The Dolphins first “game” of the season is in the books, and while the ending score or the stat sheet doesn’t mean all that much, the information gleaned is very valuable.
I gush about Ryan Tannehill, add concerns with Chad Johnson and linebackers, along with other notes from the first game we’ve seen of the “new” Miami Dolphins.
MDD Lead Editor: Eric Galko
Offense Seems Designed to Let Tannehill Win Battle
It seems evident that Ryan Tannehill had the better day of the two quarterbacks (he and Matt Moore). And just based off of that game, Tannehill would be the starter Week One with David Garrard out. Although as I watched the offense for both quarterbacks, it occurred to me just how similar this offense was last night to the one Tannehill ran at Texas A&M.
While Matt Moore was adequate, as been his MO for his career, and ran the offense fluidly, it was obvious Tannehill was almost a step ahead of Moore mentally, based on the plays called and in recognition of defensive alignments. Keep in mind one major note from this game: Defenses won’t showing their hand in terms of blitzes and coverages. Tannehill can thrive in this offense vs. basic concepts. But once things get more complicated, Moore likely will have more control.
….But Tannehill Shows Confidence in Ability, In Pocket
Two of the most important attributes of a good quarterback revolve around confidence. Having confidence in your ability gets rid of hesitation, indecision, and over-thinking, all of which result in turnovers or missed opportunities. That’s why teams will always value “gunslingers” over game managers when drafting a quarterback.
Tannehill showed confidence both in the throws he can make and also in the pocket under pressure. The confidence he shows opens up so many doors for an offense. The offensive line works harder for him. The receivers trust their routes and their connection. The coaches can take more chances, knowing it won’t throw his confidence. Of all the skills Tannehill showed last night, it’s the confidence that has me ready to hop on his bandwagon.
Chad Johnson Not on the Box Score With One Drop
It was supposed to be Chad Johnson’s first coming out party. He had impressed in practices all week long, and this was supposed to be the “pre” cursor to his comeback season. But if you had Chad Johnson in your pre-season fantasy football league, you got a big goose-egg in your stat sheet. Johnson finished with one drop on the day and left catch-less in his debut with the Dolphins. While having Roberto Wallace and Julius Pruitt step up is nice, having Johnson develop into a fringe top option may be crucial to the Dolphins this year.
Bucs RBs vs. Dolphins LBs…. The Bucs Won
I had said in my preview that I was anxious/nervous to see how the Dolphins run defense would hold up against a Buc offense that was set to pound the ball on the ground. And unfortunately, the Bucs running backs Martin and Blount impressed a lot more than the first AND second team of the Dolphins at linebacker. Disregarding the stat sheet, it seemed Martin and Blount were able to consistently pick up yards at the second level. While the Bucs may be one of the better rushing teams they’ll face all pre-season, it’s important for this linebacking corps to step up and show some promise.
-The offensive line was good, not great last night. I thought the guards, both first and second team, struggled, while the tackles played well. I didn’t keep great track of who was in on each play, but with the quick passing game they’re implementing, having offensive tackles that can protect quickly is a must.
-The running game wasn’t much to get excited about. Reggie Bush had one big run, but the rest of the running game really didn’t excite. Doesn’t mean a whole lot because no running backs got more than 5 carries, but I’m hoping it steps up next game.
-Roberto Wallace, Julius Pruitt, Charles Clay, punter Brandon Fields, and Jason Trusnik impressed in the game. Clay’s role in the offense is VERY exciting, as I think he could end up being the 3rd option by season’s end.