A win is a win, and it always feels great. But I’m going to start right away with some things that need to get better.

First, as the game progressed, I got the feeling we were watching the 2021 Dolphins offense. Or the 2020 Dolphins offense. Pretty good at times. Some nice plays. A few. But…

But, only one touchdown.

But, Tua scrambling for his life most of the day.

But, no consistent ability to rush the ball.

(In other words, our line hasn’t produced yet)

But, some very very lucky bounces that went our way. Such as Tua tossing the ball up for grabs (several times) to avoid a sack. That is the kind of desperation you try when it’s 4th down and you’re losing late in the game. But we had a safe 13-point lead, and taking a 5-yard loss on a sack is not important. You do NOT have to desperately avoid every single sack in every single situation, and Tua doesn’t grasp that yet.

But, only 3 points in the second half.

But, zero points in the fourth quarter.

The offense did not look terrible. But they didn’t look great either. They looked very mediocre, and very much like the last few years.

I’d like to think the improvement will come. I am a big believer in the time it takes to learn a new offense. So there will be growing pains as our guys learn and get used to the McDaniel offense. I hope this comes in time, because one touchdown is nothing to be proud of.

On the other side of the ball, it is heartwarming to think back to the off-season when the Dolphins retained all their defensive players. We gave X a big contract, and he earned it yesterday. Rookies contributed. Stars contributed. Guys like Christian Wilkins and Zach Seiler were kept quiet by the Patriots, but other guys stepped up. This is all because Chris Grier kept that defense in tact and (I suspect) he told Mike McDaniel something along the lines of, “You can choose your own offensive staff, but you’re not allowed to mess with the defense.”

So, yes, it will be a while before the offense gels into what McDaniel has in mind, but at least we know the defense is not going through those growing pains.

Let’s enjoy the win, but let’s also hope the guys get right back to work because a tougher opponent on the road is only 6 days away..

19 Comments

  1. Hit the nail on the head. Seems a lot like last years offense with more motion and end around and different personnel. At times, Tua still seemed gun shy, no running game and poor O line play.

    The biggest thing I liked about what McDaniels did in his first game of calling plays ever, was always getting manageable 3rd down situations.

    Defense was stellar, weird the Pats didn’t throw the ball to Nik Needham every damn play. I really want to see if Jaelan Phillips can take the next step this year and be better at rushing the passer.

    Nothing really stood out, but good to start with a win

    1. Author

      At one point, the announcers asked if we learned anything new about Tua. Or if we saw a regression or an improvement. My honest assessment is that he looks the same.
      That being said, this is his very first game managing a complicated new offensive scheme. If we run identical plays next week, I can envision more success. The reps in practice, plus getting a W under our belts, can only help. But as of now, did any of us see any improvement in Tua? Or any backward steps? I didn’t see either.

  2. Admin, I saw some what I thought were slight improvements in Tua—BUT, it seemed to me that the plays were the improvement that made his play appear the way of improvement. So I don’t know if that constitutes a Tua improvement. I think it needs to be seen how he executes the new offense. It’s his mountain to climb and it will show if he struggles. He looks skiddish at times and that’s not a good sign if he s mentally not letting that go.

  3. I agree, running game and offensive line looked the same, so Tua performed the same. But it’s first game, so I will give them all a pass…

    For me, the most hopeful sign was the gutsy call to go for it on 4th and 7. Previous Dolphin coaches would have played it safe and punted. The Pats defense was packed in the box on the play, so it was a great play call and result. I hope is a positive sign at the Coach McDaniel’s ability to coach and manage in game, on the field.

    1. Author

      Yeah, I was leery of that play call, but it worked out so well. I saw McDaniel’s press conference, and he said on that play he assessed the situation and spoke to his time-management guys about the decision. That is good, in my mind, because he didn’t blindly just go for it because of his youth or treat it like he was a kid playing Madden, where you tend to go for it far more often than in a real-life game. He actually consulted his staff and made the decision based on solid consideration, and not an impulsive action. Well done!

      1. As you can probably guess from my previous three years of commenting on all the No experiences coach’s we keep hiring, I was not excited about McDaniels coming here. I’m glad to say up to this point I’m very impressed. This is even more impressive to me. We MAY actually have a coaching staff that understands and loves football. It’s early but promising

  4. Admin I also thought I might have been watching the same offense from the last several years however last year I believe we only beat NE at home game 1 by a single point. Not so this year. Also I haven’t seen the stats to verify this but I’d venture to say our offense had a lot fewer 3 and outs this year compared to opening games since chad Pennington! One thing that will be interesting is that last year we best NE only to go to Buffalo game two and get BLOWN OUT! Jury is out on the offense. The OL still stinks but there is now a real threat that receivers 1-3 can take it to the house and our TE can get chunks. If there is any talent on the OL (which is still debatable) that should take some pressure off and make them better. God I hope for a good year!

    1. Author

      Yes, in Week 1 last year, we were poised to lose as NEP was marching in for the winning FG. But X Howard nailed the RB and recovered the fumble to seal the win. It was a nice feeling that didn’t last too long because we went on to lose 7 in a row! LOL

    2. Author

      Also, Brian M brought up a great point that I didn’t notice. The Dolphins didn’t suffer a lot of three-and-outs. Due to several mental errors by Jevon Holland fielding punts, we started three drives at our own 10 yardline or worse. We didn’t go down and score on all of them, but we didn’t punt from the 10 either. In every case, we advanced the ball fairly well. Those multiple three-and-outs last year in sooooo many games were a killer, and yesterday they were not a factor.

      1. Very good point. It is little things like that people don’t see when they say it is the same offensive.

  5. The O was more consistent overall and as mentioned above more shorter first down distances. This allowed the O to string together longer drives.

    I’m hearing that a lot of olines struggled week one as it’s hard to practice that area. They need reps so should get better.

    Tua just managed the second half they were in control why take chances against a good D when it wasn’t needed? I think most of us would have preferred more runs if anything, kill clock and punt deep. Next week will be interesting.

    1. Author

      And I don’t think our OL had a penalty. This is a huge improvement id they can keep up that discipline.

  6. Regarding McDaniels decision to go for it on 4th down in the 1st half, from what I’m hearing from many announcers now is that in most cases, it is absolutely the right call to go for it on 4th down, from an analytics standpoint. In this particular instance, I think it was a “gut feeling” decision made by our coach (correctly).
    That was the turning point in that game, and being up 17-0, instead of just 10-0 at the half is quite a difference.
    I know that admin often asks for “max” protection formations for Tua – and I would like see that a lot more myself – Especially (now) with the best 2 starting WR’s in the league, that will eventually get open, if given enough time to run their routes. And Tua needs to learn to not automatically just go to the primary receiver every time, I’m sure you all saw the many times that there were guys wide open, who Tua didn’t see, because he didn’t look over the entire field. At least that is very fixable, if coached correctly.

    1. Author

      I think it was a combination of a gut decision, but with some thought and analysis going into it as well, Turned out to be the correct choice!

  7. I would also like to add that the coaches seemed to know what they were doing. Look at Hackett last night what a screw up! McD looked calm and collected all game and was deliberate in his calls.

    1. Author

      Very true. You mean the decision to try a 64 yard FG instead of asking Russell Wilson to gain you 4 yards?

  8. Here’s a comment from another poster pretty positive:

    After watching the all 22 from all angles it looks like Tua had a much better game than I originally thought. The first pass if it wasn’t tipped was god awful and the last pass just didn’t have that zip although at that point with the game in hand he probably was playing it safe. I thought he made all the right reads except for on the very first drive on 3rd and 1 where he tries to float it over the top he has Hill running deep with room to step into the throw. Overall he took what the defense gave him and made the right reads for the plays called. One thing is very clear, our Oline still sucks.

  9. Another thing I liked, is the little trick play that McDaniel (or the OC) had them play twice in a row. NE did not expect to be tricked again with the same play. It doesn’t happen often, so that play may not appear again for a long time, but it was sweet trickery!

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