On Friday night, the Miami Dolphins beat the Atlanta Falcons in the first preseason game of 2011, 28-23. However, from the reaction we’ve heard from Dolphins fans, you would have thought the Dolphins were blown out 62-7. Yes, Chad Henne’s first pass was picked off…Yes, he threw another one….Yes, the starting defense allowed a TD on Atlanta’s second drive of the game….We know all of the negatives. BUT, please, please, please remember that this was the FIRST preseason game. Not only was this the first preseason game, but it was the 1st preseason game in a year when there were no mini-camps, OTAs, QB schools, etc. So of all of the seasons we’ve watched preseason games, the 1st one in 2011 should be treated as the least important. The Dolphins have been in camp for 2 weeks….the new signings (Burnett, Moore, Colombo, etc.) have only been practicing with the team for a week. Add to this that the Dolphins and Falcons both played ‘vanilla’ and you can begin to understand why you can’t put too much into preseason game #1….But for now, we understand that this is all we have to go off of.
Make no mistake about it, we’re not apologists for the Dolphins, we’re just trying to put things into perspective. If the same problems are there in preseason game 3…or week one vs. the Patriots…then we can start to worry. Can the offensive line gel before opening night? Can Chad Henne manage the game properly and avoid costly turnovers? Can the defense live up to it’s Top 5 billing? All of those questions will be answered later in preseason and once the regular season begins. Right now it’s too early to be overly critical. Just as you can’t read too much into the negatives about the Dolphins, you can’t read too much into the positives. But, some of the things we saw were encouraging:
The Dolphins came out of the Atlanta game relatively injury free. Koa Misi and Jared Odrick were nicked up, but neither injury seems too serious. The Dolphins held out several players to play it safe (Brandon Marshall, Reggie Bush, Jason Taylor), etc. Hopefully the Dolphins can remain relatively healthy until the regular season starts.