Final Game 1 Observations

Tuesday is the off day in the NFL, the day before preparations begin for the next game. It's also an opportunity to take a final look back at the most recent game, in this case the Dolphins' 20-14 loss to the New York Jets at Dolphin Stadium.

-- There were things to like and things to dislike in the game, and at the top of the things we liked was the resilience shown by the Dolphins. It was a far cry from what we saw last year when the team seemed to fold every time it faced adversity. It really says something that the Dolphins clearly were outplayed for virtually the entire game, yet had a chance to win at the end.

-- We said it before the game, we said it on Sunday, and we have to say it again: The Dolphins are going to have problems on offense unless they upgrade their wide receiver corps. Coach Tony Sparano said Monday the reason the tight ends were such a big factor in the passing game was the way the Jets were playing, but it's probably just as accurate to say the Dolphins wideouts just can't get open or command any respect. Ted Ginn Jr. followed an impressive preseason with a really poor opener, and we didn't really notice getting double-teamed all that much. His failure to prevent Darrelle Revis from making the interception in the end zone at the end of the game also was inexcusable.

-- Exactly why was Patrick Cobbs the third-down back against the Jets? Cobbs is a nice little running back who can help out on special teams and fill in in a pinch. But having him in the game on third down and having both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams on the sideline? Makes no sense. Brown and Williams are just as good, if not better, when it comes to catching the ball out of the backfield, are much tougher to bring down and much more likely to take one the distance. This situation has to change for the next game.

-- That was our biggest gripe in terms of personnel for the opener, and a close second was the decision to inactivate Ernest Wilford. Sparano explained it by saying he wanted newcomer Brandon London active for his help on special teams; we say, fine, then de-activate Derek Hagan instead. Wilford is the biggest receiver on the Dolphins and he also has shown in the past his ability to catch balls in traffice. That would have been invaluable in the red zone, either on the third-and-goal from the 2, the fourth-and-goal from the 2 or that last, ill-fated pass to Ginn.

-- Defensively, it went a little bit unnoticed, but Will Allen was tremendous in coverage. Just wish he would stop celebrating every single time he breaks up a pass.

-- Linebacker Channing Crowder said in the preseason he was expecting big things for himself now that he'd be getting the chance to play every down with Zach Thomas gone to Dallas. He'll need to do a lot better than he did against the Jets. His tackle total was fine, but he did not make one single play of significance.

-- It was interesting to see Davone Bess returning punts and kickoffs at the start of the game. The rookie free agent eventually was replaced by Ginn on punt returns, but Ginn's failure to come up to catch two short punts cost the Dolphins precious yardage. Ginn easily has the better speed of the two players, but in terms of decision-making Bess clearly appears to have the edge.

-- Bess and Camarillo both would be tremendous receivers if only they possessed the speed needed to create more separation. As it is, both should be in the NFL a long time.

-- Since we're getting on the wide receivers, it's only fair to praise the work of tight ends Anthony Fasano and David Martin. Both of them caught everything thrown their way against the Jets. The feeling here is they'll be a huge part of the offense all season.


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