What a difference a week makes huh? The big question going into the week was how would Ryan Tannehill would respond after the week 1 beating he took from Houston, and in many cases the fanbase as well. Big thumbs up to Tannehill who really didn't make one bad throw against Oakland. Thing that impressed me the most was how Tanny responded and played after the beating he took in the second quarter.
Which brings me to the OL. In the chat and on the board people were really giving it to Jake Long for struggling. Re-watching the game he had a bad few drives in the 2nd quarter, but was otherwise solid. His biggest issue (and I don't know why he was doing it) was the same issue Jonathan Martin had against Carolina in the preseason; he was kicking out to far as though preparing for a speed rush, and the DE took the inside lane. Jake was not the only part of the OL that struggled in the second quarter. The OL didn't get much of a push which also resulted in a lot of negative plays. Luckily adjustments were made, but more on that later.
The 2nd quarter struggles for another week were concerning, and again, in the chat I saw people complaining about Philbin just going into the half when we had 40 seconds left and 3 timeouts. And not to call people out, but even a few mods and VIP posters were comparing Philbin to Sparano at half. With the struggles, the team was having I have no problem with going into the half to calm the team down and regroup.
The adjustments the coaching staff made in the second half were good as well. Big difference from this regime and the last. There were many times I felt Tony came into the game with a solid opening gameplan, but when it was time to make changes into what we had to do, that's where he struggled. His adjustment normally ended up as go to the Wildcat. Philbin and company changed the blocking scheme a bit, and the defensive changed coverage just a tad. Very nicely done.
Star of the game was Reggie Bush. First half there were several times where Reggie resorted back to his bad habits of dancing too much rather where he would end up either losing yards or getting short gains due to dancing and trying to do too much rather than just taking what was there. Second half he got north a lot quicker and ended up having a great game. Lamar Miller also looked good in relief for Reggie. Did a good job hitting the hole, hopefully he can continue this and become a constant weapon. The RBs performances show the OL does deserve credit. While the pass blocking scheme does have some issues, Coach Turner has done a great job getting the run blocking in order.
Brian Hartline showed once again that he is an asset to have. Sure those comebacks aren't going to be there every week, but Hartline has shown the ability to get himself a little space from CBs and give his QB enough room to get a throw into space. Hartline's emergence should open things up a little for Bess and Fasano as well. We still need another person or 2 to step up in the passing game.
Also have to give a shout out to Javorskie Lane. When he converted to FB his senior year under Mike Sherman, he was horrible. The performance I saw from him last night was the best lead blocking I've seen from one of our FBs in a long time; and that includes Lousaka Polite's 2009 season. The best came during Miller's TD run where Lane cleared the FB completely out of the picture.
I liked the defensive gameplan from Kevin Coyle. I can see where his defense will frustrate some fans as there are gonna be short passes open that can result in bigger gains, but for the most part, the coverage is much better than it was under Nolan. It was also very frustrating to see the DL get so much pressure on Carson Palmer but were unable to get a sack most of the game. The pressure was encouraging however, as I do not forget how many times last year I saw a QB sit in a pocket for at least 10 seconds without even a threat of having to make a quick decision.
2 players who deserve a lot of credit are 2 guys who were often criticized last year; Reshad Jones and Koa Misi. Jones I kind of knew would do a lot better switching to SS. The decision to play him at FS last year was baffling as it took away his best attributes; which includes attacking the LOS. For the second week in a row Jones made a couple nice plays in the run game, as well as stopping some short passes from going for a first down. Misi also had another good game reading plays and stopping them from getting going. This included breaking off from a blitz on a screen and going out towards the RB. Unfortunately he was blocked, but still a good play. Misi is still a bit of a liability in coverage but he's probably been our best LB in the run game.
During the game, I thought Karlos Dansby was at fault for the long TD, but Dansby actually had a good game after re-watching it. Would have liked to have seen a better effort from him, but Chris Clemmons also made a poor decision and took himself out of the play.
Hats off to Nolan Carroll as well. Another guy the fanbase was ready to throw to the curb yesterday, but for 2 weeks he's done a solid job when called upon. Had a bogus PI called against him, but was otherwise good enough in coverage.
Final Conclusion? We are going in the right direction. We are not as bad as we looked at times against Houston, but we are not as good as we looked yesterday. That is not a slight at the team. We will win some games this year, and probably some of them will be games we have no business winning. The lack of talent at certain positions will come back and bite us at some points in the season while we will be able to hide them in other parts.