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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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Oscar, I'm not saying Andrew Luck is going to lead us to SB his first year, I know Henne and Palmer will not! There are many changes pending, picking up Luck would be the first piece of the puzzle! But a critical piece! C'mon man, you've read my posts, I'm far from stupid.....
there are many changes to be made, coaching, GM, and players! I could go on ad infinitum, but it's late....goodnight guys!

Is Palmer going to play wide receiver? That's the problem in the red zone. Marshall, 3 weeks, 3 red zone drops. He makes those catches, we might be 2a and 1 instead of 0 and 3. He's a bum. Has been a bum since coming to Miami. When henne struggled last year, Marshall hung henne out to dry publicly. Henne should return the favour to that overpaid thug.

I agree on that Marshall incompletion. Love the the guy, but being at the elite status that I consider him, he should've had it.

R. Moss, would of made that play look like there was no coverage at all. If your a big time WR, you need to look that in.

with all the S#$T thats not going right, I'm feeling positive about D.thomas. Looks good, maybe J.ireland got this one right.


is mando becoming a hard hitting reporter? Think so,attaboy mando.


He definitely has more talent than I thought he had originally.

That said, his Conan the Barbarian running style should have him nicked up if he's not more careful. The NFL brutes on DEF have a way of wearing down the toughest of men.


Rob, you in O.C.M.D?

The problems are many, but in most posistions we have the talent to be better and improve. The O Line is terrible. It's tough to be too critical of Henne when he gets no time to do anything. Watch the other QBs in the league. Roethisgerber has been pressured and been an int machine so far. Vick is getting beat up and not putting up last years numbers. Brady nevr gets touched, although his O Line does seem to get away with alot of grabbing. Schaub looked terrrible when the Texans O Line couldn't keep out the Saints blitz. How can the O Line suck so bad with all the resources the FO has spent here since day one and the HC being a supposed O Line expert? I'm very impressed with the way D Thomas has run. Ireland may have been right on this kid considering he is getting it down with bad blocking. Yet the coaching staff was down on him for some reason. The spread offense worked well against NE,, but no we don't see it that much lately. WTF? Red zone scoring usually means having the threat of a running game with a FB or TE to be a threat to catch play action. See Gronkowski. The other way most teams have succes is speading out the man to man coverage and running quick crossing routes and screening off the defender. Strategically we just seem to stay with the base playbook in the red zone instead of using higher percentage plays. I like the early aggressiveness Daboll showed, but where has it gone? He's seems to go braindead in key moments, i.e. the fade to Hartline from the 6" line. Why cut one of the best short yardage backs in the league. How do they pass time and time again on TEs in the draft while good teams stock up on them? How do they miss Jimmy Graham who played in their stadium? Oh yeah, it's because Parcells had them drafting backup linebackers and lineman because hey they can contribute on special teams if nothing else. Maybe Ireland can turn this around with time if he's here. Parcells had a total disreguard for skilled playmakers. He stuck with his meat and potatoes strategy that worked 25 years ago. And it only worked then cause he had Belicheat scheming the defense and some guy named LT crushing QBs. Sparano is a good guy who seems to be passionate and his players like playing for him. He gets outcoached every week in game management, game planning, and adjustments. We are screwed afer halftime cause the other team figures us out and we do nothing. Oh, and where are all the high priced draft picks that we've spent building a deep defensive line. How did they all become lesser players than what they were a year ago?

Ok think we lead the LUCK bandwagon


Obama+Sporano= DISASTER

The good thing about the Fins being a failure is that I've gotten closer to God and the blinders are off. Things happening in this world that is very grave. Get right with God now.


Evening payuengsnwings,

Nah, it's Orange County in Cali.

Glad to see your'e still prowling the blog mang.

Gonna be a long tough season...I hope whatever doesn't kill the team makes it grow stronger. At this rate they should be pretty damn strong by next year.

Bush is an overpaid RB for what he does. Gotta worry about his fumbles. He has to have plays for space or that at least start with seperation like a screen!! Again, I am not sure how Sparano and Ireland thought they would make him into something that Sean P missed on in NO??

DEF and OFF need improving and the game plans and play selection should be tweaked (Fade to Hartline? Bush up the middle?? Actually fades to anyone are bad...Henne can't throw them properly...dunno why?)

At 0-3 and with the DEF giving no indication it will be contributing much it will be all the locker room can handle just to stay together.

And for ALL the Henne doesn't have enough help people...did you see the Dallas and Washington tilt tonight? With cracked rib(s) and a punctured lung, Romo trotted out with a flak suit and a young line and won the game DESPITE 4 crazy snaps where he wasn't expecting it, drops, and so many new guys in the lineup he was telling them where to go many plays.

They still took Washington on and pulled out the win. Turnovers and bad play a plenty and he gutted out the win.

Henne could take a page from that game about facing pressure and adversity.

I'm outtro...G'nite now!


Has the Fin organization parted ways with the fist pumper??????

Anyone else see Rivers having a career day against that pathetic secondary?

I just read a article that suggested that we should trade Marshall for a 1st rd pick. I don't disagree I think we have quality recievers on the team and we can do without him. The bad thing about the article is they suggested we should also trade Cam Wake. I really dont see this happening as he is our best Defensive player. Sounds like people are calling for a fire sale.

As I've been saying, it's not Henne! No play makers around him, no TE and a horrible pass blocking o-line that does not give him much time, especially in the Red Zone, where the coverage is more compressed. He is playing lights out, if you consider all these factors. Trade Marshall to the Bears now!!!!

I wonder what we could get for him? The article suggests a 1st round pick but I am not so sure we can get that

reggie bush said it. too many mistakes in practice. you don't walk off the field until you get the play right. the team is happy with mediocrity. there is no other way to put it. THEY DON'T WANT TO DO WHAT THEY NEED TO DO TO WIN.


AND MANY MORE.........

It's been a long time since I've seen those high, long strides in a runner as D. Thomas.

I can see a problem looming for young Teams with these one a day practices. Many young players are not mature enough to recognize it's their bread and butter out there.

What to do with these young slackers? Either bench them or fine them(if possible).

Still, isn't ultimately the HC's responsibility to have good and complete practices? No excuses.

Attention to detail is a must for a HC but it has to be applied EQUALLY to all areas of the Team.

A lot of the problems in the red zone could have been solved with a big target like Zach Miller. The team (maybe it was Ross) didn't want to shell out the money for one, so they get what they deserve. They've got a guy in Fasano who isn't even an option. One of Dabolls strengths was supposed to be his use of the TE's. I haven't seen any of that yet.


This is a rare moment of disagreement between us. First of all, I don't think the Cleveland play was a whiff by Marshall. First of all, Hayden is an amazing player (he's a local kid and very highly regarded). Second, as others said, he either tipped the ball or got so close to it that it affected Marshall's line of sight or concentration. It would have been an amazing catch if he made it, I agree, and he HAS made catches like that in the past, but no one should expect ANY WR to make that catch a majority of the time.

Frankly (and I'm not blaming Henne either here), I prefer a fade pass to Marshall. He's obviously (you can see in the photo) much bigger, and therefore would have the advantage in a jump situation. Too bad Henne is unable to throw that pass well.

Anyway, the problem is team consistency in execution, and stupid mental errors (penalties, etc.). I believe this team is athletic, but not football intelligent enough to overcome their shortcomings.

In the end, poor practices can be said to be disorganized practices.

I hope the lockerroom explodes & the soap opera begins because that is the only thing that would be interesting about the 2011 Phins. Maybe that would keep me watching & reading the next 14 weeks.


Really enjoyed watching Moneyball last night. I haven't read the book yet. It's next on my list. They did a good job with it but they overlooked the fact that the A's had three of the best pitchers in the game at that time in Zito, Mulder and Hudson. Makes it a little easier to win on a shoestring budget with those guys throwing.

Regardless if Marshall could've, should've made that play, it's pointless (and stupid) to highlight one play earlier in the game and blame that on the loss.

There are 2 situations where the loss could've been prevented. This is a league of parity, games are usually decided by a few key plays. The 2 situations that lost this game were the defense not being able to stop that final drive (ANY play made there would have ended the game) and more importantly, the final 45 sec by the Dolphins offense.

Now, this isn't really Henne's fault (though this is where QBs make their names) or at least I don't have enough info to blame it on Henne. Look at the 3 throws made. 2 long passes down the sidelines (not high percentage plays), and then a skinny post (that's what it looked like) where Bess was pretty well covered.


You only need a FG to win. You have a timeout. You need about 20 yards to get in FG range comfortably. The ENTIRE field is open for you. Why not have some crossing patterns? Why not have some receivers go deep and then throw to the TE in the middle of the field which should be more open? This is what Cleveland did in their drive. This is what ALL teams do in 2 min situations, why didn't Daboll call THOSE plays. A deep pass to Bess? C'MON!!!

Horrible, horrible either formation, play calling, or read by Henne (again, I don't know what the other receivers were doing on those 3 plays). It's like we were scared to use the middle of the field (I guess because of time). But that's dumb football intelligence since 45 sec is an ETERNITY from midfield. There WAS no need to rush.

I'm thinking that was a mistake by Daboll. Will he get better at those play calls? Probably. Will it matter? Doubt it. The Season has been pretty much squandered, in 3 games. After this week's loss, the mentality inside the organization will be to formulate plans for changes next year. The rest of the Season will be null and void. Only Sparano (if he's still around) will be thinking about this year. Everyone else will be thinking about Andrew Luck.

The only two win for the Phins this year are Denver and KC, yes this team is going 2-14 and missing on Luck for a first round pick.

Craig, I thought it was a great movie too. Glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, DD mentioned that the other day when I brought up the movie (about the pitchers).

Still, don't you respect the guy (Beane) for thinking outside of the box (once the Owner handcuffed the budget)? I really believe there's something to be learned there for the Dolphins. Maybe simply in play calling by the Coordinators. I just hate that Miami is so late ALL DECADE to the changes happening in the NFL. For example, we're all excited Henne gets to audible this year. WHAT? CAM friggin' NEWTON audibles. And we JUST allow the QB to do that?
It reminds me of the guy who just found MySpace, while everyone else is past Facebook and onto Twitter. We're playing 4-5 years behind everyone else in the NFL, and I'm sick of it. I want this team to be on the front end of some trends, not the back, back, back end.

Not really much to say....

I thought we played the jets and THEN went into the bye....as I looked at the schedule this morning...I see we have a bye after week 4....

That stinks....

I don't know if 0-4 at the bye week is enough to get sporano out the door.....

0-5 am i am sure would have been a lock.....

one can dream...can't he....

Read Cote's article. Henne not ready to be a hero.

I don't care how many mistakes others want to point out about the teams play... Henne had the ball on the 47 with 40 seconds and a time out and a shot to win. 10 yards is what it came down to and he couldn't deliver. Aside from all the mistakes the TEAM made, the TEAM was still in a position to WIN in the final minute. Incomplete, Incomplete, Incomplete, INT.

Have we ever seen Henne once make the clutch play with the game on the line? Don't think so.

Did anybody see the Dallas Center mess up the snap/snap count multiple times.....

I'm sure Ireland was licking his chops...thinking....."i can't wait till they cut that guy"......

Classic - from PFT today:

Posted by Michael David Smith on September 27, 2011, 7:44 AM EDT
Tony Sparano AP

Dolphins coach Tony Sparano was asked on Monday to explain to Miami fans why the team is 0-3. His explanation probably won’t leave fans feeling any better.

“I can’t explain it,” Sparano said, before pausing, and then continuing: “Well, I can explain. I won’t say I can’t explain it because then you guys will say I can’t explain it.”

OK, Coach. We won’t say you can’t explain it. So could you explain it?

So Sparano’s team hasn’t won a game this year, and he can’t explain why, but he won’t say he can’t explain why because he doesn’t want the media saying he can’t explain why, but he will say that the Dolphins haven’t played well and he has to figure out why.

I can’t imagine why people are questioning whether Sparano’s job is safe.

Devils Advocate.....

Henne is just a slow learner.....he woud be considered on the "short bus" of QBs.....

but once he learns something he never forgets it......

He has now learned how to......

avoid a pass rusher.....

scramble up feild......

find TE on sideline while scrambling (head up)....

Show some fire......

Audible....He looks like Peyton Manning at the line......

and soon to come....the last second drive for a FG......can you imagine what sporano would do if we kicked a LAST SECOND FG.......

SUCK FOR LUCK!! Trade Marshall and Long after the season & stock up high draft picks and inject some youth / energy into this franchise. Its not like Long is the only protector for the qb, and he isnt playing all that well this year. Trade him for some high picks and use them to draft some weapons. So tired of seeing the same old lumbering team doing the same thing year after year. Bring back the good ole days of the deep ball and big play receivers. Change the uniforms too. Tradition is gone, lets make some drastic changes.

Yes teams pass more to score TDs in the redzone, what not mentioned by Armando, is that passing for redzone TDs comes down to 3 things: Most TD passes are caught by TEs (OK he mentioned this one) we don't have one, whose fault is that? Second, either wr/te are Wide open (as in the play fooled the defense (not being predictable!)This happens all the time, except for us; or someone on D made a mistake; again whose fault is that? Lastly, and this is the least common, someone makes an outstanding leaping, toe dragging, diving, sliding catch, a difficult catch that makes you say wow, and the QB looks great. Again we don't have this... whose fault? I know its the QBs responsibility to get the ball in the endzone, but he's got to have help; from the FO, the coaches, and his receivers


I think you can rest easy. It's all getting blown up at the end of the season. They'll all be out the door. I've defended Henne more than anyone and while I think he's played better this year the true test was how the team would play. It hasn't been good enough and the red zone play hasn't been good enough and a lot of that has to fall on the QB. Unless thing miraculously turn around just about everyone will get their wish and Sparano and Henne will be out and one of the young QB kids will be sitting there for us in the first round. Rest easy big fella...


Amoebas are slow learners too. Wouldn't want to bank on one of them winning a game for me either.

Anyone watch MNF last night?
See what Shannahan has done with the Redskins?

...That is the model the Fins need to deploy after we can Sparano.

Hire a respected, experienced, no-nonsense coach (Cowher).

Have him purge the roster of wannabes, losers & fat slugs (Jerry)

Surround the players with coaches who believe in the system and can execute it day after day, year after year.

...add in some "Luck" and we just might return to the glory days again.

Apparently the Marlins have traded for Ozzie Guillen. Is there no way we could trade our head coach and throw in the owner for good measure? I'd even take Ted Ginn back if necessary.

If we EVER kick a game winning FG....as time expires.....

sporano may retire on the spot...thinking there could never....EVER....be a feeling as sweet as this......

I think you are right Craig, just that all this was painfully obvious last year, and Ross had his finger on the trigger and never pulled it. So one more wasted season on blind hope. Henne has talent. I hate citing vague things like the 'it' factor, but he just seems like a guy that will always be a performer between the 20's but never when it counts most. That last minute at Cleveland, I don't care what play was called, he has to find a way to make some kind of play for positive yards, and not 4 plays for zero yards.


I didn't watch the game (hate the Cowboys). What are you suggesting as a model we follow? A mediocre .500 football team with no QB? Haven't we done that for the last couple of years. Not sure Shanahan is doing anything special. They are in need of guy like Luck too but are going to play too well to do it.



I woudn't buy to much into the Skins.....

They have the feeling of the 2008 Dolphins......and/or the 2010 Chiefs.....

They have been fortunate to play teams when they are there most injured....and i don't think to many put much stock in the KOLB led Cardinals.....

I believe the wheels fall of real soon for that club.....and they will finish around 6 wins....just my opinion.....feel free to disagree.....

Clevelands last possesion on Sunday... McCoy completed 10 passes all day.. then 9 on their final drive. Why? we stopped doing what was effective and went to a prevent... coaching.. Miami's last possession on Sunday... we should have attempted to run on 2nd or 3rd. We had a timeout (which we left on the field BTW) DT was moving piles all day, probably could have gotten 5 -6 yds and at least given us a shot at a long FG, especially considering the D was stacked 10 - 15 yds off the line, they KNEW exactly what we were trying to do. A run made sense in the situation, and we blew it. Aditionaly. there was no separation from the WRs, and out O line can't pass pro for sh*t. 4 of the 5 sacks Henne had no chance, he was pounced at the top of his drop... Henne is not perfect, but is taking too much of the heat for our issues.. even great QBs need help. I heard we were pursuing Palmer again, how does that help? If anything he's proven he can't save a sucky team with p*ss poor managment. Suck for Luck? stupid... does he catch , tackle , cover, play specials No NO NO. We will not be the worst record team... we will have to trade up to get him and blow icks doing it. This teams has NO depth at all.


I have to agree with you. Inexcusable! But I also don't get why we never have enough time-outs at the end of the game. Again, that falls on the coaches and bad decision-making. If we'd had more than one left we could have had some runs mixed in, something that had been working for us with Thomas. We didn't and it's easier for the defence when they know passes are coming. Again, not excuses Henne but just painting the scene. Regardless, I agree, none of it good enough.

While they lost the game, they are 2-1 and on the right track.

Shannahan purged an ineffective QB and fired a $100M NT who cannot stop eating cheeseburgers.

All I was advocating was the leadership and dicipline that Shannahan brings to the side lines.

NFL teams are like dogs...they take on the personality of their owners (or coaches in this case)...and the Skins have changed to match the stern faced Shannahan, which makes them a team no one wants to face come Dec.

Henne cant block throw and catch. The kid has done everything asked of him, shown marked improvement, and he still gets crucified because our overpaid crybaby of a marquee receiver cant catch when it matters. Did anybody see our defense on the 80 yard drive that led to the game winning TD pass? Me neither. in typical Miami fashion, Henne will get traded and win a ring for someone else.

And I'm also laughing at all of the Matt Ryan over Jake Long second guessers. Ryan's line is getting him killed, and the Falcons are 1-2 and would be 0-3 had Vick not got knocked out of the game. The most talented QB in the league wont produce if he is on his ass all night.

I dont know why I read the early posts. Again to all you HENNE bashers! HE IS NOT THE PROBLEM!!!!!!!!!!! He is playing better than anyone on this team.

the red zone performance has been lack luster, but who the hell is open ever, i maen a half step of seperation. I hear some people say that no one is ever open in the red zone. Well when we played the pats there were plenty of people open with seperation on the pats.

3 DROPS for TD's in 3 games by Marshall, complete BS, attack him before Henne.

Fasano is never in a position to catch a ball in the red zone.

We stop running the ball in the red zone.

Talk about no excuses for Henne, FINE! Then in the same breath as blaming Henne, where is the blame for Marshall drops and half assing play? This is not directed at anyone recently, more to the first few bloggers.

Just frustrated the hell out of me, that we keep using our guy as a scapegoat. Not the guys making the true mistakes.

did u guys know that spazano gives fat tuna 10% of his $$$ because he acted as his agent in making him the hc w/zero experience.?.lol

Mando seems like you are forgetting the biggest reason we don score in the red zone, PROTECTION!!!!!!!!!! reciever cant get open and a play can not develop when the QB has someone in there face in 1 second from the snap/

With our "Luck", we'll go 0-16 and the freakin Colts will do the same and we'll lose the coin toss. No LUCK.

Another good point by g, we act like Henne has 10 seconds to throw the ball and let these guys find seperation. Henne is picking himself off the ground on what seems to be 80% of plays.

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