Final Game 2 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' 31-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.

-- It's hard not to start with the play of the secondary, even though this topic has been addressed ad nauseam since Sunday. The problem is pretty obvious, the solution not quite simply. From what we could observe, Andre' Goodman and Chris Crocker both looked really bad and that was just a continuation from the opener. But exactly what do the Dolphins have behind those guys? It's clear the coaching staff doesn't trust Jason Allen, who wasn't even the first backup at safety and Renaldo Hill made a touchdown-costing mistake against the Jets. At cornerback, is Michael Lehan really an upgrade over Goodman? The truth is the Dolphins made the mistake their defensive backs were good enough to return pretty much intact from last year. This is starting to rival wide receiver as the biggest problem area on the team.

-- But not quite. The play of the receiving corps remains unacceptable. Where, oh where, was Ted Ginn against Arizona? One catch? Are you kidding me? It's been suggested that he just doesn't fit the mold of the Dolphins' blueprint because he's a "finesse player," but it still makes no sense to take a guy drafted ninth overall just the previous year and make him a non-factor. If he doesn't fit into your long-range plans, at the very least showcase him to boost his trade value.

-- Then again, it's hard for any wide receiver to do really well right now because the running game is going nowhere and Chad Pennington doesn't have enough time to throw. The offensive line was one big reason there was some optimism heading into the season, but so far it has been mediocre at best.

-- Or could it be that teams are jamming everything at the line of scrimmage because there is such little respect for what the receivers can do? It's getting to be a very tired story, always talking about the shortcomings at receiver. But they're just not going away.

-- A key to the success of a 3-4 defense is the play of the linebackers, and if you don't believe us, just look at Pittsburgh. But sadly, the Dolphins got nothing out of their starters against Arizona. Did either Joey Porter or Matt Roth come even remotely close to getting to Kurt Warner? The answer is a big fat no. And then there's Channing Crowder, who is making a lot of tackles, just no big plays. It hurts to say, but this guy is starting to look like Morlon Greenwood more and more every game.

-- Yes, Chad Henne looked good in his one drive in charge of the offense. And yes, he has what appears to be a great future. But let's not get carried away, either. He threw his passes when the score was 31-3 and the Cardinals were playing very soft coverage. In short, it wasn't truly reflective of what Henne would see if he were to start a game.

-- The truth is that shouldn't happen just yet. Pennington, granted, hasn't exactly been overwhelming so far, but we have to go back to that dreaded receiving corps, which is putting more pressure on every other group on offense, including the quarterback.


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