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  Lack of Scoring, Conditioning Dooms Dolphins
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by Chris Shashaty, Phins.com Columnist

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“Any combination of runs and pass completions adding up to 50 or more usually adds up to victory for that team.” ---Dick Vermeil, former NFL coach

 

Want to know why the Miami Dolphins lost their opener? Just apply Dick Vermeil’s logic.

 

Washington Redskins: 41 runs+12 pass completions equals 53.

 

Miami Dolphins: 20 runs+24 pass completions equals 44.

 

What does this mean?

 

On a hot summer day, it means that the Redskins used their ground game to wear out a Dolphin defense not in good enough condition to withstand a run-pass mix of 2-to-1.

 

It means that an error-prone Dolphin offense couldn’t run the ball worth a lick. Instead, they resorted to a dink-and-dunk approach that failed to yield little more than a single touchdown against last year’s 31st ranked defense. This all but encouraged the Redskin offense to stay patient with their ground assault on a defensive front seven lacking quality depth. If you’re going to pass, you have to score touchdowns or you will lose. Period.

 

It means the Redskins used a surprisingly effective combination to get a win, an approach that future Dolphin opponents are certain to copy.

 

Hard to believe the Miami Dolphins, a team that trains in the heat and humidity of South Florida, a team with an offensive guru for a head coach, could be beaten in this way.

 

Hard not to wonder if the Dolphins frequent use of their air conditioned practice dome is coming back to bite them, as some feared it would. Did the lack of playing time for key veterans in the preseason contribute?

 

And, in a close game where one big play can win it, why is Cam Cameron is not playing Ted Ginn, Jr. (more) and Lorenzo Booker (at all) on offense, two of the fastest guys on the team? What’s Cameron worried about, that they’ll make a mistake and lose the game? He already knows that the guys he inherited aren’t good enough.

 

Dom Capers should stand next to Cameron and do some ‘splainin as well.

 

Why not give Travis Daniels some help over the top against Antwaan Randle El? Or, did the safety blow the coverage? Clearly, Daniels was overmatched heads up.

 

One can only imagine the delicious thoughts flowing through Terrell Owens’ mind right now.

 

Why wasn’t Joey Porter on the field more in overtime? Why pay the guy millions if he isn’t balling in the defining moment of the game?

 

It is just a shame that the Dolphins went home 16-13 overtime losers in this one. There were several opportunities for the Dolphins to force the Redskins out of their game, just as there were opportunities for the Dolphins to decide the game in regulation.

 

Players get a good share of the blame, too. Once again, some of the usual suspects failed to show up.

 

Chris Chambers dropping a pass. Again.

 

A Dolphin TE, this time David Martin, dropping two passes. Again.

 

Rex Hadnot drawing a flag. Again.

 

Now you know why Cameron and GM Randy Mueller are turning this roster over as such an aggressive pace. They’ve got no choice.

 

Still, both Cameron and Capers need to do some hard introspection after this one.

 

Did they make a mistake in not training the veterans harder during the preseason? The sight of Dolphin defenders, on their knees in between plays, was alarming.

 

Did Cameron wait too long to decide on his starting five on the offensive line? They were completely impotent in the run game.

 

Did Capers make a mistake in not rotating out his defensive linemen more freely? Akbar Gbaja-Biamila and Rodrique Wright didn’t even play.

 

On a team that needs to find a way to win while the offense matures, it is nothing less than a missed opportunity not to get a win against a very average Redskins team.

 

 

Now comes the Dallas Cowboys, fresh off a 45 point explosion against the New York Giants. What sane person would give the Dolphins a prayer in this one, talent be damned, after what they saw against an inferior Redskins team?

 

I know that a third of the Dolphin roster has a season or less of experience.

 

I know that there is a new offensive system being mastered.

 

I know that there is a new quarterback.

 

I know there is a new head coach.

 

And, yes, I know it is early. As Cameron himself said, this is only one of sixteen, and they need to move on to Dallas.

 

He’s right.

 

It’s just never pretty to lose the way the Dolphins did, especially to a very average team.

 

Coaches and players need to be smarter if they want a prayer of a chance against the Cowboys. What we saw against Washington just isn’t good enough.

 
     
   
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