I really just wanted to share some game observations, and yes I took some good notes so here we go. Before we get too giddy, I want to remind us all that most had our beloved Dolphins at 2-3 over the first five games of the schedule. With that said and in that frame of mind, we would more likely be 1-1. So much for the haters.
My first note written down is on the T.Y. Hilton catch and the coverage by Brent Grimes. Grimes believed he was going to catch that ball and was positioning his hands to make the grab when Hilton reached over his awaiting hands and caught the ball. All props to Hilton for a highlight catch, but the coverage by Grimes will become film fodder for every high school coach in the country, on just how their young cornerbacks should provide coverage on the deep out route. He positioned himself perfectly to go for the ball which he had an equal right to, and his eyes were looking for it, so no fault to Grimes there. It took a highlight catch to beat that coverage.
We know now that this was more a game of halfs than anything else. Miami's defense pressured Luck plenty (minus the sacks), but Luck had a bit too much time for this (defensive minded) fan. Fleener showed Coyle just how and where Miami's pass coverage was lacking and I fully suspect that will be corrected quickly. Tight end sets are becoming far more common with more and more teams, so this is an area that needs fixed fast, as we are certain to encounter this again soon.
My next note involves the use of Mike Wallace in the slot, which as anyone who has ever played the game knows, can be a very dangerous place to be for a wide out. Only the fearless tread there, and my thoughts wandered to what Wallace's YAC yards were with the Steelers. I could only imagine that Wallace must have been surveyed by Miami staff to be very dangerous after the catch, so loading him up in the slot made the most sense, especially in the absence of Bess and Keller. I believe he did well there and it certainly added to the excitement of the offense, yet I wonder if that is the best use for him and his downfield speed. Time will tell there.
My next note concerns Hartline, who has yet to make the right kind of impression on me, that is until this Colts game. His first catch over the shoulder in really tight coverage brought up warm memories of watching Biletnikoff make catches like that, and with Wallace attracting so much attention in the slot, Hartline made some really tough catches. Watching him pop up after being rattled (smacked up) by Landry's hard shoulder hit made me proud to be a Dolphin fan.
My second half notes begin with another hit on Tannehill. My thoughts went to reading about the Colt's gameplan to protect Luck and how that became a focus of their training week in preparation to face our defense. I wondered if this was my first look at what everyone else seemed to notice (while I remain forever optimistic) in potential problems with the OL. Unable to get a run game going against the Browns left some questions, and seeing so much pressure on RT did me little personal justice. That needs to improve FAST. He is no doubt a tough kid but a lack of good pass protection will eventually get him injured, and noone wants that.
Neither of these defenses we have faced are league leaders, so protecting Tannehill in the coming games is crutial. Without the protection, any hope to run an effective read option for Tannehill is a mute point, so if we want to do that, pass protection and the OL in general needs to get better. Thomas also missed a crutial block in the second half that got RT sacked. On the very next play, it was Clabo that got beat to pressure Tannehill and cause a fumble that Thomas fortunately fell on.
Concerning the DB play, I saw way too much space in pass defense afforded by these corners, and it haunted me with images of the old days of the oft overused "prevent" defense. I far prefer a more physical bump and run approach that pressures wide outs at the line and this extra space allowed Luck to abuse the sidelines and the center of the field consistently, at least in the first half.
All in all, there is much work to do and I trust this staff to get it fixed.
Here is my list of 10 game balls in order of their contribution.
RT: For being a warrior and making the best of a bad day of pass protection.
Clay: 21.8 yd. Avg. per catch.......... a VERY Impressive day in general.
Red Zone Offense: I think they were 3 for 3 today.....How cool is THAT?
LB's & especially Wheeler: For some solid tackles that seemed to come just at the right time.
Grimes: For textbook blanket coverage that rewarded him and the team when we needed it most.
Hartline: For running good routes and for making some really tough catches.
Entire DL: For getting consistent pressure and hurries, even though the stats don't show it.
Wallace: For not being Ted Ginn and for being fearless enough to play in the slot.
Trusnik: For punching out the ball that Jones was sure to catch.
Falcons.......First Home Game........2-0.........whose NOT excited ??
Oh and PS: I'll include game balls for the fans next week if they pack the place.
Go DOLPHINS !