The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

AIN’T NO PLACE LIKE BACK HOME, NICK

Life was good for Nick Saban when he returned to the friendly confines of Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge on Sunday. The friendly signs welcoming him back to (and urging him to return to) LSU were as plentiful as the signs asking the Saints to stay in Louisiana. And having the ‘aints to play wasn’t all that bad either, especially when entering the game on a 3-game losing streak. Clearly, Nick was ready for some old fashioned home cookin’.

Although Saban thoroughly enjoyed his Baton Rouge feast, the question which remains is what does it really mean for his Dolphins?

Let no Dolfan walk away from this 21-6 drubbing of the ‘aints think that it means anything more than that the team formerly from New Orleans ain’t at all good. Oh yes, it would be tempting to forget about the Fins 3-game losing streak, their inability to stop the run and their horrendous secondary after their drubbing of the ‘aints. After all, they had 6 sacks (one of which for a safety), they maintained possession for almost 36 minutes, they out-gained the ‘aints 342-203, and they held the ‘aints to 0-13 on third and fourth down conversions. And they did this all without either Sam Madison or Junior Seau. But, remember, it was against the ‘aints!

Let no Dolfan walk away from this 21-6 drubbing of the ‘aints think that it means that Frerotte is the QB answer. Oh yes, it would be tempting to forget about his dismal performance for most of the season to date. After all, he completed 57.1% of his passes, threw a touchdown pass and his only interception was on a deflected ball. But, remember, it was against the ‘aints!

This game was not about Frerotte coming of age. Frerotte, who was decidedly mediocre against a miserably poor excuse for an NFL team which doesn’t even have a home, once again missed open receivers even when he was not pressured. Although any quarterback is capable of missing a receiver on a deep route, Frerotte has shown a remarkable ability to miss open receivers on short routes as well.

Make no mistake about it, this game was about the ‘aints being the ‘aints. Perhaps no play better exemplified the ‘aints ineptitude than when ‘aints safety Dwight Smith picked off a deflected Frerotte pass only to get tackled by an ‘aints teammate in the open field causing him to fumble, with the Dolphins recovering. The ‘aints have a talent shortage to the point that beating them means little, even when the Dolphins did it by a convincing score. The defense stopped the ‘aints cold, but that is like a kitten stopping a cotton ball cold; it means nothing and nothing can be taken away from it.

One bright spot of course was that the Dolphin defense stymied the ‘aints and the unit deserves some credit, even though it was against ‘aints. The other bright spot was the Fins rushing game which would have looked truly impressive had it been against an NFL team. The Fins managed 188 yards on the ground with Ricky Williams rushing 17 times for 82 yards (a 4.6-yard average) and Ronnie Brown rushing 23 times for 106 yards (a 4.8-yard average). But, again, it was against the ‘aints!

And so, life was good for Nick Saban in his return to Baton Rouge. Too bad the balance of the season ain’t looking like such a feast.

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