Fine, so the title may be a little bit harsh. But it got your attention, didn't it?
If you've been around here long enough, then you know that I'm trying to become a changed man. I used to criticize play-calling a lot - too much, to be honest. But I've worked hard the past couple of years not to criticize play-calling anymore. Why? Calling plays is fickle. If a play works, it was a brilliant call. If it does not, it was a dumb call.
Because of this, I've been trying real hard not to criticize Dan Henning too much. After all, he's probably forgotten more about football than I will ever know.
With that said, I can't help but wonder what the hell Henning is thinking. I can practically guarantee that you will not find one person outside of the Dolphins organization that would defend his decision on the opening drive against New England back in week four.
You remember the play, right? The Dolphins were at the Pats' 36 yard line. It was third down and six yards to go. And of all things, the Dolphins come out in the Wildcat - a formation that has netted the Dolphins under three yards per play so far this year. Ronnie Brown is promptly dropped for a two yard loss and the Dolphins are forced to punt.
Dumb. You know it. I know it. But Henning still doesn't get it. On Thursday, he was asked about it. His response:
"If you go back in time and you look at the third-down calls we’ve made with the Wildcat under the same situation, you’ll see that in the Jets game down here last year we had a big third and 8 with the Wildcat, the exact same play that we ran the other day. We didn’t execute it the other day as well as we executed it when we ran it the other time."
"We ran a third-down play against New England the first time we ever broke it out , and Ronnie [ Brown] threw a touchdown pass to [Anthony] Fasano. So tell Joe and all of his other Shit the Rag Man relatives that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about."
Unfortunately for Henning, us "Shit the Rag Man relatives" know exactly what we're talking about. We know that any running play in a third and long situation isn't a high percentage play. But a Wildcat play - a formation that has not been working nearly as effectively as in the past - is absolutely the wrong call in that particular situation with this particular personnel.
Henning brought up how the Wildcat was effective last year on a third and long against the Jets. And he's right. But maybe the aging coordinator has a poor memory. Or maybe his eye sight has become an issue. Because all of us are well aware that the Dolphins got rid of their two best run-blocking interior linemen this offseason (Justin Smiley and Jake Grove). We also know that the current Dolphins offensive line has been far from effective this season. Hell - anyone with two eyes is well aware of this.
If you insist on running the football in this situation, why not run a higher percentage running play - maybe one that could gain a couple yards and get the Dolphins into field goal range for Dan Carpenter. Maybe that would have been a better idea. Not one that has been ineffective in 2010 and can easily result in a loss of yards if the defense defends it properly - as New England did.
But no - Mr. Henning is smarter than everyone else. Us peons known as Dolphin fans just don't know anything -- at least in his eyes.
I like it when the players and coaches on my team are confident. What I can't stand is when they are arrogant. Dan Henning comes off here as completely arrogant.
Own up to your dumb decision and move on. It's that simple. I'm sick and tired of Henning - who has made a number of "questionable" play calls over these past three seasons - being too proud to simply say "oops."
I've defended Henning from all of those fans who want him fired. But the guy is just not making it any easier on those of us who still think he's a good fit for this team. If the guy can't simply own up to one very obvious poor decision, then maybe it is time to cut ties with the ornery offensive coordinator after all.