Miami Dolphins answer a lot of Questions in Loss

Coming into this season, the Dolphins were a huge question mark.  Most fans hoped the lack of answers meant the team had the chance to be a playoff team again, myself included.  And while a season certainly isn’t over at 0-2, the odds of making the playoffs become extremely daunting.  Yes, the Dolphins did it in 2008, but unless Brian Daboll comes up with the second coming of the wildcat, it’s highly unlikely with the schedule that lies ahead.

In my ten things to watch prior to the game against the Houston Texans yesterday, I asked a lot of questions, and I believe the Dolphins answered them quite handedly.

  1. How will the defense react to Monday’s breakdown? Simple answer: they didn’t.  Vontae Davis tweaked another injury which exposed the lack of depth at cornerback, and sealed the game for the Texans as it did with the Monday Nighter against the Patriots.  The pass rush can’t get to the quarterback which is crucial in this league.
  2. Will the Houston offense cramp Sean Smith and Vontae Davis’s Style? While they didn’t having cramping issues this week, as I said above, Davis pulled a hammy which allowed Matt Schaub to pick apart whomever Nolan Carroll was covering (side question: why the heck was he lined up on All Star Andre Johnson?).
  3. Can the Dolphins win the time of possession battle? No. The Dolphins held the ball for 25:54 allowing the Houston offense to control the tempo for 34:06.
  4. Can the offense find a running game? While Reggie Bush was still lost, Daniel Thomas was the nice surprise of yesterday’s game.  The rookie debuted with a very nice game, and possibly the only high note on the afternoon.  Thomas rushed for 107 yards on only 18 carries, an average of 5.9 yards per carry.
  5. How will the Dolphins use Reggie Bush? We now know that Brian Daboll has no clue how to use Bush as a weapon.  Part of the reason, in Daboll’s defense, is the offensive line by themselves cannot provide enough protection without extra help for Henne in the pocket.  It would help to have Thomas and Bush in there at the same time, much like Bush was used with Pierre Thomas in New Orleans.  Swing routes and crossing patterns are Bush’s specialty.  Use him that way.
  6. Will the Crowd give the Dolphins a home-field advantage? No.  But can you blame Dolphins fans?  The team is 1-11 now at home since December 2009, and it seems to only get worse.
  7. How will the offensive line neutralize Mario Williams and the Texans pass rush? Williams didn’t record a sack, but he did grab Henne’s arm on a first half throw causing an errant pop-up to land in Jonathan Joseph’s hands.  Additionally, Henne was sacked twice, and had numerous balls knocked down at the line of scrimmage.
  8. Can Brandon Marshall get into the endzone? Yes and no.  Marshall scored his first TD of the season, but also dropped a perfect pass from Henne in the first half which then resulted in one of Dan Carpenter’s 2 missed field goals.
  9. Do the Dolphins have goal line philosophy? The Dolphins were never in position to punch it in from less than 5 yards out, but after Thomas’s performance, I feel confident in his ability to do so in the future.
  10. Will rookie speedster Clyde Gates have an effect on the game? The one good play was that he drew a questionable pass interference call, setting up the Dolphins deep in Houston’s territory, but Gates continues to lack vision in the return game.
All in all, I had to let yesterday’s game marinate overnight before sitting down to write.  The Dolphins really disappointed me, as I’m sure they did you as well. It will be interesting to see if losing becomes contagious, or if the team can find some resiliency and start winning at home, and correcting their numerous mistakes.
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