Believe it or not, football is back. Sunday night saw the first preseason game of 2008 take place, with the Redskins defeating Indianapolis 30-16. And in less than a week, our Dolphins will host the Buccaneers at Dolphin Stadium.
MEET THE NEW FINS; SAME AS THE OLD FINS
On Saturday, the Dolphins took part in a scrimmage inside the "Nick Saban Memorial" bubble down in Davie. And all reports indicate something that Dolphin fans are all too familiar with.
First of all, this team still has issues at quarterback. We are a week into camp, and no quarterback has set himself up as the leader to start in week one. If anything, the situation has actually gotten even murkier as Chad Henne could very well play himself into the starter's role. Is it the best thing for him or for the team to have a rookie start from day one? That's debatable and is something we'll touch on if it happens. But what we do know right now is that none of the QBs are playing particularly well.
Sure, the player I was originally thought would be the starter for week one, John Beck, is having his struggles. But Josh McCown, the vet, isn't doing any better. Beck was reportedly 9 for 22 in the scrimmage, according to the Palm Beach Post. Meanwhile, McCown was just 7 for 22 and threw an interception. Sure, he had 2 TD passes. But both seem to come against a mix of 2nd and 3rd teamers. And Josh's lowlight came on a series when he was working with the 1st team offense against the 2nd team defense. During that series, he was 0 for 9 with that lone interception. Not good.
Meanwhile, two other major problems the Dolphins have right now are nearly identical to the same problems Miami had last season in training camp.
The first is the receivers' inconsistency catching the football. It seems like this team goes through days where drops are few and far between but then follow it up with a day where everyone has a case of the "dropsies." Sound familiar? Last year, training camp reports indicated the same thing.
The other issue? Pass protection. Much like the Dolphins dealt with last season, this offensive line is having issues protecting whoever happens to be behind center. We simply are reading about far too many sacks and pressures. And while I'd love to sit here like an optimist and gush about how much improved our defense might be, I just can't. The pessimist in me simply won't allow it. Instead, I'm sitting here and wondering if this offensive line will be able to get it together in time for the regular season.
Of course, working in our favor here is that Tony Sparano is supposedly a great OL coach, meaning he and current Dolphins' OL coach Mike Maser could potentially help them turn this around. Things could also get better once this coaching staff identifies who will be the starting right guard. Once that is figured out, this first unit can then have time to gel.
But as it stands right now, it seems like the Dolphins still are facing the very same 3 issues that they faced last year. Let's just hope Tony Sparano and his staff is more up to the task than Cam Cameron and his staff was.
RONNIE BROWN UPDATE
Ronnie Brown continues to say that he feels physically fine and hasn't had any setbacks. But he's still got to deal with the mental aspect of his comeback from a torn ACL:
"Physically, I put in all the work, but from a mental aspect it may take some time just to be out here, being a part of practice and taking those licks where you're not thinking about it. Being in situations where we do have some contact stuff, going through drills and running the ball where I have that contact, it's going to help me over the next few weeks to get over the mental part of not being hit for a while -- since what, Week 7 [of last season].
I find myself thinking about it, especially when I make certain cuts and it may not feel as comfortable as it did before."
It's still unknown how much he'll be used, if at all, during the first preseason game on Saturday at Dolphin Stadium. Personally, I'd let him get 2 or 3 carries just oease him into it and let him begin recovering from a mental standpoint. Some probably disagree, but if he's physically ready and is cleared for contact, it's time to let him get hit 2 or 3 times to really begin the mental side of the comeback.
-LB Junior Glymph has been playing well in camp, and stood out in the scrimmage. He's a guy with "Cowboy ties" and I fully expect him to make this team as a reserve linebacker who can play both inside and out.
-The kicking competition is getting interesting. While Jay Feely has a reliable track record in terms of his FG kicking, he missed two 43-yard FGs on Saturday. But he has been kicking touchbacks more consistently than rookie Dan Carpenter.
That's all for now. The team has another two-a-day practice tomorrow, with the first one at 9 am and the second at 5 pm.