That's the rule, right? You get to enjoy a victory for 24 hours. So I'm only going to say this once: Told ya.
D-line depth? CHECK
Wilber regularly beat Martin and got a couple of hits/pressures. Wilber and Selvie both absolutely destroyed Dallas Thomas (more on that in a second). Pendleton, Hayden, Long all made plays. Bass was good in limited action. Perhaps most tellingly, with 2 minutes to go,down by 4, the Dolphins put their 2s back in. They were trying to win the game against our 3s. How embarassing for them that they gained 7 yards on 4 plays.
Interior O-line? CHECK
Frederick, Leary and some guy wearing #62 (who let HIM on the team?) were stout against the pass rush and opened some huge holes for (particularly) Phillip Tanner. Witness the Frederick/Arkin/Free/Escobar blocking that set up one of the great runs of the night. The backup Tackles were weak, as was Costa to an extent, but the middle three of Leary/Fred/Arkin was a nice change, with 170 rushing yds to show for it.
Johnson was pretty solid but hurt his ankle. Looks minor, but the guy really needs to get down to N'awlins and get that hex removed. Wilcox made good stops, but had a little learning to do in coverage. He wasn't bad, but we might be able to tap the brakes on him as a starter for now. Hamilton and Heath made some decent plays for (and going up against) 3s.
They weren't the takeaways we were demanding, but they didn't miss many opportunities. They were pouncing on any ball that came loose (notably, Matt Johnson immediately scooped up a dropped pass as if it was a fumble) and they did record a pair of turnovers. They were more opportunistic than forced, but opportunistic is not a word we've used to describe the Dallas defense in a long time.
Special Teams? CHECK
Apart from some poor punting by Spencer Benton, the "Teams" looked good tonight, with very good execution on the onside kicks as well. I think 30 yr old Anthony Armstrong can be excused for not knowing the change in the rules, especially since he totally snagged the do-over.
Coaching? DOUBLE CHECK
I know most people are excited about all the runs. We ran the ball 17 times in the first half. There are entire games we didn't run the ball 17 times last year. But that's not what I mean. This team was Organized. Crisp. Disciplined. Focused. Intense. Everything you could want them to be... and this was the backups in the Hall of Fame Game! I don't think there was an offensive presnap penalty all day. There were a couple of offsides by jumpy d-linemen, but given the amount of dolphin blood in the water, one can hardly blame them for being anxious. One thing I noticed is that defensive players were positively compulsive about the football. Any time it hit the ground there was a cowboy right after it. This team is being coached up like it never has been before and I am more convinced than ever that the importance of Callahan calling plays is not that the play calls will be so different, but that the rest of the team, under Garrett's focused management, will look much more like a professional group and much less like a certain shot I used to enjoy in my misspent youth that involved a Caribbean Island and Monkeys.
And one last one... we kool-aid krew have had a number of "more realistic" people telling us that the team was dumb for not drafting an O-lineman and sticking us with Gavin Escobar. Had we drafted Williams at #47 and gone for an o-lineman at #72 (which is what we would've done in that case) we would've ended up with this guy. For those who didn't click the link, that is Dallas Thomas (Miami's 3rd round draft pick and next o-lineman on our board) being bullrushed into oblivion (and the QB) by our 3RD STRING DE, George Selvie on one of his sacks (yes, plural) on the evening. Still think that o-line pick helps this team right now?
So score one for the kool aid krew, but only one. It's 24 hrs and then forget it. Not only was this one game, but it was a meaningless one against the other team's backups (except when they put their 2s in to try to actually win and failed miserably against our 3s and 4s!). One, preseason, game. Keep your foot on the brakes.
It's back to work for our boys. But I feel confident they will be.