This should be a fun open thread, considering most Chargers fans will be at their computer during the game to either get score updates or participate in illegal activity. Unfortunately, I will not be around to join in. I know, I know....what else is new?
Creanium will be around with the 2nd half Open Thread and the Post-Game Wrapup, mostly because he's one of the few on the BFTB staff that will be able to enjoy the game legally and through his NFL Sunday Tickey package in Colorado.
Earlier this week, I answered 5 questions for The Phinsider and they answered 5 of mine. I hadn't really found a spot to put their answers to my questions, and they'd be a little dated after today, so they're going after the jump. Enjoy!1. Lots of Chargers fans were upset to see Kevin Burnett sign somewhere else this offseason, after his fantastic 2010 season with San Diego. How has he looked for Miami thus far?
Perhaps Burnett's own words describe this best:
"I haven't done enough to help my team," Burnett said. "A season is made of 1,000 plays, and I've got 830 more to go. But it has to happen now. At some point, you have to show flashes of it. I don't want to live on potential and not production."
He's been disappointing so far this year - making Dolphins fans start to miss Channing Crowder. What Burnett said is exactly right, the season is young, but he needs to turn it around now. Expectations were high when Burnett was brought in, and Crowder was released, especially seeing as Burnett was thought to be the solution to the Dolphins' historical problem covering tight ends - and so far in 2011, he hasn't been that.
2. What has been the biggest weakness of the Miami offense this season?
The offensive line, hands down. The running game can't get going. Quarterback Chad Henne has to rush almost every throw. It's been ugly up front.
The right tackle position, held by Marc Colombo has easily been the biggest problem the team has. Colombo can't block anyone. It's gotten so bad, last week, the Dolphins had tackle Nate Garner report as eligible and line up as a tight end, simply to add another blocker next to Colombo.
Rookie center Mike Pouncey has played pretty well during his first three NFL games. Pro-Bowler Jake Long has slipped from his usually high levels of performance, as he recovers from offseason surgery.
The offensive line is definitely the biggest disappointment thus far.
3. There has been some debate in our community about Chad Henne. How do Dolphins fans regard him?
Take your pick on what to say about him and someone will agree with you. He has gotten a lot better this year, and, if the offensive line would perform at all, he would probably perform even better. Will he be the quarterback next year? I doubt it, because the call for a complete restart of the team is so loud right now, but Henne's play is actually good enough that fans should at least give him a chance to continue to grow, and lead the team.
4. How has your defense been so far? I know you've said the Dolphins always have trouble covering Tight Ends, is that the fault of the LBs or Safeties?
I think it's a problem with the linebackers and the defensive scheme. For years now, the Dolphins have tried to just ignore the tight end, relying on Crowder to shut them down - and this year, that role falls to Burnett. But, the linebackers aren't athletic enough to keep up with the top tight ends in the league, and struggle against the second tier guys.
But, the defensive scheme doesn't help. For some reason, the middle of the field always seems to be open for a tight end running a seam route. Last week, we saw cornerback Sean Smith working at safety, as the secondary has been depleted by injury, and, with his size and coverage ability, he could serve as a coverage guy on tight ends. It will be interesting to see if Miami does this more often.
5. Is there any way that Tony Sparano is still the Dolphins Head Coach in 2012?
I don't see it. I like Sparano, and I like what he has done with this team in the past few years. But, he may have hit his ceiling in his first head coaching job. Game management has drastically become a problem with the Dolphins, from early use of timeouts, to failure to use timeouts. It really has become a problem.
If Sparano is going to keep his job, he's going to have to get the team on a winning streak starting now. If he doesn't turn it around, and get a win this week, I'm not sure he's going to make it through the bye in Week 5.
bonus: What your prediction for the game?
The Dolphins fan in me says Miami 20-17. The realist in me says Chargers 24-17.