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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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Like I said throughout the game...

Not getting Marshall or Bess involved in the game is crimminal! FIRE HENNING NOW!

DB, come on, he is generally thought of as a good football guy and great offensive mind. Vince Lombardi himself couldnt turn the Lions around.

What's the rule on a quarterback fumbling into the defenses endzone?

Can a quarterback even recover the fumble?

Wouldn't that be a touchback?

Does anyone know the rule?

The Dolphins are in the bottom 5 of the league in points scored.

To give that sentence better perspective, the Lions (THE LIONS!), the Niners and the Bills have ALL scored more points than Miami and they're a combined 2-17.

If the Cowboys score more than nine points tonight they'll pass Miami in points scored this season. But if they lose you can add them to the other three listed above and then it'll be four teams with a 3-23 record who have all outscored the Dolphins.

Lack of points and lack of wins is NOT a coincidence.

Gruden would not bench Henne
That is your idea

No one will
Henne is our Franchise QB

Gruden would get rid of injury prone, dancing bear ronnie

phins2112 - the Browns beat the Saints at home. So what where you saying about top teams of the NFL?

Gruden would come in with the west coast offense. That means totally revamping the offense. Brandon Marshall isnt a west offense type wr. That means"chucking" him too.

Offensively we need to be scrapped from nearly ground zero. Our SB prospects cry becomes an ominous political chant. "4 More Years!"

I know more about how Miami's offense works by playing Madden than Dan Henning knows by coordinating them! It's the same thing over and over - 1st down, run up the middle; 2nd down, bubble screen; 3rd down, incomplete pass; 4th down punt. Even Madden's AI crew got it right!

This coaching staff is too conservative for the current NFL. They are choking this team, to "keep games close" I'd rather they try to throw 2 passes in the end zone on those first two possessions, and throw interceptions than to settle for field goals. At least your playing to win. The game has passed Dan Henning. He's living in the run first, play action pass of the 70's. What really sucks is that bringing in a new coordinator means a step back as they need to learn a new system. Perhaps David Lee could take over the play calling?

Henning's game plan is based on Soprano's vision. Conservative, cautious, no killer instict. They both need to go. The perplexing plays to me were:

On the drive Miami took 22-20 lead, they called such a safe call with a 2 yard dump to Bess on 3rd & 6 seemingly content to kick a fg, leave 4 minutes on the clock & hope the defense holds. PATHETIC!

On the drive prior, 3rd & less than 1 and they call a pitch or sweep to the outside that lost a half yard. Why run outside and give the D a chance to read the play and stop it. Quick snap and run UP THE GUT!

On the 2 turnover, they ran Ricky 3 straight times. Really? After 2 gained 0 yards? You don't trust Henne at all? All they did was make sure they got 3 pts. You have a Superbowl Caliber team on the ropes. ATTACK THEM! Don't run into them!

These 3 series of calls cost the game. After yesterday, I don't see how all Miami fans don't see what the weakness of this team is. It's in it's Offensive coordinator & Head coach.

I'd rather see the players lose based on their talents and poor play, not the tough situations they are put in where they're forced to hang on for dear life at the end of games. Costly play calls haunted us in all losses.

This isn't 2007 when they won those games against inferior teams. These coaches live on accomplishments of the past instead of evolving with the NFL & the teams on their schedule. The defense played poorly, in big spots & in long 3rd down situations. But imagine if they had a SUBSTANTIAL lead they could play with. We are always on the defensive end of Defense at the end of games. I wish we could attack with a bigger lead and not sit back & hope the other guys don't score knowing that might end the game.

When you get a chance to bury an elite team, you DO IT. You don't play it safe & hope you can hold on. Those 2 drives to start were the PERFECT time to attack. This is NOT a championship mentality!

You're right about those bad play calling series, Mando, but you left one out.

On the Dolphins go-ahead drive, they had a big pass play to Hartline. They had a nice gain on a pass play to Fasano. Then, as soon as they got in field goal range, Henning went run-run-pass-kick. They were having great success passing the football on that drive! They were having NO success running the ball at any time during the game. To run the ball on 1st and 2nd down in that situation was pathetic.

I understand that you occasionally have to run the ball to neutralize a team with a good pass rush, but when the game's on the line, you have to do what gives you the best chance to succeed.....and that sure wasn't running the football.

There are other ways to neutralize a rush....screens, quick slants, etc.

The other mother of all ridiculous play calls from Henning was that 3rd and inches at the 50 yard line late in the game. Instead of giving it to Polite up the middle (or even Ronnie up the middle), he calls a slow developing run play where Jake Long has to pull all the way to the other side of the line. Are you freakin kidding me? You need 6 inches and you're calling a calling a slow developing run play with lots of moving parts and lots of potential for things to go wrong? Ughh....

Just like an old player, Henning's best days are behind him.

henne sux

Ronnie Brown 11-29 YDs against GB

and 9 attempts for 11 YDs against Pitt

Bench Ronnie!

Ricky and "The Hill"

time to give "The Hill" a shot

Ronnie has been told to stop dancing, time & time again
Ronnie doesn`t listen
Still dancing, and dancing against the Steelers no yet

These dolphins are one good corner, one good safety, one good tight end and one good offensive coordinator from being a great team!!

Playoff hunt this year!

Super Bowl next year!

Home 4 Champ Bailey,

Henne's definitely not a west coast offense qb. They must be able to move agily in the pocket and throw accurately on the run Henne is neither.

Thigpen can move just like a west coast offense qb but his accuracy is highly questionable. This is my exact fear why I think Gruden with his overbloated ego would try and force feed us Thigpen.

Gruden is the socalled qb guru. Thigpen does move like a west coast offense qb but that's about it. Gruden would definitely scrap Henne.

West Coast or not Gruden and Mariucci do coach football. And they could work with what the have. Still would be better than Henning

I agree Armando, especially with the first 2 possessions. When you get turnovers like that, you're playing with the House's money, you gotta gamble. Look what they did after Hartline's fumble. I believe that's the possession they took the shot downfield with Wallace and got a quick TD. We don't play to win, we play to keep it close. The call, I won't even get into the call, its just absurd. But with 2:30 left in the game, we just needed a FG and we should have been able to. Henne had us driving the possession before, and as soon as we get into FG range they put on the brakes. On the flip side, Pats vs. Chargers, Pats are up 3 with less than 2 mins to play and they go for it on 4th and 1 from midfield. They didn't get the first down, but I'd love to have a coach that has a "pair" and play to win the friggin' game. Another example from last night, the Vikes had 2 timeouts and less than a minute before halftime, and they let the clock run out. Moss was looking at the coaches' like are you kidding me, are you gonna give up on a possession?? That's cuz he was in New England and he saw first hand you don't squander opportunities like that. I hate the Pats but damn I wish we played like we wanted to win, and stop this damn Wannyball bs.

When we start playing to win, maybe we'll win.

"Anyone in here today that actually lives in Miami and did not go to the game can go f**k yourself. You let another teams fans take over your own stadium and that is unforgivable."


P.S. You could have used the word fucks, it would not have been censored.

Champ Bailey & Vontae Davis

best Dolphin CB tandem ever

Think Clemons is getting better every game
however on TD against Jason Allen by rice rocket WR
Clemons abandoned J Allen

That was a huge mistake

What bout grooming Chad Pennington for OC
Pennington is done playing
Think he would be good OC

TE should have been addressed in the draft(ask N.E Pats)
how many of the 89 LBs we drafted are playing lol


***You got a shout out on Pro Football NBC!!!***

***A link yo your writ up on the Pitt Ref.***

Go Phins!

If anyone here is for Gruden as our HC you are also for Thyler Thigpen as our future at qb.

Sounds like a perrenial on the cusps of a wildcard playoffs appearance after spending at least 3year revising our offense to me. Our offense not currently structured for the west coast offense just like we were not currently structured for the 3-4 defense when Parcells arrived.

With each rebuilding we seem to take 2 steps backwards to move one step forwards.

Now the team is currently perfectly structured to bring in a Bill Cowher. All the way up from the building philosophy down to the team personel.

No way Gruden would scrap Henne

Do u believe your own BS, Dying Breed? lol

Thigpen is the most inconsistent turnover prone QB
Thigpen is not a starter

Henne could have had 350 YDs yesterday and 3 TDS with better OC

Right out of the gate Henne could have had this team 14-0 with better play caller

I think the problem is the offense. We need a more dynamic running back. I love ronnie but he is not an elite back.

Bill Cowher gives us the quickest route to a SB. Biggest question is he ready to leave rural NC for crime ridden Miami?


Miami is in the playoff hunt this year? They essentially have to win the rest of their games to have any chance of winning the division. Since that isn't happening, they can't even afford to lose more than 2 more games to have an outside chance at the #nd wildcard. They'll be on the road to NY, NE & Blatimore in cold weather including having to play the Titans. Miami went into this year a .500 team. Getting Dansby & Marshall didn't change that.

As someone said earlier, this team is an explosive RB, speedy TE with HANDS, a SS & CB away from being contenders.

Thigpen my @SS

Dying Breed now Home is gonna have a Sam Adams
got 8 leftover from yesterday

and no more Thigpen crap, Huh!

Look, i'm not a glass half full guy.

But get real. We've lost 3 games to 3 5-1 teams. Yes, we need to get over the hump.

However, against the Jets and Steelers the team had the ball with 2 minutes to go and could have tied or won it.

I'm depressed about losing a game they should have won. I'm depressed about the lack of balls on offense. I'm depressed we NEVER throw deep just to remind teams we will.

But, how many more 1 loss teams are on the schedule? NE and NYJ. That's it.

They need to keep beating the 2nd tier teams and the season will take care of itself. CIN, BAL, CHI, TEN.

I think it's time for the coaches to grasp the"feed the wolf" concept for themselves. Don't tell these players to feed the wolf if all you're going to do is go out there and coach to keep it close and Hope it falls our way at the end. I think that was cool in years 1 and 2. But this team is better than that now, we can and must be more agressive when approaching the redzone.

Hoem 4 Champ Bailey,

Then we can just agree to disagree. No way is Chad Henne a west coast offense qb. Gruden is a West coast offense junkie and guru. IMO, this leaves Henne on the outs looking in.

I have no problems with you disagreeing with me. Agree with me or not, my plate will be just as bountiful when I pull up to the dinner table and so will yours.

One more thing:

Why do they continue to pound Ronnie in games where Ricky is clearly more effective? In the NE game and this PIT game, Ricky was the one getting yards.

Who was in for the 2 minute drive? Ronnie.

I've heard the argument that Ronnie is a more effective receiver. I say B.S. How many times have we seen Ricky take a short pass 20-50 yards downfield?

Actually like Sparano
and the team

Ronnie is disappointing & Vernon Carey played like a fat slob letting Henne get killed a couple times watching 315 lb defensive lineman run by him

Cannot believe the bullshiet with the ref

Dolphin should have walked the !@#! off the field
Would have been priceless
!@#! paid off ref!


Tenn is not a 2nd tier team. Did you see what they did to Philly yesterday with KERRY COLLINS AS QB? Did you forget at Baltimore in 2 weeks? Miami is not making the playoffs. Hurts me to say it, but thats reality.

Pathetic game. It's almost like the team is built to compete against the best teams in the AFC in the area of their strengths, rather than going against their weaknesses. Stupid. I've been a Sparano supporter, but surely Bill Cowher would do better than this stinking pile, right?

TEN looks like they have 2 personalities.

BAL is a second tier team based on their record.

They may be first tier by the end of the season, but how does a first tier team let Buffalo score 30+?

Bring in Cowher....Dump the current(1960 style team) Management today, to out dated, and the OC passed away in 1964.......

This guy blows , get him ATTTAA HEEEERE.
Good post Mando

DyingBreed nobody was talking about Gruden for Head Coach. You made that up yourself. I said OC. Then I said what about Mariucci? All your trying to do is make this conversation difficult. Just wondering about opinions. Thats all.

Told U
Cowher already pulled all his hair out(u see him on NFL today)
looks like Larry Fine on the 3 stooges

Wy didn't they go for two and tie the game at half. You play to win the game right? If they had gone for and made it we would have gone to overtime.

Come to think of it now that Joe Shmoe mentions Kerry Collins. That's exactly what Chad Henne reminds me of, just a younger version.

What does Collins and Henne have in common? Dan Henning was both qb offensive coordinators early in thier careers.

Phinsfan78, ever heard of on any given Sunday? The phins beat the Packers and Vikings, both were considered to be nfl elite, in their own houses. Bottom line,,,,Dolphins fans from south Florida,,,easily top three worst fans in all of football. Holy crap the Jets fans in NY support their team harder than Dolphins fans in south Florida. Go look up how many superbowls, division championships, and afc title games they've been too compared to our fins. Then ask yourself why they don't use the same excuse ("we'll start going to the games when they start winning") the southern floridians use. South Florida fans are horrible, there's no way around it.


talking about Gruden accepting an OC position is making up stuff even more. Listen to yourself, do you really believe Gruden comes out of retirement to become an OC?

Who's really making stuff up? LOL!

Breed, What does Dan Henning and Johnny Unitas have in common????? That's right, he was the OC with the Colts in 1964.........





Go (memories and hopes of a once proud franchise) Phins!

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.

U guys see this
Armando is talking in the third person

Thought only two nut jobs did this:
Vontae Davis & Home

Wow! In Chad Henne we drafted the 2nd coming of Kerry Collins. Unbelievable!!!

Anyone who thinks Pennington is done is an idoit. If he hadn't been injured last year, he would probably still be the starter and our record would be much better. All your leaders right now are on defense, there are none on offense. Marshall is probably the closest to a leader and I guarantee you that Pennington would "Get him the damn ball". Who do you think threw all the balls to Moss in college and made him famous? Miami should use Pennington this year, because next year he will go somewhere that will let him compete as the starter and he will take another team to the playoffs while Miami wallows in mediocrity.



"Feed The Wolf" has been officially replaced by "Wiley Coyote."

Signed: Acme Incorporated.

"Feed The Wolf" has been officially replaced by "Wiley Coyote."

Signed: Acme Incorporated.


Dying, What does Dan Henning and Jesus Christ have in common???? He was Judas consultant...


if henning/sparano get fired they could join a dance team. they got the one,two,three, kick! part down.

No Vertical Game because this stupid OC, Why? Ask him

Dying Breed that is completely false and I'll tell you why. John Gruden loves Chad Henne. The guy gushes about him every time he covers the Dolphins. He sat down for an espn 1 on 1 with Chad and then came back to the studio and gushed on national tv about how smart and athletic Henne is and how he's going to have a really good career. Gruden would not only play Henne win or lose but would trust him to make the big throws that Henning doesn't have the ballz to trust him with. Dying this part isn't for you. ->Anyone bashing Henne is completely lost in the world of football. If you watch this kid play and still think we need another qb then you may even be half retarded. His qb rating for yesterday against the nfls best defense was 94. something. Henning is handcuffing our offense and as I said at the start of the season Henne will only go as far as Henning lets him. Wake up and smell the old guy in the house. It's Henning and he needs to go or our qb will never, never, never, grow into the solid top 5 qb that everyone says he can be. FIRE DAN HENNING AND FIRE HIM AS SOON AS THE SEASON IS OVER!!!! IT'S ENOUGH ALREADY!

If we had the right call made, everything would be differnet. BUT now that it isn't, it's time to bash everyone. Typical dol-fans!

How about some things worth noting:

Henne played great. Ricky is playing great. The defense played well. Our offensive line is playing awesome.

You people whine and whine every week and have nothing good to say, EVER! So..WHEN the dolphins finish out this season with only two more losses, and make the play offs, don't jump on the bandwagon because you all suck!


DOLPHINS FANS------------------ IMPORTANT.....

Mado.... please read............

Thanks to an article in the Miami Herald, I called the company that the ref. owns (Seratore Sanitary Supplies) and guess who answred.... Gene himself... Yup... the ref.... I gave him an ear full... here is the number... call him and tell him how you feel about his call Phins fans... ask him for a public apology if he is a man...


Let's make his week miserable like he did to us.
Go Phins :)

I see a lot of folks here have D.A, It's ok friends, I hear there's a group we could all join.....

Hate to burst your bubble
But Pennington is all done,Pal

He is strictly emergency QB

Did U know Pennington almost never even throws at practice?
That`s right
Pennington actually stands behind Henne
and watches where Henne throws

Pennington also could never get the ball out any of our 3 starting WRs like Henne

Dude, the shoulder is mush
baseball cap & clipboard
next surgery they are just going to amputate Penningtons shoulder lol

Home says groom Pennington for OC
Might really surprise U
very knowledgeable, good teacher, good with players and he has walked the walk

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