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TEs not helping and associated problems

Offensive coordinator Dan Henning talks to the media once a week for 10 minutes and in at least two of the last four times he did that, he mentioned how the loss of tight end David Martin has hurt his offense.

It is an interesting comment because the Dolphins put Martin on injured reserve at the beginning of the regular season without really making too much of a big deal about it.

They put him out for the season and, as I reported in September, he had surgery Sept. 9. His agent told me at the time that Dr. James Andrews was of the belief Martin could be ready to play again in six to eight weeks. Guess what?

It's been seven weeks.

Best case scenario, Martin might have been ready to play last week. Worst case, he might ahve been ready next week.

That, I guess, is water under the bridge. The Dolphins made the decision they thought was best and are now living with it. But I bring up Martin more to plant this seed in your minds: Martin is unsigned for 2010.

It will be interesting whether the Dolphins, who often lament the Martin injury, make any attempt to re-sign Martin. His agent Terry Williams, told me that while neither he nor Martin were happy with being placed on injured reserve, that will not affect their decision in free agency.

"That will be a decision we will evaluate based on the financial considerations at that time," Williams said.

So we shall see if the Dolphins value Martin as much as they say they miss him. The Dolphins this season are trying to fill the Martin void with Anthony Fasano and Joey Haynos. So far, the void ain't filled too good, if you get my drift.

Fasano, coming off his two most productive pass-catching games of the season, still has only 11 catches for 77 yards and one touchdown. Haynos has two catches for 38 yards.

Haynos obviously hasn't been the down-field threat Martin was. Neither has Fasano. In fact, Fasano hasn't been the threat he himself was last season when he finished with 34 receptions for 454 yards and seven touchdowns.

Coach Tony Sparano explained Thursday that Fasano's diminished numbers aren't all a result of something he is doing wrong.

“I think it matters a little a bit with the quarterback, whether he is comfortable throwing the ball in the middle of the field, I think because that is where most tight ends work," Sparano said, starting to list the reasons Fasano has not been as big a factor so far. "At the same time, I think our run game has a little bit to do with the lack balls that are out there that way."

Sparano explained that the Dolphins have seen a lot of defenses creep their safeties up in order to help stop Miami's outstanding rushing attack. That has, in turn, made the middle of the field a very crowded place for Fasano and Haynos to work.

"What I mean by that is you are not getting the middle of the field open against us," Sparano said. "The middle of the field is closed."

And that explains some things. But it doesn't explain everything.

It doesn't explain how Fasano had two receptions in the regular-season opener and fumbled both. It doesn't explain how he had a 19-yard reception in his hands against the Saints off a Ronnie Brown throw from Wildcat, and dropped the ball.

It doesn't explain his other drops this season. Fact is, Fasano is second on the team in drops this season, behind Ted Ginn Jr.

And, finally, the fact the middle of the field is closed is normally a good thing. You see, teams with passing games that are even mediocre, rarely see safeties playing like they were hybrid linebackers because no one in the pass-happy NFL is stupid enough to gamble like that on defense.

The gamble is your safeties crowd the line of scrimmage, most teams will be able throw the ball over the top for TD after TD after embarrassingly long TD.

But defenses have gambled like that against the Dolphins, hoping to shut down the run, because they have little or no fear of those embarrassing passes. Defenses close the middle of the field because they think they can matchup man-to-man on the outside and usually not get burned.

Defenses close the middle of the field against Miami because they don't fear a playmaking tight end will run up the seam, past the safety, and into the end zone. Defenses close the middle of the field against Miami because they believe the quarterback is more comfortable and confident throwing to the outside or to the checkdown running back than zipping a seam pass past a safety's earhole.

So it's wrong to blame the success of the Miami running game for shutting down the middle of the field. It is more correct to blame an ineffective receiver and tight end corps for not winning one-on-one matchups and not forcing defenses to respect them and open up the area. 

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Fasano has been a disappointment so far this season with the dropped passes. Armando, how do you consider his blocking skills? Should the Dolphins look to acquire a new TE in the off-season?

i have to say last off-season was one of the worst we've had, we created problems and didnt solve anything...even when we were losing we signed guys who made more of a contribution to our team even if we were losing

Haynos can't block

I think it's mostly the QB. I remember Sparano saying Pennington was the best he's ever seen at throwing the seem pass to tight-ends. After he said that, I watch and it was pretty riduculous how good Pennington was at doing that. I think you have to be a veteran in order to have the confidence to be able to do that. I'm sure Fasano's fumbles in the 1st game against Atlanta didn't exactly inspire confidence from Pennington. Now, with Pennington out, I don't think Henne's going to try to be threading the needle like Pennington consistently did......and that's probably a good thing.

I'm sure a big time #1 receiver would open more stuff up for Fasano, too. I don't think Haynos is very good. Tight-end will be a position of need this long offseason.

Fasano has lost a bunch this year...After watching him last year, I was psyched that we had a good tight end on our hands...But so far this year, he's shown that he has the touch of Dr. No (metal hands)...

Mando, definately hit it right with this one. First of all your right its not the quarterback but the recieving core and TE's that determine whether the Defense will play tight or loose, obviously theyve been playing loose giving no respect to the recievers because basically the recievers cant hold on to the ball or str8 up catch the ball. So all these safeties r in and we still cant catch the ball on wide open passing plays like fasano's drop from ronnie or even ginns 4th quarter drop on a slant route where he was standing alone with no defender near him. Ginn is a plague in that once he touches the football, everybody starts dropping.

Fasano is turning into a Lamar Smith type player to name a few, A big one year hit wonder for the phins. I don't think miami will keep him either after this year, and not surprisingly considering his dropoff, i never really got my hopes too high on fasano being that longterm solution for tight end for miami.

Mando you definately hit the spot on this one. First of all your right its not the quartbacks fault that recievers r dropping passes and its not the quarterbacks fault if safeties are not giving any respect to Ginn and Fasano cause basically they can be standing downfield without a defender near them and still manage to drop the ball. Ginn is just absolutely ridiculous and has become a plague to the team. With his demeanor and lack of confidence, everytime Ginn drops a pass, it turns into a plague and every1 else starts dropping passes.

God AT&T Internet is awful!

Wake me up on Sunday please.

Fasano has been a huge dissapointment this year. It defies logic. I would have thought this would be his break out season, especially with Martin going down...I also think he has gotten a free pass given the spotlight on Ginn.

Its all mental. Just get the job done or walk!

Didn't Joe Rose say Fasano was an elite player? Great insight.

Uuuuuh. I need Teepee for my bunghole.

We wuz just about to get to this subject but we gots other things on our mind like trying to catch up on SI photo you posted YESTERDAY, Mando.

We'll get to that TODAY.

And maybe tomorrow we'll copy, er, write about the TE problems. Dang, you good.

Deuces!

I have to bring this up. Its messed up that the media has spent all week ripping Ted Ginn Jr but never pays attention to how crappy Fasano has played ALL SEASON LONG.

Ginn = black.
Fasano = white
Media = Biased.

(except for you Armando, you don't seem to give a flying crap about where anyone's coming from. Respect that.)

Yeah, Joe Rose. Now there's a great football mind. I think he blew out too many brain cells doing cocaine in the 80s.

Sparano's comment: What I mean by that is you are not getting the middle of the field open against us," Sparano said. "The middle of the field is closed." (He means the middle up close)

Mando's comment: Defenses close the middle of the field against Miami because they believe the quarterback is more comfortable and confident throwing to the outside or to the checkdown running back than zipping a seam pass past a safety's earhole.

Dead on, Armando!!! My sentiments exactly!!!

It's a shame that we see it but they can't. Quick inside slants or seam passes, at least by a receiver who is quicker than a tight end, are potential touchdowns. Make them pay dearly for that!! But I rarely see those, despite teams crowding the box with their safeties. Its so obvious. So whens the light bulb gonna go on???! Mention it to Henning, Mando!


Can we bring Keith Jackson outta retirement?

its kinda funny we cannot hit our tight ends but our opponents find theirs for 60 yd. td's! why dont we copy their plays?

Not to knock Ginn....again!

But whats up with that extra large mouth piece he wears?? Looks like a big binky (pacifier). Is that a metaphor for how he plays? A timid baby?

All kidding aside though...

I think he could thrive if we keep him and find a stud #1 receiver. At least as a #3 in obvious passing downs with less attention on him. His speed alone is a serious weapon and can't be taught. Then make him our regular kick returner too but with a better supporting cast and he should fourish.

Strong

Ginn #1 draft pick (#9 overall)
Fasano #2 pick in Dallas brought here for a #4 pick.
Media biased???

Who do you think is going to get the most heat??

David Martin had a good year catching the ball last year. Still, he has inconsistent hands and is a liability in the running game. Our offense is better overall without him. Check our points per game this year v. last year. Don't let one long TD again SF last year fool you into thinking he was a deep threat. He wasn't and isn't. This was a good decision let him go.

Parcells loves a good TE. Henning always seems seemed to have a good one. Sparano, an old O-line coach sure as hell would want one. This offense would absolutely purr w/ a TE who could actually:
a) Block for the run since our receivers sure as hell dont
b) Force the opponent to drop the linebacker a little deeper and bring the safety up to cover the seam. This would finally open things up for our receivers.

Ted Ginn is Dr. Richard Kimble
http://miamiherald.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451b26169e20120a6367739970b-pi

Anybody see that PFT is report that Bart Scott now saying he want to injure Chad Henne? What a scumbag that represent Jet fan perfectly. Its like he been sitting around all day drinking cheap beer and wait for someone with a microphone to walk buy to say something trashy.

This what really going on at Jets facility? Hot dogs and Malt liquor? This not how you prepare for division opponent.

I smell hotdogs!! Hot dog lovin' Mark Sanchez wants a piece.

It must be tough dealing with a season ending loss after being up 24-3 at home. I bet you guys were hugging and loving each other at the time, thinking big thoughts, kicking the NFC's best team in the butt. No one can stop us, we can run on anyone and our new QB is gonna be a star and man our defense is getting better. Super Bowl is gonna be in our house, beat the Jets next week and we are right behind the Pats. Man, this is great. And now, bitching about Bart Scott having some fun with the NY media and making fun of Sanchez while your season just melted away in front of your eyes. Your team just wilted at home, big time choke, and your coach looked like Herm Edwards before the half. And now that the end is near, your going on the road to the enemies home where they have been waiting for 3 weeks for pay back. And your season will be officially over in front of the people you hate the most at about 4pm on Sunday. Life sucks for Miami fans, the NFL seaso is over the first day of November, no more Sunday's to get pumped,every game means nothing ITS OVER just playing out the season and look for reasons to care. You are have not's fellas, your not even in the Bills class. As a Jet and Yankee fan, last Sunday and this Sunday will be so sweet.

The tight end has to be a viable option and target. Fasano was last year; but this year he's struggled with fumbles and dropped balls. That's unacceptable. What happened to concepts like "The Code" and being "QB friendly?" It's like he took the year off. I think this team has gotten big headed and is now tasting what it means to be humble and be focused.

"It doesn't explain how he had a 19-yard reception in his hands against the Saints off a Ronnie Brown throw from Wildcat, and dropped the ball".

mando, he didnt drop that pass did he?

Dammit Mark that kind of hurt! Think back a team not even in your class kicked both bill and jets butts! I hope you are not a Miami resident rooting for another cities team that would suck but you are one of many. Unless you are a Dolphins true fan you will never understand why we love our Fins nomattawat!!!!

Mark Epstien,

Jets are garbage. Case Closed. You have no hope with out Kris Jenkins, and that turnover machine San-chocha will not help.

You talk like the Jets are an actual super bowl contender when you are only 1 and a half games in front of the dolphins and will be under .500 after sunday. Don't you knuckle heads ever learn anything?

Mark Epstien,

You showcase your stupidity by saying the dolphins are not in the same class as the bills. When in fact, the dolphins blew out the bills and the bills beat the garbage, no-class whiny Jets.

Save some paintchips for the future Jets fans...

TE's problems begin with Henne not being able to throw the touch pass. He can't put it right over the LB's and in front of the safeties. That was Penny's game. Therefore lack of plays being done by the TE's. Trust me I love the fact that he can throw deep and get the ball there in a hurry. But that pass is not in his arsenal yet.

hey check out this article. Hope the players get to see this.
http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2009/10/30/bart-scott-wants-to-hurt-chad-henne/

rec305,

Check the last game against the jets, especially last drive, for all the touch passes you need...

Hey Epstien,
If I went on a Jets blog everytime their season was over in October to taunt the dopey Jet fans my fingers would be ground down to my knuckles.

Time to get a life.

P.S.

Dolphins season not over, after sunday 3-4.

Don't you guys remember Dolphins start very disapoint 2-4 last year and then they win 9 of 10 games to finish 11-5 and win division.

If Dolphins can pull together 2 tough division wins again, the schedule starts to get very easy with teams like the bucs, titans, jags, panthers, bills.

Last two time Dolphins season been on the line and all they have to do is beat Jets, they win the game.

Armando,

You talk a lot about our offense, what about defensive? You don't write much about it and really that where our issues are. Write all you want about it, fact is defense and the secondary spefically cost us the game against the colts and saint.

Carlito,

when we were up 24-3 were you hugging and kissing other fans as mark said .his post very right on .

why can't we read a nice article about our lousy defense ? i bet if armando write the ins and outs of this group it will be a hit .

These coaches continue to make the same mistakes that previous coaches made. They keep bad players playing too long.

This should be an easy win for the Dolphins.After this game we get our shot at Ms.Brady and company.The next two weeks are crucial to our survival and I know we can do it.The Dolphins have a great team that needs to gel with Henne at the helms....we can certainly score the points and our D will play good enough to win.

What we need is some fair and balanced blogging by Armando. I mean we've spent a week talking about Ginn and offense. Of Sanchez exploites what Brees and Manning did to our secondary we're Fu. No Ginn and Henning are easy targets for you. I just hope one blog about the real issue would go a long way towards viewing you as an actual sports reporter.

Aloco I don't care how much you hugging and kissing mark epstien, I just don't want to see it or hear about it.

All I care about is Dolphins beat the Jets this week, get your broom read

No credibility as a reporter Armando, let's talk some d man.

lol@epstien, Only a D-bag trolls on the other teams message blogs. Go choke yourself, you mook.

i remember before the season started ;

1-fans worried about chad henne
2- fasano was a sure thing
3-the defense was a lock in of studs
4-pat white was the next jesus .
5-every thought jets is a fraud
6-fins will be on top of the division not last


now seems we all suck as players except r.brown,r.williams and chad henne.as fans we all suck except i would say not armando who tried hard to point the weak points of this team .


"Yeah, Joe Rose. Now there's a great football mind. I think he blew out too many brain cells doing cocaine in the 80s."
Yeah, and the same could be said for many of the cops out there.

Aloco,

Weak spots offense? Seconday man, that where they scored every time they threw into coverage.

D-dense,

you have a point there .what say you if we ask armando to write a nice article about our so called studs of the defense and must be a juicy read to know what went wrong and his view of not singing holliday and goodman and it's affect on this lousy defense .

time for my meatball sub . back tonight .


Armando has been yelling about the lack if secondary from the roof tops, I don't think we need an article, we need a safety

We should send a crack block from Hartline to Bart Scott, justo entre - ceja oreja y madre.

goodman and hill now start for the undefeated denver broncos. wonder where we would be if we hadnt "upgraded" our secondary. booo hisss

Alls I know there are no exusses for droping any balls because Henne puts it where it needs to be every time his 2 ints were not even his fault the recivers had them in there hands and tiped it to the defenders these recivers have to step up because we are relaying on ronnie and Ricky to hold this team together. We really need a true WR so he can teach every one else how to catch these balls!

phins 87 we also need that deep threat to keep the defense from stacking the box like N.O.

Ginn gets more heat because he was overdrafted by Mueller and Cammoron, but that is not his fault. The reason he was taken #9 overall was because of the year that Hester had in Chicago and they wanted that return threat. I agree if we had a stud #1 receiver he would be a very nice complimentary #2 or #3 because of his speed. If someone else scares the defense and they roll coverage, Ginn could be decent, as long as he does not have much contact. But both Ginn and Fasano need to be criticized because neither has played very well this year. Everyone saw that receivers were a weak spot on this team. Lets not forget this is a 3 year plan, 1st year bulk up the lines, second year draft 2 starting corners, 3rd year look at TE and WR high in the draft. A stud TE would also open things up for the WR's and make them better.

Mark Epstein

Bet weve seen the last of you when the phins beat the Jets 31-7. Like we should have but the refs were stinkin jets fans. HAve a good off season ;)) and Merry Christmas

Answer maybe 2010 free agency:

Wr Brandon Marshall
TE Tony Scheffler - Broncos
Te Owen Daniels - Texans

Downside on Daniels is he seeking to be highest paid TE in the nfl.

Yeah, god forbid we actually pay for someone with talent...*rolls eyes* I've never seen a staff so complacent with mediocrity for the sake of saving pesos...I actually wrote a nice story about it a few days ago...

Phinsfan,

Ginn gets more chances because he was drafted #9 overall. If he were a 4th or 5th rounder he would be cut by now.

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