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Dolphins offensive plays calls were curious -- again

Enough of the fumble controversy (for now) because the call will not be overturned or somehow repaired. The Miami Dolphins' 23-22 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers cannot be erased so no need to continue reliving it.

But what seemingly we continually relive with these Dolphins is the curious if not outright inexplicable play-calling on offense that leaves fans in a frenzy and state of frustration.

Sorry, Dr. Dan Henning, oh sherpa of all things NFL offense. But count me among the folks left scratching their heads following Sunday's game.

I don't understand the strategy on the first two possessions, both inside the Pittsburgh 22-yard line. I didn't understand the strategy of starting a potential game-winning drive in the final two minutes of the game with a running play -- against the NFL's No. 1 rush defense.

Let's take the first two series first. The Dolphins kicked off and got a gift possession when the Steelers fumbled the kickoff and Reshad Jones recovered, giving Miami a first down on the Pittsburgh 22 yard line. Most offensive coordinators today view this as an opportunity to go for the opponent's throat. The Steelers were on the field in an emergency situation and so what do the Dolphins do?

They run an off-tackle play to the right side with Ronnie Brown carrying the ball. It gained 2 yards. Two yards! The Dolphins have the Steelers in a tough spot, in a momentum-capturing moment and they run a routine off-tackle play against the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL.

The next two plays were Chad Henne incompletions. I get the concept of throwing then. No problem. But here's my deal: Neither play went into the end zone. And neither play targetted Brandon Marshall.

The Dolphins, in their wisdom, didn't deem a call for their best receiver as a good option. And the team that has been kicking too many field goals and not scoring enough TDs didn't attack the end zone.

The team still got a field goal and a 3-0 and then got another gift the very next series when Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger fumbled and Koa Misi recovered for Miami at the 13 yard line.

Time to go into the end zone, right? Time to get the ball to Marshall, right?


Henning called a Ricky Williams run to the left. It gained zero.

Then Henning called a Ricky Williams run to the right. It gained 8 yards.

Then on third-and-2 from the 5 yard line, Henning called on Williams again, once again testing the right side of the Pittsburgh defense. No gain. Field goal.

Not good enough, Salguero says.

Then there was the aborted attempt to win the game with the two-minute drive at the end. Let me just say that the execution, which is Henning's pet peeve, was bad. Anthony Fasano dropped a pass on second down. Henne threw to the wrong receiver (Lousaka Polite) on third down and that gained only 2 yards. And the fourth down play was a total breakdown of the protection and the communication between the QB and his receivers.

But ...

Why did that drive open with a running play? The Dolphins had taken a timeout, their final timeout, with 2:30 to play before Pittsburgh kicked the game-winning field goal. The idea at the time was to keep the Steelers from letting the clock run down to two minutes.

But then Miami made that timeout of no effect by opening their drive with a run. Either you need the time and you take the time out and then throw the ball. Or you don't need to save time and you don't need the to take the time out. You cannot have it both ways.

But with 2:19 to play, facing the best run defense in the NFL, using a running back that had gained 12 yards on 10 carries, the Dolphins handed the ball off to Brown. The play gained 2 yards.

I'm not playing the results here. I'm saying the Dolphins needed to throw in the end zone to their best receiver when they're inside the other team's 25 yard line after a turnover every single time they find themselves in that situation. I simply believe it's a good idea to get the ball in your best offensive weapon's hands as a philosophy.

And as for the final drive, if you're going to run the ball on first down, don't waste a time out before that. And if you are going to call the time out, which was the right call, then follow that up with another good call and pass the ball to open your two-minute drive.  

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thats exactly what i said after i watched him throw the fist pump after our last FG, WTF gets that excited after taking the lead by 2 pts with plenty of time to spare when we absolutely didnt even attempt a shot downfield ???? This debacle of offensive stinkiness is being endorsed by sparano and that is what makes me think this guy cant cut it as head coach, hes a step above cam-moron but who isnt???!!!


You arent the only one. I said the exact same thing to posters. No way does a team 1-15 a year prior can afford to draft like 25th I think it was. We didnt have near enough talent and benifited from an Extremely soft schedule. Not to mention the Jets were pretty soft and Tom Brady for out for the year.

Our 2008 fortunes were our greatest misfortunes. Then everyone were shocked we finished 7-9 last year. 2008 just shows even when things go all right for us they are all wrong. 2008 was truly fools gold.


2011 offseason either we need to use a #1 pick on a speed demon wr or we need to sign VJAX. No if ands or buts about it. We have no wr who put the fear of God into nfl DC's.We need a wr that demands a cushion.

At present none of our wr's fit that description. That why Henne always has to check down. Especially when its only Marshall and Hartline in the game.

All the defense has to do then is double Marshall because Hartline has to work to hard to get separation. Henne's only option is to look for the check down or throw it away.

Hey...Chad Hen...I know you know these guys, and I mean Management, are the kinds of guys you don't even think of making suggestions to...but you can control who you want to be...there are three different kinds of QBs...and a QB can be successful/hall of famer/near hof with each type...
1. The 'Classic QB'...my favorite...cerebral/highly gifted right arm/passer/master strategist albeit not very mobile QB...
Peyton, Marino, Aikman, Unitas, Rivers and a few others. They have such an absolute MASTERY of the game that pre-snap they know where they're going with the ball...they know where every single defender will be 5 seconds from now, 10 seconds from now...they know defender's speeds to ball, tendencies, weaknesses, they call the plays they want, Coach only suggests. Pre-requisites are the right kind of mind, chess player visualization, an unbelievable diligence studying film at all hours day and night, incredible plain old brains to absorb it all, the right kind of stones to hang in, a once in a generation right arm, pin-point accuracy at all ranges, fearlessness in the pocket, some minor shiftiness (the classic DCMJr 'duck sidestep'), and a water off duck's back resiliency because you will occasionally be tricked into the int by truly superior athletes...your counterpart on defense. You can be this guy. I don't know how smart you are though, and your accuracy is suspect, but you have the arm strength to throw all balls. You'll need the keys to the film room and a really really good 'Gruden-like' QB mind...Chad Pen he's already there...(somebody actually suggested Chad Pen as QB/Off coord...and he was ridiculed here...I'd totally agree with that especially QB Coach for now...I mean, you're paying him anyway, aren't you?) DCMJr? Strock in his prime? Vinny T? What about Bernie K? just to stay in Miami.
2. The 'Improvisational QB'...Roethisberger (he really is the best most representative in all ways of his 'kind' I've seen), Elway, Favre, Brady, Tarkenton, Flutie. This QB would much rather play backyard ball than anything else...they just want to pitch/catch with somebody...anybody. You can actually put just about anybody at the receiving end...the only requisites are a desire to succeed, hunger, perseverance, never giving up on a play because they know the ball is coming, and sure hands never drop a ball. I've just described every NE receiver they've ever drafted. OK, they'll sit in the pocket if they absolutely have to, and if the O-line is up to snuff, but where they're really dangerous is on 'broken plays' where the defense 'almost' gets to them but it hardly ever does..always a nano-second late. They are the hardest to play against because it requires enormous discipline to stay with your man basically forever...one mistake and it's gone...and I mean seven or a long completion...they also draw an enormous number of penalties, late hits, interference, etc. Doesn't require as much intelligence or film study, kind of easier to be than 'classic'. Real highlighht reel stuff and you will inevitably not lead in completion percentage but will lead in highligts. Requires an interesting combination of arm strength and short distance foot speed as well as a desire for bodily harm and tenacious durability required or you won't be on the field or in the NFL very long.
3. The 'running QB'. Vick, Cunningham, McNabb, Peete, Slash, I was actually trying to think of some 'white guys' so I'm not labeled racist or something...these days. They really pride themselves as a dual threat and are equally effective running as much as passing. Rarely have long careers because they take a pounding and some good hits sooner or later. That's not you Chad...you're a big, slow, sturdy guy from Michigan. So forget this category.
So, which is it? I think you should go for number two...you can learn shiftiness...you can with good coaching, and you will need to keep a really open line of communication with your receivers, and trust, yes, the 'T' word, but it's a lot easier than No. 1.
But, hey, I'm just guessing here.

Do you think Dallas and Minn are going to really persue Pennington now?? I do...romo out 6-8 weeks at best...farve has two fractures in hi ankle/foot.....
And we need a speedy play maker and/or draft picks for next year....now i know penne is old and the suspect shoulder and all but...those teams are desperate, big time! should we make a move or not??

Dying...I'm going to bed now...I'm tired...(love those lines from Forrest)...but wanted to answer your very good question first...

I think Chad Pen has something wrong with him that no team will really give you anything for him. Why would the fish keep him if he had value...with all our obvious needs on special teams, Nose, safety for a while, etc. I mean Thigpen is a reasonable QB if ever given the chance...the kid shows stones and an arm...he just needs reps with the first team. I think even WCoast teams won't want Pen, just no arm left. I saw him pre-season/camp and maybe he's better now, but the ball is really not moving...so I don't think he's going anywhere. Too bad because if the NYJ had kept him instead of being douchebags, they might have gone all the way last year...lol. He was perfect for Marky Mark, etc. Douchebags.
Anyway, just my view, but who knows...I mean we can't see the guy...so nobody probably knows, except the Bi-fecta.

DAN henning died in 1991 this one who's are OC..is a Zombie..A WALKING CORSPE..The dolphins never throw deep cause they never practice deep balls..We have been to training camp never see them throw deep..Patrick Cobbs needs to play more Ronnie Brown has lost a step he couln't Afford to lose ..Dolphins4life!


even parcells has realized this is the most self destructive team in the nfl. he cant help those who dont wanna help theirselves. cant blame him for not sitting in the booth during the games. why put yourself thru that? dolphins are cursed, but i will root for every sunday and watch the train wreck continue like i have in my 38 years. when will it end?

Mando, You are going tho have to have to be the voice of the fans in order to get Henning removed. THe only thing that surprises me about the first play on the final drive is that he didnt run the wild cat.
This guy has no intuition or feel for the game, agreed that at one point he was an offensive talent with play calling but there is no doubt that better play calling could have won us 2 of the 3 games we lost. For the sake of the players who play their tails off and Sporano's health, in order for us to make it to the net level we will need to find a new offensive coordinator.

Play calling has been horrible. Where are the deep balls that were supposed to come with the signing of Marshall? Where is Fasano in the passing game? Ricky runs better, play him more.

Fins rank tied for 29th in the NFL in scoring offense, averaging less than 19 ppg. Time for a change.

DOLFANMIKE, you hit the nail on the head, we ARE a "Fearful Francise" on offense.

please fire henning.....and i have supported, the players seems to like him but they are losing games buy being conservative and letting hennning call terrible games. fire henning

again and again
CUT Henne
Cut Henning

Open your eyes ppl! All this renewed confidence in this football team after last week but we are not ready to be very good football teams. Our running game is trash because both of our back are slow footed and can't elude a tackler on the 2nd or 3rd level. Our wr's outside of Marshall are average. Bess can get open underneath but that's it. Marshall can't get behind any one and neither can Hartline who is not explosive or elusive. Half our our wr's trip over themselves just trying to run in the open field. If you want to see wr's....look at the Giants last night...Nicks...Smith...MAnningham..Brayden.
ridiculous..speed...size...able to make explosive plays with the football in hand. We will be 8-8 to finish this season. Hell Lee evans and S. Johnson look better than our wr's do as Bills.

Anyone remember us taking a knee with 45 seconds and 3 timeouts a few weeks ago?


Anyone remember the college game where our coaches lost to DETROIT'S coaches?

Our coaches are jokes!

And in that college game it was the same inept play calling and poor clock management.

I think coaches should have to take the Wonderlic Test. I don't think Tony is that bright upstairs. And Henning has Alzheimer's probably. How else can he explain trying to run the ball that last series against the WORLDS BEST RUN STOP TEAM?

He has to have Alzheimer's.

We have the personal to be much better. Unfortunately, we have Father Time as our offensive coordinator. Some of his plays have shown up in cave drawings. FIRE HENNING NOW!!!
I live in Chicago and the Bears have Mike Martz, at least he is willing to throw the ball. How many DEEP passes did Miami throw??? Pittsburgh did and scored on one. We will SUCK until we get a YOUNGER offensive coordinator.

As always...RUN RICKY RUN

OK.....Henning cut the Wildcat...Thank goodness! Now he needs to stop acting his age and open up the game plan in the red zone.....he's way to conservative.

Hey, what's up fellas? We all can agree that Miami is not ready to take it the next level. They are stuck in mediocrity. Henning will get one line from me and he needs to go. I actually still like Sparano. He gets the most out of the talent he has been given which again is mediocre at best. Sparano had Miami going head to head with a chance to beat the 2 best teams in football against the Jets and Steelers. Talent wins games. Turning point vs Jets was a talented player (even if it only shows up half the season), Braylon Edwards makes a catch and Jason Allen (not a stud breaks down fundamentally and misses the tackle) not a stud or the most talented gets beat. The Jets run it down out throats because of their talent on both the O-Line and at RB. Miami's lunch pale approach is not going to get them to the next level. Ronnie is a huge disappointment. He was the 2nd overall and has his moments but not enough of them. The Jets have 2 RB better then him. I'd take a steady dose of Ricky over Ronnie any day. This team is still in rebuilding mode. They have some pieces but need a lot more in this order.

Offensive Cordinator - I don't think they need to look far. David Lee is the QB coach and he was the inovator of the Wild Cat that he brought in from the University of Arkansas.

Running Back - Miami doesn't have a starting RB. Both Ricky and Ronnie are change of pace backs. Ronnie gets hurt when he touches it too much and Ricky is too old.

Wide Receiver - Miami has a stud in Marshall. He isn't blazing fast but fast enough. He don't get deep balls because the play calling and Henne can't has missed him twice this year for sure TDs. Miami needs a guy that can blow the top off a defense with speed. They don't need to draft one early but a Johnny Knox, Mike Wallace type who can be found later in the draft.

Corner Back - Vontae is awesome. He has gotten beat but he is stil learning and very young. He is a future pro bowl player. The other side is too inconsitant. Jason Allen is better off at knickel. Benny Sapp was a waste to trade a good possesion guy like Camarillo and Sean Smith should be cut.

Free Safety - Chris Clemons stinks. He is getting exposed more and more as the season goes on. Great tackle attempt he made on Hines Ward's TD, NOT!

Nose Tackle - Paul Solia is decent but not an every down player. I knew the Randy Starks moves wasn't going to work. He is a very good 3-4 DE not a DT.

Offensive Line - They are good but not great and something seems to be missing. Jake Long is locked in and is great. Carey is fat and slow. He should be playing guard not Tackle.

Just my wanna be GM thoughts and me venting fellas.

.Nice postings..But bottom line, Our voices will NOT be heard..Even when one does bring up a questionable call or decision, the normal response from coach is a statistical response (bet he;s great at doing tax's) Or they let this old Fart Henning intimated them..Why give out the ref's personal Info..when all these responses should be sent directly to DAN HENNING!Or even Mr Ross. Henning Wont get fired..He wont quit either..

This coaching staff will continue to hand cuff this young team for the rest of the year ( By the way, I see us at 6-10) I swear, If I see one more fist punch for a 80yd drive im gonna burst!

Is this admiration for 3 points a sign to the team that 3 points on all drives is ok? wheres the culture change this FO talks about?about?..

I watched the game in Tampa with some Pitt fans..They actually called every play we ran before we even ran them ,on BOTH turn overs!

So my question to all Dolfans..Reporters, and the Front office: When will our voices be heard and addressed? Is this not OUR team?..

I actually gave away my tickets to the next home game...I cant stand the pain anymore..Why should I support a team that doesn't care about its Fans?

In closing..If I knew how to form a "FIRE DAN HENNING FAN CLUB" i would do so in a heartbeat..and if anyone does..please let us know! Just saying..

We own a Porche (Marshall), but Henning thinks we should still use the clunker!!!!! Why did we get him? For the trophy case?? He's our Randy Moss, throw him the dang ball!!! If anyone needs to go on this team, it's Henning... his plays are old, his philosophy is old and he's too old to know how to develop offensive plays for today's NFL player and the way the game is played today...Time for him to be replaced...you know darn well, Jerry Jones will likely be giving both Philips and Garrett the hook after the season.

It seemed to me from reading the press in the lead up to the game that the coaching staff were preparing for a close game, where to win we would have to grind it out. Fair enough. However, they received the unexpected chance to blow the game wide open early but stuck to the original game plan to grind it out. To me, the great coaches are the ones that can prepare one way all week but then adjust to the unexpected situations that come up in games and take advantage. Sparano is still green, whether this comes with experience who knows? Henning on the other hand, is hard to make excuses for.

get ready for a 6-10 season!

you are correct in what you say, but it STILL doesn't change the fact that WE WUZ ROBBED!!!!

I posted yesterday regarding Sparano quoted as saying "field goals are great..."
Yes he went on to mention that TD's are the REAL goal, per se. However, I challenge anyone to say that Rex Ryan would ever say that...at least publicly. What a backhanded slap jn the face to your own team.

Tony acts like a coordinator. Too bad he can't coach ST's.
But as you intimate, our guys deserved better than the crap they got from in the booth.

Henning is dead from the neck up, and thinks slowly on his......backside.


Tony Sparano is a man out of his depth in this league. He is going to be fired because of BP's buddy Henning. If the Fins go 8-8 this year, I don't think that deserves an encore. 3 years has gotten us a better roster, but not better results. I wonder about the utter misuse of the personnel on this team. The poor drafting, game planning, time mismanagement, etc, etc...We have all seen it and are befuddled as to why it continues. I have had enough. I love this team and that is why I want change. I however do not want Carl Peterson in charge. We will see what happens.

bottem line..... ross is impressed with kc. goodbye dan hanne. coach sparano... go ahead and pack your bags also. coach gruden. please sign here. this is a good team with some very bad coaching. very, very frustrating....

canton, ohio

Dan Henning should have left with Parcells.

Like everything else in America today, it's corrupt! The devil is in the details as we'll all soon find out, of that I'm sure! Watch!

the play selection & execution in the red zone were horrific.Our team HAS to wake up offensively & score points to distance themselves especially when matched up with a 'contender'.If the play calling continues like this then 'fire' the offensive coordinator.Henne seems lost at times when his primary reciever is covered.If he can't connect then trade him .The are good college QB's coming out & we need someone who can read defenses well & make plays.The era of running the ball to set up the pass IS OVER. Team Offenses are geared up for the spread attack.Emphasis is on ATTACK. Also consider Ronnie Brown will be a free agent next year & Ricky is planning to retire.WE must make 'good' moves now to reorganize




I still don't see comments about the Dolphins kicking a useless extra point on their last touchdown. If they had gone for two and made it, the game is tied and would have been decided in overtime. If they had gone for two and missed, we would have lost by two points instead of one. Do fans really feel better because we lost by one point? I think they would have rather had a chance to win. Please Dolphins hire some one that can do first grade math and assign him to the job of watching the score. Most teams have a sheet that tells them when to go for two. While some times I feel the coaches are full of sheet, they don't seem to have that one.

Why Rip Armondo- I don't want to read a review of the game- I do want to hear his insight- because what he stated here is what we all are thinking. If your not thinking what Armando just wrote- you know nothing about football and that is why your dissing Armando. Perfectly stated. If I were the head coach- I would have fired Henning immediately following the game. Since Spurano didn't- it makes me feel like he agrees with Henning and he too is incompetent in running a team.

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