Final Game 4 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' 17-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers at Dolphin Stadium.

-- We started the last discussion about the New England game by talking about the "Wildcat" formation, and we obviously need to talk about it some more. After running it six times against New England, the Dolphins used the formation 11 times against San Diego. The results weren't as overwhelming as they were in Foxborough, but they still were very positive. Bottom line, the Dolphins probably will and most definitely continue to use the "Wildcat."

-- Of course, what makes the "Wildcat" work more than anything is the running of Ronnie Brown, who we can officially say is fully recovered from last year's torn ACL. Had an argument with a colleague who suggested this is the best Brown has ever looked. Even though I would argue he was just as good, if not better, last year, just the fact there can be some discussion shows you how well he's playing.

-- Speaking of Brown, never thought I'd say this, but right now he's a better running back than Ricky Williams.

-- OK, enough about Brown, even though we could keep talking about him for a long time.

-- Chad Pennington has now had two consecutive games where he finished with a passer rating above 100. He also hasn't thrown a pick all year other than the last-second interception in the end zone in the opener against the Jets. This is the Pennington we thought we'd be getting when the Dolphins signed him. And, yes, he's making a huge difference on offense.

-- We have to talk about Derek Hagan, who was inactive on Sunday. Can't say it's a terrible shock. The guy simply is nothing more than a mediocre wideout, and he doesn't play special teams on top of that.

-- Brown's resurgence, couple of the strong play of outside linebacke Matt Roth, is making Nick Saban's first draft with the Dolphins look good. But the 2006 draft, with Jason Allen and Hagan as the first two picks? Yuck!

-- That indeed was a fabulous performance turned it by Matt Roth against the Chargers, but we honestly feel he owes a lot of it to the attention paid to Joey Porter on the other side. At this moment, Porter is playing exactly like he played during his glory days in Pittsburgh. He's making a huge difference on defense.

-- It would be wrong, in throwing out accolades for the San Diego game, to discount the work of Vonnie Holliday. The 3-4 defense invariably is conducive to the linebackers making the big plays, but Holliday was tremendous on Sunday. Above anything else, he led the charge when the Dolphins stuffed LaDainian Tomlinson for no gain on that fourth-and-goal play.

-- Lastly, hate to do this, but we have to close on a negative note. The special teams. Sure, they did a great job in kickoff coverage against Darren Sproles, but Dan Carpenter missed a field goal, Davone Bess fumbled on a kickoff return and Ted Ginn Jr. misplayed two punts. Who would have thought that as this stage of the season the special teams would be the Dolphins' biggest problem.

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