Opening a season with a rookie QB is hardly the recipe for success in the NFL. This is a league that takes time to learn. Rookie QBs the past 2 seasons have lost twice as many games as they have won, so any way you slice it the 2012 Miami Dolphins offense is destined for a learning curve. The wide receiver group, and the tight end group, each struggled in the preseason with catching the football. The running game failed to get going too, but I have a specific area of concern for the ’12 squad.
3rd down conversions. (Article on #1 issue for defense is HERE)
The NFL is all about 3rd down conversions. The preseason showed us how dangerous this area could be for the ‘Phins. The offense went just 16 for 57 on 3rd down. That is a poor success rate of just 28%. The NFL average is 38%. In the 2011 playoffs only the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, and Cincinnati Bengals had lower 3rd down% than the league average. Those four combined for a measly 2-4 record in the playoffs.
3rd down conversions extends drives. This is crucial for the 2012 Dolphins as they are implementing a new system on offense. A west-coast system that sees plays run in rapid succession. No-huddle, hurry-up style. When the offense cannot convert on 3rd down that puts the tiring defense back on the field right away due to the quick plays being run. A 3-and-out for the Dolphins offense could mean as little as one minute off the play clock. In preseason the time of possession was 35 minutes to 25 minutes for the opposition. Problematic all around.
We saw the very first 3rd down play in preseason game #1 go to Chad Johnson, but his hands exploded when the ball came and Miami was forced to punt. This set the tone for what we have seen since. WRs/TEs having issues making big catches on 3rd down to extend drives. Only Davone Bess has showed himself worthy of being a 3rd down target. Brian Hartline is back at practice and we can expect him to get a lot of looks on 3rd down from Ryan Tannehill (Ryan Tannehill Player Profile HERE)
Thank you for your read! Much appreciated.
Click Subscribe to Craig Ballard for all of my daily/free Miami Dolphins articles
Follow me on twitter @craigballard77