« The reaction from the Miami locker room | Main | Dolphins indeed are interested in Randy Moss »

About the good defense and frustrating offense

CINCINNATI -- The calendar has flipped to November. Awesome! This means the weather is getting colder and the NFL is getting hotter.

And because we have reached to point in the season when we start to look at the potential playoff contenders, because this is the time of year teams begin to separate relevant from not, this is also the time of year standards have to rise if one's team is going to be part of the relevant contender crowd.

The Dolphins believe themselves to be in the contender crowd. So I am holding them to a higher standard now because I want them to make the playoffs and be relevant.

And that is why I wrote what could be described as a column with a critical view following Sunday's victory over the Bengals.

I didn't celebrate the wonderfulness of a fourth road victory in four outings because, frankly, with the exception of the Green Bay game, I don't think that record has a lot to do with being exceedingly great on the road. I believe the Dolphins have an 0-3 record at home because they've played their three toughest games -- New York, New England, Pittsburgh -- at home. I believe they have 4-0 record on the road because, other than Green Bay, the teams Miami has beaten are terrible -- wherever they find themselves playing.

Buffalo, Minnesota and Cincinnati are terrible. They have a combined record of 4-17. They are what their record says they are, as Bill Parcells once famously said.

So I dismiss the road warrior myth. If the Dolphins can go on the roard and win 2 of 3 against Baltimore, New York and New England, I will be the first applauding their prowess on the road. Until then ... we should take those victories, with the exception of the outstanding Green Bay win, with a grain of salt.

I am not too comfortable being critical of a team after a victory. It's a victory!

But as I write in the column, a victory over a collapsing Cincinnati team isn't the goal this year. The playoffs are the goal this year. And the production the Dolphins are getting from their offense this year is troubling. One of the most troubling aspects of that not-good-enough production is this team cannot find Brandon Marshall in the end zone.

Marshall has caught one touchdown pass this year. One.

The excuse, er, reason the Dolphins give for not getting him the ball enough in the end zone is that teams are bracketing him with double coverage. Whatever. I asked Marshall if this is any different than what happened in the past. Read the column to see his answer, please.

The last three years Marshall has scored 23 touchdowns. That's an average of nearly 8 TDs per year. He has one now. Something has to get corrected to increase that number. Something has to get corrected so that Miami's best offensive weapon is getting the ball when the Dolphins are in the red zone.

Now, I must tell you some members of the Dolphins knew where I was going with today's column before I wrote it. And one astute member of the organization asked that I at least balance it with the fact the defense is playing very well. My balance was probably not good enough. I mentioned that Miami's defense is playoff caliber. Anyone disagree with that?

But let me add some more here: Mike Nolan's unit spent all of last week practicing against the no-huddle because the Bengals showed it against Baltimore the week before. Practices actually ended early last week because of that work against the no-huddle, which is kind of a hurry-up attack. Well, the Bengals came out with the no-huddle and shredded Miami on the first drive.

Then Nolan adjusted. He benched Jason Allen. He didn't have Allen share time with Sean Smith as was the plan. He put Allen's hind quarters on the bench and let him go play special teams while he searched for a more effective player on that day.

Don't you wish the offensive approach was similar? How many times has Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams been the hot running back, but offensive coaches stubbornly stick with their platoon plan and give an almost equal share of carries to the tepid as well as hot runner?

Nolan and his coaches basically discarded the plan to share snaps between Allen and Smith and went with Smith. It paid off as Smith had good coverage much of the day and even turned in his first career interception.

The Miami defense blitzed, which is why Benny Sapp was in the backfield so much. The defense mixed man and zone and matched up Vontae Davis against Chad Ochocinco. Davis basically erased Mr. 85 from the game.

"We knew one thing Carson [Palmer] does is read the fakes," said safety Yeremiah Bell. "Me and Chris [Clemons] tried to mix it up. In the first drive, [Palmer] was being patient and waited a little bit. He was trying to make us show our hand. But after that first drive, we started hanging in there and started getting him into some things we wanted to get him into."

Did the defense have moments of struggle? Sure, the Bengals running game had plays when it got wide of the edge and also did good work on cutback runs. But the cutbacks were basically eliminated in the second half.

Oh, that's called an adjustment. Good work gentlemen.



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference About the good defense and frustrating offense:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Henning is just executing how Sporano envisions this team to be. Tough, close game winners, take few chances. Getting rid of Henning is only part of the solution. If you want to see a different offense, Sporano needs to go with him. The game plan is built on Sporano's philosophy & until that changes, it won't matter who the O coordinator is.

Down to 3 guys in our survivor pool - from the original 31. I'm thinking of taking the jets (ma, I feel dirty saying that) or if not them, the bears. I wince at taking the bears because I've gone against the Bills like 4 times this year already and the last 2 weeks - they've fired some serious warning shots. WOuld have liked to take New England but I already fired that bullet this year.

Any thoughts??

Craig, I like Misi a lot and he will get better. Rookie 2nd round picks usually don;t make the Pro Bowl in year 1. I don't know about Grant, I mean, it's all conjecture right now but I was excited about him and marques Douglas as depth players during the exhibition. I thought they would have kept them ahead of Lionel Dotson and Ryan Baker. I mean, Lionel Dotson, really? This guy has collected an NFL paycheck for 3 years for doing what exactly?

Another question, how is Quentin Moses still on this team??


Here's how little I know about football. I was out after week one of my survivor pool. I picked SF to beat Seattle in week 1. Brilliant pick!!

I think I would be scared about either one of those picks to be honest. Any other options? How about the Raiders to beat KC?


I'll disagree. I'll watch the game again later tonight but I recall Marshall & hartline double covered and Fasano underneath. Regardless, no Bess on 3rd down? A slow TE on 3rd & long? When other teams spread out in an ATTEMPT to get a 1st down, Miami sends 3 guys into a pattern against 6 backup DB's. This is ALL coaching. If you're gonna send only 3 guys out & have them all doubled, RUN A DRAW instead. Don't even put Henne in a position to have to make an impossible throw!

Face it, Henne is handcuffed & until these coaches open up & drop the "Lets win it in the 4th" mentality, we're going no where.

FOR REALSS!!! Agree with every word Mando.

if you got an attack that's WORKING, keep going to it until they stop it! hopefully the OC is gone come next season.

We should be able to hang a couple high into the end zone which only Marshall would come down with.

Anyway, great win


I suspect you're right Joe Schmo. Afterall, Parcells hired the whole bunch and logic would dictate they had the same mindset. But I'm hoping Sparano is smart enough to change his ways. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Mark, DAMNIT! I've NEVER EVER going to listen to myself over you again. I stuck with Ronnie, and you were right, Ricky got the TD. No worries though, I'm tied against my opponent, and he has Viniteri tonight, while I have Manning. So I bet I win this one. But you were right (I was actually thinking about that after the game).

CraigM/PA, you guys are probably right. We probably can't dump Henning mid-season (unless we put in a position coach or something). We'll have to wait until end of season to actually get anyone worthy in that position, but it hurts. I'm almost so fed up to say let's just pull the trigger, just to get the guy outta here, but as Craig said, he's the best we got right now. Hopefully we can win IN SPITE OF Dan Henning being the OC. Catch-22 though, if we do TOO well this season, that makes it harder to dump the guy after the season's over, but I'd say even if we made it to the SuperBowl (which we won't) I'd still want Henning gone (if it was up to me). That's just how much I dislike the guy's offense.

Henning needs to go. His lackluster play calling is terrible. How come no 4 or 5 wide receiver sets to isolate Marshall (who can go deep but is never given the chace) or Bess. Ronnie Brown has been written out of his play book. Another joke. That old timer Henning needs to be forced out and I blame Sporano and Ireland for not noting this and taking care of it. We are doomed on offense as long as Henning calls plays.

November 1, 2010 at 2:12 pm
November 1, 2010 at 12:07 pm
LMFAO !!!!! stop it , you’re killing me !!!!.Tim/knight...PulL 6 of the gerbils out.. HELP!!!! HELP!! Chris T.. My boyfrind Tim/Knight is killing me again. HELP!!!!!

One of the best, if not thee best acquisition thye Dolphins made was getting Mike Nolan.

The dork in the peanut gallery, the guy who never has played the game and doesn't study film because he's too busy eating -- me -- asked the coach how he balances the satisfaction of this victory with the concern that his not-good-enough offense is not scoring enough touchdowns to make anyone satisfied.

Who is this Dork in the peanut gallery and what has he done with the real Armando?

Outstanding Armando. Way to get in Tony's face.

I've posted numerous times this season on seeing Sporano's reactions to Henning's playcalling. Never more so obvious than yesterday.

You guys trying to defend Henning can take all the front office politics and shove em up your A S S!

If Henning doesn't trust Henne? Ha ha, I wouldn't trust Hennings with a can opener.

Henne's trajectory makes it tough on the WR's. OMG! ROTFLMAO! Dupe de dupe te doo!!!!

Did Chad Henne call a fullback up the middle on 3rd and 18 in Minnesota?

Did Chad Henne call three wildcats in a row yesterday. It was obvious Henning called the one on 3rd down to line up the field goal better! Un-Fuking-believable.

Did Henne call a run play on third and 6 in the redzone yesterday?

Henning obviously shouldn't even be in a position to trust Henne. PERIOD!

Tony knows it, ARMANDO knows it, "Me" and most of you guys know it(PS: the guy crying about Armando's grammar can suck the "ME" I just used incorrectly be-atch!).

Cowkilla, we already got a FIRE DAN HENNING BLOG right here at Dolphins in Depth!

Once again Armando, kudos on doing a great job lately. Now go get right back in their faces. Don't worry about the fallout, with this front offices media policies you ain't missing nothin!!!!!

Were really 5-2, but the ref's gave the Steelers the game last week, just like they gave them there last two Super Bowel wins.

DC, fantasy football will drive you crazy if you let it. No worries though, you will win and that's the most important thing.

Craig, thanks for the input but man as much as the Raiders have obviously improved, I can't pick them yet. I'm leaning towards the Jets and I think I win either way. If they win, I'm one step closer to a cool $1,500 and if they lose, I get to laugh at Sausage Sanchez for a nother week. I mean, haha, getting shut out at home - what a jabroni. he stinks - anyone ever again mention how much better he's progressing than Henne should get a shovel to the head. The Jets are 27th in pass offense - he sucks the big salsiche.

Joe, you might be right about the Henne intercept. I just thought I saw one on one with a receiver at the top of the screen and thought it was marshall - could be wrong - would not be the first time. I will defer to you on this one.


I agree with you on Douglas and Grant. I thought they would be good depth players too. I was kind of shocked when they were cut. Not a fan of Dotson or Baker or the other guy they brought in at the end of camp of waivers. I didn't see them better than the two vets we cut. However, we're not there every day watching these guys, day in and day out. I have to think Nolan knows dfence and football players. But yeah, there is a need to improve the pass rush again next year. Maybe Misi gets better, maybe Merling back helps, maybe Langford steps up or maybe we add another player in the draft or free agency Wake can't do it by himself, that's for sure.


One other thing, BACK OFF on the Road Warrior criticism. So far this season, that's all us fans got!

So until further notice, The Miam Dolphins are UNDEFEATED ROAD WARRIORS BABY!!!!

Soiled Bottom, if you're really up for a s s whooppin swing by and pick me up. I got a brand new baseball bat I need to break in!



Good luck with your pick this weekend. The good news for you is that if I don't really like the pick you are probably safe....LOL.

Fantast football is nuts!! I was going to take a pass on it this year, after being in leagues for like 15 year, because it can be so encompassing but a friend dragged me in at the last minute. I decided not to participate in the draft and I'm about to go 7-1!!....Figure that out?? In past years I put hours of time in only to fall on my a**! It makes not sense!

Craig, i guess they figured Odrick would really help there too.

Overall, there is a bias against veterans on this team. And for the most part, I agree with it. i'd rather let the younger players get the bulk of the time too. but if you have vets who are understand they are support players - they can be valuable. They will be fresher in shorter stints and they provide good insurance in case of injury. I mean, as part timers, who's progress are they hindering? The young back ups who will most likely never make it in this league?

By the way, I'm glad this team has stuck with Big Paul Soliai. What a nice NT he's playing this year. I thought he ate Benson on particular run play.

And it was cool watching Dansby covering Chad Johnson a couple of times. The one lick he gave him that made him want to throw up his cookies was so awesome.

Craig, I had to retire from fantasy football. My evenings from Tuesday and Wednesday were occupied completely going over numbers and trends. There just wasn't enough time to do it the I wanted to do it. Awesome about your record - I can sure relate to suffering paralysis by analysis. I hope you take it all, man!

Just curious, how many people in this forum have been an NFL offensive coordinator? Dan Henning has. In fact, he has earned two Super Bowl rings and another NFC Championship ring as an offensive coordinator. How many Super Bowl rings have the folks in this forum won? We don't go to practice everyday and break down game film. Henning does. He knows the strengths and weaknesses of this team better than we do. Do you think he'd be calling the same types of plays if he had Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees or even Matt Ryan or Joe Flaaco at QB? I bet not. He knows what Henne brings to the table, and it's obviously not very much right now. The Great Don Shula completely changed his offensive because of the legendary Dan Marino. Coaches will do that for great players. It's obvious that Chad Henne is just an average NFL QB. Has he reached his potential? Of course not. But, in my opinion, I don't think he'll ever be great. He might end up a bit better than average. But great? I think not.

Moss released bu Vikes!! Wow i know a lot if baggage but Miami we could use his speed!

@Phin4Life You can't really assume that if the refs had made the call in Pittsburgh that we would have been able to run out the clock and not had to punt the ball back to Pittsburgh. Ben Rapistberger has shown the ability to drive a team with under two minutes to go. We have no idea if we would have won that game if the refs had made the correct call.

OhFinFan, Miami has a better passing attack statistically than Baltimore, Atlanta, and New England on a yards per game basis - don't see how your argument is relevant.

He has more than most to work with. He's over conservative when he gets near the red zone.

to be or not to be,the market swings a 90 points to the down side .

Minn just released Moss! Go get you sack Ireland, thats our ticket to the post season!!


The Dansby hit on Johnson was inspiring.

When they were showing the Harrison hits and Merriweathers, I was thinking: I wish we had guys that would hit like that.

Dansby one upped them all, he destroyed the guy and all nice and clean, within the rules!

that is 100 percent verified gentlemen

dont think Moss would make it to thr Fins on waivers though.


I don't know if it's for real but Randy Moss got cut!

A friend of mine is in the Philadelphia Eagles Public Relations department and said it's for real.

I will beleive it when I see it

@Mark in Toronto Ah yes, statistically. Well, we have scored 10 offensive TD's and only the lowly Carolina Panthers have less...it's not just to OC. Sparano himself said two weeks ago that the players need to execute better. Period. He said that the correct plays are being called. That was the head coach. Yeah, he's employed by the NFL as well. It's obviously a combination of play calling and execution. I'm just so sick of the idiots on this forum who ONLY blame Henning and fail to give any of the blame to Jesus Henne Christ. That's all. Henne must share some of the blame.

Vikes waived Randy Moss, back to Pats for free?



Go get Randy Moss!!

Parcells ain't around to veto it!!

i agree cowkilla i would take Randy baggage and all right now. esp with all the dropped passes yesterday

lol I was late sorry guys. You were already talking about it

i belive i already broke that news guys lol

ALoco, the dow is being stubborn every time it tries to make new highs above 11.2.

Yep, moss cut. Seeing him in a Dolphin uniform would be awesome. I hope Ireland has the guts to do it. I hear the Colts have the inside track. I just hope the Pats don't just get him right back.

its all over NFLN and ESPN its for real.

He is that field strecher that would totally comliment BM amd Bess

Thats ok Andy, it is potentally exciting news my friend

OhFF13, I think the main frustration with posters is that the OC is not helping Henne develop as much as he could - I think if we had marty's boy in NY as the OC and what he's done with the turd Sanchez, you might see a different offense in Miami.

On Moss, I don;t think he has to go through waivers but I do think whoever signs him will have to give him a big contract. Don;t think he will sign for just the rest of the year.


STFU! YOU my friend have never been anything but a whinny little cry baby. How many teams have you been an OC for? EXACTLY!

Henning got some rings in 80's for chrissakes! Get a clue you freaking moron.

My Dad is in the Drag Racing Hall of Fame. However, at 81 years old I get a little nervous when he drives his car to the supermarket.

Besides that, you give two sheets about Henning, you just like to take any and every opportunity to cut on Henne.

Sucks to be you, Henne going to be here awhile, unlike Henning who already has one foot out the door.

Get used to it ya moron!

here is the deal...Minn is resposible for the rest of his contract this year..any team he signs with can give him a bonus...then he turns into a FA at the end of this year..

so really a bonus is really all you have to cough up for now..weather that be a big amount or not...perfect fit right here right now guys..im not saying long term for miami..but this season, this time, it would make our year guys

wow Moss waived by the Vikes!

Hey Odin, who is your dad? Is he big dafdy dan garlitz?

from jesse agler on twitter

Moss has to go through waiver process: teams with worst records go first (Bills #1). First team to claim him gets his rights.


How about how BAD the play calling gets in the RedZone? Who's making these calls, does Sparano take over the play calling duties in the RZ?

I cant imgage the personnel changes much and sure at times execution is an issue but the play calling itself changes for sure.

The above can actually be said for both sides of the field inside the 20's... 3rd and 11 and you run a power sweep? 3rd and 9 and you run deep xing routes (interception) 3rd and 1 and your running deep outs? 2nd and 1 and you run another sweep?

I can sit from home and call 70% of the plays just based on lineup, I'm sure the opposing teams can do a little better - meaning, there is no mystery to our offense.

Someone PLEASE take Dan Henning out back and put him out of his misery.

Armando's canned response: Dan Henning has forgotten more football then you'll ever know...true but maybe he's forgotten a little bit too much.

What happen to Lou? I mean the guy gets stopped ONCE in the last two years and now they feel like they cant go to him? Maybe mix up that FB dive a little bit but dont take him out, make the other teams pay for stackin the box on the dive play with oh I dont know... a screen? A crossing route to one of the TE's?

Cmon guys 2 straight weeks of 5fg games... and dont get me started on the Pittsburgh game

Hey Fin,
according to espn and nfl network he doesnt have to clear waivers, they said any team can get him as of this minute

Bills have the 1st crack at him

I wonder where he will land? And he will land somewhere. I hope not in New York.

Miami played good yesterday. The Bungals aren't very good this year but I'm not worried about that. The Dolphins getting another win is a big deal to keep pace in the AFC as a whole.

Henne was pretty decent yesterday in a decent wind. Marshall and Bess continue to play well and there was even a Hartline sighting.

Dan Henning what the frack! You stink dude. Please retire at the end of the year. You can save face because if you are not fired like Pasqualoni was last year I don't know what to think of Sparano and Ireland.

if thats the case cow then Miami better jump on Moss like Wake on a QB

if only they could make that kind of adjustment in the offense. Give the ball to Ricky because Ronnie has lost a step (how ironic!!)
Let Chad take control of the passing game like he did in the second half and call creative plays like Dan did yesterday.

And why does it seem that every route run by the WR's leads them to the sidelines... maybe just maybe an in route or a curl behind a crossing route would give one of our WR's a chance to run after the catch...

The one catch Bess made along the sidelines would have been a TD for sure if it were closer to the hash marks...

Our TE's... wow, they stink as bad as Henning, I'd have to say our #1 draft priority has to be a toss up between RB and TE (only cause I truthfully DO NOT see Ricky or Ronnie coming back and if one does it will Probably be Ricky)

OHFinFan, When were those SuperBowl rings from by the way? Oh yeah, the 1980's! How old were you back then? And that NFC Championship ring, from Carolina, right? Well, he was SO great there (and they were so thankful) that he got bounced from town soon after when the offense collapsed and became embarrassing.

So, you need to understand that even a broken clock is right twice a day. Just because Henning had success at SOME POINT in his past, doesn't mean he's successful now. Just because Henning knows what he has, DOESN'T mean he's using it as wisely as it could have been used. I look at those years with Linehan or Norv Turner, and I see a well-oiled offensive machine compared to this offense (with undoubtedly much better players).

I guess your assessment is Henne is the bust, and Henning is actually the savior and using the guy as best as he can be used. We won't know for a couple of years who's right on that one, but I'm coming down square on the side of Henne today. I think he'll prove to be a good QB in this league and if he were put in another system he'd be excelling quicker, or if he had a new system here, he'd be much further ahead in his progression than he is now.

Get Moss in here. He was just waived by the Vikes. Our passing offense would sky rocket. Sit Hartlines slow...non catching butt on the bench...Start Marshall and Moss and let the good times roll.


He's not Big Daddy.

I should have clarified. He's not in the NHRA's Drag Racing Hall of Fame.

He's in a regional(IHRA/Midwest) drag racers hall of fame.

Minnesota is in Implosion mode. Way to throw away a 3rd round pick!

I recall reading somewhere earlier this year that veterans with a certain amount of years in(4-5 maybe) do not have to clear waivers. Not 100% on this.

there would be 14-17 teams in front of Miami to claim Moss.

« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 11 12 »

The comments to this entry are closed.