The Sherms Phins Recap: Week 1

Marshall and his Borderline Receiver Disorder

 

by Ryan “The Sherms” Sherman

 

The Dolphins appropriately sported their green (ish) jerseys in their season opener against the Patriots on Monday Night Football, because Tom Terrific and The Brady Bunch proceeded to methodically roll up, light up and smoke their defense throughout the entire game.

Touted as a “Top 10” defense by many of the so-called experts, the Dolphins came out looking like dead fish (ok, mammals) on D, and it went downhill from there.

The good news: Chad Henne looked good, and the offense was a big step up from “pathetic,” which it had proved to be in prior years.  Overall, the game featured the second-most combined yards in NFL history (1,110, three shy of the record) and the most combined passing yards in NFL history (906).

 

Tommy Boy

What can you say about Tom Brady?  He’s got the looks, the money, the rings, the women woman, the brains, the arm and, of course, that hair!   After fellow Wolverine Chad Henne led the Dolphins on a very nice 12-play, 84 yard, 7:18 opening drive capped by a 9-yard QB-draw touchdown scamper, Mr. Terrific brought the Dolphins back to reality.  6 plays and 78 yards later we got a tie-game.

The 4:14 that drive took would be the only time the Phins held the lead the entire night.  What would follow would be a work of art from a Pats fan’s perspective, and a gross example of being out-coached, out-conditioned and out-manned from a Phins fan’s perspective.

Tom "My Sun and Stars" Brady throws to Wes "Moon of His Life" Welker


 

Patriots Tight Ends

The OLPHINS (see what I did there?) have been stamping tight ends’ Pro Bowl tickets for years, but this has to take the cake. Aaron Hernandez (7 catches, 103 yards and a TD) and Rob Gronkowski (6 catches, 86 yards and a TD) looked like an ’02 Tony Gonzalez and an ’05 Antonio Gates, both exploiting crater-sized holes in the middle of the Dolphins D the entire game. Is Aaron Hernandez even a TE? Usually guys that leave defensive backs in their dust are called “wide receivers.”

We're gonna kick ass next week when the season starts. What? This is week 1?"


 

The Swing

Twas the middle of the fourth quarter and despite being abandoned by their huffing, puffing and cramped-up defense (“#1 CB” Vontae Davis was sidelined with cramps in the third quarter, thus leaving limping “#2 CB” Sean Smith, Nolan Carroll, Bennie Sapp and Jimmy Wilson to get TORCHED…remember when the Dolphins had a conditioning ADVANTAGE in September home games?), Henne and Dolphins offense was putting up a (somewhat) valiant effort trying to stay in the game.

Down 14 with 6 minutes to go, Henne hit Devone Bess on 3rd and Goal from the 7 yard line for what was initially called a TD but later reversed after it was determined that Bess didn’t break the plane of the goalline, thus leaving the Phins with 4th and Goal from the half yard line.

There are many plays to call from the half yard line.  There is the “QB Sneak,” the “run up the gut,” the “HB dive,” the “FB dive,” the “play action,” the “anything involving Reggie Bush,” and, of course, the “anything that doesn’t involve throwing a 10-yard, no-margin-of-error fade to average-sized Brian Hartline.”

"You wanted me to HIT him?? Oh, that makes much more sense."

There are times to throw a fade, such as when you NEED MORE THAN A HALF YARD.  On those occasions it’s advisable to throw said fade to a WR that (a) has a size advantage on the CB that is covering him, and (b) is a leaper…or, as the kids say, someone with “big ups.”

Of course, Meatball Sporano called (or acquiesced to new-OC Brian Dabol’s call of) a fade to Hartline, which sailed over his head.  Nothing like conceding the tactical advantage of being on the HALF YARD LINE by throwing a pass that WORKS BETTER FORM THE 5-YARD THAN IT DOES FROM INSIDE THE 1-YARD LINE.

What about QB-sneaking behind center, and first round pick, Mike Pouncey?  Or running with Lex Hilliard?  Or Reggie Bush?  What?  Those guys aren’t 4th-and-goal-from-the-half-yard line type guys? What about FB Lousaka Polite, who was something like 3,384-for-3,385 on 3rd and 1 / 4th and 1 over the past three seasons?  You know, the one and only Dolphin since I started watching the team in 1984 that could get it done in those situations.  

What?  We cut him?  Wow.  53-man roster and you can’t make room for a guy that was basically automatic in these crucial situations.  That’s just great.

***Note to Jeff Ireland and Steven Ross – stop making football decisions over Sangrias with Mark Anthony and the rest of the NOT-“football people” ownership group. 

***Note to the networks – stop panning to said celebrity ownership group during their faux-celebrations.  It doesn’t even seem that they understand football.   It’s just embarrassing. 

The pain didn’t stop there.  Rather, on the very next play Brady hit former-Phin Wes Welker — who they gave up for a big 2nd and 7th round pick  — in stride 25 yards downfield which, after one missed tackle by Bennie Sapp, resulted in a 99-YARD TOUCHDOWN.  The pass brought Brady over 500 yards on the night (he ended with 517, surpassing his prior high by over 100 yards…way to go Dolphins!).

 

Bush Night

Fortunately there were a few bright spots last night.  First and foremost, new Dolphin and 2005 Heisman-winner Reggie Bush.  Bush looked as fast and shifty as ever, turning short screen passes into 10+ yard gains and finishing with 94 total yards and one (garbage-time) TD.  Call me optimistic but, as we have always known, Bush is a major weapon that cannot be taken lightly.  Opposing defenses will have to put two guys on him more often than not, and he is always one missed tackle away from taking it to the house.

Everybody wants a little Bush

Though we will miss Ronnie and Ricky, Bush is a true playmaker and should be a big improvement.  The question is who will be the thunder to his lightning?

Washed up Larry Johnson?   Probably not, as evidenced by the fact that he didn’t see a lick of action last night, despite rookie RB and 2011 second-round pick Daniel Thomas being inactive on account of injury.

Daniel Thomas?  Maybe…we shall see once he gets healthy.

Lex Hilliard?  Eh…he’s not bad, but also not great.

Seems to me like it’s high time to get Lousaka Polite’s agent on the horn.

 

Henne Impressive

I have been a Henne-hater for two years, but his performance last night deserves praise.  He had what may have been his best overall game as a Dolphin, completing 30 of 49 passes for 416 yards and two touchdowns.   Of greater surprise, he actually looked mobile running 7 times for 59 yards and 1 TD.  Best of all, he looked comfortable and commanding in an offense that he now, for the first time, can open it up in.

"Throw it to the guy with THIS on his chest"

It is clear that Dan Henning’s “Don’t Make Errors” conservative offense is a thing of the past, and that new-OC Brian Dabol’s offensive will be, if nothing else, exciting. Henne is a gunslinger who had been restrained in Henning’s offensive straight-jacket for two years.

Now he’ll be free to throw the ball to B-Marshall, Hartline, Bess, Bush  and Co. 40+ times a game.

Maybe he’ll sink, maybe he’ll swim, but at least he’ll have a real shot to show what he’s got.

Just no more fades on 4th and goal from the 1, please.

8 Comments

  1. Ryan your site is actually awesome I read it everyday bud keep up the good work

  2. RS. I enjoyed your Fin analysis. Also how could their hurry up offense surprise us and how many stupid penalties must we endure before the coaches get the boot? Speaking of which does anyone have Will Allen’s agents #? Carrol and Sapp need to go.

  3. Well done sir.

  4. Dare I say I agreed with every point Sherms made here. Now we got Texan!

  5. This was a great commentary. One of the beat sports related you’ve posted.

  6. Alan- exactly! How could we be surprised by the no-huddle?!? It’s not exactly a novel concept. Brady has been doin’ it for a good while, the Bills used it on us throughout the ’90s, etc. What’s next, being surprised by the shotgun formation?

  7. thanks big Ed, we’ll keep pumpin’ it out for you