So now we've all had some time to digest this latest loss. Yes, 0-5 is as ugly as it gets (until next week, I suppose), but you clearly see improvement, especially in the offense, each and every week.
Before I get into my usual thoughts on the game, I need to address two things. First and foremost, thoughts and prayers go out to Trent Green. It's great to hear that Green traveled home with the team, that's for sure. He's been nothing but classy his entire career and I wish him the best...in football and in life. As far as if he'll play again, I guess we'll have to wait and see, and I'm sure he's smart enough to do what's best for himself and his family.
Second, I need to address the decision Cam made to punt under 2 minutes. Some of you hate the decision, but I think it was the right one. It would have been a 57 yard field goal and I don't think Jay Feely has the leg for that. And if he missed, the Texans would have had great field position. Where I do disagree with Cam is on the playcalling of the 2 previous plays before the punt. Miami has it 2nd and nine at the 38. He chooses to have Cleo Lemon pass twice rather than run it and try to pick up a few yards. That's where I second guess Cam. I think, on both plays, the Dolphins should have spread out the defense 3 or 4 wide with Ronnie in the backfield and then pound it with Ronnie. Who knows? On 2 carries, Brown might have picked up 5 or 6 yards, making the field goal opportunity manageable. But as far as the punt decision, I don't see anything wrong with it.
That brings me to this defense. Don't get me wrong, they played better today. However, I don't see how, in any way, they should allow this Texans' offense to get into field goal range with 1:33 left and Houston with the ball at their own 3 yard line, especially considering the Texans ran it for a yard on 1st down and seemed content to head to overtime. Instead, Owen Daniels gets open twice for big gains, helping get Houston in position for a game-winning field goal. This is what Dolphin fans should be harping on; not the punt decision. There's no excuse why this defense couldn't stop Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels, David Anderson, and Kevin Walter. Read those names again. Those are the players that Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor, Joey Porter, and company couldn't stop at the most critical point in the game. That's fucking pathetic.
But that isn't the only time this defense really let the team down. Sure, they stopped the run more effectively. But how about getting off the damn field on third down? That might be a good friggin idea! You can't let the Texans convert 50% of their 3rd downs. You just can't. And there were none more pathetic than the 3rd and 13 play when the Dolphind had a 19-16 lead in the 4th. Giving up plays like these are absolute killers. Owen Daniels again gets open and picks up 15 yards and a first down. That would be a drive that ends in 3 points and a tie game. It would have been a different game if they make that stop. Sad, isn't it...seeing this once proud defense play like a fuckin JV team. I'm not going to put all the blame on this defense for the loss, but they certainly get the majority of the blame, in my honest opinion.
A team that isn't very good to begin with can't be making stupid mistakes. But, as been the trend recently, that's exactly what the Dolphins did. Three killers stick out in my mind. The first was on the first drive when Jason Taylor, on a 2nd and 17 play, chases Schaub out of bounds for about a yard gain which would have made it a 3rd and 16. Instead, Jason makes an idiotic play by hitting Schaub out of bounds and gets called for a 15 yard personal foul call. That drive ends with a Texan touchdown.
The second was on the very next possession, Miami's first one. The Dolphins have it 4th and goal inside the 1 and are going to go for it. But David Martin jumps early and gets hit with a 5 yard penalty, forcing the Dolphins to kick the field goal. Another absolute killer penalty.
The third mistake was the Cleo Lemon interception which gave Houston the ball at Miami's 46. That drive would end with another Houston field goal. Talk about letting Houston back into this game. It was a terrible, terrible pass by Lemon and would turn out to be yet another costly Dolphins mistake.
Onto what everybody will surely be talking about all week long. Let's start this by saying that nobody can have any idea at all what the future holds for Trent Green at this point. No one knows how serious this concussion was. Is he out for a few weeks? Is he out for the season? Is his career done? These questions will be answered over time. So that brings us to the question of what will happen in the near future?
Cleo Lemon stepped in today and really didn't impress at all. He seemed uncomfortable in the pocket and clearly rushed some throws, thinking he was under pressure because the blitz was coming, when he clearly had more time than he thought. Many of throws weren't very accurate, though he did make a few pretty passes. What I came away from this game with, as far as Lemon goes, is that he had happy feet and made too many throws at the receivers' legs or feet.
So that brings me to John Beck. There's one thing that this Green injury means for sure: Beck will be getting many more practice reps running his OWN team's plays, as opposed to running the scout team offense. That's definitely a good thing for Beck, as he now can focus on fully grasping Cam's offense. That's what I know for sure. But there's already speculation that Cameron will come out this week and say that there's going to be a competition for the starting QB spot between Lemon and Beck and that the winner will start on Sunday against Cleveland. But at this point, that's simply speculation.
Here's what I think. I think the Dolphins should have a competition for the starting QB spot. The way I see it, Beck has the better physical tools while Lemon has more experience. So I say let them battle it out. Why not? Do the Dolphins have anything to lose by starting a rookie? At this point, I don't think so. The line is improving protecting the QB pretty well right now. I think there's a lot more to gain by starting Beck, as he can start getting some experience as he prepares to be this team's franchise QB. So if it was up to me, I'd let these two battle it out and may the best QB start.
Other Random Thoughts
Ronnie Brown again continued to prove that he is, indeed, a BEAST. He looked decisive hitting the hole and again showed that great combination of speed, quickness, and power. Yeah, it's painful being a Dolphin fan right now at 0-5. But I have to admit this is the most fun I've had in a while watching a Dolphins offense and that's simply because of Ronnie Brown. We are all witnessing this immense talent grow up before our very eyes and I can't wait to see what the future holds for this stud running back.
And speaking of watching players grow up, may we be beginning to see Ted Ginn progress? Against Houston, Ginn made his second reception of the season, a 36 yard pick up on a deep crossing route. He made an effortless catch and then picked up some yards after the catch, making a nice move. It's interesting that as soon as Trent exited, Ginn was targeted more often than ever and the offense stretched the field a bit. I think that Cam might have been hiding the lack of arm strength of Green by rarely ever taking shots down the field with Trent as QB. We'll have to see if Ginn's role expands now with a stronger armed QB in there, whether it's Lemon or Beck.
We also saw Ginn improve in the return game, averaging 35 yards per return, including a nice 52 yard return. He was so effective today that the Texans chose to squibb kick once or twice to try and keep the ball out of Ginn's hands. That's the kind of impact he's going to have on the return game once he gets fully acclimated to the NFL and once the return unit consistently improves it's blocking.
Ugly game for sure, as it was another winnable game. Instead, the Dolphins continue their search for win #1. But the big story this week will b the QB situation. Who's it going to be? Will Lemon be the starter for the time being? Will Beck get his first taste of the NFL regular season? At this point, I'd guess it will be Cleo next week. But one thing is certain: we'll have this saga covered all week long!
Also, be sure to click "entry link" so that you can cast your vote on if Cam's punt decision was the right decision to make. And as always, your thoughts below...