« TMZ: Chad Henne acts like a boob in the Bahamas | Main | Sparano: New offense "not similar" to old offense »

Dolphins must, must, MUST improve deep pass game

Dolphins coach Tony Sparano says his team will continue to be a run-first team.

That's fine. Solid strategy.

But in today's NFL, you must, must, must pass the ball to win championships. I remind you Green Bay's running game was not exactly the example of hard-nosed football last year, in fact, James Starks wasn't really their starter until the playoffs.

The Packers won the Super Bowl on the arm of Aaron Rodgers. And last year, the Saints won it on the arm of Drew Brees. And Pittsburgh and Indianapolis could throw it before that.

So Sparano obviously cannot ignore the passing game. He must continually examine his quarterback play, his receiver play, his offensive line and running back blocking.

As to the receivers, the coach says "I like the group, it was really productive. Again." But ...

"Where we haven't done it is down the field with the big play," Sparano said. "With us, Brian [Hartline] was at the time [of his injury] the highest average guy. Brandon brings great productivity to the position and can be a guy that can catch a little one and go long or catch the long one.

"In fairness to those guys, we need to advance the ball down the field better. And that's something we've been working on this offseason ourselves."

Sparano says the problem is "a little bit of everything" when identifying why the Dolphins haven't been able to master the deep passing game. I would say look at quarterback Chad Henne. Look at the lack of speed on the outside. Look at the blocking up front. Look at receivers sometimes running patterns that they were not supposed to run.

"You can't point the finger at one person. It's wasn't Chad's fault. It wasn't Dan Henning's fault. There were some opportunities where we have the green light and can get the ball down the field and we didn't have the protection. and it might not be the line's fault that we didn't have the protection."

Great, it is nobody's fault that this phase was bad. Blame the media! That always works.

"At the end of the day," Sparano said, "we have to take more opportunities to throw it down the field and to do that we have to infuse more A) creativity, B) speed."

Sparano is hopeful Marlon Moore "the fastest guy we have" can help. He also talked about other guys on the practice squad who can scoot. Obviously Roberto Wallace is a factor. But there is no doubt the team will try to find an outside threat.

Remember that Jeff Ireland was among the Dallas personnel department that found Miles Austin as an undrafted rookie. Austin could not run a route to save his life. But he was big and fast and the Cowboys had a fifth-round grade on him. When Austin slipped through the cracks, the Cowboys scooped him up.

And the rest, five years later, is history.

One hopes history repeats in South Florida.