Tony Sparano talked about looking at the game film at least four times during his post-game press conference but that's not happening until Tuesday morning. Tonight, this is how it looks without the benefit of film study:
*The Dolphins threw three passes to Ted Ginn in the span of one quarter. He caught two of those passes for 26 yards. But the attempts are more important because it showed a desire to find him that I didn't see last year. If Ginn is to have the breakout year everyone wants, he needs opportunities. It was good to see the Dolphins, particularly Chad Pennington who seemed to be looking for him, are willing to give him those opportunities. Ginn also had an end-around for 14 yards.
And yes, he noticed the ball came his way more than usual. "They took some chances, they threw some balls at me," Ginn said. "I just tried to come down with every ball that came my way."
*Eric Green struggled. He gave up three completions, including a 25-yard pass from Todd Bouman to former first-round bust Troy Williamson.
*Sean Smith was pretty good. Yes, he gave up a couple of short gains on slants. But he also had an interception in the end zone that showed when the football is in the air and it's him or the WR, pick him. The Dolphins have an open job at right cornerback. And Smith might not have won the job Monday night. But as I wrote in my column, he made the most impressive reach of all the contenders to snatch that job.
"As a cornerback, whenever that ball is in the air, you definitely want to come down with it, and to come down with my first NFL pick in the my first preseason game was pretty good," Smith said.
Smith has an infectious personality. I joked with him after the game, saying, "Well you have one game and one interception. That the way you see things going for you in your career?"
"Yeah," Smith said without missing a beat, "I figure I'll have an interception in every game I play ... except some games I'll have two interceptions because I have to make up for the bye weeks."
*The Red Zone offense was atrocious. "We have Red Zone rules," coach Tony Sparano said. "No sacks, no turnovers, no penalties. Those are our rules."
The Dolphins broke several of those rules. Jake Grove was called for a false start on third-and-goal from the Jacksonville 3 yard line. Ricky Williams was called for holding on first-and-10 from the Jacksonville 17.
*The Dolphins want to see more from Chad Henne. They want him to push Chad Pennington. Well, he had a better game although he had many more opportunities. Henne's 83.1 QB rating was the best of any QB in the game. He connected on a 33-yard TD to Ernest Wilford. He threw an interception also. "That one's on me," Henne said. "Just a poor decision by myself. You know, I kind of threw it blind. I was trying to throw it in the hole. I didn't really see the throw after I got hit."
"I thought I did pretty good. I mean, like I said before, there's mistakes out there and I'll fix them and just keep getting better. But I think overall, I did pretty well. Managed the team, got some points on the board and that's what we need."
*Miami's third-string quarterback Pat White was not terrible in his NFL preseason debut. But he wasn't good and that is being kind. Never mind the interception on his statistics line because that happened when a good pass hit a RB in the hands and bounded into a defender's arms. But he skipped two passes that should have been completed. And the most troubling thing is he continues to struggle getting out from under center.
I've written on this blog how White is clearly more comfortable out of the shotgun than under center. But I didn't realize how uncomfortable he really is under center until I watched him at game speed. He takes forever to get out from under center. For a player who relies on quickness, it's terrible to be slow on his dropbacks and setups because he's taking too long pulling out from the center. This must be addressed.
*Ernest Wilford did have that one catch for 33 yards and a touchdown. He made a defender miss along the home sideline to spring himself for the score. And then he capped it with an emphatic spike.
"There was a lot of frustration behind that spike," Wilford said.
*Finally, I was not pleased with the first-team offensive line. The fact is the Dolphins averaged only 2.6 yards per carry when the first line was in the game. The Jacksonville front won at the point of attack to the point where coach Jack Del Rio declared his team "extremely physical."
"Not well enough, point blank," guard Justin Smiley said. "We want to be known as an offense that can run between the tackles. You have to tip your hat to their defense. They did a really good job."
Please realize all this is said and done off the surface view of the game. I will bury myself in film study part of Tuesday and report back to you more in depth analysis when I'm done. That's why the blog is called, in part, in depth.