The bye week is over and I assume the Miami Dolphins have discussed among themselves what their problems are and how to address them best as possible.
I'm sure we'll see a vastly different approach when the team returns to the field. But just in case the team isn't happy with the bye week's self scouting and vast number of changes they have made (assuming here), I'd like to suggest a couple of changes from here on out.
For the offense:
Start Daniel Thomas and let Reggie Bush come off the bench: Thomas is the more explosive back right now. He is more of a sledgehammer than Bush and as such would be better at setting the tone of a game from the very first moment the offense is on the field. Bush hasn't made a statement to any defense other than, "This is going to be easy for your guys and a long day for us." So Bush becomes the change-of-pace back. Will this upset Bush? Who cares? This is a damn football team, not a psychologist's couch. This actually sends the message that not getting the job done means you lose your job. The Dolphins haven't had enough of that this year.
Use Bush in space: Let me repeat: Use Bush in space. He is quick. He has some speed. Use those traits to your benefit instead of trying to run him between the tackles and turning his gifts into liabilities.
Spread out the formation: The Dolphins do not have the kind of personnel that is clearly better than most defenses they face. So why bunch things and try to overcome the defense mano a mano? Spread it out. Make the field an ally instead of an enemy. Go with four WRs and one RB in the backfield. If the defense lines up in its dime package, run the football with Thomas or throw to Bush matched against a linebacker. If you cannot win those matchups, retire. On the other hand, if the defense tries to stop the run by using an extra LB or bringing a safety down into the box, pass the ball. Throw more slants. Throw bubble screens to Brandon Marshall and Davone Bess. Put both of them in the slot on either side of the formation with Brian Hartline and Clyde Gates on the outside. And keep the defense honest with occasional deep throws to Hartline and Gates.
Oh yeah, more Clyde Gates. Less Anthony Fasano: The idea of drafting Gates was to blow the top off the defense. That is not possible unless he's in the game but his playing time has been sporadic. But what if he doesn't produce, you might ask? Well, Fasano isn't a huge producer and he plays lots. Time to cut losses. I'm not saying forget about Fasano, but he isn't good enough to get the kind of playing time he gets. He's neither an offensive tackle nor a great pass-catcher. So why are they asking him to block or catch the ball when they have people that do either better?
Bench Marc Colombo. He's on pace to yield 12 sacks this season. Is that good? Move Vernon Carey back to RT. Colombo has been a downgrade, not an upgrade at RT. Meanwhile, it is time to put John Jerry in at right guard. The reason the team moved Carey to RG in the preseason was, in part, to protect rookie Mike Pouncey. He's fine. Now this team needs to find out if Jerry is a player or not. They cannot go into the offseason needing a right tackle, not having Carey signed, and not knowing if Jerry can play or not. Get an answer for at least one of those questions.
For the defense:
Bench Reshad Jones: He was supposed to be a playmaker back there. Tell me, what play has he made? Enough said.
Promote Chris Clemons: No, he didn't make a lot of plays back there last year. But he didn't take terrible angles to Wes Welker, thus allowing 99-yard TD passes. He didn't let people get behind him. There were fewer blown coverages back there.
Pray Vontae Davis is ready to play. If he's not, don't keep making the same mistake with Nolan Carroll as the starter. Jimmy Wilson needs to be the next guy up because at least he battles. Carroll hasn't done that. And I'm tired of it.
More blitzes up the middle: Neither Karlos Dansby nor Kevin Burnett have been very productive this year. Wake them up! Ask them to attack instead of letting offensive linemen run over them. Blitz them up the gut. The CB blitzes are a joke and now predictable. And how about a higher percentage of zone blitzes? Teams like Baltimore and the Jets get unblocked rushers taking shots at quarterbacks. I hardly ever see that from the Dolphins. How about administering to the Jets some of their own medicine. Not tons, but on a couple of special downs.
Bench Davone Bess as the punt returner. Reggie Bush returns every single punt. Give him enough at-bats, he might break one or two. Bess has never broken one because he hasn't the speed to break any. Oh, you're worried Bush might get injured? Well, um, it's football. It happens. And as to the idea of using an offensive star on special teams, Bush is not producing like an offensive star and Wes Welker, who is a legitimate offensive star returns every punt in New England. So whatever.
Are some of these unorthodox? Maybe. Are they an aggressive approach to the rest of the season? Undoubtedly.
Because going orthodox and playing it more conservatively hasn't worked at all so far.
Add your suggestions please.