Miami Dolphins Don't Need a Deep Threat This Year, They Need Reggie Bush

Marc Serota

The Miami Dolphins have problems. Not New York Jets problems, but problems. And, while everyone else seems to think the problems come from the lack of players on the roster, why couldn't the problem be the lack of using the dynamic players they do have - like Reggie Bush.

I'll be honest with all of you. I'm sitting here with a thought in my head about our beloved Miami Dolphins, and it's a thought I have had for a while. But, I don't know exactly what it is. I don't know how it's going to come out. And, I don't know if it's even going to be worth reading. But, that's the nice thing about a blog - you can express yourself and work out ideas using it.

The Miami Dolphins have to fix themselves. There's something wrong with the team. I know none of this comes as a surprise to any of you. You guys are the fans who, like me, live and die with this team every week. And, I hate to see them struggling. I hate to see them playing like this. And, I hate listening to the talking heads each week talk about "us" like we are irrelevant.

But, that's exactly what we are. And it sucks. Plain and sucks.

I know there are all kinds of theories about why the Dolphins are what they are. Jeff Ireland is the worst general manager in the history of sports. Joe Philbin is in over his head and should never have been made a head coach. Stephen Ross is too busy wining and dining celebrities to notice his team is losing. Jake Long is garbage. Sean Smith should never have been allowed on a football field. Ryan Tannehill was a waste of a pick. The receivers are the worst group in the league.

Et cetera, et cetera.

But, this team is not what this team will be in the future. This team has a lot of potential. Maybe not this year, but it's coming. Tannehill will develop into the quarterback we have all waited to find since You-Know-Who retired. Brian Hartline and Davone Bess are good wide receivers, who could be special with some help. Sean Smith is developing - sure he has down games, but he has up games too. Things will pick up for this team.

Which brings us back to remembering where we, as fans, were before this season started. We all were high on the team - and not for 2012. We were high on the team for the future. We could all see the potential, and the pieces starting to come together.

Of course, a solid start to the season, and suddenly expectations rose, meaning when the team turned back into a young team led by a rookie quarterback and a rookie head coach, we all crashed back down to Earth. And, now, we are all feeling let down.

But, we shouldn't. We should be looking at the positives in this team, and remembering that this is a year about development.

And the funny part of these 450 words is, none of this is the thought in my head. I have yet to get to what I am thinking.

I've got this thought bouncing around. It's jump cutting right, switching back to the left, and ending up in the end zone. But, maybe I am missing something.

The Dolphins have six games left in their season. They have six games. That's six chances to shock everyone and come out with some big wins. That's two chances to down the New England Patriots. A chance to remind people that Tannehill is the eighth overall pick while the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson was a third round pick. An opportunity to go into San Francisco and smack the 49ers in the mouth. It's a chance to take out some frustration on former Miami starting quarterback Chad Henne, who is starting for the Jacksonville Jaguars now. And it's a chance to get some revenge on the Buffalo Bills when they come down to Miami.

It's six chances to win.

Will the team do it? Probably not. There is a lot that has to go right for Miami to win over some of those power house teams. The Dolphins have to play perfect football every single week to win. They are not a team that can overcome mistakes. Not yet at least. And that's hard to do in the NFL. It's hard to be perfect every single week.

Just ask the Dolphins legends who did it.

But, the Dolphins can be better. They can do it this year. And, it has nothing to do with Tannehill. It has nothing to do with Smith. It has nothing to do with the wide receivers, the offensive line, or any of the players.

Just over 750 words, and I finally get to the thought in my head.

The Dolphins will get better when Mike Sherman gets out of the funk he is in. When did the Dolphins' new, high tempo, West Coast Offense turn predictable? When did Dan Henning and Tony Sparano return to Davie?

Sherman has to open up the playbook. He does not have to come out 2008 Wildcat surprising, but he needs to do something different. And, at least as I am seeing it, it really comes down to one thing.

Screen passes.

Eleven games into this season, and it really seems like the Dolphins have run a grand total of eleven screen passes all year. Miami has run so few screen passes this season, 17 players don't even have a grade on the play according to Pro Football Focus.

Maybe I am over thinking this, but doesn't the screen pass seem like a simple addition to the Dolphins' playbook? Especially when you have a player like Reggie Bush sitting on the sidelines more and more often lately. Bush, a player who made that exact jump cut right, cut back left, find the end zone player earlier this season. Bush, a dynamic runner who makes things happen when in space. Bush, a player who can break a play at any point, if he's given a chance to make a move.

And, the Dolphins don't just have Bush. They also have Lamar Miller, who can do exactly the same thing.

The talk about the Dolphins recently has been all about how the team needs a deep threat in order to support Brian Hartline and Davone Bess. That, until the Dolphins have a player who can break a defense deep, teams are simply going to stack the box and not worry about the long ball from Tannehill.

But, I really think that's exactly the opposite of what the Dolphins need right now. Maybe in April, when the Dolphins are on the clock for the NFL Draft, they can worry about a deep threat. Maybe Rishard Matthews, the seventh round draft pick last April who made his debut last week, will be that deep threat. But, this is supposed to be a west coast offense. An offense based on short, precise routes, which opens up the deep ball, or the long run. Why is the deep ball the key to Miami's offense?

Why can't the screen pass - especially to someone like Bush - be what the Dolphins are missing? Why can't the team turn to the "long handoff" to fix what's wrong with the team?

Why can't Mike Sherman open up the playbook and trust his quarterback? And his running back?

This season may be lost in terms of the playoffs, but it doesn't mean there can't be wins. Hopefully the team can really find a way to open up the offense and find ways to get into the end zone over these last six weeks.

And then we can get back to raised expectations for 2013.


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