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Postgame view of Dolphins victory at Buffalo

Are you unhappy with the Dolphins 15-10 victory on Sunday?

You might be because everything didn't go well. The offense was sluggish. The defense gave up a TD drive in the fourth quarter when the game's outcome still hung in the balance. The special teams missed a field goal, booted a kickoff out of bounds and had no returns to speak of.

And yet the Dolphins won.

As I write in this column there are specific issues the Dolphins must address starting today. One issue, in my humble opinion, involves how coaches handle the running back rotation. I get specific in the column so please check it out.

Another issue involves the play-calling with regard to flow. The Dolphins were working the Bills in their base set in the first half and then they went to the wildcat. It changed the flow and the drive stalled.

At another point, Miami was again bullying the Bills on an apparent drive. Then they called for an end around with Davone Bess. Bess who is a fine slot wide receiver with good quickness, but does not have a lot of speed to get wide. The reverse went for no gain.

So the Dolphins, who self-scout, would be well-served to check that out.

"We did the best we could this week to get ready for [the Bills] and they threw some stuff out there that we kind of weren't really prepared for," Bess said after the game. "But our coach put us in positions to be prepared at all times. When we saw the certain coverages, we had answers for them."

Said quarterback Chad Henne: "I think we just need to go back to work and we've got to concentrate. I've got to put the ball in better places and become a little more accurate and we have to and we have to come up with more catches out there and get the ball in the playmakers' hands. Overall it wasn't pretty, but we got some things done."

The defense got most of the things done. It is interesting to me that the unit that was totally revamped in the offseason -- from the coordinator to the captains to starting rookies and others that hadn't started before -- was the unit that carried the day.

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan showed he can scheme pressure on the quarterback almost immediately when Karlos Dansby collected his first sack as a Dolphin on the game's third play. On that play, the Dolphins brought the blitz with Dansby and Wake on the same side and Dansby came unblocked.

"I was hiding behind [Cameron] Wake, he's a threat," Dansby said. "Somebody's got to make a decision on who to block. Coach Nolan did a great job of dialing up that play, we just put it in this week as a matter of fact and we executed well."

I told you when the Dolphins signed Dansby they loved his ability to rush the passer as well as cover as well as play inside. Then coach Tony Sparano said Dansby was signed to play inside linebacker and talk of moving the player around died.

... Until yesterday.

"I'm all over the place," Dansby said. "You can't really pinpoint me. I've got a lot of guys around me. All I'm trying to do is to help them become better as ball players."

The defense tackled quite well for the first game out, I thought. There were no costly or obvious missed tackles like the ones that plagued much of last season. That will continue to be key as the Dolphins prepare to stem the Adrian Peterson tide next Sunday.

It was interesting perhaps only to me that Nolan employed in the first game what former defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni always hesitated doing: Matching up corners on receivers.

Under Pasqualoni, the Dolphins played a straight right-left scheme. Vontae Davis was always the left cornerback while Sean Smith was always the right cornerback. When I would ask why he wouldn't match up, Pasqualoni would say it created other problems he didn't wish to deal with.

Nolan apparently has no issues dealing with those. And he obviously has no issues dealing with the advantages of the strategy, either.

So Sunday, Jason Allen followed Lee Evans all over the field. Wherever Evans lined up, Allen lined up, be it left or right of the formation. Davis followed Steve Johnson all over the field.

That strategy will get interesting when the Dolphins play passing teams like New England and Green Bay. It will speak to which cornerback the Dolphins feel has a better opportunity to contain the likes of Greg Jennings or Donald Driver or Randy Moss.

One would also hope, by the way, the Dolphins will throw a changeup to this strategy at times, also. That means I would guess there will be times the Dolphins don't match up so as to not be predictable. Nolan will do that, too. He's pretty impressive so far.


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Another Bills-dpolphins nailbiter. These divisional games are always close. But remember A WINS A WIN AND WILL TAKE IT.

i went to the game. the defense played well but the offense showed no spark;more of short runs,alittle wildcat and alot of 4 yd pass plays. we did have receivers open but henne was late picking them up or threw an errant pass. we kept the bills in the game till the end. henne seems very stiff and unable to make quick reads and adjustments; a game manager at best.

If Jason Allen would have held on to the pick and walked it in for 6, i would never have questioned him again!!!
but , he didnt! oh an Cameron Wake should have 2 sacks. that was BS when Edward threw it over his own head an got away with it!!!
lets just look at, a win is a win no matter how ugly! and the offense can only get better!

i was impressed by the defense. thry stepped it up and for clemens. wow!!!! he really was all over the field. Great rackles and coverage. However, Genne needs to improve. to slow making passes and when he does time them right the reciever will not catch it. hartline should of caught 2 passes thrown his
way and marshall could have caught that bomb from henne. It was under thrown but ive seen him catch that type of ball before.

These were the kind of games we would lose last year so i'm glad we pulled out the win. I'm sure we played as vanilla as possible so we don't give all of our secrets away in the first week. Tougher tests now on the way. Lets hope the offensive chemistry gets better.

Buffalo has a very good pass defense. I think Henne was clearly coached not to turn the ball over and lose the game. As we play less competent secondaries, Henne and the passing game will loosen up. While the secondary looks improved (mostly due to the pass rush) they still gave up the big play. there was the blown coverage on Parrish and we were fortunate Evans didnt get the pass where Allen fell down.

Great Morning to all the FIN FANS!!!!


Let me re-state that.

Good Morning to all the TRUE FIN FANS!!!!


yes,WHY NOT US ? i think that's a good slogan ,

everybody seems to forget this is the first game and that buffalo has a good if not great secondary. You are all assuming buffalo sucks and we should have blown them out. I am happy with the win and think the offense will find there flow. We contained three great running backs and showed we can still run ourselves. Chill out and enjoy the season and this win...jeeeese

Happy with the win...extremely excited with our defense, but this offense needs some serious work. Henne held onto the ball way too long at times, and despite the time the line gave him, made some questionable decisions and throws. Don't expect to get that kind of time next week buddy. Saw an interesting thing in New England...Brady with similar time in the pocket that Henne had yesterday, is looking for an open receiver...gets down to his check-down read and passes it up...ends up completing a pass to his receiver for a twenty yard gain and a first down. We need more of that.

Mando, you picked the Dolphins to lose. They must have been better than you expected. The Phins even beat the spread.

Now, on to tougher games.

Overall the defense looked pretty solid except fot that 4th down pass to Parrish. Now the Offense needs to get it going for us to have a chance in Minnesota.

By the way the score was 15-10! Not 15-9.

best article of the year Mando pointed out some good and bad spots without being overly critical.

So one more Scrimage against Father Time and then is time for the JETS ....

THERE' no story like WELKER STORY,
1-led the nfl w/364 receptions last 3 years
2-2 TD down against chinco chinco and TO

moss had a big rant yesterday about...... MONEY after brady's contract .

p.s new star of pats........ Stephen gostkowski

The problem for Henne is the same criticisms that Matt Leinart was getting in Arizona. Too many checkdowns which means he isn't reading the defense and/or he's confused. It's still early in Henne's career and to his credit really hasn't played a lot in the NFL. But if the checkdowns continue towards the end of the season then the Dolphins will have acknowledge the problem.

Seriusly I loved the D team concept Every body involved going after the QB or the Ball carrier and not waiting for somebody else to make a play, The safeties were axellent obviously their will be tested next week a little bit more, Offesence just need to click, based on the Punts and the Long pass the way the balls were acting I guess the wind had a lot to do with the drop on the Go route..?? anybody at the game that can enlighten us about this ?. thanks

Hell no I'm not unhappy!!! How many years have gone by and we lost our 1st, 2nd and 3rd games. A win is a win, regardless of how it's won! This is now finally paying off, a work in progress still. But think about how potent our team will be mid season. WE finally have a young talented team, no "journey men" plugging the leaking holes. Put our defense up against any aging offense and see what happens. These guys are going to be explosive, maybe not next week or the week after that. But that day is coming. And look the **** out when our offense finally clicks, WOW! Bring on Farve, bring on Sanchez, bring on cry Brady... Who's number 1? They are the Miami Dolphins (sing along)

AND what about this guy DAVID garrad of the jaguars ,170 yards and 3 TD .HE makes around 3 million a year .

give henne a raise for god sake .

Aloco and David right onnnnnn

The 'morning after' doesn't feel too bad.Blah,blah,blah....our offense needs work.I saw the highly touted Vikes and Saints put up 9 and 14 points respectively.I saw the Cowboys muster up 7 points against the Redskins and the Boys are a potential SB team.It's only week one and we beat a division rival on the road.I'm very happy.
Now as far as the Vikings go,we are going to need a lot of pressure on Favre to disrupt him,but I'm guessing this game will be closer than a lot of you are going to guess.Favre doesn't have all of his weapons from last year and he does not have his timing down.The Vikes are certainly beatable.I'll let the Negative Nancys have the floor now.

THE DENVER coach will be fired soon ,tebow my a s s, next week denver meets pete carrol seahawks .

Minnesota looks very beatable for this week.....Let's get It!

The Dolphins don't get enough credit for this win. Lets not forget that Buffalo has a pretty good defense every year and as a team those Bills typically play there best football early. In last seasons opener the Patriots scored 12 points in the last 2 minutes of the game to escape the Bills 25-24.

Good Win but our intesity has to continue to rise!!!

we have minnesota next we need to be more aggressive on offense and our dee needs to put brett into retirement....finally!!

then we got the jets for the home opener again our level of intesity needs to be at its best!!!




what about 39.99 for each ticket time 6=234 dollars .

Good write-up Armando

1-0 people!

A win on the road against a divisional rival.
I´ll take it every time don't matter if is 2-0.
Now the real season starts, sparano better get the guys ready, tough 7 games schedule.
Believe people!!!

Tebow my a s s..........9 million
Henne..........give him a raise .you can't call him a hero then give him 600,000

Amateur article really. Had the end around worked or the wild cat worked better, it would have boosted the drive and given mojo. In sports you have to take chances and change things up. When they work they are golden, if they don't work, its senseless to blame the drive on one play, at least they keep the defense guessing. A dropped pass could just as easily kill a drive. You argument is basically lets just run the plays that work...but no such reality exists...the same plays that work one moment won't the next.

Ok, I will take a division win at the their home field anyday. Lets take week to week. The positive that i take out of this game was that they didnt turn the ball over and no one got hurt.

Vikings next week, we need to rush Favre all day dont let him beat for any big plays we will be close in that game. AP is scary. I am confident that we can make this a close game. Lets go Phins!

I cant wait for the Jets to lost tonight

Cinq, The reverse to Best..he is the Best save us yesterday as usual... but please no reverses to him, he does not have the speed to get the edge never will work regardless of how well we block it, maybe one of the new guys or Harline...No problem with the Cat got to keep working it in. just like the long passes, keep working them in, Very conservative game calling but it gave us the victory, Against the Vikes lets pound the ball with Ronnie and Rikky, and not let Father Time beat us deep....

I for one am not worried about Minnesota this week. Yeah, I know they had a great record last year but that was last year. Favre looks rusty, he has no chemistry to date with his receivers and he looks old and slow. They key will be to minimize AP. The Dolphins did a great job with Spiller on Sunday now it's time to shutdown AP. Very encouraging performance by the D and I think the team will gain confidence after their good work Sunday.

Don't let Camarillo beat us next Sunday!!!

henning play calling SUCKED. I wish they'd fired that ole bag last year. We have to deal with this guy for a whole year??

I get the feeling we will harass the heck out of Favre, he already has happy feet with memories of last years NFC title game. AP will make some plays no doubt, but overall we will contain him especially if we get our starting LB's back.

Got rid of Pasquiloni who sucked.....now Henning must go......no quick passes....game flow interruption with wildcat....Henne has no chance to get into a flow...I love Ricky, but let Ronnie carry the load as he is the better back.......and while you're at it.......dropped that hartline loser.....can't catch a cold......

Agree with you Craig, Grampa is still rusty but had a few days to prepare, Now stop AD and Run the ball down the dam middle. Henne is not going to have a lot of time to execute the passing plays since Subway Jarred look like is in mid season form, so we need to stay away from him and just like Wake he king of sucks against the run....Run Rikky Run...at some point yesterday the backs were getting about 4 yards a pop, and we decided to friking pass, and for the love of good Coach let the clock expire at the end of the half so you don't give the other team another chance to put points on the board..

Good point on the CLOCK Owl.

Thats something they need to address, answer, and fix.

WHY NOT US!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mando, basically, you're quibbling about details. In the end, in ALL aspects of the game, the Dolphins WON! I don't care how "close" you might think it was, it was a convincing win on the road against a division foe. NUFF SAID! Plus, it's the FIRST game of the year, and if you look around the league, EVERYONE was ugly. Your missed opportunities and point about the offense is good, the Henning play-calling remains dangerously cute, but again, that can be cleaned up. All I care about is Miami WINS the close games it's in (whether it be against the Pats or the Browns). Congrats to the team for pulling it out, that's the best I've seen them since mid-last season. I'm excited for a real test in Minnesota (in a game I definitely think we can win).

To all the haters that I'm sure will chime in, suck an egg. WE WON! Nothing else matters.

Not to mention that Min has a WR on their team that spent all of training camp with us.


The flip side of that is that he spen almosy ZERO time with his current team.

Is the glass half empty or half full. You have a choice at how you look at it.

WHY NOT US!!!!!!


That same reciever played for the Chargers his whole Carreer...did we beat the chargers last year? Did we?

Also, Would anybody really give a damn about Carimello if he didn't catch the TOUCHDOWN in the pitiful win in the 1-15 season

C'mon Man.


Hartline stunk up the joint yesterday...He needs to step up or they need to fire up either Moore or Wallace pronto!

I wasn't around to post yesterday because I was in Buffalo, and man what a good time. My throat is torn to shreds. I had great seats, 12 rows up right behind the Dolphin sideline. Anyway, here's my take on the game.

The score was deceiving. The Dolphins were clearly teh better team and if Benny Sapp and Jason Allen and Brandon Marshall all squeeze the balls they got their hands on - they win the game in a blowout.

To me, this lienbacking crew will be miles ahead of last years - they got crazy pressure all day. Dansby is a freak. Athletic enough to be a force in teh pass rush and even lined up in the slot a few times against CJ Spiller and seemed to intimidate the guy. CJ got the better of Dansby just once on what you woudl think would be a horrible mismatch.

The D line was dominant allowing no room for Buffalo's formidable RB trio.

The secondary was especially excellent. Chris Clemons made a couple of excellent open field tackles and Yeremiah Bell was laying wood all day. Jason Allen was excellent I thought on Buffalo's biggest game changer. he even broke up one pass on the sidelines right in front of me that was a thing of beauty. His almost pick six was right in front of me too. One play he also made that I don't know was discussed at all is that Evans tried to run a double move on Allen on a one on one coverage and Allen turned his hips beautifully that made Edwards pull down the ball. Sweet. Vontae had his man in his hip pocket all day.

The offensive line was dominant all day and it was almost funny watching Jake Long just swallow attempted pass rushes to his side. henne had what seemed like an eternity back there. Running backs were excellent and would have broke some long ones but Buffalo made some ankle tackles.

As far as the receivers go, Marshall just blocks out the sun when he turns to the quarterback to receive a pass. he's just such a huge target. Bess is bess, always reliable. Hartline concerns me. I thought he was pretty ineffective and has to wake up soon to keep the job.

I thought Henne turned into captain checkdown during the game but my Bills' friend who came to the game just thought it was Miami playing a road game and forcing Buffalo to take the game away. Could be part of it.

As far as the one secondary breakdown, I could see that one coming. Several times during the game, Miami failed to line up a CB on a receiver several times allowing him to run free. That time, Buffalo took advantage.

Sorry about the long post.

Ok here is my take.

to all those whos say it was just the Bills. you will not find a Dolphins player that thinks it was "just" the bills. a divisional win is huge esp. on the road and I believe i am correct when i say that the Bills had the number TWO pass defense last year and were second in the league in INT.

so factoring in all that and the wind. henne did not really have a bad game. he does need work in obvious areas but you can see he has made a lot of improvement.

our D played lights out and really only had that one big mistake by letting the rec get behind them for the TD besides the two dropped pick sixes.

i love the attitude we played with kinda like a hungry wolf :).

we put up about 130 yds rushng combined which was nice and ricky and ronnie both looked great.

on the down side i felt AGAIN the play calling was suspect at tmes. i understand mixing thngs up but it just seems that they have bad timing in being used.

The vikes are totally vunerable and i believe we can beat them if we bring the same hunger we showed yesterday.

finfaned, you are right. i was at the game and for the most part, Buffalo had excellent coverage on the receivers and Henne had nowhere to go.

Just a silly question....

Are we the first team in NFL history to trade a mediocre player to a team in another conference?

Just wondering.

WHY NOT US!!!!!!!!

let's dream together;

A/we win in MIN.....old man farve his age catches up w/him ,dansby retires him as jax dolphin stated last night .
B/JETS LOSE tonight....... revis suck tonight .....sanchez interceptions .
c/bills lose next week
d/pats lose next week ........moss is not happy,needs new contract .


I think Henne needs to be given a little slack for this one. Buffalo legitimately has one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. Teams didn't throw at them that much last year, true, but then even with those fewer numbers the Bills still had a huge number of INTs in 2009. You don't get those by being mediocre. I think, except for one or two passes, Henne did fine, and that he'll get better as he gets more experience. Heck, Sanchez has started more games in the NFL than Henne has at this point.

I agree, all the factors like you said, bills pass D, wind, first real game with BM....
A whole lot of good came out of this win guys...the Min game will be a great test too...
Get behind our boys..Go Fins!!!!

I was very disapointed in Henne during the game, disapointed in his awareness and game management. But looking back at it, the play calling was bad, just like last year when we allowed teams like the Saints and the Colts to come back.

First, Playcalling needs to improve BIG time.
2nd, Henne needs to execute with what's called, regardless.
He didn't turn the ball over, but he missed several of big play opportinities that would have made yesterday's outcome more reasonable for a playoff bound team.
We're not there yet offensively and that needs to pick up, quickly.

VERY PLeased with our Defense, though it was the Bills... I love the Nolan scheme. He constantly puts every Defensive player in best position available. Something the Henning hasn't done on the offense side of the ball.
If we can get on the same page offensively, we're a dangerous team!


The Vike's O-line is very shaky. Speaking of shaky, Favre feet should be shaky in his cleats. He could have a hard day. And if AP can't find any lanes, he might have a hard day too.

Defense was AWESOME!! best tackling I've seen from us since back when Zach was playing.

Still worried about that 4th and 11 4qtr TD we gave up. felt like last season all over again.

But we're 1-0!! Blitz the HELL out of Favre. That's how the Saints dealt with him. right up the middle.


Players who stood out:

Bell - becoming the beast of the east at the Safety spot!
Clemons - Significant improvement from rookie year and an instant up-grade from Wilson!
Dansby - We got the right guy, fits perfectly in the Nolan scheme!
Wake - He'll be a sack master this year! Can't wait!
Misi and Odrick - Both were solid and showed thier worth.
Ronnie - Had a better game than Ricky and continues to show the doubter how wrong anf dumb they are.....
Marshall - The Beast is the, Truth. Lets get Henne on the same page.
Bess - top 5 slot receiver. Consistant.

Defense was awesome!

Special teams are freaking me out- Missed field goal, short punts. Will they ever block a kick or create field position on returns?

Coaching- What happened to ride the horse or whatever Henning's saying is? Ronnie Brown looked like he was being fired out of a cannon and refusing to be brought down. Where is the play action? Reverses don't work in the Pros.

Offense- few penalties (great). Center QB exchange (not so great). Looks like they got into Henne's head about turnovers. Playing mechanical and checking down. He looked great last season on most no huddle 2 minute drills. Let the kid throw once in a while? Hartline shot his wad, Sophomore jinx. too many drops.

Henne played a little more than OK (whatever that means). He didn't do anything to hurt the team, he didn't do much to try and ice the game either. Personally I am more than satisfied with his performance, it's the imcompetent Henning that I'm furious about. WTF do they insist on using the F#$king WILDCAT when we were averaging 5 yards a carry out of the base formations??? The worst of all was when they ran it back-to-back times for like 2 yards, then they expect Henne to throw for a first down against a defense that's expecting a PASS!!! Holy crap this pisses me off! Can anyone else agree with me, or am I a loner on this one???


What does it take for henning to put Henne in shotgun??? 3rd and ten with empty backfield and henne has to be under center???
Take a look at the great passing teams. Is brady or Manning or breez ever under center in those situations? Henning play calling is terrible. But I think its also Sparano. He's way to conservative.
I bet us backing off defensivley and letting them get that touchdown was sparano. He's pull the same s%%t last year. Now I know its him not the DC. He's too conservative.

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