« Joe Philbin discusses Carolina loss, upcoming week | Main | It's clear Tannehill should be the starter »

Preseason results meaningless, performances meaningful

Repeat after me: It's only the preseason. It's only the preseason. It's only the preseason.

There. That should give some solace about the fact the Dolphins are so far pretty bad this preseason. If you remember that preseason greatness does not necessarily translate to regular-season greatness and preseason struggles don't always continue in the regular-season, that should get your through the next couple of weeks.

A team's won-loss record is irrelevant to, well, everything. Poor teams with outstanding reserves, guys that either won't be on the team or won't play a lot in the regular-season, often win in the preseason. Good teams that rest their stars often lose in the preseason. Young teams, regardless of how loaded they prove themselves to be, often lose in the preseason. Teams with new offensive and defensive systems often struggle in the preseason as they get comfortable with the schemes.

Feel better?

Well, let me balance that surge of optimism. The preseason is a good indicator about where a team is at that point in time It can be an accurate snapshot in time of individuals and personnel groupings.

It can tell you how far young players have come and how far they must yet go. It can tell you if there is visible improvement week to week.

So forget that Miami is 0-2 this preseason. But do not dismiss the idea that there are problems that are showing up consistently.

One of those issues for the entire team is there have been no consistent playmakers among the starters. None. Not on offense or defense.

Defense, in particular, has been troubling because aside from the fact big plays have been missing, I've seen a lot of missed tackles and the team isn't winning on third down.

"We haven't stopped anybody," Joe Philbin said after the most recent Carolina loss. "We haven't tackled real well, we haven't gotten off the field on third down. We haven't gotten a good pass rush. I mean, I guess I better stop there."

By the way, the Dolphins have blitzed in the preseason, at least last week. But there can be more pass-rush generated by blitzes in the regular season. That's good. This isn't: Any team that must create its pass-rush with blitzes exposes itself eventually in the back end to big plays. The gamble can be worth it if there are stars in the secondary, but if there are not, that can be trouble.

I also look for invididual young starting players' abilities early in the season.

Said another way, it is unlikely that right tackle Jonathan Martin, for example, will struggle in the preseason (as he has) and suddenly become dominant in the regular-season opener. Or by the second game. Or perhaps by the third game.

It takes a while for players to grow. And the regular-season typically is tougher on young players initially than the preseason. They are often ill-prepared to deliver that higher gear that the regular-season requires, at least initially.

And so if you think Martin will suddenly become a fortress in time to face the Houston Texans, I'd say dial back on the expectations.

Similarly, the preseason does offer an important snapshot of what one can expect from certain positiions on the team. This preseason, for example, has pulled back the curtain on how troubled the Dolphins are at wide receiver and tight end.

The receivers who are having trouble separating from defenders in the preseason, will not suddenly be able to do it in the regular season. It simply will not happen. Players that are dropping passes in the preseason don't suddenly start catching them in the regular season.

(An aside: You'll notice Miami's wide receiver issues is generally not about dropping passes. This group typically catches the passes thrown, with a couple of notable exceptions. But the greater and more concerning problem to me is these guys don't really get open quickly and consistently. They either don't separate or don't find soft spots in the zone to sit down. I don't know what it is because I am not a coach and don't pretend to be one, but something is obviously lacking.)

I'm also concerned about Miami's tight ends. Anthony Fasano is the starter and that's fine. He is typically a C+ to B- player, depending on the game. He's a good blocker. He is a good enough receiver. But he doesn't worry a defense down the seam. He isn't a player the opposing defensive coordinator worries too much about. He's not part of the problem. But unfortunately, in most games, he's not the solution.

That is why the Dolphins drafted Charles Clay last year and Michael Egnew this year. Unfortunately, Egnew has had a terrible first NFL camp. He's not ready and he doesn't look to be getting better results as the weeks have progressed. He's obviously putting a lot of pressure on himself.

Clay has the potential to be a threat in the red zone and down the seam. But he's inconsistent as heck. He has one great practice and then disappears. He has one good preseason game and then disappears the next. Clay is very inconsistent so far. It was that way last year and it remains that way now.

And until one of these two or someone else added to the roster gets it and delivers some help, the Miami struggles in the red zone and down the middle of the field will continue to plague the offense.

Of course, things can still change. Remember? This is only preseason.

Follow me on twitter.


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

DC...check out the last blog for a reponse to you....

In short...

Me and Armando are in full agreement....and this post is what I was trying to convey to you...

Once again. The intention has always been to score first.

For me, this season is all about Tannehill's development and so far it's been real good. Even Friday he wasn't horrible. He's coming along nicely. It may take him a little bit of time and he may not be Cam Newton in year one but that's ok. As long as he continues to stand tall like he has and continues to take care of the ball and attack downfield - he will get there - perhaps by the second half of the year.

That being said - considering the investment, the offensive line must be a whole lot better - like so much more.

Ditto for the defense. But in the end all those guys are replaceable. As long as you have a QB, you have hope and a future in this league.

Jake Locker named the starter in Tennessee. This is the guy I most often draw a parallel to Tannehill. Similar draft spot - similar track record of lukewarm college production with loads of talent. Good sign ...


Understood. In the '72 preseason, I think the Dolphins only won 1 game, 2 max. Yet went on to make nfl history that still stands today.

Kris, I responded there too (and basically agreed with you guys). I was saying record in PreSeason doesn't matter (but what happens does) to paraphrase. Not important enough to repost here.

I would just give one caveat to what Mando said about Fasano. He was a B- player because he wasn't utilized correctly by the past OCs. Henning thought he was an additional lineman. And Daboll didn't open his game up much either. So I'm interested to see what he does when he is actually a focal point in the offense (as he should be this year along with Bess). Basically, those are the only 2 "consistent" players we have who give me any type of confidence. Outside of them, Clay, Hartline, maybe Hogan, MAYBE Pruitt or Wallace can become threats, but I don't feel comfortable with any of them right now.

I'm not saying Fasano is Tony Gonzales. I'm just saying he might be better than fans want to give him credit for because he was not utilized properly under Tony Sparano.

Excellent post, Mando

Jonathan Martin will be a huge key to the success of our 2012 offense. Even when on point, I expect the defensive performance will pretty much mirror 2011's performance. Some good and some not so good moment from game to game.

Therefore Jonathan Martin's progression will be key. Tannehill has to have adequate protection , because just like last season, the defense will have thier lapses and we will need to be able to successfully pass the ball. That begin with Pass protection.

The right side of the oline in particular, and that begins with the rookie J Martin quickly discovering how to remove the banana from his tailpipe.

Guys who are concerned with Tannehill's development (not me, I agree with Mark, he's been probably our brightest spot), I hope you watched the Skins game vs. Chicago (also for the fact Brandon Marshall looked to be in mid-Season form, too bad he's doing it for the Bears and not Dolphins). RG3 stumbled. Fumbled, didn't put up points, offense was ineffective. Not saying he won't be great, just saying ALL ROOKIE QBs (minus maybe Andrew Luck) stumble. Seeing them both, I can't really say RG3 is MILES AND AWAY better than Tannehill right now.

That says a lot for Ireland's choice with the #1 pick, and Sherman's assessment, and also Tannehill's skills. I don't see how you cannot be happy with him at this moment.

Jeff Irelands fault. The Dolphins does not have any star players. A team full of yomens that need to have their A game every week to win. Another long year. Fire Ireland. Last coaching regime had a hard time coaching these guys up and these group of coaches have their work cut out for them as well.

Only concern is Johnathan Martin is the strength. I mean, when i can out bench press our RT and I weigh less than 200 lbs, that's not good.

Nothing much to add or say except we'll see September 9th in Houston. You hear that Vontae and Sean? Maybe actually show up this year for the opener and try catching passes that hit you in the chest. And don't try 'acting not tired ' , Vontae. Otherwise Schaub will light your sorry @ss up the way Brady did in last years opener on national tv. So, once again , use that P.G. County education you got growing up and try to 'act like you didn't forget' that the season starts in September this year, not like last year where, you know, it started in November.

The best way to understand something is to repeat it, over and over, and then again.


Fasano usually has untimely drops and has a knack for creating tipped ball picks. Thats my greatest knack on him. Like most of the inconsistent starters on this roster, Fasano gives you about 3-4 really good games a year.

When he isnt doing this, he's usually being somewhaty of a libility(dropped passes, tipped picks) or he just disappears altogether. But he is one of the better blocking TE's in the league. That's his only area of real consistency. That's why previous oc's didnt "feature him" in thier offensive passing games.

Mark In Toronto

Dude, get over yourself. There isnt one olineman in the entire nfl you'll out bench press if youre under 200lbs. Geesh, who the hell writes your material for you. LOL

Please get rid of Ireland.

Once again. Winning breeds winning.

Once again. Losing breeds losing.

Ha! But true too.

That guy - "PG County education" - OUCH!!!

YG, you're right, that's the one knack against Fasano, the untimely drop or missed play. But, who knows, maybe it's a chicken/egg thing. He's not in the game because he isn't being utilized. When you're asked to block 85-90% of the time, then you develop your blocking skills and not pass-catching/route-running skills. We'll see how Philbin uses him (because there isn't much behind him).

That's the main reason why it's so difficult to change a losing Culture.

Ireland drafts or signs too many players very few people other than he or his so called super scouts have ever heard of. There are far too many players here because of thier proposed potential than actual impact ability.

Friends dont let friends buy Dolphin tickets.


Because of Fasano's recieving track record here, I cringe anytime I know the ball's being thrown his way. Its "mystery meat at best". Either he'll catch it, drop it, or tip it into the air for a defensive pick.

His recieving track record as a Dolphin, definitively states one of these three things will happen. At least 5 of Chad Henne's picks a year seemed to come from Fasano tipping instead of catching the damn football. Seems the football at times just hates his hands.

Anyone besides me catch the timeout right after a timeout by the Jets offense Saturday (with Ryan looking mad at Sparano)? Hilarious. Get used to that Rex, I actually feel a little sorry for you (especially when a run up the middle is called on 3rd and 4th and short, and they get stuffed on both plays). The good 'ole days...

Jonathan Martin = another Ireland bust

Flipper Breed, Martin benched what 225 what 20-21 times at the combine. I most assuredly guarantee you that I can match that.

I see that you want to continue being a douchebag so early on a Monday morning but I guess born a douchebag, live a douchebag, die a douchebag.

just because you haven't been able to do a damn thing with your life or have any accomplishments whatsoever, doesn't mean nobody else has. So suck it loser.

Well unless we find a hell of an acorn. Houston is gonna clean our clock!!! This team is not even close to being competitive sorry. I had made the prediction of 7-10 before preseason now i think we better revise that prediction. It looks like the the departure of JT and YB are going to hurt us more than I thought. I think were looking at 2 to 3 wins and another coaching staff next year. Another thing is I just really dont understand why our LBs cant cover TEs. We are just going to get eaten alive by TEs this year

when r those fat pigs on the dline gonna show up.?

oscar, 1st signs of psychosis is to repeat something over and over and over again.

Mark In Toronto,

The only thing you can bench 21-22 times is your ounce and half little man. Idiot, do you realize how strong you need to be to bench 225lbs 21-22 times?

Im no little wimp myself, I can bench 225lbs abotu 10 times max. Go tell your lies to someone who hasnt been there done that yet. LOL

The Dolphin games will now be shown on the Comedy Channel.

the players r already looking forward 2 the offseason.

Remember the kid Joseph that benched 225lbs 41 times at 2011's combine? Just one of that kid's arms are double the size of my leg. You gotta have arms the size of oak trees to do that.

Yet lying asss Marsha In Toronto would have us believe he's under 200lbs and can bench 225lbs more times(21-22) than Jonathan Martin who goes about 300lbs. Only another dumbass Canadian would believe that lie.

Who does he thinks he's posting to, abunch of 6yr olds? LOL

We as fans can see we need help at the receiver position and tight end spot what was Jeff looking at earlier this year when we could have brought in some help any body out there still available maybe

I read the cover story about the defense and the word I don't understand from the byline is "expected." How on god's green earth could anyone have expected this defense to be the strength of the team? We have the weakes LB and DB core in the history of any team in the NFL.

Our defense, as it has been for 5 years, is atrocious. You read that right. If you don't get it, please try to read very carefully.

Even against the run. We were NOT the 3rd best defense against the run last year. We can't do anything right. The only reason our STATS vs the run were deceptively good last year is we gave up 25-yard-plus pass plays every other play. So teams did not need to run.

Did you watch the games last year? The problem was not the offense in all but about 2 games.

We have had a very overrated and weak D for 5 or 6 years.

Meant to say the former giants receiver

"This team stinks"........Reggie Bush

no db's and last seasons qb long ball leader is commin' to the joe on opening day.

Mark In Toronto,

Im nearly willing to fly to Canada, have you put up $10,000 against my $10,000, and you win the 10 grand if you bench 225lbs more than 22 times. If you fail, I win your 10 grand. Sounds like easy money for me. LOL

Haha, Flipper, I have no reason to tell a lie.

I made the point to tell you that his strength is very underwhelming for an NFL player when there are players much smaller than him doing the same let alone ordinary citizens who train in their spare time who can match him on much smaller frames. i didn't bring it up to toot my own horn. there are guys at my gym that have stronger benches than I do.

As far as you bench I know dozens of guys that would bury your bench including myself. Anybody will tell you that bench press doesn't have a whole lot to do with overall body size. It's a matter of how strong your triceps, chest and shoulder muscles are. And the most underrated part of a bench press is your breathing. I'd guess you are one of those overanxious mouth breathers that can't manage to channel their core into doing this exercise and manage to keep a steady base and breathe normally and thus "blow their load" too fast. No sweat - I know plenty of guys bigger than me that do the same. I guess you just have to live with the fact that I'm stronger than you ... younger than you ... smarter than you .... You know, I'm just better than you.

But then again, you can just sit there typing that I'm lying to you although I'm not. It will make you feel better for being your inadequate self.

Mr. Ross:
Can you not see the evidence before your eyes that your team has very little top tier, productive talent; along with no play-makers and a rookie head coach who is a nice guy but seems a bit lost and confused? And just what do you intend to do about it, Sir? We shall not be spending our hard earned money on Sundays watching losing, "bush" league football until you perform better as an owner and hire an EVP who knows the game and can select the proper players who can win in the NFL. Thank you. SARD

The defense went through a stretch of almost 3and half games last year without giving up a touchdown they had there good moments last year

Have to assume that at some point, Ross will wake up regarding his incompetent GM.
Ross obviously knows nothing about football, but at some point he's bound to ask someone around him who's in charge of finding players for his lousy team. We can only hope that his limo driver knows the answer.......

Armando wrote a good article, but not one point he made is anything we didn't know coming in to this offseason (other than the defense being way worse than anyone thought)..............and Jeff Ireland has done nothing to improve the biggest holes on the team. In fact, his keen eye for players and talent evaluation has made the team worse. These guys will be lucky to win five games.

They say teams take on the personality of its coach. The Dolphins have taken on the personality of their GM: Unlikeable and incompetent.

"We haven't stopped anybody," Joe Philbin said after the most recent Carolina loss. "We haven't tackled real well, we haven't gotten off the field on third down. We haven't gotten a good pass rush. I mean, I guess I better stop there."

Well, sounds like last years defense. Thanks for the insight~!

In a nut shell, the record in preseason is meaningless. However, our players are being beaten soundly on O & D. Granted no schemes or game planning is really in place but, players are losing 1 on 1's. BAD SIGN.

Martin is not an NFL caliber starting tackle right now. Period. He got eaten alive last game. Start him & pray our Qb's don't get hurt.

Clay is a spot player. He will never be a legit threat. Egnew is probably going to be cut & maybe added to the PS.

WR's...what WR's?

Yes, records in preseason don't matter but, this team is as bad as it looks in preseason. No other way to slice it.

Flipper, do it. If you are willing to lose 10 grand, be my guest. If you know some way of exchanging personal information, we can do it.

i am so confident that if i lose the bet, not only will i give you 10 grand, i will pay your travel cost. deal??

By the way, our best player is Tannehill, point blank. Right now. Not "for a rookie." Not in the near future. Now. Tanne is our best player. He's our MVP. He's a leader and our best player. This includes Reggie Bush.

I'm glad we have Tannehill.

But our defense is weakling and this year will be painful to watch.

By the way, DC, Fasano drops 40% of all passes that hit his hands or numbers. Not good.

Positive things our GMs HAVE done in the past 5 years or so:

1) not giving up the franchise for RG3 (looks terrible an only completes checkdown passes)
2) not drafting Brady Quinn
3) getting Brandon Marshall
4) trading Brandon Marshall (he's good but will be a problem by week 8)
5) not trading up for Blain Gabbert
6) sticking with Paul Solai

And now for the eternal list of things our GMs have done wrong..... (which is too long to post)

DB, Maybe the weights are different in Canada.

Back to our inept defense, including against the run, in other words, when the opposing team's passing stats are 12/15 for 178 yards and 3 TDs in the first half, yeah, that team didn't have to run the ball very much.

But teams can run right around us for 9 yard gains whenever they want to, too.

Mark In Toronto,

I have zero faith you would be where you're supposed to be once I arrived in Canada. Do yopu actually think Im dumb enough to fly all the way up to Canada in blind faith in you? LOL

I have ten grand, and if you wanna fly to Florida, I'll offer the same deal to you. I'll be a fool to fly that far and youre nowhere to be found. Do you actually think Im as dumb as you? LOL


What Mark also fails to realize is it also depends how long or short a guy's arms are how many times he presses that weight. You can take 2 guys with equal strenth and the guy with the shorter arms almost always outpress the guy with the longer arms. He doesnt have to push the weight as far.

The guy with the shorter arms can bench more reps, but it doesnt neccessarily means he is stronger than the guy with the longer arms.

All I hope for this season is that Tanny pans out and we can start focusing on other areas that are starless on this team. Total rebuild year everyone, enjoy the your players that step up and develop. Win-Loss record will only matter for draft position. I doubt a terrible season will be enough to oust Ireland, but you never know with Ross.

Fasano usually has untimely drops and has a knack for creating tipped ball picks. Thats my greatest knack on him. Like most of the inconsistent starters on this roster, Fasano gives you about 3-4 really good games a year.

Exactly right. ONce again I find myself seeing that YG knows a thing or too.

DC, do you watch the games? It is exactly this. Fasano drops 40% of passes and creates tipped INTs *all the time*. He cost us one of the games last year doing that.

Fasano has brick hands.

However on average most bigmen in nfl will bench that amount weight about 30 times. But i does suggest Martin may need to spend a little more time in the weight room.

Still, in the nfl, it isnt always the stronger man who wins. Its the guys who consistently executes the "best technique" that wins. Martin's troubles right now are probably more due to inconsistent technique, tha appliable strength.

DB, Maybe Mark has T-Rex type arms.

Because of Fasano's recieving track record here, I cringe anytime I know the ball's being thrown his way. Its "mystery meat at best". Either he'll catch it, drop it, or tip it into the air for a defensive pick.
His recieving track record as a Dolphin, definitively states one of these three things will happen. At least 5 of Chad Henne's picks a year seemed to come from Fasano tipping instead of catching the damn football. Seems the football at times just hates his hands.
Posted by: Yesterday's Gone

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2012/08/preseason-results-meaningless-performance-meaningful.html#storylink=cpy

I see that YG watches the games. Thank you, YG, for this. Exactly right. Fasano literally is a huge part of the failure of Henne, and that is literally true, even though some won't get it.

40% of Henne's picks were on balls tipped in the air by Fasano.

Mark/YG, you guys are 2 funny. Like an old couple. Very entertaining.

But, I'll agree with Mark here. There's a guy at my gym, gotta be a buck nothin' (no, he's probably 185 lbs, around there), who does NOTHING but upper body (chest and arms). Doesn't work on his back, nor his legs, he's funny looking. But the guy can bench press. He routinely puts up 235 dozens if not 20-30-40 times. ROUTINELY I'm telling you. I bench after him, and am taking 45 plates off the bar to do my workout. I'm amazed, he's a beast.

So I can believe it if Mark says it (I just can't believe a financial guy puts up that much weight. Just kidding Mark).


Maybe Mark's the illegitimate son of former Canadian wrestling star and lumberjack, Joe Leduc. Remember him? LOL

1 2 »

The comments to this entry are closed.