This week’s Q & A with Michael Rosenbloom provides some interesting insight into the mind of a Miami Dolphins fan. Much like the Texans, the Dolphins have great talent but have lacked the “special” ingredient necessary to make it to the playoffs for the last few seasons. Houston’s visit to Miami could prove to be a very volatile game as both teams as looking to prove that they have what it takes be considered a contender in the league this season.
Only one team can win this game. Only one team can put a tick-mark in the W column. Only one team can take the next step towards reaching the playoffs…
Here is what Michael and I discussed in this week’s Q & A:
1. Daniel Thomas is going to be making his debut against the Texans this Sunday. How do you see him fairing against the Texans new 3-4 defense and what must he do to be successful in this game?
I actually believe Thomas did himself a favor by not being able to play last week. He is a straight-line runner and running right into the combined 700 pound monsters that are Vince Wilfolk and Albert Haynesworth would have not done much confidence wise for his first professional game. That being said, I do not expect Sparano to push him in his first game. To be successful, he needs to not dance in the backfield. He was doing that too much in the preseason. He is a big guy and needs to use his weight to pound it up the middle. The Dolphins struggled badly on the goal line last week, throwing way too much, so this week I expect to see Thomas in the red zone a lot.
2. As a follow-up to the previous question: How do you see Reggie Bush’s role shaping up if Thomas is successful in this game?
Regardless of how Thomas performs in the game, I still expect to see a pretty heavy dose of Reggie. What I would like to see if Thomas does have some success is Bush split out in the slot or out wide with Thomas in the backfield. That will add an extra dimension that the Texans will have to contend with and will hopefully create some mismatches in the secondary, especially if the Texans are forced to use their linebackers to cover him.
Reggie wants to be the featured back in this offense, and that idea scares me. He has had trouble staying healthy and I still am not convinced that he can carry the ball 20-25 times a game, for 16 games. The Dolphins had the right idea last week, using him plenty in both the rushing and receiving game. I would expect to see the same thing again this week, even if Thomas comes in and performs well.
3. After the Dolphins defensive collapse last week, what will we see this week, against the Texans, that will improve the Dolphins chance of winning the defensive game?
My friend has a radio show in New England that I was on Friday before the game. We were talking about the game and I may have mentioned that I thought the Dolphins were going to have the top defense in the league in 2011. Boy, was my face red Monday night. Remember, this was the sixth best defense last season.
So what happened? Looking back at the game, they looked exhausted. All night. Playing in the Miami heat, you would think it would’ve been New England that was tired, but the Dolphins just looked flat-out slow. The key to the game this week is the pass rush. If you look at the tape, Tom Brady had all day to throw. Matt Schaub is not Tom Brady obviously, but you give pretty much any quarterback in the NFL that much time and they are going to shred your defense.
Cameron Wake looked totally overmatched by a rookie. Nobody was getting to Brady. Mike Nolan needs to send pressure at Schaub this week. He cannot have that much time, or him and Andre Johnson will have a field day. The Dolphins did release Benny Sapp after the game, and they resigned Will Allen. That should help shore up the secondary a bit, as Allen is the more polished player.
4. Is this week’s game a must-win for the Dolphins or can they afford to go 0 – 2 and still reach the playoffs?
I would hate to say that any week two game is a “must-win”, but it’s pretty close. This is a frustrated front office, and a frustrated fan base right now. We are tired of seeing a team full of plenty of talent not making the playoffs. If the Dolphins can pull off a win this week, it would mean a lot.
First off, the Texans are a talented team and a trendy Super Bowl sleeper pick this year. They made a statement last week, and if the Dolphins can beat them, it will show they can hang with the big boys. Secondly, this is a statement game for the defense to come back and say “hey, we don’t suck”. They have to come back in a big way this week. I think a loss this week would be demoralizing to a team that had hope coming into the season. Can they still make the playoffs if they start 0-2? Of course. But they need to win this week to rebuild some of the confidence lost against the Patriots.
5. Chad Henne…contender or pretender? Why?
Contender, absolutely. I’ve been saying this for a few months now. Along with most Dolphins fans, I have been down in Henne in recent years, but that was more because of the offense he was in than his actual performance. Dan Henning was a virus for Henne that finally cleared his system this year. Henning would not let Henne throw the ball deep. He would take Henne out for crucial plays to deploy the (worthless) wildcat. Henne had no speed to work with.
We saw in the preseason and especially last week what Henne could do when A) he has speed and B) he has the ability to throw the ball down the field and gain chunks of yardage. I said before the season started that I had never seen Henne this confident before and that held up last week. He is playing with emotion and really does look like the leader of the offense. Now of course, it’s only been one game and Henne has been wildly inconsistent so far in his career, but he looks like a different quarterback. I am looking forward to watching him this year.
6. Are you ready for your ‘Phins to lose another game?
Learned my lesson about trash talk last week. I’ll let my players do the talking for me…hopefully.