[NFL] Week 1: Players in search of an author (the Baltimore Ravens vs Miami Dolphins, 59-10)
If the goal of the Miami Dolphins was that of the manufacturer, the expectations of their own fans, then it was centered in the middle, and after not even a whole fourth of the game. 50 yards of running took the first game of the Ravens, 0-7 after 4 and a half minutes, 0-14 in the mid-first quarter, 0-21 after 10 and a half minutes of the game. It didn't take much to expose in the most brutal way, the fragility of the current and the potential limits of the roster that the Miami Dolphins have assembled in all haste, before the start of the season.
Of the 53 players on the roster, 14 were not even in Miami at the beginning of the week. 18 are undrafted, that is, the players (most worthy people, for charity, but it) is not counted worthy by the 32 General Managers in NFL history to be selected even at the seventh round of the draft. 36 of them have not more than 3 years of experience in the league, and in fact the roster of the Dolphins is the youngest in the NFL, with an average age of just over 25 and a half years.
Only 21 of them were in Miami last year (which, for difference, that means that – at least – 32 I'm the one who last year were there and now poof! gone!!!). The ineffable Ryan Fitzpatrick has summed up admirably the situation in the pre-competition with the journalists with a joke of his own: “When we get in the huddle we were present”. Fantastic.
Because the impression was just that: of the 53 players who had no idea how to play together, which they did not know what to do, who could not understand who marked who, who seemed to have come there by chance to play in front of a real NFL team. And, of course, the impression the worst has made the line of attack, consisting of 5 people who, at times, seemed to play each for his own account: and thinking that the right side was done by Danny Isidora and Julian Davenport, who at the beginning of the week were one in Minneapolis and one in Houston, the thing is also quite understandable. Sad, but understandable.
Behind a line so only one like Ryan Fitzpatrick could play. One that, in all these years of career, has seen all and more (by the way, yesterday became the only player in the history of the NFL to get at least a touchdown – and, as a matter of fact, even an interception – with 8 different teams, and only this, is worthy of compliments) and has a presence in the pocket and an ability to sniff out the opponents that Miami has not seen in a while. The few times that he has had a tad bit of time is also able to complete something (for example, the passage in touchdowns for the amazing reception of Preston Williams), but it has happened very rarely, and, what is worse, it seemed to happen by accident. And when in the middle of garbage time is entered Josh Rosen has seen that things have not changed one iota.
And in defence, things were even worse, with markings that they (admitted that they had been agreed), the performance embarrassing, and the penalties were flying everywhere. Minkah Fitzpatrick so bad to not be true, Eric Rowe targeted as a bear at luna park (given that, if from one side there is Xavien Howard the qb throwing to the other side) and a pass rush so absent the question of whether cuts of Tank Carradine and Nate Orchard are so vital to the Project with a capital P.
Brian Flores after the game has not saved anyone, not even himself, and he has all the reasons. Rejected to the sender with anger to the apology on the shortcomings of the roster (“We've got the guys we've got,” we have the guys we have), arguing that we need to improve in everything, attack, defense, special teams, coaching, everything. Hard to blame him for a fan, even if at the stage of the critic are the parties already in the middle of the first quarter and at the end of the game have become a howling general, in spite of the stands are almost empty.
The fans of the Baltimore Ravens will ask: “But... and what about us?”. Yes, it's true, the Ravens. Lamar Jackson has done what he wanted in the way that no one expected, that is, with the arm and not the legs. Mark Ingram and Gus Bradley have done what they wanted. Patrick Onwuasor, Matthew Judon and Michael Pierce have done what they wanted. Earl Thomas and Tony Jefferson have done what they wanted. Mark Andrews and Hollwyood Brown (at least as long as it is marked Xavien Howard) they did what they wanted. Hey, even RGIII did what he wanted, coming back to throw for a touchdown after a long time. But how do you judge a team by a game played against... 53 characters in search of an author?
Also, John Harbaugh did what he wanted, with a fake punt 60 yards against the Dolphins and a drive end closed only on the line of 5 yards, when, after two timeouts called unexpectedly from Flores gave the order to kneel down and close it there. While we all expected that, by now, the Ravens went for 60 points, who knows when you ricapita.
59 points are still the franchise record of points scored for the Baltimore Ravens. Instead, they are only the second highest score now in the history of the Dolphins, second only to the (unfortunately) memorable 62-7 of January 15, 2000 against the Jaguars, that is the last game of the career of Dan Marino. Two games to remember and, we hope, not to revise more.