The Dolphin Report

By Ron Poltorack

FINS LOSE AT CARDS WHILE LOOKING LIKE JOKERS

In week two of this NFL season the Miami Dolphins lost to the Cards and, in the process, looked like jokers. The game was even more one-sided than the 31-10 final score would indicate. Arizona took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter with the help of 2 passes of at least 75 yards on their first two possessions. Most teams don’t give up that many long plays in a whole season, but then again most teams aren’t the Dolphins. In fact, it has been 12 years since the Dolphins themselves gave up 2 passes of that length in an entire season.

Unlike last week when the Fins showed some fight after falling behind, this team was down and out the whole game. The scores at the end of the first 3 quarters were: 14-0, 17-0 and 31-3. The only bright spot on the day was rookie QB Chad Henne who was inserted in the fourth quarter and drove the team for a touchdown. Of course, that is a lot easier to do in garbage time. He completed 7 of 12 for 67 yards to set up a Ronnie Brown 1-yard TD run with 2:38 remaining. Hopefully, Henne gets more playing time soon, perhaps even when it counts. However, the coaching staff may be reluctant to throw him in against the Patriots’ defense on the road next week. At home against San Diego on October 5 (after the bye week) may be a better option.

The Chad Henne story may be the only story worth following the rest of this season. If he is given more chances and looks like he will be the Fins’ QB of the future, then that will leave the acquisition of Chad Pennington as the second major mistake of the Czarcells’ administration with, Ernest Wilford, the 6-million dollar flop, being the other.

The blowout by an Arizona team that was only 8-8 last season suggests that last week’s close finish was due to a Jets’ team that isn’t all that strong, notwithstanding their impressive list of off-season acquisitions. After all, the Jets lost at home this Sunday against a Brady-less Patriots’ team.

The Fins looked bad on both sides of the ball against the Cardinals. The pass defense was totally porous, allowing Kurt Warner to have a perfect 158.3 passer for the day. By the time he was replaced by Matt Leinart well into the fourth quarter, he had thrown for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns. Cornerback Andre Goodman got torched again this week and looks like he needs a name change as he is neither “good” nor a real “man” in pass coverage. The Cardinals managed 455 total net yards of total offense against the Fins. Chad Pennington, on the other hand, completed only 10 of 20 for a meager 122 yards. The running game never got moving either, averaging only 2.4 yards on 22 carries split between Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown. And penalties were a big problem once again as the Fins were flagged 6 times. Penalties gave the Cardinals 4 first downs outright and contributed to others. One penalty even nullified a missed field goal attempt which Arizona promptly turned into a touchdown instead. This team has too many weaknesses to give up free first downs and points.

Ted Ginn was notably absent on Sunday. The Fins had Davone Bess returning kicks. Ginn wasn’t seen much when the Fins had the ball either. He caught only 1 pass for all of 9 yards. He is certainly no favorite of Czarcells and Sparano so look for him to become trade bait for any team that wants to take a gamble on his unproven talent. Notwithstanding his status as the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft, don’t look for him to fetch more than a low-round draft pick, even to a team desperate for a return-threat. His stock has fallen faster than Lehman Brothers!

The Dolphins will head to Foxboro at 0-2 for the season. Even with Tom Brady in a cast following season-ending knee surgery, a stop in Foxboro doesn’t figure to be pretty. Hard to imagine a Brady-less Pats’ team being a 10-point favorite, but the opening line could be that or more after this 21-point loss in Arizona. And next Sunday the horrendous Fins’ defensive secondary will make Matt Cassel look a lot like a healthy Tom Brady as the Fins once again look like a bunch of jokers.


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