MIAMI -- I asked Richie Incognito a point-blank question Friday night: What is the strength of this Dolphins' offense?
"The strength of this offense? You know, it's tough to tell," the Dolphins' starting guard said. "We have so many moving pieces in and out and we're still searching for our identity."
This is a part of the problem in Miami. After months of spring workouts, three weeks of training camp and three preseason games, Miami still doesn't know what to hang its hat on and lacks offensive direction. It was further evident in the "dress rehearsal" game against the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta beat Miami, 23-6.
Miami threw the football a lot against Atlanta. The Dolphins' pass-to-run ratio was 39-to-24. Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill had 27 attempts in less than three quarters of work.
But the Dolphins as a pass-first offense Friday looked like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. Miami tried to go up-tempo and couldn't convert on third down (3 of 15) to stay on the field. Tannehill missed some throws, including an interception, and many good passes were dropped by receivers.
A West Coast offense is built on precision passing, but the combination of an inexperienced quarterback and little talent at receiver and tight end makes it difficult. Don't expect Joe Philbin’s Green Bay offense in Miami this year. It's not happening.
"There was no real rhythm going with the offense," Philbin said after the game. "We struggled on third down. It wasn't pretty at all. Again, the stats are what they are. Certainly, we have to do better."
There aren't many things Miami's offense can do well. But Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman will be better served altering their pass-first approach and focus more on the running game.
Running backs Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas and rookie Lamar Miller provide the Dolphins the best chance to move the ball and score points. It is not the exciting brand of offensive football Philbin was expected to bring to South Beach this year, but it is Miami's best and only chance to win games.