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What answers do YOU have - with cool update

Maybe you know the answers.

Maybe you have seen things this preseason that have you convinced you are about to know what will happen in the coming regular-season. Me? I'm still waiting for certain answers.

In my Sunday Dolphins column I give several examples of areas where the Dolphins had questions when they opened training camp ... and still have those very questions as it draws to a close.

I mean, are we really convinced the secondary -- with a rookie starting right cornerback and less than stellar work against less than stellar competition this preseason -- will play like it has been truly upgraded? Or will we wish the team would have jumped into the unrestricted free agent cornerback market a lot earlier than the late signing of Eric Green?

Have the Dolphins found the playmaker that will get the offense "chunk yards," as Tony Sparano likes to say? Feel free to indentify him in the comments section.

Has Chad Henne convinced everyone that he ready to become a good starting quarterback and all he needs is the opportunity?

Has Ted Ginn Jr. shown you everything you need to see to feel confident 2009 will be breakout time?

Follow the improvements or lack thereof of these and other situations in the column. Then please tell me if the answers are apparent. And what those answers are. 

UPDATE:

I've been doing some research and some numbers crunching. This is what I've come up with:

The Dolphins starting offense has gotten 4 1/2 quarters of work so far this preseason. During that work, the unit has gotten three field goals and two touchdowns. That's 23 points, which is good.

Chad Pennington has had a very good preseason so far. I mean, very, very good. I would argue he's had the best preseason of any player on the team.

His completion percentage of 61.8 is down for last season's 67.4 but that doesn't really worry me because the tradeoff has been that he's been looking downfield a bit more than last season.

His yards per attempt is at 8.0 while last year it was 7.67. His TD percentage is at 5.9 while last year it was 4.0. And while he's completing more passes downfield, he's making fewer mistakes in that he has not thrown an interception. That makes his interception percentage 0.0, which is an improbable but welcome improvement from last season's outstanding 1.5 percent.

By the way, those downfield passes have brought the Dolphins hidden yardage also. Because Pennington went deep to Ted Ginn in the preseason opener, the Dolphins picked up a 34-yard pass interference penalty against Jacksonville.

Ever the perfectionist, Pennington today said, "I fell like I've been about a foot off with some of my passes." He added that he thought he could have completed 13 instead of 9 of 16 passes against the Bucs Friday. But that's not how coach Tony Sparano sees things.

The coach today called Pennington, "regular-season ready."

It has been a much slower go for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Brown is averaging 3.5 yards per carry, all behind the first-team offensive line. Williams is averaging 3.9 yards on his 18 carries, with 16 of those coming behind the first-team OL.

The Dolphins have averaged 3.5 yards per rush behind their first-team offensive line so far this preseason. Not terrible. Not good, either.

The defense?

They've seemingly adopted a bend-but-don't break personality. Although the unit has yielded significant yardage, it has allowed only 16 points in 4 1/2 quarters of work this preseason. Opponents have scored only one TD and three FGs versus Miami's starters.

The unit does have work to do. I have counted 8 missed tackles so far this preseason -- or more than two per quarter of work.

The starters have three sacks -- from Jason Ferguson, Nathan Jones, and Kendall Langford. Yes, Jones is a starter in the dime package. Obviously, this mean neither Joey Porter nor Jason Taylor have a sack yet in 4 1/2 quarters of work. Nothing to get alarmed about -- yet. Taylor has been credit with three quarterback hurries this preseason but those are unofficial stats.

The starting defense has zero interceptions. Yes, Sean Smith has one interception this preseason and, yes, he is a starter now. But when he got his interception versus Jacksonville, he was playing with the backups against Jacksonville's backups.

By the way, it was funny to me that Tampa Bay named Byron Leftwich the starting QB Saturday. Watching that game again, I counted four passes, including a potential TD, that Leftwich blew with wildly inaccurate throws. Receivers were running wide open, but the plays resulted in incomplete passes because Leftwich was, as Bob Uecker would say, "juuust a bit outside."

That's good news for the Dolphins in the statistics column because the passes go down as incompletions. But Miami has to tighten up that coverage by the regular season because good NFL QBs such as Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and others likely won't throw four passes that totally miss the mark in the span of two quarters.

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No no no no

The trifecta have chinks in their armor.
Keep Moses and walden!
Get a returner!
Still wish pennington would throw more long to loosen up the defense!
Love Sean Smith and Hartline.
Go Fins!!!!!!!!!!!

By the way if pennington gets hurt and Henne is as ineffective as he has been than we have an exciting but very inexperienced White. Hmmm

I don't understand why parcells won't spend the money to sign someone who is a proven playmaker..I feel like they're putting all their chips on one of the rookies turning out to be a stud or someone having a break out season..why not get a star receiver or someone proven

All these people second guess trifecta like they know more to them, but first time Dolphins when games, same people will be here saying how good and smart tuna and sparano and they knew it all along.

I am quite distressed to answer your questions "no." While I like Smith & Davis, they are still raw, and will be facing 2 dynamic offenses in the first 2 weeks (yes, Falcons offense is dynamic, all you Matt Ryan haters).

Can't see playmaker yet, though for some reason this "no" is not as hard a "no" as the others.

Chad Henner has convinced me of one thing----he ain't ready, or anywhere near ready. In fact,he has struggled, and he NEVER looksoff a receiver or goes to a 2d or 3rd option (beyond a simple 'check-down'). On a broader front, Henne's lack of readiness calls into question Tuna's decision to pass on Ryan (& later Flacco).

Our future at QB remains a large Question.

I have faith, & high hopes, for Ginn---but not based on anything shown in the pre-season.

Darkness looming on the Horizon. The Seer has Spoken.

win games

Anyone see Sanchez, Rivers & Ryan last night? Anyone still feeling good about our chances??

Or Peyton, for that matter.

I think the corners are good. It's the safeties that have me concerned. Bell and Wilson seem to both be natural strong safeties, meaning that neither of them is a real free safety. The question is, do either of them have the speed to patrol the middle of the field and help out the corners? That question hasnt been answered yet.

I thought it was very curious when the Dolphins gave Wilson and Bell a ton of money in the span of a couple of weeks last Spring, knowing full well that both of them had played strong safety the year before. I hope they know something that we dont about those 2.

I definitely have concerns. I think the secondary will eventually be ok (i.e. like week 4). The receievers will get the job done but will not be flashy. Henne is not the answer. The only reason he should play this year is if Pennington gets hurt. He needs more time.

I don't remember the trifecta announcing a short-term strategy. They are aiming for the longterm, and building a sustainable team. That's why they've chosen young players who can be moulded into longterm starters. As for the panic party: first, Henne was playing in the pre-season, and in many cases with what would not necessarily be the first choice team. Yes, he made mistakes, but it's a bit early to assume that he won't grow and develop. Think longterm.
.
Ginn - maybem maybe not. Hard to make any judgment on the basis of the limited number of throws to him.
.
As for the CBs, it's not so long ago that everyone was delighted with Smith, and saying that Davis had come back well after a poor first game. One poor game shouldn't cause so much handwringing. The trifecta went for youth and promise - and they were right to do so. Longterm thinking is the way to go.
.
As for the playmaker - well, Hartline might be good. Not much from Turner so far - but let's see what happens in real games before we make judgments.
.
Overall, remember at the start of last season - we were debating maybe winning a few games. We got to 11-5 and the playoffs, when no-one gave us a price. I'd say the trifecta have earned some faith. The preseason doesn't mean much - remember who went 4-0 last time around? The Lions.

Folks!! Relax and enjoy the season. If the Dolphins win 9-10 games with the schedule then it will be a success. The roster is fine, why overspend on free agent talent when you can develop your own. Dreaming about other team's players is kind of like dreaming about your best friend's trophy wife. It's fun but it ain't gonna happen (well...most likely not gonna happen).

I like the draft picks plus it's the first time in a decade that you can look at the roster and see,at least, the potential to be solid at every position where as before there were glaring weaknesses at alot of positions. QB comes to mind.

I think the CB picks were great especially with the safety in the 5th. The Dolphins addressed an area that was needed. It will always be a question mark until the hitting begins. Hell...did anyone really see 11-5 coming?

I'll take the solid for now! hopefully with a little special mixed in

Mando,
The problem is that you are thinking this year and not long term. We've been down this road before with JJ and everyone else that followed him. We ARE still in rebuilding mode. Give BP a couple of years then ask the same questions. I bet most if not all will be answered.

I bet henne will get his change this year to prove he is a nfl qb. If not they'll sign penny for one more year or 2 and draft another qb next year.

I'm not as sold as most people are on the trifecta just yet, and I AM as Dolphin fan before everybody starts calling me jet fan and all that stuff. Yes they had 2 pretty good drafts, but they also have their share of blunders. Wilford was an expensive pick up, Gibril Wilson so far hasn't been an upgrade over Renaldo Hill, I haven't seen our RBs run up the middle very well, Jake Grove was supposed to take care of that. Jake Long played very well last year, but Matt Ryan should of been picked, he looks like a franchise QB. I still don't understand the Pat White selection in the second round, considering we needed another playmaker on offense and at the very least a good pass rusher. They have made plenty of good moves to turn this franchise around, but until we win a playoff game, I won't jump on the bandwagon just yet. What do you think Armando?

Ted Ginn will be fine. People need to review last years games, he was awesome. As Sparano said, he has not been thrown to much in the preseason as they are looking at other people.

Chad Henne is a huge bust.

TH

For all of you Matt Ryan & Joe Flacco lovers compare his stats last year with Pennington's: they were both worse.
Were it not for Michael Turner Ryan would be considered a bust.
Flacco was 3rd on the Ravens depth chart going to the last preseason game last year when Boller and Smith got injured, he threw for 2900 yds, 16tds and 12 ints.
It wasn't Flacco that carried the Ravens. The Raven's defense and running game carried Flacco.
If college stats are an indicator of what to expect in the NFL then Henne had the best college career: 4 year starter at Michigan, Ranked in the top 25 for more weeks than any other starting qb in history, most victories over ranked teams, most victories on national television, most recievers put into the NFL.
Aaron Rogers was a huge bust too - until he became the starter.

Chad Henne is a huge bust.

TH

Posted by: Tom hartman

By what reasoning did you determine Henne to be a bust? I would really love to hear.

This team looks exactly like the pre-Wildcat Dolphins of last year.

When the brain trust unveiled the Wildcat in NE last year, they accomplished much more than could have been anticipated: The players found a camaraderie that was previously untapped. They remembered why they began playing football to begin with, namely because it was fun. (I can’t imagine the feel good on the sideline after TD 3.) That same feeling, that chemistry, seems to be missing this year, and it’s a palpable difference. Duplicating that, this year, is going to be a challenge, not only for the coaching staff, but for the players and fans as well.

If that chemistry doesn’t return, and the Dolphins continue to play as they’ve shown in the pre-season, no progress at all has been accomplished between last year at this time and right now.

Agree with you Carlito. Como te va carlito?

Like you said many will question the trio until we win games, then back to questioning them if we lose some games. What can you do?

Tom hartman is a huge bust.

No one's comparing Ryan/Flacco to Pennington. Pennington did great last year,and he's way above -average. We're comparing Ryan/Flacco to Jake Long/Chad Henne. If Henne does not pan out, the decision to go LT-QB rather than QB first becomes damaging.

I think this is the year when it feels like a rebuilding year. last year was fun. STILL, I feel better about this dolphins team then I have in a long time.

I agree with Sparano - we cannot dink and dunk against good defenses. We have to start throwing chunks, and Chad Pennington is just the man.

I'm not as concerned with the secondary as I am with the WR's. Smith & Davis will improve every week & should be strong for the stretch run.

This Wide Receiver core is the clear weakness on the Dolphins! Tampa just showed every team in football how to stop Miami's Offense; knock their small WR's back @ the line of scrimmage. I do beleive Parcell's & Co were aware of this in the offseason (with the Turner pick). Get B. Marshall! Denver is losing leverage w/ their only offensive playmaker. Give Ginn, a conditional #3 in '10, & a 5 in 2011.

There we go again. Just like Wannstedt. Hell with the future. We're only one player short of the big game now.

Tuna ain't giving up draft picks---not in general, def. not for a head case.....player-player or player-pick trades, maybe; draft pick -player trades---that's a waste of time even thinking about. And I'm glad....we're just beginning to recover from years of tossing away draft picks like confetti.

Lions were 4-0 last preseason and 0-16 in season. Everybody felt ok after Panthers game, then a slo showing aginst Bucs and the roof has caved in according to all the Fins fair weather fans. Can we at least play a game that counts with starters playing every down before the off-season and season ae thrown away as a waste?
One of the most important ingredients in a successful secondary is a pass rush - we should have a good pass rush. This will make our secondary better.
I for one can't wait until the season begins.

How can you call Henne a bust when he has not even been handed the keys to the offense yet? A bust based on a few preseason games? Give me a break. I admit he don't look like a Franchise Quarterback just yet, but lets at least give him his time behind center when it means something in September or October before we start calling him a bust. That's just ridiculous.

Tom hartman no reason yet.....what a moron!

I'm confused. When Parcells and crew came aboard we were told it was going to take 3 or 4 years to rebuild this thing the right way. Now at the start of the second season without one regular season game being played people are questioning why we don't look like the Colts, Giants and Steelers and want to place blame on Parcells for some perceived failure. What has changed to make anyone think we should be competing for a conference title today? They won the AFC East last year without Tom Brady playing, with a lame Jets coach in charge of a very talented roster, with the easiest schedule (courtesy of a 1-15 record), and a TON of bad breaks going our opponents way. So there you go and it seems pretty obvious to anyone that this team needs a couple more years to work out the kinks. Reporters have to write what they do because controversy brings more readers. They can't write stories about being patient and listening to the guys in charge because it will not sell their product. So they have to write pieces about how we should've signed this or that veteran player and by not doing so the team has hurt it's fans. EVENTHOUGH the team has specifically pointed out a time line and a course of action to those very same fans. The ignorance is astounding. Calling a second year QB a bust when you haven't watched him play a regular season game yet, Questioning a man who has built three succesful programs and basing that question on the fact that he has missed on some players? Seriously?! What coach or GM in NFL history hasn't missed on some players? But that means Parcells isn't as good as his track record would indicate? HE MISSED ON A BUNCH OF PLAYERS ON EACH SUCCESFUL TEAM HE BUILT. Ted Ginn isn't a good receiver because he shys away from hits? HE'S 150 LBS SOAKING WET! He has to shy away from some hits or he's going to have a VERY short career. How is that not obvious? He's not a friggin TE, he's a small fast receiver whos game is getting open long, not lowering his shoulder and picking up extra yards. Stop being sheep and believing everything you read to be true, if you have played or even just watch the game you know just as much as any reporter in the business and your opinion is just as valuable only you don't get paid to share it. This is not in any way a bust on Mando so to the Salguero brown nose crew, save us the inevitable how dare you talk bad about Mando speech. I am pointing out the media as a whole and allthough I disagree with him at times, I think Mando is one of the very few objective writers in the business. But IMO, we as fans need to do better at understanding the big picture.

Look for discipline and consistent play. We were seeing it improve until Tampa. Although, I don't think that was their "A" game. Let's hope their game plan is like their medical information, a surprise.

I think we have no idea what we're dealing with until the 3rd or 4th game of the season. They haven't thrown to Ginn, but when they have he has done rather well.

As for "Chunk" receivers, I would put both Hartline and Camarillo in that "yes" response.

As for Henne...let's be realistic. Unless Pennington goes down and works with the first team offense in a real game, we don't know what we're dealing with with him either.

Even Pat White has not had much exposure, so none of us know if he's ready for the nfl.

THE ONE THING I BELIEVE IS FOR SURE: THIS IS GOING TO BE AN INTERESTING SEASON. AS A FAN, I AM EXCITED ABOUT THAT.

Wow, sorry about the long post everyone. Didn't mean to get long winded.

Seer,
The point is that some posters seem to be under the impression that Ryan & Flacco are great qb's. They're not. Ryan can't throw the long pass and Flacco can't throw the short one.
Pennington does not throw the pass unless the receiver is wide open, that's why he has such a high passer rating but not the yards or tds of Rivers/Brees/Cutler/Manning/Brady etc.
Pennington had not even beaten out Kellen Clemons of the Jets for starting qb job before they signed Favre and released him.

Anyway I have a tee time to make. I'm out.

NYSCOTT. your post worth all posts that posted here for the last month between fans who over rate average players like hartline or fans who declare every one is bust .in the end if fins don't go to playoffs ,the BP will be gone or the coach

I appreciate you guys posting on a beautiful Sunday. But I want to clear up some misconceptions I notice in a couple of the posts:

First, I do not write about things that are wrong with the Dolphins now because I want to gain readers or stir controversy. Studies show the EXACT OPPOSITE is what attracts readers. Readers want good news. They want to feel good about their team. And I try to give you plenty of that, trust me. So that remark is just wrong.

Secondly, I am fully aware the Dolphins are not a two-year project that will be an unmitigated failure unless they're playing in the Super Bowl next Feb. I am aware this is a marathon and not a sprint.

But ...

To dismiss this year is misguided. If you only view this team through a prizm of what will happen in 2011 or 2012, then check out and don't come back until then. You don't care about now anyway, apparently, so spend your time doing something you do care about.

That is NOT how Tony Sparano thinks. That is not how BIll Parcells thinks. And not one player on the roster thinks that way, either. This year matters! Now is the MOST IMPORTANT time for them. They are making long range decisions, yes. But they are also trying to win NOW.

To not recognize that the Dolphins want to build for the future while ALSO winning now is to not see the whole picture. It is about the future, yes. But it is about NOW also.

You may not agree with that, but that would only mean you don't agree with the approach the team is taking.

One more time: It's about the future. And it's about NOW. Both!

Don't know what the Heck PriceMaster is talking about, Kellen Clemons never beat out Pennington and thats a FACT. The FACT is Pennington was totally winning the Job, you can check the reports, stats and press releases from Newsday or the New York Daily News before they got Brett.

Our Corners are fine! It's our safeties i am worried about. Most of the wide open receivers are in the middle of the field. If teams are completing passes against our corners, then it's usually in tight coverage. Both Smith and Davis look like the real deal, and they seem like they are a little further along than most rookies at this point. I think they are an upgrade over Goodman. Maybe Wilson really is more suited for strong safety? I'm not sure why the safeties have struggled. i do know that when we get more pressure on the QB from fancy blitz packages, our secondary does much better. I'd like to see us get more pressure from the standard packages though. Leftwich had all day to throw the ball.

Hartline is the Flanker we needed, and will be an upgrade over Camarillo this year. He's no star, but he will help take some pressure off of Ginn, because he has the spead to stretch the field as much as any WR playing along side Penny can. He will get better and better as the season progresses, and will be a real asset when Henne takes over.

That leaves me to Henne. I think if he had to start this season, then he could. He would probably struggle a little at first as he continues to learn, which is why I'm glad he will have another year to grow, before we throw him in. It's possible our offense could struggle a little at the beginning of next year as he matures, but in the long run, I do believe he will be better than Penny, because with him in the game Miami's playbook will finally be able to use the whole field and force defenses to respect his arm.

Don't even get me started on when Ginn will finally become this great WR. The answer is never. He will always be what he is, a really fast guy who can catch. He is helpful to have on any offense and will break off some big plays from time to time. If Henne was the QB, then we could utilize his skill set a little better, but he will never be an Andre Johnson or Randy Moss. At best he could be a little faster version of Santana Moss, without quite the quickness.

good post to read armndo, when you spend time every day for clearing and responding to other people , it makes more fun to read as the case w/ NYScott and you .

PS....who ever came w/ " building for the future " is a loser if it meant this year doesn't count . if so don't charge me for my ticket or call NICK SABAN back to coach

little faster version of Santana Moss, without quite the quickness.

Posted by: Brian Pastermack

Huh?

Good stats! Wish we could add en subtrac en devide.

Hey, check out my 53 mand roster post that had only 52 mans on it.

Douches.

I agree we don't know a whole lot about this team based on what we've seen this preseason. It will be very interesting because I keep seeing our opponents on NFL network and they look a lot sharper than our team.

Excellent repost on the comments section, Mando. Some people have drunk the Kool Aid about this year not mattering. It's crazy because my season tickets for 2009 were not free. Only people that watch from afar think that way.

Huh?

Posted by: ?


Yet another poster who doesn't understand the difference between quickness and speed. Look up the definitions in a dictionary, cause I don't have the time to explain it all again. They are not one and the same.

Drew Brees will be the real preseason test for our secondary friday night.

Drew Brees will probably play one series against the Dolphins so we won't know anything about the secondary after that game. Once again, proving what Mando is saying about too many questions with no answers, IMO.

I am glad I am not the only one who saw that maybe Sean Smith needs to grow a little more and that Leftwhich was not the best qb playing for Tampa that day. infact I would go and say if Josh McNown had started Miami would have lost the game. He had a lot more pressure than Leftwhich had and he handled it well. But then again you would think if Smith was such a liability the trifecta would have brought in some vet CB that is still out there in by now. So maybe its just that the secondary needs to find some cohesion because all of them sucked that night including Will Allen.

Don't forget the field was a soggy mess at the last game, which always makes the receivers look more open and the timing to be off. Which leads people to say things like, "The DB's played horrible. If only the QB had a decent arm, then..."

Armando . who's more illiterate ? Mushmouth from fat albert or justin incredible . Also , who's the bigger dumba$$ of the two. ? Thanks

A STINGY DEFENSE IN THE RED ZONE and A VETERAN QB THAT DOESN'T MAKE MANY MISTAKES= a recipe for a tough football team to beat.

1. Ted Ginn has been kept under wraps, Sparano has been downplaying his touches, he will be used early and often come reg. season.

2. The defense looks very solid, every team's secondary gets thrown on, the front 7 dictate how good they look, and i like our front seven.

3. The offense #'s don't matter because they r not the reg. season plays, nor was there any new wildcat pkgs. ( also our old plays still worked! everybody said they figured it out, carolina didn't!) and we haven't seen the 5-10 scripted plays for Pat White per game yet.

i think we r a damn solid football team, schedule talk is so dumb, u don't know how the season is going to play out and the strength of schedule is for what the team did last yr. Last yr is in the rearview mirror, for instance we play the Super Bowl Champs- Steelers wk 17, they could be all ready clinched w/ 1st rd. bye and be sitting all their starters, u just don't know.

i predict 11-5 again and make the playoffs, i don't care what the numbers say or the outside experts, we have a tough, physical defense that prides itself on not giving up TD's and a smart leader at QB who won't turn the football over, we will play smart,tough,disciplined "Bill Parcells" style football and grind out victories. U can talk about how the NFL has changed and it's about Randy Moss and Tom Brady and run n' gun, football is football and we have the winning formula on this team. I cant wait to see all the dumb-founded faces when we repeat this yr!

Armando . wondering is you saw thw cadillac williams interview during the lightning break. ? If so , are C. williams and justin incredible related ? Thanks.

Brian enough with the arm what are you a sheep...did you see the pass to Hartline for 53 yards 50 of them in the air with good zip...or the 32 yarder that was called back. Give it a rest.

Yes, and I saw every pass he underthrew to Ginn, and I see the deep out routes that don't even get thrown, because the coaches know he can't make the throw. No one is saying the guy can't throw, he just doesn't have the arm that Henne or Flacco have.

Who gives a f!@k about flacco, Brady, clemmons, favre, any of these jokers ?! Bring on the falcons!! Mr Ryan Is gonna have a long day!

The ascension of Mark Sanchez to the Quarterbacking Elite renders the Dolphins season mere surplusage. The Dolphins, Pats & Bills have become spectators to the Jets' season before any games have even been played----pity.

Get B. Marshall! Denver is losing leverage w/ their only offensive playmaker. Give Ginn, a conditional #3 in '10, & a 5 in 2011.

Posted by: Todd McShay | August 30, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Trading for Marshall is like fixing a flat tire by smashing the rearview mirror. Expect the Oakland Raiders to try and "steal" him - or the Jets. Other than those teams, no-one wants to waste space on a trouble-maker. The trifecta certainly don't.

The ascension of Mark Sanchez to the Quarterbacking Elite renders the Dolphins season mere surplusage. The Dolphins, Pats & Bills have become spectators to the Jets' season before any games have even been played----pity.

Posted by: Vic Damoan | August 30, 2009 at 03:59 PM

And the Lions will have a perfect season and win the SuperBowl.

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