was talking about when I said you had my back. I had four names pegged as being one guy. Then you gave me the initials of who was behind the four names.
It never ends, it just keeps proliferating.

Good Looking Out!

od iz smart , call him sherlock

Odinseye , besides me ( just now ) and you , all the names are 1 sad and pathetic excuse for a human being. Just scroll up this blog and look at the names. they're all the same loser. if it wasn't so sad , it would be funny. and he does this 24/7.

apology accepted Odinseye, it is just funny reading all this Krap.


I've studied physcology. Not in the traditional sense of course, and only to find an easier way into chicks pants.
I've studied it nonetheless, and schizophrenia never ceases to amaze me.
I just TRY to have fun with it. This guy is like a schizophrenic on LSD x 10:)

NJ that was real funny post there, I fell out of my chair laughing and spit my drink out,

why i feel nj phin is gay w/black mustache


You infidel!

You spit your drink out?

It had better not have been Dark Barcardi!!!!

It was just a coke,Odinseye. Some of these posts are out there. Some asks about the first time someone had meatballs. What is that?

murice why do you feel nj phin is gay w/black mustache? Dont get it, please explain

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