The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

REMEMBER THE MANTRA

Now that the preseason has mercifully come to an end, it is time to remember the only mantra that truly matters about the preseason: preseason football is meaningless. Dolfans who forget this fundamental truth are destined to suffer a season of discontent–for once the bell rings they will know only disappointment.

At most, starters play less than one-third of all preseason snaps, so what conclusions are to be drawn from the games. And it surely does not matter that the Fins were 3-1 this preseason. By the time a preseason game is on the line, all of the starters are standing on the sideline wearing baseball caps. They typically don’t even sniff the turf in the last preseason game. In fact, the only thing meaningful about the preseason is that it determines the bottom third of the roster. Thus, it is meaningful only to the more marginal part of the training camp roster. Thus, the mantra.

Preseason football does not answer the questions of seasons past. It isn’t where stars are born, although it is often where careers and would-be careers die of natural causes.

Chad Henne, the Fins’ biggest question mark of seasons past, may have gone through his last 2 preseason games (he didn’t play at all against the Cowboys) without an interception. He may have completed some longer passes in those games. Heck, he may have even had a good completion percentage (64.4%) this summer. So what! It’s preseason; it’s meaningless. Other teams are not scheming, running stunts and disguising coverages. Preseason football assuredly cannot and does not answer the musical question: Can Chad Henne do it when it really counts? In seasons past, the answer to that question has always been “no.” Preseason football does not change that stark fact. Can Henne change his stripes? While anything is possible, right now we have no meaningful evidence that he can do so. Remember the mantra!

Will the receiving corps be able to establish a meaningful vertical passing game? Remember the mantra!

Will Reggie Bush be able to be an every down back and stay healthy? Remember the mantra!

Will Daniel Thomas and Larry Johnson be able to replace the departed Ronnie and Ricky show? Remember the mantra!

Will Sean Smith and Vontae Davis emerge as the best cornerback tandem in the NFL? Remember the mantra!

Will Jared Odrick and A.J. Edds be able to stay on the field this season and help the defense? Remember the mantra!

Will Kevin Burnett and Jason Taylor upgrade the linebacker corps? Remember the mantra!

You see, at the end of this preseason, Dolfans have only questions because the preseason provides no meaningful answers. Remember the mantra: the preseason is meaningless! And don’t forget it! You wouldn’t want to be too disappointed as this season unfolds, now would you?

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