Rookie Ryan Tannehill starts for Miami this week at QB, under new head coach Joe Philbin and OC Mike Sherman. Sherman coached Tannehill at Texas A&M. That pushes David Garrard and former Panther Matt Moore to the back burner. A day ago, Moore was determined #1 on the depth chart, so the team has technically had two new starters at QB while lacking a game to have been played until tonight.
Miami isn’t the team of recent note – having transitioned from outgoing coach Tony Sparano’s approach to head toward the more spread-leaning version of the WCO that Philbin and Mike Sherman have used previously in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers (in separate stints). Like most approaches of this nature, it relies on precision passing to timed areas, and the full use of any and all receivers when possible. It’s an offense that relies on getting the ball out fast. The problem is, to who? The Dolphins could put any of the 3 QB out there at any point and that’d be somewhat reasonable, but likely starting receivers Davone Bess and former Panther Legedu Naanee aren’t exactly the biggest world-beaters. Behind that is Julius Pruitt, and Jeff Fuller. Anthony Fasano is a solid enough receiver, and Reggie Bush is always an effective receiver out of the backfield, but that’s about it. They drafted Michael Egnew (TE, Missouri) in the 3rd round to supplement Fasano’s efforts and Lamar Miller (RB, Miami) in the 4th to add a more traditional backup behind Bush and the smallish Steve Slaton.
A line anchored by LT Jake Long and center Mike Pouncey is good enough, with rookie 2nd rounder Jonathan Martin (Stanford) likely at RT. There’s not much else to speak of on the line, and they lack much depth.
It may be worth seeing if Miami tries anything hurry-up – their camp antics of using two teams to constantly run scrimmage drills against each other was innovative, but they may look to up the pace in preseason games as well.
Defensively, they rely on Cameron Wake, now transferring down to rush end from 3-4 OLB, and former Cardinals MLB Karlos Dansby. The one-gap 4-3 is piloted by DC Kevin Coyle, a DBs coach for the Bengals for the last eleven years. Jared Odrick currently starts at the other end, with 3rd rounder Olivier Vernon (Miami) backing. Paul Soliai (NT) and Randy Starks (under tackle) look to shield Kevin Burnett and Dansby at LB.
Former Panther Richard Marshall starts at CB with Sean Smith, with Nolan Carroll and Vontae Davis behind.
So what is success in this game?
To me, any three of these:
To me, any three of these:
*A halftime lead
*three defensive turnovers
*a breakout player
I will, however, take just the last one and be somewhat happy.
I also don't believe this Miami team is better than Carolina, but I don't know their depth well enough to suggest it should be a win. But I definitely want to see better energy and intensity.