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Dolphins coaching was a problem versus Bill

There are complaints aplenty about the Miami Dolphins today.

Some of them come from fans, as blogs, message boards and radio call-in shows will be loaded today with complaints about play-calling and coaching.

Some of the complaints come from Miami's locker room and coaching staff. That's the one I decided to focus on for my column in the Miami Herald Monday. Players and coaches alike looked at their fourth-quarter collapse against the Bills, a collapse which turned a 14-7 lead into a 31-14 loss, and everyone agreed the Dolphins have a problem finishing.

The Dolphins are perhaps the NFL's worst team at finishing games. They've blown games against Indianapolis, New Orleans, and the Bills in the final stanza this year. They also got outplayed by San Diego in the fourth quarter of that game.

Read the column and answer the following question: How does a team that cannot finish games, expect to successfully finish the season?

As to matters not in the column:

The coaching by the Dolphins staff was horrible on Sunday. I have great respect for the Miami coaching staff because I believe they often get the most production out of some limited talent. But this blowout upset loss was different.

This was embarrassing.

The facts are the Dolphins were facing an inferior team on Sunday. The Buffalo starting cornerbacks of Leodis McKelvin and Terrence McGee did not play on Sunday. The Buffalo offensive line was missing two starters and had another dude playing out of position. The Buffalo head coach is a rookie. And Ryan Fitzpatrick from Harvard? Really?

The Bills had nothing to play for but pride while the Dolphins' season was on the line.

Then one has to understand the Dolphins had 10 days to prepare for this game.

And the Bills still won?

"We've got 10 days to prepare and I didn't do a good enough job obviously preparing them," coach Tony Sparano said. "I've got to do a better job."

Sparano, the former play-caller for Bill Parcells in Dallas, has to do a better job of riding herd over offensive coordinator Dan Henning. Henning, who has forgotten more football than most people will ever know, is normally a fine offensive coordinator.

Sunday was not one of those occassions.

Consider that on Miami's first possession the Dolphins moved from their own 45 yard line to the Buffalo 3. Chad Henne completed a 15-yard pass. Ricky Williams ran for 11, then 7, then six, then 5 yards. The Bills were on their heels.

And then on first-and-goal, Henning got cute by calling a halfback pass for a player that hasn't thrown a pass since 2000.


Momentum lost.

"Yeah, you know, I got the ball and Joey Haynos was supposed to block the outside linebacker and then go, and I saw him, and I just didn't put enough arch on the ball and it was picked off by the backside linebacker," Williams said.

But why call the play at that point? I can understand if the Dolphins weren't running well? But they were rolling. Not smart. They used their best runner to throw, thereby not using their best runner's or best passer's greatest assets. Not smart. 

Sparano relegated the criticism of the play-call to "Monday Morning quarterbacking" and said the problem with the play was in its execution. It sounded like a coach who would prefer to blame a player than another coach for a play's failure.

There were other head-scratching offensive calls also.

In the second quarter the Dolphins took a 7-0 lead and then stopped the Bills on a three-and-out. Then the Dolphins complete a pass for 11 yards, Williams runs for 6 yards, Williams runs for 5 yards. And then Henning gets cute again.

He calls an end-around to Ginn on first down. It loses 4 yards. And you know what? The Dolphins make 11 yards on the next two plays but have to punt because they needed 14 yards for a first thanks to that reverse, So that reverse to Ginn costs the Dolphins a chance to keep driving.

The Bills then get the ball and tie the game at 7-7 on their next possession.

Finally, can I ask about continuing to force the issue with Pat White? He is neither one of the team's better runners nor it's best passer. And yet he continues to get plays at strange moments when Miami runs its spread option.

White ran once for 2 yards on Sunday. When did that first taste of action come?

In the fourth quarter. Right after Buffalo took a 17-14 lead. What changed at that point that didn't happen in the three previous quarters when Miami was winning? What was the freakin' point?

The defensive coaching staff doesn't get a pass here, either.

We all recognize the Dolphins are starting two rookie cornerbacks. We recognize they are talented. And we recognize they are capable. But why put them in one-on-one coverage a large majority of the game, every game?

Hello? Other teams watch tape, also ...

It is begging for a game-changing TD. And the Dolphins got exactly what they were begging for when Terrell Owens caught a 51-yard TD pass over Vontae Davis in the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick said he recognized the coverage pre-snap and called an audible.

Dagger to the heart.

One more thing: We keep hearing how Cameron Wake cannot get into games more because he is a work-in-progress as a run-defender.

Well, how long does it take to coach up a player to defend the edge of the defense? We're 11 games into the season and Wake's still not ready to tackle somebody running wide?

And if Wake isn't, what makes coaches think Joey Porter is ready? Porter blew edge run assignments time after time on Sunday. Yes, he had a couple of sacks against reserve tackles. But that was Porter blowing the run defense against Fitzpatrick as the Ivy League QB set off on a 31-yard TD run.

So the young player can't be taught to defend the run 11 games into a season and the veteran can't be reminded to keep his assignment discipline? Yes, the players have a responsibility to get this done. But the coaches have an equal responsibility to make sure those players do their job or take a seat on the bench.

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I know one thing for sure...there was two teams playing tonight, and one was not in the same class as the other LOL Bradys crying didn't help him with the refs tonite

Picked of again LMAO!!!

Brady is crying awe poor little baby girl

nice throw. lol

I c Randy moss is still taking plays off what a put

Love to see Brady down and out! Jesus, what does Gisele see in him anyway?

Will you look at that???
Tom Brady sure is puurrrty when he's crying.

Chewy spent a lot of time in Gulfport am retired fm Coast Guard 24 years.

52-17 would make my night but their coach is more classy then Belicheat will ever be

Think of how great Sunday could have been if Henning, Sparano & the Defense had not focked things up.

Plus, imagine Drew Brees instead of Henne the Stiff. Curse you Wanny & Saban

Gulfport is alright i'm from Orlando I was stationed in jax for 6 years I love jax

H8dPats, thank u for ur service!! Class act to stay in for 24 like that

I have been here in Yorktown for 8 years now, originally fm Plantation FL

Chewyphins: what branch are you? NASA treating u ok?!

Monkey(Cuban menace) your papa(Brady) will need you tonight

why i have the feeling that H8DPATS lives in a place in west palm w/window bars installed on the windows .

Navy 16 years so far, love NASA

Been to Yorktown
I hate Norfolk but ytown is alright

H8dpats: knew u were a class act! Thanks for serving! We're a USAF family.

The dolphins play good teams very well... Fu(k the jets got dolphins 2010

Thanks Bobby, I loved every year I was in. The worst part was getting underway on the patrol boat during football season and not getting the games.

Wow Chewy 16 years Navy, I could only do four...what do u do?? I was a Cryptologist

4-3 dfense for the fins!!!!!!!'

What the hell is a pats fan doing on a dolphins blog while his or her team is playing? Oh yea they are getting creamed lolol

ok guys,i did my job filling 4 pags .now i let the plumber in.

I am an oceanographer and meteorologist


Chewyphins; a friend if ours, r bresnick, navy guy, went up on Atlantis sts129. Saw the launch it was incredible. Thanks for serving!

4-3 defense n stop the gd tight end

I wish we could forget about our foreign borders and close down the border at Jacksonville,,, like would be so much better if we could keep the New England jack'ss out

Tell me about it I love jax

Very very well said. I totally agree with all of it. I don't know what's going on, it's like a damn circus half the time.

Dolphin fans need to stay more positive n support the team tailgating at landshark is great ppl need to go to games

Thanks msCuba plenty of AF zoomies in my neighborhood, thanks for serving too. Are you at Langley?

hey guys, 90 percent of gopats posts are fake .

Peyton has some funny comercials

Yes he does

At Andrews

Yea, I was stuck up in Winter Haven Maine for my whole tour of duty...I had to get out, I had enough snow and cold to last a lifetime, but I got 14 years in now with US Customs in Miami so I stuck with the US Government

I hate the jets n pats n everyone who isn't a dolphin so pat fans n jet fans geeeeet out

On a serious note. I hope the dolphins coaches are watching this game and taking notes!!! Look at how NO mixed up their D throughout the whole game, we never do it's always rush 4

Saints are a class act, the city sucks out loud but a class act and brees is the man

Bobby, I used to deploy with USCS Blue Thunder, and coke buster, we used to bring the boats into Miami sitting on the bales!

That was sweet.

The Pats going down tonite almost makes up for the stroke we had after yesterdays loss. GO DOLPHINS! Goodnite Fin Fans.

Goodnite mscuba go count the fins!

Well that sounded like fun H8dPats...I'm mostly in the airport and it's been a fun and interesting career...never boring in Miami

It is funny Bobby to see the boxes of contraband they take at airports it is usually for sale on GSA auctions for sale.

Fins OC and DC are lame. No creativity and don't put our players in position to succeed.

Goodnight to all and to all goodnight, the Patsies spirit is crushed, all is right in the universe again........ahahahahaha

Whe are you fools going to realize that gopats is really the cuban menace . WAKE THE F UP !

When are you fools going tom realize that GOPATS is really the CUBAN MENACE . WAKE THE F UP !

That bills loss hurts even more now that the pats fell. Too bad, the coming game would have meant so much more.

The dolphins still have hope, granted not much but hey it keeps things interesting to think Miami still has a chance.. We win Sunday and a few teams lose, we r right back in it, we r only a game out of wildcard. Packers play ravens next Monday, tenn plays Indy, jax plays Houston so we are in this. Even if we did get in, it's one and done but I love my phins and my canes

Normally I don't comment on these things and I agree with Mando for most of the season, except today.

Even at the utmost cost you have to let Dan Henning be Dan Henning. Otherwise you run the greater risk of him being too conservative. I understand he doesn't have a good track record when that happens. Dan has a lot of tricks and gadgets at his disposal and limiting those won't do any good either. You have to sometimes take the risk of using those gadget plays to gain more yards. The real killer of drives are dropped passes and again I saw plenty of those by Miami WRs yesterday.

The real problem as I see it and Mando pointed it out is the defense.

Yesterday's loss just makes me sick. Like many others. I am sick having watched the pats lose. They are 7-4. We should be 6-5 with another game against them. And 6-5 is the last spot in the playoffs right now. I am sick. Giving the season away. They need to run the table now. Playoffs start sunday.

get over it guys! if ricky would have thrown a TD all would have beeen good. If the team would have pulled out a win that last quarter these commwents wouldnt be here. This team has a boat load on injuries and they still need another year. This is the best team we have in years.

See what happens when u have wr and te can catch the ball look at the saints game also get presure on Brady and he will fall

Patriots losing makes me feel a little better guys. Hey Bobbyd12, chewyphins and h8dpats: You guys know that gopats is also the menace. You guys have been conversing with him all night. LOL

get over it guys! if ricky would have thrown a TD all would have beeen good. If the team would have pulled out a win that last quarter these commwents wouldnt be here. This team has a boat load on injuries and they still need another year. This is the best team we have in years.

Posted by: Dan | December 01, 2009 at 12:48 AM

u just dont understand football dan,

wtf would we have ricky williams throw out of the wildcat on 2nd and goal from the 2 when we were running the ball down the throats of buffalo.And if we pass, how about a playfake with our real QB in the game, not ricky williams who is obviously not in the habit of throwing the ball as u could see on the play. The coaching thus far leaves much to be desired for this team this year and while i agree that this team will get better down the road, it is the coaching staff who have taken a step back this year.

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