Preseason game 3 is the one you circle on your calendar. Its the one where the team actually game plans, and the starters play into the thrid quarter. You expect that your team will go all out and do something to show what kind of team they are. And when you happen to be squaring off against a good opponent, that raises the stakes.
And the Dolphins fell flat.
We saw literally nothing from the starters on offense. They had less than 200 yards passing and under 100 yards rushing. Marshall came up with, what?, 2 catches. Brown and Williams were held in check. You had some silly mistakes, and a sack in which three defenders were on Henne and no offensive linemen were nearby. That's a huge breakdown.
On defense, Mike Nolan still played it vanilla. There was nothing to latch onto. No moments when you said "hey, we might actually be good!" Nothing. I was hoping to see something that inspired. I didn't. Coverages were weak, pass rush was nonexistent. It was sad. And it started before the game as Sean Smith was demoted for "violating a team rule" leaving the much-maligned Jason Allen as the starter. He played pretty much as I would have expected, but that's not going to be good enough.
Special teams got a lot of work, naturally, and there wasn't a punt blocked. Carpenter hit a 53-yard field goal, and made a nice tackle on a kickoff. But if that's the best I can say, that's pretty sad.
Hey, but at least they were injury free! Oh wait, that's not true, either. Jake Grove, Joey Haynos, and Brian Hartline left the game. And of those, it seems that Haynos' injury is the most serious. We'll see soon.
As for performances, well, I thought Vontae Davis played well. I still think he's the real deal and will be a solid starter for years to come. Paul Soliai was actually a factor in the game, and clogged the middle well. Dansby played well, as did Bell. On offense....I can say nice things about Vernon Carey, and....end of story. Everyone else seemed to have rocky performances.
I did enjoy watching John Jerry matchup against his brother. But it was nothing special and no one clearly won. Mom's probably happy.
Is all of this cause for concern? Maybe. It might mean the Dolphins start off slow *again* this year (they are 1-6 under Sparano in September), and that leaves me feeling like another 8-8 (or so) season is in the offing.
I just really would have like to have seen more. As a friend of mine at the game with me said "If I had been at home watching this, I would have fallen asleep in the second quarter." Yes, it was that dull.
The largest cheer of the night came when they played the Dolphins fight song at the end of the third quarter. Ah yes, the glory days...