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3 posts from November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012

Mike Sherman: May be too late for Egnew (this year)

The Dolphins have needed more production from their tight end position for several years now. It simply needs to improve and while Anthony Fasano is a solid player, he's not dynamic.

So some people hoped when the Dolphins invested a third-round pick on the position, the issue would be resolved. But Michael Egnew has so far not been able to be that solution.

And his chances of being that this year are practically nil, according offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.

"We're at that point in the season where you can't teach football weekly," Sherman said Thursday. "It's cumulatively. There's so much volume that if he hasn't had that rep two weeks ago, there's things we'll call in the game that we haven't ... we've walked through it. We've talked about it. But we haven't run it through full speed because there's not enough plays in practice.

And how does that affect Egnew?

"He doesn't have the benefit of cumulative learning of the offense so it limits him," Sherman said. "That's why it's so important and I tell rookies all the time, you have to come out of the blocks early because the guys that come out of the blocks get the reps. He didn't do that early. Now, he's getting better. He's working his butt off. I'm really excited about what he's going to be. But it's just harder to put him in there ahead of Fasano or ahead of [Charles] Clay at this juncture." 

So don't expect Egnew this year -- at least not at this juncture. The Dolphins view of him today is it is basically a redshirt year.

And that leads me to this:

So any young offensive player that didn't get out of the blocks early, as Sherman says, is pretty much out of the question later in the season?

Seems to me the problem there is not only with the rookie's slow start but also with a system or approach that basically doesn't allow for a player starting slow and then bursting onto the scene once he gets his NFL footing.

New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham, for example, was raw and needed a lot of work when he was a rookie. And he didn't have a catch in any of his first four games and had only one catch through five games. But did the Saints basically store him away until his second season?


Graham was given the chance to grow in-season. In his final eight games of the 2010 season, he caught 26 passes. He scored four touchdowns the final three games of the season. Graham, who had played mostly basketball at the University of Miami, developed slowly as a rookie. But the Saints made room for that development and plugged him in as he improved later in the year.

Doesn't seem the Dolphins can do that.


One more time for emphasis: Henne was not the answer

Stop it. Just, stop.

I should have predicted that today would mark the rebirth of the Chad Henne debate on this blog. While the Dolphins have their own serious and important quarterback issues, many on here have been debating whether the Dolphins should have kept Henne, Miami's former starter, during the past offseason.

This because on Sunday Henne had a very good day. Starting for the injured Blaine Gabbert, Henne completed 16 of 33 passes for 354 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in an overtime loss to Houston.

Let me jump into the fray.

The Dolphins did the right thing by moving on from Chad Henne.

He's a hard worker. He has all the physical tools to play in the NFL. But something is seemingly always missing. Something is lacking that keeps him from being a great NFL starter. I'm not saying this based on the fact his team lost on Sunday. I watched him the past three years. I listened to complaints from teammates and, yes, coaches, who came to the conclusion he wasn't franchise QB material.

He was not the answer and I doubt he'll be the answer in Jacksonville.

Henne, as usual, was streaky on Sunday. He was impressive at times. But then he went into the proverbial tank and nobody knew why. That's the worst kind of player, in my opinion. The guy who builds up hope and then waits or the crucial moments to play poorly is the biggest waste of time because teams keep them around and keep them around hoping he turns the corner.

Except he never turns the corner. He shows you just enough to keep you interested and hopeful. And he still slumps in the crunch.

That's Henne. And Sunday, predictably, he went into that tank at the most inopportune time.

Henne had a glorious day working for three quarters. He had completed 13 of 18 for 250 yards and three TDs. And then, he sort of disappeared.

In the fourth quarter and overtiime -- you know, when the game was on the line -- Henne completed 3 of 15 passes for 104 yards and one TD. Yes, he got the TD throw of 81 yards in the fourth quarter, but 3 of 15?

In overtime, by the way, Henne completed 1 of 8 passes for 15 yards. That was hero time. That was high-stakes time. That was the time to win the game. And Henne disappeared.

The streaky quarterback seemingly hit one of his skids.

So my evaluation of him does not change: Good backup, yes. Franchise QB, no way.

That doesn't make him a bad guy. He's actually a good man.

But it also doesn't make him a bad decision by the Dolphins. They needed to move on. They needed to stop wasting their own time.

Tannehill has regressed in November

September was a tough month for Ryan Tannehill and that didn't really surprise anyone because the Dolphins quarterback is a rookie and rarely does a rookie get welcomed into the NFL with a red carpet and a party.

Tannehill was 80 of 143 (55.9 completion percentage) for 1,046 yards in September. He threw two touchdown passes and six interceptions. His quarterback rating was 66.4.

Fine. We expected growing pains.

October was much, much, much better. Suddenly, Tannehill seemed to improve his accuracy. He was playing like a veteran at times. One could see steady improvement. And the stats showed the change.

Tannehill completed 40 of 60 passes (66.7 completion rate) for 426 yards in October. He threw two touchdowns and no interceptions. His rating zoomed to 98.3. I should remind you the relatively modest statistics were a product of the Dolphins having a bye and also Tannehill missed most of the Jets game with a knee injury.

It was nonetheless a good month.

But since that knee injury and since the calendar advanced to November, the Dolphins quarterback has suffered a nose dive.

Tannehill this month has completed 59 of 105 passes (56.2 completion percentage) for 648 yards. He has thrown two touchdowns this month and five interception. And his rating is a season-low 61.1.

This has nothing to do with the amount of duress Tannehill is under. He was sacked seven times in September, and six times each in October and so far in November. This isn't about the success of the running game as the Dolphins actually rushed the ball better in September than October and November.

This obviously has nothing to do with comfort level with talent around him because Tannehill hooked up plenty with Brian Hartline early on even though the receiver didn't play in the preseason. Tannehill also found Anthony Fasano plenty early on but the combination of quarterback-tight end has gone practically silent in recent weeks.

And no, this isn't about strenth of schedule, either. The last couple of weeks, for example, the Dolphins played teams with losing records whose defenses were ranked dead last in points allowed -- until they got through the game against Miami, anyway.

So what is it?

Has Tannehill hit the rookie wall early?

Is that knee injury still bothering him or affecting his delivery although last week Tannehill said he felt completely healthy?

Have defenses figured him and the Miami offense out?

Or, worse, is he simply regressing?

This week the Dolphins play Seattle to finish out their November schedule so the finish to this month doesn't seem promising. The Seahawks boast the NFL's fourth-best defense in allowing only 16.2 points per game.

Yup, November has been a nightmare for Ryan Tannehill.