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.
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.