I'm not talking about the evolution of man. I'm talking about the evolution of the Miami Dolphins. Although if you want to truly evolve as a person, you better have some Miami Dolphins love in you.
It all started early this season when we lost the beloved Chad Pennington. As you know we insert Chad Henne in his place. The style of the game we play had to change. Suddenly we could throw the ball down the field, definitely a step in the right direction. All of our receivers who we're so accustomed to catching pillow soft passes now had to become better in order to catch the meteorites that were being released from Henne's hands. The play of our receivers has been seriously elevated in all aspects of the game. Take last week against the patriots for example. Did anyone see Brian Hartline making tackles on special teams? The dude was seriously fired up. And did anyone see Ted Ginn throw that stiff arm on a kick off return? Wrap your heads around that for a second, "crumple up and quit" Ginn is suddenly staying in bounds and throwing stiff arms. That gets an O face from me.
Evolution is all about youth. In order to evolve you must replace the old with the new. Take week 4 for instance. Joey porter gets hurt, and the CFL's own Cameron Wake steps in and gets 3 sacks on 11 plays. I'll take a linebacker who can get a sack 30% of the time he's on the field any day.
Then in the game against Tampa Bay, which was way closer than it should have been, we lose our best player. Being at that game, and being able to see Ronnie Brown on the sideline was tough. All the wild thoughts of our season coming to an end on January 3rd were running through my head. What will we do without the trigger man of the wildcat? What will we do without the most versatile player on our team? The next week in Carolina it seemed my question was answered by Ricky Williams 3 TD performance. But its obvious now that we took a different evolutionary path. Instead of relying heavily on Ricky, the coaching staff looked at the fork in the road and took the dolphins path less chosen. We went to the passing game. Slowly but surely we are becoming a team that CAN rely on the pass. And what a beautiful thing it is. While its fun to watch a tough running back plow through defenders, lets be real, the Long ball is the most exciting thing in football.
Lets talk about coaching. It seems like Tony Sparano is really hitting his stride. To me this season has been like running a marathon. Those first 5 or 6 miles really really hurt. Things are going through your head like "I don't think I can make it", and "this is too much for me". But then, an almost out of body experience happens, suddenly the pain is gone. You are no longer thinking about every step. You are just gliding. It almost seems like your feet aren't even touching the ground. I really think Sparano has broke through the wall this season. He's going for it on fourth down with 5 minutes to go. He's calling the passing plays on 3rd and 2. Not to mention the discipline being instilled by him is really taking hold: 1 penalty against the patriots.
Im sure some of you are thinking "Well, its not evolution, its just making adjustments". To me it is more than that. This is the same team that started 0-3 and was ranking as low as 27th at one point. With the same players and coaches, we have evolved into something else. Tough, resilient, relentless. The ability to play to the level of your opponent despite the level of talent on your team is an unmeasurable skill. The ability to bounce back from a humiliating loss to the bills, shake it off, and come back the next week and give it to the Patriots says a lot.
Random thoughts from last weeks game:
Although we beat the Pats, i will say we caught a couple of good breaks. The Offensive P.I. call against the pats was questionable. There were several passes thrown by Henne that got deflected and could have been picked off but weren't. But regarless of that, we played hard until the end and thats what it takes to win football games in the NFL.
Does it seem to anyone that Henne's patience in the pocket, such a good quality for a QB, is a blessing and a curse? It seems like even when his passes aren't tipped, they are sailing right through the outstretched hands of a defender. My heart skips a beat every time one of those deflected passes is floating over the lineman's heads.
Outlook on the rest of the season:
Can anyone believe that the Browns put it on Pittsburgh last night?? Unbelievable!! It looks like the football gods are shining down on Miami right now. Not to mention the Packers beating the Ravens on MNF. We are finally getting the breaks we need to make this playoff run. As it looks right now, even though we are not leading the division, our destiny is in our own hands. Suddenly a 9-7 record just might get us a wildcard. But EFF all that, i think we are going to win out and put this thing in the bag.
Sorry i been MIA for so long guys. I am actually writing this from a friends computer. Hopefully i can get my crappy computer fixed soon and get back into the community. From Hawaii, Medics Out.