Thursday, May 24, 2012
Can Dolphins handle up-tempo offense?
By James Walker
It's early in the offseason. But from the looks of it, the Miami Dolphins want to run an up-tempo offense under first-year head coach Joe Philbin.
The former offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers is known for putting pressure on defenses. Green Bay was as good as anyone in dictating tempo. Last year the Packers were third in total offense (405.1 yards per game) and first in scoring (35 points per game).
But can Philbin's philosophy work in Miami?
The key to Philbin's first year will be quickly learning and knowing his personnel. New coaches often make the mistake of assuming their system and concepts are one size fits all.
Miami quarterbacks Matt Moore or David Garrard certainly isn't Aaron Rodgers. Dolphins receiver Brian Hartline is not Greg Jennings, and tight end Anthony Fasano is not comparable to Packers tight end Jermichael Finley.
The Dolphins have uncertainty at quarterback and the worst group of receivers in the division. Going up-tempo has its risks. Miami could face plenty of three-and-outs, which would put a lot of pressure on its defense.
Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman need to be careful about this while installing their new West Coast offense. Green Bay's strengths under Philbin were the quarterback and passing game. It's much easier to go up-tempo when you have a Pro Bowl and Super Bowl-winning quarterback throwing to stud receivers and tight ends.
Miami doesn't have that on its roster this year. The Dolphins' strength is their running game behind their offensive line and 1,000-yard rusher Reggie Bush. It would be wise for Miami's coaching staff to keep that in mind.