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Dolphins beat Panthers 27-17: The reactions

Let me get to the most important thing first: The old Miami Dolphins' Fight Song is light years better than the T-Pain version the new ownership tried to thrust upon everyone in the preseason-opener. Tonight, the old, faithful version was played in the stadium and I was one of the throngs that decided it was better.

Yes, I come down on the side of the banjo over autotunes. I'm sure Mr. Pain, who has more recording success than most lately, will understand this traditionalist is not in his corner.

Go old school!

On to the game: The Dolphins improved their preseason record to 2-0. They did it behind some excellent rush offense from the first to the third units. The Dolphins rushed 28 times for 141 yards, which is a 5.0 yard per carry average.

Lex Hilliard led the charge with 52 yards on nine carries. It was an important night for Hilliard because he's in a tough spot. He is the fourth running back on a team that might only keep three. And you know Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams and Patrick Cobbs are making this team.

So Hilliard made the point he can be an option on the roster if coaches decide he's too valuable to expose to practice squad while adding him as a special teams performer. And it seems special teams is how Hilliard must make it.

"Lex is a big back that runs like a big back," coach Tony Sparano said. "But we have to look at the film to see how he did on special teams."

I do not want to be a party pooper but I have to be honest with you. The Panthers are not a good run defense. They are desperately searching for defensive tackle help. It did factor into how successful Miami was as much as Jacksonville's stout middle factored into how poorly the Dolphins ran the ball last week.

The Dolphins ran five Wildcat package plays. They netted, in order, 3, 0, 11, 4, and 35 yards. The 35-yarder was on a flea-flicker in which Ronnie Brown flips the ball to Chad Pennington, who throws downfield to Patrick Cobbs. It was the same play the Dolphins ran against the Houston Texans last year.

In fact, all the plays were the same the Dolphins ran out of Wildcat last year. And that's exactly what the Dolphins wanted to show.

"We ran the same four plays that every NFL team has about 95 cut-up plays of us," Sparano said. "It's the same four plays we ran all last year so there are no secrets there. But it is a good homework for us. We put the same four plays out there and you get a chance to see what people have been studying their whole offseason and how they want to defend us a little bit. it gives us a good chance to find some things out."

So running the old Wildcat plays shows Miami's opponents nothing, but it shows Miami how opponents are adjusting. As I've written over and over, expect not one Wildcat or WildPat or Wildcat 2.0 play this preseason. That won't be unveiled until the regular season.

All of Miami's QBs had good nights. Chad Pennington had a rating of 132.8 which is excellent. He completed 8 of 11 passes for 105 yards with 1 touchdown. Chad Henne's rating was 94.5 as he completed 10 of 16 passes for 75 yards with one TD. Pat White got very limited second-quarter play as was the plan, Sparano said. White completed 2 of 3 passes for 4 yards, but he seemed to get out from under center quicker this week than last week -- an improvement.

Donald Thomas, who passed Shawn Murphy for the starting RG job last week, played well as far as the naked eye can tell. He played into the second half.

"I need all the plays I can get," Thomas said. "If they told me, 'Play the whole game,' I would have been fine with that. I feel good. Once we go back Monday and look at the film, I'm sure it will say I still have a lot of stuff to clean up. Tonight was a learning tool."

If you are a diligent reader of this blog, you know the Dolphins are emphasizing third down efficiency this year. Third down is the money down. Third down is when big-time players must step up to make big-time plays.

The Miami offense converted 6 of 14 third down situations for an excellent 43 percent. The Panthers converted only 2 of 11 for 18 percent, which translates to great work by the defense.

The Miami defense had only one sack. But it had plenty of pressure.

"We were both out there trying to get some real rushes in," Joey Porter said of his attack of the QB along with Jason Taylor. "I think our young guys showed up and made some big plays. Cameron Wake got to the quarterback. Q. Moses got to the quarterback. All those guys got some good playes in there, so I think it was a good evaluation for everybody to show that our dropoff isn't that bad no matter who is in the game."

Speaking of pass-rush pressure, the Panthers got one sack. That came when rookie Everette Brown beat Jake Long for a sack.

Bigtime Julius Peppers put that sack in perspective, however, when he was asked about his personal matchup with Long.

"All this is practice with a time and a score," Peppers said. "It's not like we are game-planning for each other or trying to make any statements right now."

The special teams, particularly the starting special teams, is a concern. They gave up a 58-yard punt return by Captain Munnerlyn, which set up a field goal attempt.

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Plenty of QB pressures very good. Thanks to Wake and Moses.

Lex Luther Hilliard's Univ of Montana highlight reel, for your late night viewing pleasure

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMWZpM0TxbI

So it seems the only way lex could make the team is through special teams? Can you remind us what he did in special teams? He was geat in the backfield and you know there are teams hoping he ends up on the waiver wire after tonights performance!

Mando--interesting point about our running the WildCat plays to see what the bad guys have been planning for defending it during the offseason. No one of the QAM crew suggested this. Food for thought.

Mando , stop stealing my thunder .

I know Henne was 10 of 16, but really should have been 12 of 16 because of the drops.

Super Scout

That Lex Hilliard link is retarded, Thanks! How many TD's did this guy score in college?
In addition to strength and speed, this guy has vision. That's something you can't coach. The way he see's a play develop, the way he uses his blockers, it makes me think of Thurman Thomas on steroids!!!!

Keep this guy!!!!

With Ricky getting nothing but older, it's nuts to even consider letting a guy like Hilliard walk, no matter how he plays on special teams. Nutty.

Tom Hartman, you beat me to the point.

I still want to see Matt Roth back in the lineup. Mando said he might practice this week, which would give him 3 weeks to prepare for opening day. Would feel a lot better with him playing 1st and second down against Michael Turner and the Falcons.

Odinseye,

What kind of liquor are you drinking tonight?

You guys are all right about Hilliard. It will be interesting to see what the Dolphins do with him when roster cuts have to be made. Doesnt that tank fit perfectly with the big O-line that the phins have out there?

Chris Mortensen just posted this on his twitter page:

Sean Smith's agent, David Cantor, just told me outside stad., "Sean can't have swine flu; laughing with him all day @ the hotel."

Ace

I started out with some Bud Ice. Then A friend stopped over with one of my fabvorites(lol). Dark Barcardi!

Cheers!!!!

Lol@odinseye. You're to much. you're cracking me up.

Odinseye,

I started out with Early Times. Sometimes it can be Wild Turkey its all good.

night all////////must keep Lex!

Good game, but is wasn't on justin.tv so I couldn't get it. What's up people? I thought it was every game? Perhaps the regular season will not let me down.

Did you notice how Cobbs had to wait for the flea-flicker pass again? If the coverage had been *completely* blown, like last year, he would have scored.

I'm not complaining, cause I'll take that 132.8 passer rating any day. But the plays are working...they are being executed well. The receivers are getting open long. But the trigger just isn't being pulled. It looked like he could have wound up a bit more and put some air under it to let Cobbs go get it. I wonder if he's been doing that in practice and getting no results, so he resorts to placing it in their bread-basket. I'm just saying I haven't seen any of the big arm he said he was working on , and I know Penne is an incredible student of the game.

Regardless, I'll take the 132.8 passer rating...that wins games. But if that pass hit Cobbs in stride, he'd still be runnin'.

Odinseye,

Just promise me you wont tell JUSTIN you had "dark" Barcardi. Just regular is fine.

Keith in PDX, you said "I'm just saying I haven't seen any of the big arm he said he was working on"

You got me LMFAO(2x) @ the big arm statement.

Ace-NJ

If you guys recorded the game, or if you have have to record it tommorrow check out Davone Bess's blocking. I know he dropped one tonight, but this guy is really working on being a pro.

I love this wildcat stuff. reminds me of the good ole shula days. even JJ while at UM usually used some trickery at least once during any game. no risk no reward. i love these guys.

NJ/Odinseye,

I am checking out for now. GO PHINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keith

The game was on justin tv, I watched it. It was aggravating as hell though. It kept freezing.
The same thought crossed my mind on that pass to Cobbs. Just the same, I'm not cutting on Penny in the least. I'm a major Henne fan, and I still wouldn't cut on Penny. He brings too much to the table.


I hope everyone here is rooting for the Braves to beat out the Marlins for a playoff spot.
I am so over that litter box of an infield at JRS. I'm almost glad we start on the road this year...lol

WOW...Hilliard has really shown something these first 2 preseason games.
Does the trifecta make a ballsy trade or cut now with Weedy getting up there in running back years and at his peak in behaving :)
I like Weedy a lot but maybe it's time to part ways. That is something to consider.

Another possible thought is can Hilliard be asked to play FB, as well as special teams.
He is after all a very stout 5'11" 240.

Polite was good last year, & Kowalewski caught a TD tonite, but both guys seem a lil one dimensional to me.
Maybe we could lose Polite and put Joe K on the PS.

Hey Mando, find out what the coaches think about his blocking and blitz pick ups. At 5'11" 240 he should have great leverage.

On another note was good to see VD get some PT and make the best of it.
But he needs to lose the silly celebrations after making a few decent plays that he is supposed to make after being selected in the first round.
VD, take a pick 6 to the house then you can spin around and dance.

Good to see the Defense first and second units play well. I really see Moses and Wake making strides with the push they got tonite.

Also nice improvement from the starting OL on run blocking.
So glad to see D. Thomas healthy.
I loved seeing that nice pull where he got out front to throw a great down field block to spring Hilliard for a score.

What is really awesome is that you can see how this team is really beginning to get deep at most all positions.
That is going to give the coaching staff lots of options to scheme week in and week out.
It will continue to make us contenders!

this Hilliard guy looks fantastic. definitly need to make room for him.

Go braves go fins land shark for football only get lost fish

Looks like the Chris Williams experiment derailed a bit tonite. But to the lil guy's credit he is still very raw, plus no one else had any big returns in his place. They did field the kicks tho...lol
I don't think we've seen the last of him just yet, with his speed and hard to find size.
I see Sparano trying to coach him up and keep evaluating him till the final cutdown.
Lil' Chris, you got 2 more weeks of practice and exhibition games. Get it right.

ODINSEYE ACE good times! miami looked good 2nyt! have fun my friends! man i feel great!

Wow I'm just continuing to have more faith in this squad, I can't wait to see us back into the playoffs!

Let me be honest and upfront, mando. I don't hate you...most of the people don't hate you either. The bigger issue is that it's plainly obvious that you have never played football (obviously, not the worldwide football, which I'm sure that you were once proficient at, but I'm pretty positive I could take you in now, thanks to your physique), but American football.

You're a good guy and a quality reporter, but you (like most) get caught up watching the ball. The problem with that in all phases of NFL football is that everything begins ad ends up front. Every time I see highlights, I cringe because it's quarterbacks who know the hit is coming and get rid of the ball quickly (a la Marino) or Running backs who can make the first man miss and leaves everyone else scrambling (see Jason Ferguson's missed tackle for the D. Willaims 25 yard TD tonight, hough that's on about 5 guys...not just Ferg...including JT who just got PLANTED by Otah) that make the game amazing. The rest of the game comes down to execution up front between the respective front sevens (include TE and FB/HB/TE2 in the front, because they all have their roles to play) which determines the outcome 80% of the time. Obviously a quick and/or fast QB with throwing ability (McNabb...or Randall Cunningham in his later years come to mind) help a weaker line succeed, and good backs help, too.

I guess what I'm trying to say is try to focus more on the big picture. Saying (#? QB takes a bad sack) isn't etirely accurate. Saying (#? Lineman totally whiffs on the block) also doesn't tell the whole story, either. Where was the back on the playwho was supposed to pick up the pressure? Where was the Randy McMichael 2004 (yes, bad year) blitz pickup, drilling the blitzer up the middle with a legit spear?

Either way, I appreciate your perspective on things, I just wish you'd broaden your horizons. Go out and talk to hih school FB coaches...Talk to Randy Shannon...talk to linemen and linebackers about thier craft and technique...then look for more than the obvious. You're a solid reporter with a good career, but again, it's very obvious that you've never played the game.

No real test for the "toast" secondary since smith and mohamed were out and they had a couple of schlepers in there for Carolina.
Beason went out early which helped the doofins running game and the d-line for jax was significantly better than carolina's.

Hey Mando: Double check the tape. That flea-flicker was Ronnie handing it off to Ricky, then Ricky flipping it to Penne.
Same play as against Texas last year.

JETFAN
What is you point, azzzz wipe?

We need to find a spot for this Lex Hilliard guy on our roster.The RB position is very crowded here in Miami but Hilliard just keeps making plays every time he is given an opportunity.I would love to see him get some reps with the ones against the Bucs.

C. Williams is done. He's bobbled several, and then the embarrassing muff off the face. True, he's explosive, but the risk outweighs the reward. Bess will be the returner.

Here's my updated roster report. (special teams)denney-long snapper,fields-punter,and carpenter-kicker.(qb)pennington,henne,white.(rb)brown,williams,cobbs,and polite.(wr)ginn,bess,camarillo,turner,hartline and london.(te)fasano,martin and wilford(seems to be open as h-back).(o-line)long,carey,smiley,thomas,grove,berger,and gardner(could go on ps). now for the defense which is much easier to place than the offense.(d-line)langford,ferguson,starks,merling,mcdaniels,and soliai.(lb)crowder,porter,taylor,ayodele,wake,moses,roth and torbor.(db)w.allen,davis,smith,j.allen,jones,wilson,bell,clemons and culver. Now thats 49 players, that give us room to find some maulers for the line, and to sneak a player like Lex on the roster (which he's the only one i would sneak, everybody else can walk). im sure a couple of the o-line and d-line will go to practice squad but none of them should carry a roster spot. d-line is set barring injury so we need to find another acorn for the o-line(2nd team o-line didn't show me anything). and on a lighter note,im pissed at how madden always try my team or players on my team. the dolphins only playoff team from last year that's not ranked higher than 80 overall and a couple of teams that didnt make the playoffs are ranked 2-6 points better, it's a SHAME! oh yeah switching to the 3-4 defense only, was the best move we made in the last 5 years that barely gets mentioned on the blog.Boy it looks good bring pressure from all angles and gaps

You are right Mac.The number one rule for a returner is if the ball touches you you must catch it.It doesn't matter how awesome you are with the ball after you catch it if you don't catch it every time.Muffs can change the outcome of a game and can't be tolerated.

i agree bess should return punts, so much smoother than the rest and i like ginn on kick-offs but the only problem with that is, if he gets hurt no other wr has the speed he has but its worth the risk(i see ginn with 3 td reurns if he's the return man)

All in all an interesting post k-fin but JT didnt get planted by Otah,he got leg whipped by Ferguson who should have made the tackle.

My thoughts on last night's game:

The good:

1. Chad P. He was efficient, made excellent decisions. If the phins are going to win this year it will be with Pennington at the helm.

2. Lex Hilliard. He has to make the team.

3. Vontae Davis, he redeemed himself after a miserable 1st game.

4. Donald Thomas. He is quietly becoming one of the most important members of the team. He started and played alot and the phins ran much better last night.

The bad:

1. Special teams: Chris Williams bobbled not only the ball but I believe his chances of making the team as well. Also there was bad coverage on the punt return team as well.

2. Tackling. The TD run by Williams was just embarrassing. I know overall the D did not play bad but the tackling on that play was just hideous.

The So-So:

1. Chad H. He showed good decision making and moved the team for a TD but he looks tentative out there compared to Chad P. I think he will be alright but he is not ready yet to take over the team and produce the way Chad P can at this point.

haha someone say Williams had a muff on his face.

Vontae Davis very good last night.

O-line very good.

Running backs very good.

This is all very good.

6bucks7games say he can't tolerate muffs, not that there anything wrong with that.

Patrick Cobbs was very good on kickoff return last year, how come nobody remember this?

man i love chad p. as our qb,but it would be nice not to see 30 yard pass getting caught up in the air, cobbs should've scored on the play. ronnie might put up some crazy numbers if the offense stays healthy. i think that wildcat play that looked busted on the double fakes was just to see if the time would be there just in case pat white was in there handling the ball to throw it. matt roth is in trouble jt has locked up the starting job. overall i love what im seeing from the starter. defense has some saber tooth tiger teeth now with jt,davis(has some bite for a pup-love his run support)smith has unreal range for big db,wake is an animal on pass rush(want to see some run support from him though). i know its preseason but every time players line up they should give max effort, so compared to the teams we've played i like what i see, especially the starters

cobbs was good on kick returns but ginn brings more to the table. people forget ginn has broken returns (kick or punts) for big plays only to have them brought back b/c of a flag.the only reason i wouldn't put ginn back there is b/c he's the only wr with bonafide speed

it's FOOTBALL time baby,I'm ready bring it

LMAO @ Carlito about the muff on the face statement.

Now back to Mando's "most important thing," the song. I hope Stephen Ross was listening when they played it. Just like Coca Cola found out, you can't change a classic. It might not be the best song, but it is the one we grew up with and love.

By we, I mean the fans who were still there after three rainy preseason quarters. We may not be the demographic the team is trying to grow, but we are the ones that buy the merchandise, don't scalp our tickets to opponent's fans, cheer the loudest, and raise our kids to be dolfans.

Surely Mr. Ross is a good enough businessman to realize this - so throw us a bone and bring back the oldschool song AFTER the scores (you can still play some of that innocuous Fins song too).

Sammo,

You sounded like you were having a good time. What were you drinking? Talk to ya later.

Last nights game is getting replay on NFL network at 1

man why is everybody stress'n the song. truth be told its not even a fight song, it's a feel good song. and if anybody know, dont another team have the same song. i wanna say the bills could be wrong but i think someone else in the nfl plays same song.

Anyone know where I can view an archived video of last nights game?

i knew my memory was still good after all those bl*nts. the houston oilers had the same fight song

Anyone know where I can view an archived video of last nights game? Posted by: mojomark | August 23, 2009 at 11:02 AM game replay on nfl network or channelsurfing.net at 1 pm today

wow phinfan you right! I just looked it up and song is a little slower, but same words. There was a very lazy songwriter in the 1960 that probably was thinking afl not going to make it so he sell same song to 2 team.

carlito i can remeber hearing it on tv when earl cambell ran all over us that year. i was young but thought it was buffalo cuz that's the only team that raped us in my 35 years as a die-hard phins fan,but we need a true fight song the one we have is for touchdowns only, we need one for the defense. we can go back to the ol school hit WHO LET THE DOGS OUT b/c thats what the defense will be like, rabid dogs

Let mojo weight in about the fight song. The old one was always boring and embarrassing. Sorry the Dolphins were always about being hip. They began as an expansion team from the up-start AFC. The 72’ Dolphins looked like hippies on steroids. They played hard and partied hard. But always had that frumpy old-school fight song. Maybe Pain laid an egg but we got to get a hip fight song. Maybe something in the lines of the Fight Club soundtrack.

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