Monday, December 8, 2008

Thoughts on Bills game; Reader Mailbag

I'm going to use a reader's email as a jump-off point into talking a little bit about the Bills game:

The defense did a great job and the offense was a bit weak especially in the red zone never the less they got the job done. The receivers made plays to keep ahead of the Bills. Do you think the Dolphins currently have the receivers they need to be successful with in the future? How much of an effect overall do you think that Lou Polite has had since he has been with the team?

The number one thing that I took out of the Bills game was that the Dolphins truly put together a rare "complete game." By that, I mean that all phases of the game were perfectly complementing one another all game long.

Sure, the offense only had one TD, but the flow of this game dictated that long, time-consuming drives were more valuable than scoring TDs every time down the field. And as Vonnie Holliday said after the game, the best defense is the one on the sideline. The ability to take such a commanding lead in the time of possession battle played right into the defense's dominant performance.

Dan Carpenter's excellent job with his field goals ensured that Miami's clock-killing drives came away with some points and prevented Buffalo from getting the ball with a short field, if he were to have missed.

As far as the receivers are concerned, the short answer is "no" - the guys currently on the roster are not good enough to keep this team's progression going in the future. For the most part, they've done an admirable job this season, but the unit as a whole still needs a lot of work.

For starters, as I've mentioned several times here, Ted Ginn won't ever be able to truly live up to his potential until there is a stronger thrower at QB. That's not to say he can't be useful, he is and will be, but he won't be a No. 1 WR with Pennington here. And that's absolutely fine, as long as Miami can somehow find a No. 1 guy to play opposite him, but that's much easier said than done.

Greg Camarillo's injury is still a big question mark. He would make a fantastic third receiver, but he may not even be ready to go at the beginning of next season, and once he's fully healed he may not have the same quickness and speed that made him so adept at getting open.

Davone Bess has transferred into Camarillo's starting spot nicely thus far, but I don't think he's talented enough or big enough to be a starter. A starting duo of Ginn and Bess is just too small.

Brandon London is still very much a prospect. He has all the tools to be a top-3 WR guy but he still has a lot to show. And Ernest Wilford should probably be getting the boot next season.

So, I suppose it depends on what timeframe you are talking about when you say the future. Obviously, if you are talking about just the next three games (and possibly playoffs), then yes, the guys we have are good enough to be successful - heck, they have to be. But if you are talking about next year or the year after, then no, upgrades are needed, specifically that big, dominating No. 1 guy.

Now on to Lousake Polite. I absolutely love this guy. He has been lights-out for Miami in short-yardage situations and I don't think he's had an unproductive carry yet. With ten carries, Polite has converted 9 first downs. That kind of efficiency is amazing, and it has really helped this offense to have the ability to keep drives going rather than settling for a punt or FG attempt when all that's needed for the first down is a yard or so. He's also added another first down through the air for good measure. Obviously, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams could probably have picked up some of these first downs as well, but having a guy like Polite in the backfield as well, stops the defense from keying in on either back. He also deserves praise for the solid blocking he's providing in the run game and in pass protection. The team just might have uncovered its fullback for the forseeable future when they signed Polite.

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