« Miami's curious offense? Dan Henning responds | Main | Clearing out the Friday notebook »

Sparano agrees Dolphins offense has no star

I spent much of the day Thursday trying my best to explain some aspects of the Miami offense that troubled me. Then, after offensive coordinator Dan Henning addressed some of those issues, I shared with you his perspective.

Now let us get beyond all the philosophical disagreements about whether guys are being used correctly or not and get down to the bottom line. Let's get to the crack that breaks open the nut.

The Dolphins need more playmakers. And it would be nice in adding more playmakers if they could uncover even one star, a legitimate game-changer.

Because they do not have that yet.

Don't get me wrong, Miami's offense has good players. But it lacks a star playmaker. And even coach Tony Sparano is admitting that.

“We have said it before, there is no real star in this bunch of guys," Sparano said Thursday. "It has kind of been done by committee here. Certainly Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, Chad Pennington, big names in this league for obvious reasons. We kind of do things by committee a little bit and some of the people here that aren’t out here every down have big parts in this thing, too.

"[Patrick] Cobbs, [Davone Bess], those people are major contributors to what we do on that side of the football. [Brian] Hartline and his 25 plays. So whoever has the hot hand is kind of the guy we will try to find ways to get the ball to.”

The rebuilding of the Dolphins offense, done last year and during this offseason, concentrated on the offensive line. That's where Miami put its money. And that starting unit is set -- it better be because it's costing $156 million. But the Dolphins are not finished retooling at wide receiver, at quarterback, at tight end, and perhaps not at running back, either.

As former Giants QB and current CBS analyst Phil Simms said on the Sid Rosenberg Show on 560-WQAM Thursday, "they need more guys," before adding, "they're still not there."

The Dolphins weren't there last year, either, but somehow made it work during the regular season. We'll see if this group can make it work the rest of this regular season, even as skeptics are saying they will not.

What skeptics, you ask? This is what ESPN analyst Merril Hoge tweeted about Miami's offense Thursday after breaking down the Atlanta gametape: "I'm afraid that Miami O will really struggle this year it appears that all explosive plays must come from a gadget play like [Wildcat]."

The point here is not whether you agree or disagree. I think a majority of you will agree the Dolphins have good players at WR, RB, QB and TE, but also concede there is no star in the bunch.

The question is have the Dolphins had enough time to find a star playmaker or one likely to become that? And have they maximized their time in accomplishing the goal?

Before you answer, I remind you Atlanta was also a franchise in shambles after 2007 and has risen back to respectability every bit as quickly as Miami.

And it can be argued the Falcons have risen higher.

In the same rebuilding time, the Falcons added a superstar tight end in Tony Gonzalez, a running back that gained 1,699 yards and scored 17 TDs last year in Michael Turner, and quarterback Matt Ryan, who is in the early stages of looking like a star for years to come.

I'm not saying Atlanta's approach to adding stars to the offense will prove wiser in the long-term than Miami's. But the approach has definitely been different. And, in the early stages, it has been more productive.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Sparano agrees Dolphins offense has no star:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Pricemaster, I agree! But I'd say Ross is probably feeling humiliation already. Another loss would put CP behind the line in third but our OC would is not just yet on the hot seat. Somethings gotta give. Well see.

i pray to god the dolphins lose next game to speed the remaking of this team as follows;

1- chad henne becomes the starter until end of season .
2-ol coach gets fired.
3-lower ticket prices .

Bonamego needs to go if STs have another sub-par (that's putting it nicely) game.

With good coaching and good defense you can win without Salguiero's proposed FTS offense. Outside of Tom Brady, here's what the 2001 Pats were working with:

Running Backs
* 44 Marc Edwards FB
* 33 Kevin Faulk
* 35 Patrick Pass FB/KR
* 21 J. R. Redmond
* 32 Antowain Smith

Wide Receivers
* 80 Troy Brown PR
* 84 Fred Coleman
* 15 Jimmy Farris UR
* 81 Charles Johnson
* 86 David Patten

Tight Ends
* 48 Arther Love R
* 83 Rod Rutledge
* 85 Jermaine Wiggins

The same can be said of the 2007 NY Giants. I will agree that we need to run the football more. But offenses need balance, there's no reason to force the ball to certain players because you think they are studs. If the Falcons had simply forced it with Michael Turner last week, they would have lost the game.

Offense begins and ends in earnest with the offensive line. If these guys can pull it together, we have enough talent to put up good numbers. If they do not, no star QB, WR, RB would be able to compensate for the lack of time and space it requires to be sucessful.

I am concerned that the line has had significant time to gel, but to date has not. I remain ever hopeful, looking forward to Monday Night; time to make a statement, hope it is the right one.

Last year we had a test... a test of 2 cities. Those teams were Dolphins and the Jets. Dolphins took the rout of going younger and not spending lots of money on stars. Jets went the other rout in which they paid lots of money for a QB, LB and linemen. At the end of the year it was Miami who came out on top and everyone was saying that Miami did the right thing. So now what are you saying? Are you saying that the Falcons did the same as the Jets, but they went out and got stars that matter? or are Stars only good to get for your offence people ( those that touch the ball i.e. QB, RB, and TE ) I'm having problems jelling what we all were saying at the end of last year and what you are saying now.

we just can't turn the football over, plain and simple and we will be fine.

!! READ ME...Armando Salguero... READ ME!!!!

This is not a filler it is a soft critisism of our coaching and player management staff...

On the day that Pennington and Long performed poorly Matt Ryan lead his Atlanta Falcons to a victory... the same Matt Ryan we passed on.

With all respect to the Trifecta they have made a number of questionable choices for Miami...

Josh McCown - BUST
Ernest Wilford - BUST
Keith Davis - BUST
Eric Green - BUST
B.London - BUST
A.Armstrong - BUST
B.Girsbey - BUST

Chad Pennington - NOT,... a gift
Justin Smiley - NOT,... but injury prone
Nate Jones - NOT, but who cares
Lousaka Polite - NOT, but still can't block
Anthoney Fasano - NOT, I hope...
Jason Ferguson - NOT, old
Akin Ayodele - NOT
Jason Taylor - NEVER, Best Ever!

Jake Grove - No Improvment up front
Gabril Wilson - No Improvment in the secondary
Reggie Torbor - has yet to challenge a starter
Cameron Wake - still learning
Eric Walden - special teams is still bad

I did not include draftees and rookies... but

You take out Chad Pennington from the mix, and we still have a bad team. A really bad team. Atlanta's team is strong enough to win even with-out Matt Ryan.

something to think about...

Nobody in the front office is deceiving us. When the trifecta came in, they set out to build the team from the inside out. They are going to stick with it, even if it doesn't wow people.
I'm not sure how the wilcat works in the longrun, but if the O-line plays to its potential (and I admit they haven't yet) we will have a better team than Atlanta by the end of the year and maybe for years to come.

Yes - the Fins are built differntly then the Falcons and many other teams. Parcells builds teams that contend, not flashy teams. Just be patient and let's see if the investment in the O-line plays up to their potential.

Regardless of whether anyone currently on the roster is a 'star' we will never know with this approach. Michael Turner wasn't a 'star' until he got enough carries to do something. 10 carries a game just isn't enough to see what a RB has. Two-back systems are one thing, if you're going to run the ball 30+ times a game, it's good to distribute the load. But a three-back system when you're running 20 times is wasting all three guys.
Roddy White wasn't a 'star' when scatter-arm Vick was throwing to him. If a WR doesn't have a QB who can deliver the ball to maximize their strentghs, then you'll never know what you have. I'm not advocating replacing Pennington (necessarily), but you'll never know what Ginn is, or isn't, until you let him play without taking his biggest asset (speed) off the table because Penny can't get it there.

Give the ball to Ricky and Ronnie on consistent bases and then lets see what's what! Did you see Ted out run those two D’s? Jake had some miss communication issues and Carey got called on a costly penalty. In all I think we have a great group of guys and they will do a lot better come Monday.

The above being said. I would like to see the Fins make 2 changes:

1. Commit to the run. I don't think the success of the wildcat will make or break the team, but the ability to run the ball will definately affect the season.

2. Make the transition to Chad Henne this year. I respect Pennington, but I would rather see him with a clip board.

This offense has a long way to go. I think we need more then a few parts. Let me break down my thoughts on our units. QB - I really appreciate that Pennington brought us back from the dead last year but our offense is stuck in neutral with his lack of arm strength. If we can't go deep it will be a long season on offense. Much like last year there will be plenty of tight games that may not go in our favor this time around with Pennington. Henne anyone? RB - I like Ricky more then Ronnie. Unfortuantely he shares carries with an over rated Ronnie. I like Ronnie too he just isn't no where near a top back in the league and where he was drafted he should be better. Miami should let him walk after this season and try and upgrade at the position with someone who runs harder and doesn't break down when he does run hard. WR - I actually like our guys but there is a glaring obvious weakness that there is no star. If we had a star say a trade for a Boldin (faking a hamstring issue in the dessert) it would open things up for Ginn, Bess, Camarillo and so on. OL - I really believe this group could gel and become a very good unit. The first game should haev been an obvious wake up call. The play calling needs to focus on smash mouth to really play to the strength of this high priced unit.

Mando ,

Mr. star gazer , if you were a carpenter , I'm thinking you would build a house on a completely landscaped lot!

The Dolphins have plenty of " stars" , check out the new owners !

At least we will have the 6th pick in the draft!!

I think Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, on a team that has an "FTS" offense, would be dominant backs in this league.

AP was fed 25 times. RB's need carries to get uncorked. We're outfoxing ourselves. I'm with you, Salguero.

This team is still rebuilding. Yes they went 11-5 and won the division last year, but with this year's schedule last year, they would have been a 7 or 8 win team. Which still would have been a huge step forward from winning 1 game. Nobody is talking about how good our defense looked last week. Facing the top rushing offense from last year, and giving up less than 70 yards despite them having a lead the whole game? Wow. Facing a top 5 overall offense at their place, and giving up only 19 points despite the fact we gave them the ball back 4 times? With 2 rookie DB's playing their first NFL game? C'mon. Offense was out of sync most of the game, but still would have put up at least 21 if not for the 4 turnovers. We don't need a "star" player with a "star" ego. We need an offense that can run the ball effectively and a QB who can be efficient without turning the ball over. Move the chains. Get the ball in the endzone. Don't put the ball on the ground. If we play ball control offense and score 21 points a game, we can beat teams such as Indy or SD. The Pats play the same teams we play, but their easiest game was Week 1(which they almost lost). Their defense is weak. Much weaker than our O. If we can beat the Pats in our head to head games, I predict that we win the division with 10 wins. GO FINS!!!!

Sparano needs to upgrade some of his assistants or learn the other meaning of NFL.

Loyalty is to be admired but it can also get your job.

Look RB's need rhythm. And as long as either Ronnie or Ricky don't get 25+ carries they won't utilize their talent.

Waht was not mentioned about Atlanta IS the offensive line. Do yu really believe Turner got his yards on his own? Did Ryan have time to throw?

How good was Turner on Sunday when the Dolphins Dline shut him dow?

Comparing their rebuilding to the Dolphins rebuilding after 7-8 years of bad management and coaching is not a fair comparison. In the years before Vick got suspended how bad were they? How many draft picks from 2004-2006 are still on the Falcons? Petrino bailed but in the end his replacement was a better coach.

It is not just about the turn araound since 2007.

Neither Ricky nor Ronnie nor Patrick nor Pat can effective running until the safeties move back to help defend the pass.
This Monday when our d is on the field our safties will be at NFL depth.
When the Colts D is on the field thier safties will be at High School depth.

Because Pennington does not have the physical ability to make the safeties play back anymore Stephen Ross is paying top dollar to backs, receivers and lineman that can't do the job he's paying them for.
Dan Henning needs to change qb's if for no other reason than that the people being paid to make plays can potentially make them.
When everyone on the filed can physically execute the whole playbook then we'll find out who stays and has to go.

The fact is that Dolphin have mediocre players so we have a mediocre offense.....it showed last year every time we played the top notch teams, Arizona, Baltimore, NE etc. We do not have "stars" at the key positions which is QB, RB and WR without one each this franchise will be in the same place it has been since 1985..... watching the super bowl on TV. They do make the games pretty interesting at least now they are competing and playing to win unlike previous years where they just got kicked up and down the field.

another thing that Dan Henning said that Armando didn't point out is the fact that they believe Pat White will turn into "a very good quarterback" down the road. Henning said he was picked at 44 because they like him as a quarterback.

Even if we had Tom Brady and Joe Montana with the awful receivers we have we would still be mediocre at best...... all the great QB's in the history of the game ALWAYS had great receivers to throw to and before you disagree just look at Marinos numbers after Duper & Clayton left.... all down hill baby!!!......

By the way you guys keep waiting for Ronnie and Ginn to develop while the rest of the AFC East continues to get better..... IF THEY HAVE NOT DEVELOPED IN 3 OR 4 YEARS OF PLAYING.... THEY WONT!!! THEY ARE MEDIOCRE!!...... ON A GOOD DAY.

Remember The pats beat the Rams in super bowl with RB Antoine Smith, TE Jermaine Wiggins, WR Troy Brown. Plus Brady was no where near as good then as he is now. I know it was belichick, but it can be done.

I would argue that we do have stars on the offensive side however the philosophy needs to greatly improve. Our offense needs to become more of an attack type of unit as oppose to a take what the defense gives you. The great offenses in this league don't care what the defenses throw at them. They contiue to be aggressive and eventually they succeed. The super stars on offense in this league have a very good offensive scheme. Just look how bad Randy Moss was with the Raiders. He was still the same great player but in Oakland he was in the wrong system. Until we get a quarterback who can spread the field and allow our offense to succeed I don't care who we have. I guarantee you that if we had Brady as our quarterback we would have 3-5 probowl players on offense every year.

joe watts, we should for ronnie .he's an elite my azzzzz

we should wait for ronnie .he's an elite my azzzz

Our potential star playmaker is sitting on the sidelines waiting for the 2010 season to start? Put Henne in and lets see what he's got! If he's not the QB we are hoping him to be then we'll know what to go after in the draft...TEBOW BRADFORD OR MCCOY!


I have no problem with the way this FO has gone about building the offense. When it complete it will be built for the long haul. Our biggest issue is at QB, CP can not make all the throws. If he is late with the pass the chances are good the defender will be able to recover and defend it or pick it off. Once we make the move to a stronger armed QB, Henne, you will see this FO go out and get the playmaker at the WR position. Until then we have to spend money on Defense and what CP does well, Play action, slants, screens and timing route, so those are the type of receivers we have on the roster except Ginn who was drafted before they got here. IMO this offense will be solid by the end of the yr. as it was last yr. Will it be enough? we will know in 15 weeks.

wow you guys crazy. Dolphins lose one game and everyone jump off bandwagon and say season is over. This was only 1 game people against good team. Dolphins clearly were no ready to play, hope they get to gear with wake up call. There still 15 games people.

I think the bottom line here is:
1. Comparing with Atlanta is not appropriate. They already had a solid OL and defense when Smith took over. They just needed a QB and some tweaking. We have nearly revamped the entire team. There are only a handful of starters, and players overall, still here from the previous regimes.
2. Everyone got WAY TOO excited from last year. The year was AWESOME....but it came with a caveat. Tougher opponents this year AND no more level of surprise from a 1-15 team. Other teams are ready for what we have. Although I'm very disappointed on how our OL has played so far.....this could be a real problem if they don't start getting it together real soon, we need to be patient while the team is "built". Ups and downs are going to happen until all the pieces of the puzzle are together. I think we already had our "up". Now we have to deal with the "down". I'm not going to be too concerned unless we still suck next year.

Carlito, I think we have to face the facts that we do not have star players in our rooster, its going to be another re-building/mediocre season and you could tell way before the Atlanta game. We've had 0 offense or at least any continuity.... the defense I think will be very good. The Phins offense does not have one single player that poses a threat to an opponent just look at what Baltimore did last year and its exactly what Atlanta did last week and what every single team will do to us this year. We have no running game, no deep ball plus the turnovers..... not a good combination! we hope for the best and support the team but we just don't have quality players at this point.

I must agree with many of the entries. Ricky Williams, Ronny Brown, Joey Porter, etc. are stars, but being held back even further from ultra-conservative play-calling and a quarterback that can not throw the ball accurately past 10-15 yards, which keeps 8 men on defense on the line of scrimmage! In spite of this, Ron Brown and Ricky Williams have gained great yardage! Can't judge Ted Ginn because one second off the line of scrimmage, he's beyond Pennington's ability to throw to him! Get the point, the quarterback is either your spark plug or your water in your gas problem! It's that simple! Please stop overplaying last year's easy schedule and a Brady-less year! We need to see what C. Henne can do asap!

-----------BIG ARMANDO--------


my thought was NOW, you want to say we have NO PLAYMAKERS, I've been saying this for YEARS..

and now THESE BOZO FANs who NEVER WANT THE FINS TO SIGN TOP NOTCH STUDS because they don't want to break the CAP, ahahahah...

THESE BLIND FANS (and I guess we can say coaches) think that DEPTH is better than STUD PLAYMAKERS..

instead of signing all those guys the past 2 years (yes maybe a few) but let's just say we sign 2 STUDS instead of 10 mediocre average SCRUBS.....

you guys will never understand, your happy when we have 3-7th ROUND DRAFT PICKS.......


3. QB??? let HENNE play to see what he's got..
4. FS a F.R.E.E. S.A.F.E.T.Y.


How does Sparano know??? He has a QB who only throws accurately consistently about 5 yards, bringing 8 men to the line of scrimmage and although they stop Pennington, check out Ricky's and Ronnie's average yards per carry! I've been a Parcels fan forever, but he seems to have problems picking quarterbacks. Phil Simms was the exception because he was a winner, but Bloodsow (sp) with New England, Dallas, Romo so far, and Pennington speak volumes!

Victor Barney- Pats went to SB. with Bledsoe. If that egomaniac Parcells was not talking to the Jerks about takeing that job, they may of played better against the Packers. But, its always been just about the Tuna.
As for the Dolphins, until they get a QB. they are not getting to the SB. Like I have said before, they will regret takeing Jake Long over Matt Ryan.


You may be right about my fact checking, and thats cool. But you did say Cutler would be an upgrade over Pennington and Henne. I say only in arm strength my friend.

Cutler does not have the make up to ever play for the Parcells regime! And you inability to see that is what I'm getting at.

You said,
"QB Jay Cutler. Hmmmm. Very interesting. It is clear the Pro Bowl quarterback is on the outs in Denver....,Cutler would be an upgrade for the Dolphins. He's better than Chad Pennington...."

What would your blog read if Cutler had suited up in a Dolphins uni and thrown those 4ints.

Cutler is still making the same mistakes hes been making since he was at Vandy U. Cutler among other things does not have the character to play for the Parcells, Ireland and Sparano's Miami Dolphins. Not now not never.

Interesting how quickly people forget Ricky Williams Greatness. I see the exact same Ricky Williams. A tough hard nosed saavy runner , that runs down hill. This is the same guy who led the NFL in 03. Same Guy. Granted he is 32, but let me remind you, this is no avg. guy. He had more yards than anyone in College History coming out of Texas, in addition he does not have a ton of wear on his legs because of his little retirements. Ricky Williams Is a top 5 back sitting on the bench. What people forget about Ricky is he was the type of back that wore the defenses down. He was never awesome the first 10 carries, he started breaking them on carry 17 carry 20. He would hit that rythm. I guarantee you if Ricky was the Feature back we would not be having this discussion about us not having a stud player. The dudes a Stud period. Ronnies a really good player too but Give me Ricky any day of the week and twice on Sunday... If Ricky was getting 15 carries a game he is a 1000 yard back at 4.5 yards a carry which is standard for this guy. Get them both 15 a game and our offensive line looks better, are receivers look better and our Defense looks better. This should be a run first team , and we do have the Running backs.


Single comment - I am disappointed in all the negativity after one loss to a very good team. You and the rest of the media horde need to chill a bit and give the real experts a chance. After all, two games into the season last year, you were among those questioning the teams personnel moves and coaching the loudest. Perhaps you should not repeat history quite so soon.

put in henne. i would rather lose with rookie mistakes than watch pennington one more week. i dont care if you have a 80% completion rate if you only end up throwing for a 100 yards.pound the ball with ricky and ronnie or patrick cobbs and put in a qb that can throw for more than 5 yards.we could easily win our division but NEVER will with pennington or 10 carrys a game from our running backs. i have been a dolphin fan for 39 years and i would rather go 0-16 than watch mr. consistancy squnder our talent and blow anoter game with his extreme limitations. i may hate the jets but i no longer think them stupid i say give them thrir gift back

We will Win this week, picky part O and all. Bess 7 catches for 103 1 td. Camarillo 2 for 83 1 td. Ginn out with hip pointer, Ronnie runs for 115 yds and 1 td. Miami 24 indy 13.

Mark it down. Our D will make P Manning look like his brother Eli at a strip club.

Shaggy did you smoke your lunch? lol...lol..... are you kidding me... no way we are going to have a 100yrd receiver..... all of them are mediocre... plus our QB can not throw longer than 13 yards....

I tend to agree -- this is all a bit overly negative. Lets give this bunch a week or two more before we start singing their demise. The Fins lost the ATL, not that ATL won it. If the execution has been better, that game could have easily been a lot closer, and as for the Pat White thing, wasn't that his first attempt at a pass in a game. Sure they lost a TD, but give the kid a break, he'll come around. I do agree that a lot more Ronnie Brown is in order. Of all the players that could emerge as a start, I think he is the closest. Jason Taylor and Joey Porter are both looking pretty good as well. Stars are emerging, its the attitudes that have been kept in check.

Ronnie Brown is a star. He rarely misses a block or fumbles. He catches almost everything. Give him a hole and not only will he hit it, but he will make the next guy miss or just run him over. Miami faces 2 problems on offense, none of which are star power. NFL defenses dont care about how a player is viewed by the media or public.

Problem 1. O-line's inability to knock defenders off the ball on run plays.

Problem 2. Penny's arm strength.

Solutions: Time for the o-line. Plain and simply. This is a young group who needs time to adjust to one another and the nfl game. As for Penny, he is what he is, a smart qb. When givin time in the pocket he will find the open reciever. He can win games but he will never be the QB of the highest scoring offense in the nfl. A QB must make a NFL Defense defend the whole field not just 20 yards of it.

Over the last two years Miami has moved from being grade C, D, or E as well as old in almost every position (with a few exceptions) to being pretty much grade B across the line - with some younger players like Davis who may be exceptional in the future and an OL with a pretty good chance of gelling to be grade A. Atlanta started their rebuilding in better shape. Stars mired in a grade C-D-E team do nothing. Parcels et al were right to focus on OL and DL, the fundamentals. You have to get the fundamentals fixed first. Our team can win as a TEAM by avoiding mistakes, playing solidly, and letting players emerge as well as by being clever with an innovative single wing offense. If we hang in competitively in the first five games we stick with this and draft and trade for stars in the future. If our first several games knock us out for the playoffs then switch to a Henne-White offense and see if Henne is our QB of the future. Next draft we focus on a true #1 WR, RB, TE - unless Henne shows nothing then we lok for a #1 QB. I think that playing as a team and creatively this group can and will win and could go into the playoffs - but they are a great foundation team not our final optimized team that we will have in another two years of drafting and development.

The Dolphins cannot run the ball because the passing game does not scare anyone. So, teams are just stacking the box with 8 defenders. If they had talent at the wide receiver position and they hit some passes over the top, that would open up the running game. So, they need at least another good receiver to complement Ginn, and that would probably make him better too. That's basically it.

I thunk Miami has a better team than last year they just forgot how to use what they had. Let Chad throw his short passes cause we all know that's what he's good at. Let guys like Ginn and heartland burn the defenders once in a while and make the big plays. And let's not forget we have 2 great star RB'S. USE THEM. Miami is just trying this wildcat crap too much with this kid white. Don't get me wrong he's great for a needed big play. But your first string is chad. Let him get into a rhythm before you try wired stuff.

« 1 2

The comments to this entry are closed.