We have been duped. We have been bamboozled. We have been conned. We have been hoodwinked. We have been...Oh the hell with it, the thesaurus is getting too heavy to hold. The point is that we were told tall tales all off-season of agressive gameplanning. We were told to expect wide-open gameplans and a "take-no-prisoners" approach to the game. That was all a lie. This is the same old team, with the same old story, making the exact same mistakes, and at this point, coaching is the only place to reasonably look when looking for the culprit.
We do not look like an "aggressive" team. We look like a conservative team that is pretending to be an aggressive team. Watching this football team play is like watching a toddler walk around in his Daddy's three piece suit. It just doesn't fit, and it looks pretty silly. Going for it on fourth down with a yard to go in the first quarter once a game does not make you "aggressive." Especially when in the fourth quarter of that same game you are still playing for field goals when everyone watching from their recliners at home knows that a touchdown is the only way to win the game. Let me ask you guys this: At 16-10 with two minutes left, did any one of you anticipate winning that game? Me neither. We all KNEW that game was over the minute we failed to convert that third down on our last posession with three minutes left in the game.
The conservative playcalling does not just fall at the feet of the offense either. I'm starting to get over Mike Nolan. While our defense did not cost us this game today, they had multiple opportunities to win it, and failed every time. This is not a big-time defense. Costly penalties and the continuing inability to get off the field on third down are the trademarks of a mediocre (Theres that word again) defense. Which is what they are. Mediocre.
Let's take a look at some of the consistent failures of this team. And by consistent, I am not only referring to this season, but all the seasons since 2008.
Three years and three games into the Sparano era, and I can think of one game where we "out-coached" the other team. The 2008 New England wildcat game. Thats it. One game, out of 52. And the gameplan consisted of one new offensive package that the league had never seen. Of course, the head coach had nothing to do with the design of that package, other than the approving of its implementation. We are constantly out of position on defense, and inept on special teams. Can anyone remember the last time we blocked a punt or a field goal? Yeah, me neither. And to me, that can be directly attributed to the lack of creative scheming on special teams. And what about in-game adjustments? Our coaching staff knows they are allowed to make adjustments after a game starts, aren't they? Tell me if this scenario sounds at all familiar to you: THe game starts, our offense takes the ball, piles up chunk yardage, and even puts the ball into the endzone on occasion. Then thats it, for the rest of the game. We go dormant, and often quietly into that goodnight. Most likely because our opposition is making, wait for it...adjustments! And us? Well, not so much. We are good with the gameplan we have. Thanks for asking though...
Today at Cleveland, our boys made it all the way to the two-minute warning of the first half with all three timeouts. I was so proud, I almost broke into tears. We burn through more pointless timeouts than any team I have ever seen. Ever. And think: What causes a team to burn a timeout in the middle of a game? Confusion, disorganization, or sometimes the unit on the field seeing the oppostition in a formation they are not prepared for. So who gets the blame for any of those reasons? Thats right, bad coaching...
This has been a pretty well covered topic around these parts since the season openenr, with two opposing schools of thought. One school blames the players. The other blames the coaches. I know ct1361 has been screaming from the rooftops about this, claiming that this is a coaching issue. I believe he is 100% percent right. Our players are out of shape. Cramping, pulled muscles, being "gassed" defensively, these are all costing us games. And if you want to place the blame at the feet of the players and the lockout, let me say this: All 32 teams were locked out, yet only a select few are having these problems. So if it is the fault of the players, are you saying that the players on this team are lazier than all the other players on the other teams? Well, if that is the case, what happened to all these "high character" guys that we supposedly brought in? These players were not conditioned properly in the limited training camp they had. And since I won't believe that our players are generally lazier than other players, I blame the coaching....
Well, here we are again. Same old, same old. Playcalling is still an issue. I have already bored you with the lack of aggression, so I won't belabor that point. However, I will ask one question: How many more times are we going to send Reggie Bush off tackle and watch him gain no yardage, in the best case scenario, and hand over the ball in the worst. I don't care that he wants to be known as an every down back.. He's not one, and while the team is paying his ridiculous salary, he can be used in the way that benefits the team, not his image. Yannow, I must have sent ten angry e-mails to every national writer who critcized the Bush acqusition before the season because "he will never be the every down back Miami brought him in here to be". "Nonsense" I would say, "Of course Miami knows this, and he was brought here to be an explosive offensive and special teams player." Well, jokes on me. Turns out Peter King was right. We wanted a between the tackles runner, so we traded for a guy who averages less than like 400 yards rushing a season. And even when our pormising rookie half-back is getting 4 and 5 yards a carry and showing a nose for the first down marker, we are going to continue to hand the ball to Mr. Bush and watch him do nothing. Again, coaching...
This is a problem that started with the hiring of Bill Parcells, and continues to this day. There is a "we know better than everyone else" attitude in this organization. From the GM on down. It rears it's head at almost every turn. Here are a few examples:
"We don't need to draft a first-round QB, we are smart enough to find one later in the draft."
"New Orleans couldn't make Reggie Bush an every down back, but we can"
"The best teams in the league play a consistently aggresive brand of football, but our way is what really works."
It's an attitude, and a stubborness to adapt to a league that has changed dramatically since Bill Parcells attended a Super Bowl without having to buy a ticket. And it is seemingly systemic. And it is time for a new culture around here, and the current regime seems incapable, or unwilling of implementing that change.
I am not advocating that Sparano be fired mid-season as that is really a pointless excercise, but I really wouldn't care if happened either.
And Tony, you really should apologize to Chad Henne on your way out the door, whether it be now or at the end of the season. Your inadequacies probably cost him any chance at a big-time career here in Miami. And while I think the overall rebuilding of this franchise would have to include the QB position, a part of me will always root for Henne to have sucess in the league. I have been a big detractor of his, and I still don't think he is great (You have to complete a pass to at least give us a CHANCE of kicking a game-winning field goal today, Chad), I think he is better than he has been allowed to show in his tenure with this team.
While I won't yet throw my hands up and say the season is over, I will no longer blame anyone else who wants to say that. And while I never root for this team to lose, in any situation, ever, I can't help but feel that the few meaningless wins we will manage to scrape together this season will accomplish nothing more than drag us further and further away from being in a draft position to draft a real franchise QB. My main focus this year will now be to root for the New York Giants, because if we are to have any chance to get Cowher, which I support, Tom Coughlin MUST keep his job in New York, which requirese a winning season, if not a playoff appearance...
Tony Sparano, you are the weakest link. Goodbye...(Now THERES a timely reference...)
Oh and I am going to bring back a weekly feature that Matty used to publish. You guys remember the weekly "Redzone Report"? I am going to grab the torch and carry on that tradition, starting now:
Miami Dolphins Week 3 Redzone Report:
Same shit as always. Check back next week....