The number of shrill headlines following the Dolphins defensive performance versus Dallas is truly mind-boggling. While it is true that the Cowboys walked up and down the field at will last night, it is worth remembering that different teams use the preseason for different reasons, particularly in week two.
It was clear that Gase wanted to get the offense going last night. We saw some things that were not quite vanilla- RT's rollout bomb to Stills comes to mind, as do a few designed QB runs. Last night the defense, however, seemed to be playing a very limited game plan. Sure, it would have been nice to see better tackling, more one-on-one effort in the trenches, and above all better coverage, but I suspect that the Dallas O unit and Miami O unit were more under examination than the respective defenses.
But don't take my (speculative) word for it. Take a look at a few preseason results from last year. The following are the 30+ point performances against defenses:
KC 34, AZ 19
PHI 36, IND 10
PHI 40, BAL 17
CAR 31, MIA 30
PHI 39, GB 26
WAS 31, BAL 13
CLE 31, TB 7
AZ 30, OAK 23
Baltimore surrendered 30+ points twice in the preseason, but was number 8 in total defense during the regular season. Arizona got lit up by Kansas City but was fifth in the league. Tampa Bay had the league's number 10 defense and gave up 31- to CLEVELAND. And Miami hung 30 on Carolina- and we all know what that meant, long term.
So: relax! It is going to be a long season, with ups and downs. Last night was neither. But if you really want something to worry about, the running game might be a good place to start...