Monday, October 13, 2008

Reader Question: Reactions to Texans game

Here's a reader question concerning some specific aspects of the Texans game:
With the way the Dolphins played the previous two games and dominated them especially the Patriots game, what happened today? The dolphins offense didn't look in rhythm and if the Texans could have had a bit better pass protection for their QB they really would have put the game out of reach for the Dolphins. The secondary for the Phins didn't look good today. Since Ted Ginn wasn't really used as a WR why didn't they use him on punt returns? He would be more effective doing that than Davone Bess and Ginn just might have had a couple of huge returns which likely would have given the Dolphins another win. However, maybe the coaching staff for the Phins are really looking to the future with Ginn and waiting for Henne to take the helm at QB since he can really throw the ball deep.
I encourage anyone who would like an answer from me, to send in any questions and I'll post my thoughts on the blog.

Now on to the questions.

First off, let me talk a little about this game in general.

The feeling after this loss was like getting slugged in the stomach and having your wind knocked out. I won't begrudge anyone for feeling let down by this loss - I certainly was. But that feeling shouldn't last too long. Realistically, the Texans are a better team than the Dolphins and Miami's lack of experience and talent showed through in some big ways today. Certainly, the manner in which they lost was disheartening. But the fact that they lost shouldn't come as such a surprise.

As far as the offense looking out of rhythm, I would certainly agree. The Wildcat, while continuing to produce the big play, is also starting to falter as a reliable tool for picking up yards on the ground. The running plays out of the Wildcat, as well as the normal formation running plays, were simply not very effective in this game.

Also, as much as I respect what Chad Pennington is providing for this offense, it can't be glossed over or swept under the rug that his vertical limitations as far as stretching the field, are hampering the offense. His effective range falls within a 25-yard stretch, and he's not the best at throwing outside routes toward the sideline. That leaves a very small box in the middle of the field and between the hash marks that defenses can just clog up. This is preventing Miami's WRs from making any significant contributions to the passing game because they can't reliably get the ball outside or deep, and the middle is heavily defended much of the time.

By no means am I advocating for a QB change. I would be staunchly against that at this point. However, like I mentioned in a previous post, the WRs on this team will continue to wallow in their non-productivity as long as the effective range of this offense lies in so constricted a space.

As far as Houston's pass protection, well Joey Porter was really the only Dolphin getting any consistent pressure on Matt Schaub. The secondary was atrocious this game, there's no doubting that, but Miami's lack of a better pass rush certainly didn't help matters. Miami's secondary was able to come up with several big stops in or around the redzone, but every other play they did give up was seemingly for big yardage, and they couldn't come through when it mattered most. This unit needs some major retooling, and I sincerely hope that Oakland's Nnamdi Asomugha reaches free agency after this season and that Miami spends aggressively to get him. He will be worth every penny.

Your questions about Ted Ginn and the return game have been on every Dolphins fan's mind this year, and there really is no good answer for why he's not back returning kicks. The coaching staff hasn't given a good answer, and at this point, it doesn't look as if they'll be making the change anytime soon.

I am fine with having Davone Bess return punts. His quickness and shiftiness is probably better suited for returning punts than Ginn. And in his limited opportunities, Bess has shown a decent ability as punt-returner. Thus far, he's averaging 13.5 yards on 8 returns, with two returns longer than 20 yards. For his career, Ted Ginn is averaging 9.1 yards on 28 returns, also with two 20+ returns. Ginn's amazing speed requires several long straight-ahead steps before he is in full gear. You generally don't have that room on punt returns. That's why Bess' superior acceleration and quickness make him better suited for the punt return job.

The kick return job is another story. Kick returns are perfect for Ginn's skill set since he has plenty of room and time to build up full speed and hit the holes. Bess' average (22.2 yards) is almost the same as Ginn's (22.7), but Ginn has a much greater potential for the home run. Bess did show some improvement today in the return game, but I think everyone would still rather see Ginn back returning kickoffs. The coaching staff really should not be trying to save him for the passing game. His poor production in that area thus far does not warrant that kind of caution. This team needs as any weapons as it can get, and Ginn is a more dangerous kick return weapon than Bess.

No comments: