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Some thoughts on the first week of camp

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by rafael, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. rafael

    rafael Well-Known Member

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    I'm really liking what I'm hearing out of this first week. IMO the Dolphin's two big weaknesses coming out of last season were that they didn't make enough big plays (or as Sparano says "chunk yardage") and that they gave up too many big plays. As stat focused as Sparano is, I'm certain that he is well aware that the teams that win in this league are considerably better in those two categories. I think that whether or not we improve in those areas is the difference between being a middle of the road 7-9, 8-8 or 9-7 team and one that is a legitimate threat as a SB contender. I have felt that the fixes for those areas came from different places. On offense, I've felt we needed more and better play makers. Our offense was incredibly efficient, but we didn't have many that would/could make the big play by breaking the extra tackle and/or running away from the defense. Therefore, it wasn't a scheme problem. It was a talent problem. I looked at our offense and I saw one true play maker in Brown, potential play makers in Henne and Hartline and an occasional play maker in Cobbs. Players like RWs, Bess, Cam and Polite were consistent players that helped our efficiency but they weren't play makers capable of consistently getting that chunk yardage. The addition of Marshall addressed that directly. And hopefully the development of Henne and Hartline would help address that internally. I loved hearing from Peter King that on the first play of the camp he was at, Henne connected with Marshall deep. Then in subsequent reports we've heard that Marshall has been unstoppable in the red zone (another area where our WRs struggled). In the first few practices Henne showed significant improvement in his completion percentage against the vanilla defensive schemes our defense played (and what they mostly played last season). Usually the defense is ahead of the offense at this point, but early on the offense was clearly winning. IMO that shows that Henne has taken another step in his development over where he was last season and that we've added a true offensive play maker that was as good as advertised. Those improvements alone should result in an increase in the number of big plays our offense produces this coming season.

    On defense, I thought our issues were mostly a scheme problem. I did feel we needed a talent upgrade at a couple of positions, namely a coverage LB and a FS, but they weren't as important as scheme improvements since our talent level in 2008 was roughly equivalent to what we had in 2009. And as I'm sure every body knows, our team defense was ranked about top half in 2008 and bottom third in 2009. I felt that just by improving the scheme it was reasonable to expect that we could return to being a top half defense and that by upgrading the talent in a few key positions we could be a top 10 defense. I looked at our defense and I saw play makers in Starks and Wake, two potential play makers in Davis and Smith and an occasional play maker in Bell. The addition of Dansby filled that coverage LB need and added another play maker to that group. That gave us three true defensive play makers and two guys in Davis and Smith who are universally believed to have the talent to bring our defensive play maker list to 5. Like with Henne and Hartline on the offensive side, you just have to wait and hope that they develop. That brings me to the addition of Nolan. He was supposed to bring with him more innovative rush packages akin to what we saw from the NYJ last year. That makes sense since they worked on the same staff in Baltimore. The news from camp seems to indicate that this is exactly what we're getting. As noted above, the offense was having a great deal of success early on. Even Sparano commented that he was a bit concerned that the offense was having so much success. I figure it probably took Nolan a few days to teach and install the new rush schemes. Well, fast forward to about day 4 and suddenly we're hearing that our pass rush is unstoppable. We're also hearing that Clemons has been holding on to the starting FS spot. He's a guy we all knew had the physical talent, but had yet to show that he could grasp the mental aspect. He may not qualify as that ball hawk S I wanted, but he seems to have made a mental jump and is making fewer mistakes playing what I'm guessing are simplified responsibilities in more of a man-free scheme as opposed to the quarters coverage often used last season. That should, at a minimum, result in a reduction in the number of big plays our defense allows this coming season.

    Now, obviously some can look at every offensive positive as a defensive negative and vice-a-versa, but I think the timing of the successes for the respective units that we're hearing of out of this camp indicate that both sides of the ball have improved over what we had last year. And that those improvements have come in the areas that are likely to translate into wins during the season.
     
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  2. GMJohnson

    GMJohnson New Member

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    I just hope no one else gets hurt.
     
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  3. adamprez2003

    adamprez2003 Senior Member

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    agree that we should have a more potent offense this year. Its way to early to tell what we'll be like just yet since we're only one week into training camp but the one area I'm following closely right now is the offensive line. As you said it takes the offense a while to get on the same page so I'm not worried but sometime over the next two weeks I want to start reading that our oline is starting to jell a bit more. From early reports it seems like center, guard and possibly carey arent playing up to expectations. Like I said its early but I will be looking for improvement from that unit over the next few weeks. Dont want to start the season like last year with the problems we had

    On defense I am very encouraged by the early front seven play, mainly odrick and wake who will be key components to our success. was hoping to hear about langford but i havent heard anything negative either so who knows.

    I'm cautiously excited by Clemons (have been since we drafted him). I love the fact that there are virtually no reports on him which seems to indicate that though he isnt getting picks he isnt getting burned either. After last year I'll take that. Same goes for Bell

    With CBs I'm both excited and worried. Carroll seems to be a find though I dont see a major role for him this year since he has alot of technique work to work on before we can throw him out there. Hopefully he can contribute on special teams. Love the fact that he seems to be flashing as a KR.

    Smith and Davis seem to be having up and down camps so far with Smith seemingly in a more major funk recently. This is the area of defense that I want to spend time monitoring over the next few weeks. With Will Allen available I dont think we have too much to worry about here but I would like to see both CBs take another step up from last year. I'm not that worried about Vontae though I want to see more consistency and less big plays but there's an inkling of concern growing over Smith. Hopefully its simply a matter of shaking off rust. Cant wait to see these guys play with my own eyes next week
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2010
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  4. Frumundah Finnatic

    Frumundah Finnatic U Mad Miami?

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    me 2
     
  5. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I want our oline to be settled soon, would like to see Jerry and Dtrain starting come sep.

    With the addition of Marshall I just love how our receivers compliment each other's skillset and how we can scheme the field with their different talent's.

    Iam absolutely drooling to watch 2 supremely talented running backs play the game with space, space that they both have never experienced....

    The overall athleticism of our young defense is exciting...
     
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  6. rafael

    rafael Well-Known Member

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    I think we have more than enough talent on the OL. The key is getting them to work as a unit. As you said, it will be nice to see them settle on the starting 5 so they can start jelling. I wonder if Jerry is getting all those snaps there just for the sake of snaps or if it's b/c they expect him to start.

    I don't think there should be anymore concern over Smith than with Davis. The newspapers have reported more gaffes by Smith but camp observers have stated the opposite. That Smith has been the better CB in camp.
     
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  7. the 23rd

    the 23rd a.k.a. Rio

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    we shall see very soon
     
  8. Tin Indian

    Tin Indian Rockin' The Bottom End Club Member

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    Maybe we should sacrifice a chicken on the practice field or something to get rid of the injury bug?
     
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  9. Pandarilla

    Pandarilla Purist Emeritus

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    I learned that I appreciate the fan tweets more than the beat writer's info.

    I learned that the team's achilles heel is literally the achilles heel.

    I feel like a government analyst trying to decode and assess terrorist threats with the twitter and blog posts. That said, we need to investigate Nolan Carroll and Ike Alama-Francis.

    I learned the "Eye of Suaron" is set inside a golf cart...
     
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  10. The Aqua Crush

    The Aqua Crush New Member

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    Nice post Rafael.

    I am also intrigued to see how much space R&R have in the red zone/goal line situations if Marshall can be the red zone threat he has been in camp and well for all his career. That should spread D's thin and create easier lanes for our backs to get in for 6. The dual threat is something we truely haven't had in the redzone in quiet some time.
     
  11. dolfan7171

    dolfan7171 Well-Known Member

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    Good post. I am really looking forward to the remaining practices and see how this shapes up.
     
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  12. adamprez2003

    adamprez2003 Senior Member

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    :lol: that was one of the best posts ever! i literally laughed out loud when i read "
    I learned that the team's achilles heel is literally the achilles heel." :lol:

    good job :up:
     
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  13. rafael

    rafael Well-Known Member

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    Not to mention that Marshall is a great run blocker from the WR position. With RWs' fantastic ability to get the corner, it's not difficult to imagine him walking in to the end zone a few times after Marshall has sealed the edge against some CB.

    Between the tackles, it almost seems unfair to match-up a defense that is spread thin against an OL that was the number 1 rushing unit in the league before the injuries set in. It basically makes them pick their poison. It's a catch-22, mismatch against the league's best rushing offense or mismatch against Marshall. :yes:
     
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  14. Frumundah Finnatic

    Frumundah Finnatic U Mad Miami?

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    ....To Hialeah!
     

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