Offensive coordinator Dan Henning last season talked colorfully about FTS to a roomful of reporters and everyone, me included, had this blank look on their faces because, frankly, we didn't know if he was talking about some obscure formation or a new political party.
Then he explained FTS is Feed ... The ... Stud.
It is what a fine offensive coordinator like Henning tries to do. He tries to get the football in the hands of his best player or players as often as possible, repetition be damned.
When Henning was in Washington, the stud was John Riggins, when he was in Carolina the stud was running back Stephen Davis first, then it was receiver Steve Smith, then it receiver Mushin Muhammad or some combination thereof. When he was head coach in San Diego, Henning didn't have a stud so he got fired. (Not your fault, Dan.)
The question is who becomes the stud requiring feeding for the 2010 Miami Dolphins?
Suggestion: Brandon Marshall.
It seems logical that the NFL's newly minted highest paid wide receiver will be the focal point of the Dolphins offense. The dude has caught over 100 passes the last three seasons and, sounding good to me, let's hope he does it again in 2010.
But are the Dolphins willing to shift gears from an offense that is run-first to one that throws to Marshall first? How far is Henning going to be able to take FTS?
You might be surprised.
Last season the Dolphins snapped 1,088 offensive plays from scrimmage. They ran the ball 509 times. They passed 545 times. Yes, smart-alecks, I know that doesn't equal 1,088. Add the 34 sacks Miami gave up and you have 1,088 snaps. Sheesh.
Anyway, this suggests the Dolphins were not exactly the run-run-run team everyone thinks. But I'm certain the fact they were behind in a good number of games and had to pass has something to do with this statistic. Despite the statistic, everyone knows Miami's studs on offense have been Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams and so it has come as no surprise, they have gotten the ball more than anyone else on offense.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins passing game hasn't had a great, consistent performer and so the passes have been spread around to a host of players. That has been spun as a good thing. No. The good thing is to have two or three great players who get the ball every week.
When you hear, "We're doing what the defense gives us," that is not signaling strength. That is weakness. Good offensive teams like Arizona, Minnesota, Indianapolis and others dictate to the defense rather than allow the defense to dictate.
Those teams get the ball to their Larry Fitzgeralds or Reggie Waynes or Adrian Petersons or whomever is their stud.
I assume the Dolphins will now be more able to dictate to the defense and successfully get the ball to Marshall 100-110 times for the season. Sure, the guy will have tough days. Everyone has tough days. I feel one coming on soon myself.
But if the idea is to FTS, then Marshall has to be at the forefront of the Miami gameplan, no?
How does that affect Brown and Williams? I imagine Miami will still be a run-oriented team in games they control and so the pair of running backs will also star in the game plan. But it makes sense that they are not taxed to the levels they have been the last two years. It definitely makes sense they don't figure as much in the passing game as checkdowns when the passes should be going downfield to Marshall.
It makes sense that if the Dolphins have added a stud wide receiver, well then, he should be fed.