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How other teams scored from red zone 41 times Sunday

The Dolphins had three red zone trips on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. They scored one touchdown and settled for two field goals.

So drives that could have been maximized for three touchdowns, 21 points, resulted in only 13 points.

That is a big deal when one considers this game was decided by one point.

So, again, why are the Dolphins not maximizing? Why are they not cashing in?

I've stopped looking to the Dolphins for answers.

I'm looking elsewhere -- like the rest of the NFL. And in the NFL on Sunday the rest of the league scored 41 red zone touchdowns.

Of those 41 touchdowns, 13 were scored when quarterbacks hooked up with wide receivers for the six-pointers. Quarterbacks found their tight ends for 11 of those 41 red zone touchdowns. And quarterbacks connected with running back for three red zone passing touchdowns.

All told, of the 41 red zone touchdowns scored by teams not named the Miami Dolphins or Cleveland Browns, 27 came via the pass. So teams that got into the end zone once they reached the red zone did it by passing 65 percent of the time.

The running scores?

Running backs scored on runs nine times. Quarterbacks had touchdown runs five times.

So what does all this mean?

It's quite clear, really.

The most important player in the red zone is the quarterback. On Sunday, the quarterback threw a touchdown or scored himself 32 of the 41 red zone successes teams had. The wide receiver is obviously the next most productive player for teams in the red zone and the tight end is not very far behind him.

But here's the problem: The players manning those positions for the Dolphins are not delivering in the red zone.

Yesterday, for example, quarterback Chad Henne completed 65.5 percent of his passes for the game. But inside the red zone he completed only 2 of 5 passes for a 40 percent completion rate. He also broke a team red zone rule by taking a sack. (Obviously, that may or may not have been something he could have avoided.)

Brandon Marshall had four catches for 43 yards yesterday, which by the way is not very good at all. Anyway, Marshall was worse in the red zone. He was unable to beat one-on-one coverage from Joe Haden and his lone red zone pass went incomplete.

That pass, by the way, was catchable. Yes, it would have been an outstanding catch, but those are the kind of catches big-time receivers are supposed to deliver. Marshall did not. And don't take my word for it. The pictures, sent in by this blog's rising screen grab specialist Justin Reardon, show the play in all its inglorious outcome:

Marshall redzone1 
Above Marshall has practically no separation, but the ball is headed right to his hands. It's a good throw.

Marshall redzone2 
Now the ball is in Marshall's hands. Joe Haden is still trying to bat it in the air, but it's too late. The DBs only hope now is batting it from Marshall's grasp or having Marshall drop it.

Marshall redzone3 
Well, Haden can stop hoping to bat it from Marshall's grasp because it's in the guy's hands. Now he has to hope Marshall simply drops the ball.

Marshall redzone4 
And that is exactly what happens. As Haden whiffs, Marshall has let the ball go through his hands. Incomplete. No touchdown.

Davone Bess was targetted once in the red zone. He wasn't really open. Anthony Fasano was targetted once in the red zone. Nothing.

Fasano is of particular interest to me. The tight end, you see, is supposed to make his money in the red zone. He needs to be a presence there and that point is made in the stats I related above. Tight ends are supposed to be major red zone weapons.

Fasano is not. Hmmm, this is more evidence the Dolphins need that upgrade at tight end the team still refuses to do.

Finally, I'd say the Dolphins might think of using their RBs more as weapons in the red zone. Their red zone success Sunday came on a screen pass to Daniel Thomas that turned into a 10-yard score. Thomas also carried three times in the red zone for 8 yards. The running plays yielded modest return, but what about using the RBs as receiving weapons?

Isn't Reggie Bush supposed to be this big mismatch with linebackers whenever he's on the field? Why not use him?

Obviously, I'm not a coach and do not pretend to be one. But I have eyes. And what Miami has been doing so far doesn't equal necessarily what the rest of the league is doing.

The positions that are producing the big red zone success elsewhere aren't doing that in Miami. That's a problem.

On many levels.

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DC,

I think you're getting ahead of yourself in some areas. First of all, Jeff Fisher is a defensive minded coach. He believes defences win championships not offences and for the most part I agree with him. There's been some blips along the way, such as the Saints winning one year, the Colts winning one year and the Packers winning last year. But very often these teams are up one year and down the next. Look at the Saints last year. Blown out last year by the Seahawks of all teams. Anyways, we can argue this point to death. My point is, I don't care if it's offensive football or it's defensive football as long as it's winning football. That's all I care about!!

Jeff Fisher coming in doesn't have to mean the offence is boring. The OC fits his offence to fit the personnel, not the other way around. Do we have the pieces here to play wide open football? I'm not sure that we do. But I think we can play more wide open than Henning ran things last year and I think we have this year with decent results. We need leadership at the top and I don't believe the players are laying it on the line for Sparano every week and I believe the players know he's a 'dead man walking'.

Bush should be part of the Red Zone package, as well as Thomas. Thomas is a threat to run or to catch...Bush can get open on a linebacker...why not use him as such? Fasano, Marshal, and Hartline should be in as well; Bess is too small...we got to bring tall good hands people in the Red Zone...do we have any?

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