A Brief Look at the First Quarter of the Miami Dolphins Season

Miami Dolphins' Quarterback Matt Moore better get used to running for his life, because with this team's offensive line, he's going to be doing it a lot.

The Miami Dolphins' 2011 Season has been a series of disappointments and ugly performances thus far.  With 75% of the season remaining, the Dolphins could turn things around.  But, more than likely, this team is fighting simply to stay relevant for as long as possible this year.

So, what's been the problem?  Maybe, what hasn't been a problem would be easier to explain.

Quarterbacks:

Chad Henne - Henne has played well this year.  I know, there is a fan base out there that will never accept that Henne has played well.  That's fine.  But, he has improved from last year, and was looking solid each week.  However, that all ended when he separated his shoulder on a broken play in Week 4.  Maybe that play sums up the Dolphins' season better than anything else.

Matt Moore - Moore stepped in against the Chargers and looked like a solid backup quarterback.  Nothing was overly great, but it wasn't bad either.  We'll see how he continues to perform through the remainder of the season.

Running Backs:

Reggie Bush - Bush wants to be the Dolphins' feature back.  Miami wants Bush to be the Dolphins' feature back.  The fans realize, Bush isn't a feature back.  For some reason, the team has demanded Bush's runs be up the middle of the defensive line - which leads to nothing.  Rarely has the team spread Bush out wide, using his elusiveness as a strength for the team.

Daniel Thomas - Leads the team with 41 carries.  Leads the team with 202 yards rushing.  Set the Dolphins' rookie record for most rushing yards in his first two games.  The problem?  Thomas has only played in those two games.  He's was out hurt in Weeks 1 and 4.   When he's in the game, Thomas has looked great, running the ball straight through people.  He just needs to stay on the field.

Wide Receivers:

Brandon Marshall - Paging Mr. Marshall.  Please report the Sun Life Stadium at your earlier convenience.  And, please bring your hands with you.  Henne was only at 57.1% completions before his injury, but I swear, about 50% of his incompletions seem to have come from Marshall dropping the ball.  Marshall still leads the team with 22 receptions and 313 yards, but should have a lot more of both with 40 targets so far.  He also has just one touchdown, with 4 or his drops coming on possible touchdowns.

Brian Hartline - Hartline has established himself as an all around receiver this year, one of the few highlights for the team.  He has picked up the nickname, at least here on the Phinsider, of "The Magician," and that's how he has been playing.  Somehow, Hartline seems to be able to pull in impossible catches.  He is tied for 3rd on the team with 13 receptions (Bush), and has 201 yards - giving him the team leading 15.5 yards per catch average.  He also has 1 touchdown.  Hartline has been targeted 23 times this season.

Davone Bess - Bess is second on the team with 15 catches and 207 yards receiving.  He seems to always be able to get the ball when a catch is needed.  He has the longest reception on the season, with a 41 yard catch.  

Tight Ends:

Anthony Fasano - Fasano has 117 yards receiving so far.  He has moments where he looks great, then he will disappear again.  

Offensive Line:

Is there anything more disappointing this season than the offensive line?  Through 4 games, the offensive line has allowed 11 sacks.  The running game is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry (when you take out Henne's rushing stats).  Among a corps that is performing horribly, right tackle Marc Colombo is noteworthy.  He may be the worst right tackle in the league, letting everyone and their brother past him whenever they want.  

Defensive Front 7:

The Dolphins front seven are embarrassing.  Last season's sack master, Cameron Wake, has been stonewalled so far this season, getting three sacks.  The league's active sack leader, Jason Taylor, was brought back to add a pass rush threat to offset Wake.  Taylor has 1 sack so far.  Meanwhile, franchise player Paul Soliai has played like, well, a guy happy to get his $12 million payday.  Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett have disappointed, and Koa Misi has just flat out disappeared.  There's no pressure on the passer, they are allowing 107 yards per game rushing - even worse when you consider Tom Brady's week 1 500+ yard passing performance - and have just been non-factors most of the season.

Secondary:

If the front seven has been a disappointment, the secondary isn't far behind.  Vonate Davis has missed time injured, Sean Smith hasn't been able to figure out how to intercept a pass, Benny Sapp has been fired, Will Allen has been fired and rehired, and Reshad Jones can't cover anyone.  The highlight has been Jimmy Wilson - the Dolphins' seventh round pick this year.  He's proven an ability to make plays, and looks like he may be a steal from the draft.

Special Teams:

Dan Carpenter has been anything but DC$ this year, though he seems to be getting back in stride the last game or so.  Brandon Fields is probably the biggest weapon the Dolphins have.  Clyde Gates looks fast as a returner.  Davone Bess has been playing better as a returner, actually looking to make a return rather than finding the sideline every play.  And, the Dolphins have used Bush a couple of times as a returner, though why they don't do it more, no one knows.

So far, the Dolphins 2011 season has been the definition of under achieving.  With the talent on the roster. this team should be performing a whole lot better.  Instead, the team seems to have given up on 2011, on each other, and on coach Tony Sparano.  But, with 75% of the season to go, maybe the Dolphins will come out of this bye week and play like an NFL team.

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