AFC East: Ray Edwards

Observations on the Dolphins

August, 13, 2011
8/13/11
3:14
PM ET
Observations on the Miami Dolphins' 28-23 preseason win against the Atlanta Falcons.

More required from Henne: I have been in the Dolphins’ corner all offseason on their approach at the quarterback position: Build the supporting cast around Chad Henne and give him another chance to succeed. His game versus Atlanta didn’t help his cause at all. His first pass of the night was well behind Anthony Fasano, who could not handle it. John Abraham, who dropped into coverage on a zone blitz, intercepted it. It wasn’t as though Henne was confused by the scheme or under a lot of pressure in the pocket. He just missed an easy, short throw to his tight end. His second first-quarter interception also was released from a clean pocket. In this case, it looked as though he just was unable to fit the ball in over the cornerback (Brent Grimes, who made the interception) and in front of the safety in what was most likely a Cover 2 look. That won’t do. I wonder how much the Dolphins fans attending training camp will boo Henne now. To his credit, Henne did improve after throwing the second interception, although he was facing many of the Falcons’ backup defenders.

Miami was the inferior team: When the starters were playing, it was pretty clear the Falcons are the better team. There is no shame in that for the Dolphins, because Atlanta is clearly one of the top few teams in the NFL. But Miami was beaten in just about all areas when both team’s best players were on the field. After Henne’s opening interception, the Falcons totally owned Miami’s defense and promptly made the score 7-0 in dominant fashion.

Line play: I have been singing the praises of Miami’s defensive line this entire offseason. It faced a stiff test against a rugged and well-coached Falcons’ front five that returns four of five starters from a year ago. Atlanta is not especially athletic, but boasts one of the best offensive lines in the league. Miami’s defensive front did not offer much resistance against the Falcons’ downhill power running game. Michael Turner had too many holes to run through.

Offensive tackles: Because the great Jake Long is injured, Miami started Lydon Murtha at left tackle. Newly signed Marc Colombo started on the right side, and Vernon Carey slid in to right guard. Ray Edwards didn’t play for the Falcons, but Atlanta -- led by Abraham -- is still pretty strong at defensive end. Murtha and Colombo are not an athletic pair at all, and they were far from perfect. But they played better than I had expected. Murtha had a tougher outing than Colombo, which is not a surprise. I still have my doubts about Colombo as a starter.

Nolan didn’t show much: This isn’t an excuse for the Dolphins’ front to get abused by simple downhill run plays, but it was pretty clear after watching this game that Mike Nolan didn’t want to put a lot of his defensive playbook on tape. There were very few blitzes and little pre-snap movement. The top guys on the Dolphins’ defense didn’t play a lot of snaps in this contest. The depth of the Dolphins’ defense did show up well as the game went along. I am still very confident that Miami will have one of the best defenses in football this season.

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