Midseason marks: Offense

The Dolphins arrived at the halfway point of the 2005 season with a 3-5 record, which is what a lot of people expected before things got under way. Of course, the record now seems a little disappointing after the Dolphins started off 2-1 with victories over playoff hopefuls Denver and Carolina. We examine the Dolphins' performance in the first half of the season, starting with the offense.

Quarterbacks

Gus Frerotte started off very impressively, but he has really -- and we do mean really -- struggled in recent weeks. In fact, he's been A.J. Feeley minus the interceptions returned for touchdowns. But his play hasn't been nearly good enough. We weren't expecting him to come in and rattle off Manning-like numbers, but it was reasonable to expect a lot more from him. Sage Rosenfels, who is still a fan favorite partly because he's not Frerotte right now, had the one highlight play against Kansas City. Cleo Lemon probably won't see the field this year. Grade: D+

Running backs

Boy, Ronnie Brown sure is making a lot of people look bad these days. After a very slow start -- something Nick Saban almost predicted because Brown signed so late -- Brown has been absolutely terrific, running with power and showing some nifty moves as well. Ricky Williams also has been impressive, and the Dolphins now find themselves with a 1-2 punch at halfback to rival just about any in the league. Sammy Morris has done good work as the third-down back, although sometimes it's hard to understand him being in there and both Brown and Williams being on the sideline. Heath Evans was signed as a free agent in the offseason, so his release a couple of weeks ago was surprising. We've only seen new fullback Darian Barnes for one game, but he looked like someone who plays with an attitude, and it was really good to see. Grade: A-

Receivers

This was supposed to be a major strength for the Dolphins, but it unfortunately hasn't turned out that way. Of course, some of it is attributable to Frerotte simply being off the mark too much. But the receivers also haven't been consistent. In fact, the most consistent of the bunch has been Wes Welker, who always seems to get open and doesn't drop the ball. Chris Chambers continues his habit of making spectucular catches but also disappearing for long stretches. Marty Booker hasn't been a major factor, other than his big 60-yard touchdown catch against Denver, while David Boston continues to be a disappointment. At tight end, Randy McMichael got off a great start, but he's been a non-factor lately and can't seem to make the great catch. Grade: C

Offensive line

We have been as hard on the offensive line as anybody else, but it's time to admit the unit has been playing fairly well of late. It's not a great offensive line, by any means, but it's getting the job done lately. Of course, the false starts are still way too numerous but the pass protection has been much better. This unit doesn't have to be great for the Dolphins offense to succeed, it has to be solid. It wasn't early in the season, but it has been lately. Grade: C

Overall

Saban wanted his team to overachieve this season, but the offense did just the opposite in the first half of 2005. The offense was expected to be a lot better and a big reason for the optimism was the presence of Frerotte. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, he hasn't been a big upgrade at quarterback and the offense will continue to struggle until he gets his game together. At the very least, though, the Dolphins have shown the ability to run the ball. Grade: C-


Dolphins Report Top Stories