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A warning: Talent more important than scheme

The Dolphins' offense is different this year because the offensive coordinator is new this year. But is that truly a big deal?

It must be noted the Dolphins have changed offensive coordinators more than they have change head coaches in the past decade. And still Miami fans are waiting for an offense that can rival New England's.

Bill Lazor is Joe Philbin's second offensive coordinator. Tony Sparano had two offensive coordinators in his time. Nick Saban had two offensive coordinators in his time. Dave Wannstedt had three offensive coordinators and perhaps more, depending on whom you believe. Jimmy Johnson had a couple.

Lazor brings with him the idea of moving guys around. Motion. Shifting.

And he's pretty confident about that approach.

“My attitude as I walk into a job is that I’m here to make a difference," he said Tuesday. "That’s not to point the spotlight on me. It’s more to put the responsibility on me. I’m here to do positive things. I’m here to provide leadership. I’m here to help with the expertise in any area I can continue to add it. Some people walk into a job and maybe think about, ‘What is that situation?’ I just choose to walk into a job and say, ‘This is what we are going to make the situation.’”

That's good. But as with everything else, there are pros and cons.

The folks who love the shifting and motion and so forth love to tell you it helps keep the defense from locking in on guys. It is harder to bracket a receiver who is moving presnap. It also creates indecision for the defense.

But the folks that approach offense in a stationary presnap fashion -- like the Dolphins did under Mike Sherman the past couple of years -- will tell you their way of doing things is also well-thought.

“When you’re stationary as a football team or ahead of your emphasis on stationary, you might be able to make more adjustments offensively, check a play in another direction, redirect things, signal things differently," Philbin said.

"If you’re snapping a ball and guys are moving, you don’t really have that option. And so you have to kind of go with the play. Your intent is that you’re going to create a little bit of indecision, limit the play speed of the defense with all the shifting and motioning and so forth. The flipside is you’re not always 100 percent sure of the adjustments and you may get stuck into a look that maybe is less than ideal.”

So both approaches have strengths and weaknesses.

Where does that leave us?

It says here that both approaches have won. Both approaches have been highly successful.

The bottom line is talent.

If the offense is talented, either approach will work. If the offense lacks talent, neither approach will work very well.

The point?

Be cautious of believing all will be different or problems will be resolved based on a change in scheme or system. Sometimes there is incremental improvement. Sometimes not.

Exponential improvement, however, comes when greater talent is injected into the equation. That's when things change dramatically. Remember, it's not about the scheme.

It's mostly about the talent.



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First! helpful living in Belgium!

I agree that both take talent, BUT you can fit a scheme to the talent. Harder to do the other way around.

Hey Belgian, good point.

There will always be controversy with talent vs scheme ideas.

Miami fans of recent years should be oh, so familiar since talents such as Jake Long and Richie Incognito didn't fit the zone blocking scheme; Brandon Marshall didn't fit Joe Philbin's West Coast "anonymous receiver" passing attack; and fans are wondering how- or even if- Dion Jordan fits into Kevin Coyle's defensive schema.

Sometimes talent is unrecognizable by some in certain schemes and a change works wonders. Witness Wes Welker's meteoric rise to fame in New England after languishing in Miami. But we know Bill Belichick is pretty darn good at fitting talent into his schemes.

Sooo... THE IDEA is that talent and scheme don't operate in a vacuum. The objective is to find the very best talent for the scheme employed. Two years of watching Jeff Ireland vs Joe Philbin should remind all Miami fans of the importance of getting the most talented players that fit the scheme.

Shula was a fantastic coach for a lot of reasons. But for me, he fit the scheme to the talent.

From 1970 until 1982, the Dolphins were a run first team. From Csonka to Delvin Williams, to Andra Franklin, run first. Griese passed when needed, and hit Warfield and later Nat Moore for the big plays.

From 1983 until Shula's retirement, he changed to a pass first team. Dan Marino fell in our laps, and that was that.

Thanks Mando!

I'll be more careful in believing the hype....

what fukin hype???????

We are the worst in the league right? lol

and oh boy! our backup went down with injury! Pack it in!


Where is Promichelle to tell us Tannehill needs to improve his accuracy?

Well then we all seem to agree that Philbin has been wrong in his approach; fitting the talent to the scheme. I guess Philbin thought the Packers won with their scheme.

billcale, just to let you know Wes Welker was a first down machine when he was in Miami. Randy Mueller who was clueless ignored his obvious talent and traded one of the most prolific first down receivers in the NFL. Mueller was the GM who also drafted Ted Ginn a kick returner with his 9th overall pick in the draft.

Philbin is a dinosaur when it comes to play calling or running an offense. Placing Mike Wallace on the same side of the offense, on every play, in every game was not sound football. One has to create miss-matches. Moving three players in the backfield, then putting one in motion before the snap, causes miss-matches. The defense cant get fixed. Theres no reason Tannehill, if so inclined, can change any play at any time,,,,practice, practice, practice and a tad of smarts.
Mando, you choose to make this more complicated then it really is. it's not rocket science.

Promichael,glad you brought up Randy Mueller,or as I like to call him,Randy Moron. Not only did he trade Wes Welker,but to trade him within your own division, goes way beyond stupid! Wayne Huizinga had a great talent in picking the worst people to run his team after Shula retired. Maybe the worst was good ol Parcells?

Darkoak your friend School Boy needs a babysitter, are you available today?

There is very little talent on offence.

Ross picks the worst people to run his team. Not ONE winning season ever.

Parcells did a great job. Heck, he won with Ireland and Sparano'!! Wish he'd come back.

The right Combination of Talent and Scheme is what it takes to win consistently in the NFL. You don't have to have the best talent just talent that suits the scheme.

A smart QB can always adjust the play to exploit the defenses weaknesses. Thats why Manning and Brady are successful no matter who their supporting casts are.

Tannehill seems like he is a smart guy. Lets hope he can take the next step and adjust the plays at the line like the best qbs can.

Total talent wins with competent coaching. The team that is going to win the Super Bowl this year will control both lines of scrimmage, have contributions from all phases of the game, and then the moronic media and pundits will try to find a way to give the quarterback all of the glory.

With all these players in motion and a new O line I see a lot of illegal motion and false start penalties.

in what decade will the Dolphins finally have a franchise QB?
In what decade will the Dolphins finally win a playoff game.?
In what decade will these STUPID STUPID homers finally get 1 right.?
In what decade will the Dolphins finally have an Oline.?
In what decade will the Dolphins finally have a HC worth a damn.?
In what decade will the Dolphins finally have an owner who knows football.?
In what decade will the Dolphans finally have a stadium with home field advantage.?

Posted by: ugly logo |

Mando, good points. Some of these homers think a new scheme will work despite the fact there is a severe lack of NFL talent.

Offensive line=Playoffs=Superbowl, All other components need to be solid also, but an average QB can win with a great o-line and solid D.

We need an o-line!

Its a QB league more than ever. WE NEED A MUCH BETTER QB.

didn't retire.
he was kicked out
of the joe
by wayne jimmy and choker dan.

u either
have talent,
or u don't
phins don't

they practice for 10 min.'s
and take 4 days off
bunch of poossies

Talent speech from dude that can't even get the dammm stories straight. Thanks for the epiphany, Mandy.

You want talent, I'll give you talent.

Brandon Albert, let that sink in for a second. Now think about this...Charles Clay. Lamar Miller. Knowshon Moreno. Mike Wallace. Brian Hartline. And are you ready for this, this is the Big Whopper....RYAN TANNEHILL! It's like a full moon beaming in a starry sky. Think '94 49'ers. Think '83 Redskins, '84 Dolphins, '99 Rams.

The amazing thing about the whole thing is the team's ability to keep this all under wraps until the regular season. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled is convincing the world he didn't exist.

Parcells did a great job. Heck, he won with Ireland and Sparano'!! Wish he'd come back.

Posted by: Shula 73 | July 30, 2014 at 08:03 AM
Dude the Dolphins were 8 and 8 last season. However they were not a playoff team. Why would you suggest going back to the Dinosaur age; with one of the worst executives ever (Parcells)and to a GM (Ireland) who had to be stripped of his powers for cause.

Now that is something we can
TOTALLY agree on.

@839... not so much, t'watt.

I luv u 2

janga - NFL network AM - brought this word into the football conversation this morning and it will be here to stay as commentators address key players. janga, that game where one could remove several pieces without consequence BUT, remove THE wrong one and everything falls apart. for most teams it's easy to spot the janaga piece, a tom brady or grontkouski, an adrian peterson, a calvin johnson...these teams have that super special player when if removed will reduce that perineal playoff team to an average run of the mill team... how does this relate to the dolphins? my point exactly! why are we merely average? because it is a stretch to say that miami has a true janga piece, it is realy difficult to identify one measley big time difference maker on our roster. if i had to pick one it would have to be MIKE WALLACE, but i can't truly say that until that deep ball unequivickly becomes that difference maker that miami needs. you know, vince wilfork was another janga piece for new england, when he was out last year, the pats defense became average, and that's why loosing big PAUL SOLIA is really going to hurt.

The Fins have the worst QB, RB's, and OL in the NFL .

2 different schemes under 2 great Coaches. Shula with his ground attack SB Teams, Walsh with his passing attack Champions of the NFL, both were highly successful. But, who were the Players that implemented both of those O systems? Stars of the highest caliber. Hmm...

It might be a case of placing a Great Players in a Great Scheme----->SB.

Great to have you back Armando. Let's stay positive. I think this year the key will be the Offensive Line, again. How long will it take for them to play as an effective unit? Will they protect Tannehill and get the running game going?

Posted by: budtki | July 30, 2014 at 08:51 AM

I think you may be giving Paul Soliai more credit than he is due. The guy was slightly better than average for us last year. Earl Mitchell doesn't have far to go to be an adequate replacement.


This team is less talented than the one that started 2013.

Jenga? you mean Jenga right? Cuz Janga can mean one of two things. One of which, you should share the other, well, according to the urban dictionary, is a groupie or girl that likes to get around. Either way, sounds good!

Last year I saw hesitation with Tannehill all year. He was going against his instincts - and that created delay. I definitely think the scheme hampered him. He should've been off running instead of taking sacks. That's a product of a scheme where they are forcing him to stay in the pocket. Nothing to do with the player in that instance.

Players and execution are key in any scheme - but when you have one that doesn't fit the players skill set you are asking for trouble. Try running a 3-4 without a big NT. Try running the spread without fast players. We've stockpiled speed in the impact positions. We've now built a line with more athleticism. We aren't going to do well in a power running game.

Yeah, if we stockpile crap players it doesn't matter the scheme. But I think in our case we have good talent, but wasn't using it right last year.

Posted by: FckFace | July 30, 2014 at 09:08 AM

Im not sure how u can arrive at the conclusion that this team is worse than the start of 2013. They appear to be better in every aspect of the game.

Call me a dreamer but I do think the Dolphins do have sufficient talent on offense - if the line can be at least average.

This is why they play the games, though.

talent + scheme, I mean it aint that complicated people. You must have both. A bunch of talented players in a crap scheme will give you the same as a bunch of average players in a great scheme.

ahh, Janga AKA Slumpbuster!

When you see 300lbs gorillas bearing in on you, weeel, the usual instinct is to run.

All these Qb analysts. here's a fact for you, last year Tannehill accounted for 25 TDs which is the most a Dolphins qb has accounted for since 1994. yeah that includes 5 years of Dan Marino.

All this from a 2nd year Qb who had one of the poorest o lines in NFL history. So here's an idea, how about we let the kid develop, sit back, accumulate NFL talent at all the other positions and wait and see how it turns out.

Nature vs Nurture, Talent vs Scheme, etc...I say its all about natural born leaders and chemistry.

Look at both the 49ers and Ravens before the Harbaugh brothers arrived. Average teams with decent but not great talent.

Instant playoff contenders!

Why do you think Ross hopped on his private jet and met with Jim Harbaugh in secret? Because Jim has natural leadership qualities that makes everyone around him want to play to their potential.

I just don't think Joe Philbin has the Chutzpah to get grown men to run through a wall for him...and that's what you need to reach the pinnacle of sport.

In my opinion the OL is worse, the D-line is worse, the DB's are worse and the front office is worse.

Here is how it will manifest itself:

-Teams will throw deep early and often to try and put us in a hole.
-Once we are down we will have to abandon the running game and stick to the pass.
-Neither Tanne nor Wallace nor Hartline have ever played in a motion offense before.

Talent Moore Important than Scheme?

Someone didn't watch the NBA Finals this year!! (Heat had the most talented team, Spurs had the better scheme)

Or hasn't watched B.Bilechick the past decade win with scheme not talent. The only time the Pats had talent on the team went 19-1. Brady isn't the most talented QB, he just knows his scheme real well.

Salguero sounds like one of those clowns who has never played a sport and says COACHING IS NOT IMPORTANT!!

COACHING(SCHEME) is the most important thing in team sports. Even in an activity like Soccer, Coaching is the important thing to a teams success.

Perfect example the Florida Marlins!!

With Ozzie they had a whole load of talent,zero scheme.

With Redmond they have marginal talent, but great scheme.


Teams were using back in the 70's. My HS team used motion.

Teams that don't use motion are the teams of Tanne & Wallace prior to this - why? Perhaps one or both has a learning disability.

sometimes you have to use the plan that actually fits your talent.

I think the talent at WR in combo with the presnap motion is going to make all the difference for this offense.

Hartline, Wallace, Gibson and Landry all have their own strengths and can exploit defenses in different ways, especially when being moved around.

How is the Defense worst?

Please explain.

I would love to read it.

Even The O-line can not possibly be worst!!

We have 2 legit porbowlers on it now, and Incognito, Jerry, and J.Martin are not on the team anymore.

I agree the front office is worst. Hate Ireland as a man all you want, but he knew what Talent looks like. Again, Thank god Ireland built more than 75% of this roster. Imagine if the Fins had to do a rebuild this off season and Hickey had to do it.

Hickey drafted a bunch of "Acorns"!! Everyone would have killed Ireland if he drafted a linemen in the first and a WR in the 2nd!! And don't even bring up wasting a 3rd round pick on a small school player.

Even though the only time Ireland drafted a linemen in the first was Jake #1 and Pouncey #19(same spot as J.Jones). And the only time Ireland wasted anything above a 4th on a WR he traded for B.Marshall!!

I too do a have a concern with Philbin. The only thing that can save this man's job going forward is Tannehill becoming a top ten Qb.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | July 30, 2014 at 09:32 AM

Is it bad of me to hope Philbin suffers a nervous breakdown and Lazor replaces him as HC indefinitely? Its not like Im wishing death on him or anything.

Balance. Life and Sports... Balance.



And Again, for those who didn't know. Or didn't read it when I posted it when we first hired Lazor.

The "New Dolphins Offense" is the Same M.Martz Offense, with the Spread-Option implemented as a run game to balance it out.

That is all the C.Kelly Offense really is. Air Corryell with Spread Option.

I don't know Mark, maybe Ross is playing it close to his chest but he speaks nothing but highly of Philbin and constanly states he anticipates Philbin being coach for many years to come, as long as the team is developing and improving of course. Development and improvement can take many forms so, I dont know but I am not so sure Philbins seat is as hot as most say.

Posted by: Dashi | July 30, 2014 at 09:31 AM

I agree to some extent in that Ireland was better at his job than a lot give him credit for. He did an exceptional job of finding talent in the later rds and was at least consistent about getting starters in the 1st rd.

His big issue was not finding game changing talent. Lots of avg. starters and quality backups but no game changers.

Dashi, I don't care what label you put on it...does it score points and win games?

I posted yesterday how the fins only scored 30+ points one game last season, and 24+ points only 4 times...all of them were wins.

NFL average was 24.1 ppg, if we can just hit the average we will be in the playoffs with this above average defense.

My biggest concern with this team still is believe it or not their ability to stop the run. The d line can only improve if Odrick makes a big step forward and he was almost a pro bowler last year. Linebackers - no change. if the team uses Dion Jordan at 265 there - well then the run and pass defense improves.

The o line is better but could've should've been better. Armed with wall their picks and $40M in cap space they should've been more aggressive.

They could've traded up for Lewan. They could've signed another front line free agent o lineman instead of Shelley Smith. there were a lot of things they could've done but still they did improve the talent there because Colledge is better than Incognito and anyone is better than Martin and Jerry that fat lazy turd is gone and a young talented Thomas will be better in time.

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