The NFL kicks off Week 2 preseason action with quarterback Trent Green's return to Kansas City, a…
Green's Return May Be Ugly
In May I felt retirement was Green's best option. I saw nothing in the first half of Miami's 18-17 win over the Jaguars last Saturday to make me think otherwise. Through 30 minutes of football, the Dolphins' first-team offense gained just 64 total yards and four first downs. They turned the ball over twice and didn't convert a single third down.
According to Miami head coach Cam Cameron, the Dolphins didn't even have a gameplan. Saturday's game was nothing but "sixty minutes of teaching."
Sound familiar? In 2001, Green endured an entire season of teaching with the Chiefs, as he attempted to instill the nuances of Vermeil's offense in a motley crew of offensive players who at times had no idea where to line up or what route to run. The results were not pretty, to say the least, just as they weren't for Green against the Jaguars. It was difficult to watch.
But it's not just the complex offense. Miami's offensive line simply doesn't have the talent Green needs to be successful. Saturday he was constantly running for his life or throwing under duress, much of the time after holding on to the football too long. Miami's pocket was as dirty as Green's jersey was at the end of the first half.
Here's a recap of the 20 dropbacks Green suffered through in his first live action with the Miami Dolphins:
1. Even on a three-step drop, there's a defensive end right in Green's face. Left tackle Vernon Carey was completely beaten on this play, and Green's attempted slant pass is batted down at the line of scrimmage.
2. This time Green gets good protection, but holds the ball too long. Scrambling under heavy pressure, he short-arms a weak pass in the right flat which falls incomplete.
3. Given a clean pocket to work with this time, Green steps up and fires a pass 20 yards downfield. Unfortunately the throw is low and Chris Chambers' attempt at a sliding catch results in another incompletion.
4. Finally, Green completes a throw, flipping a short pass to tight end David Martin over the middle, against a blitz. Unfortunately it won't count, as center Samson Satele is flagged for holding.
5. On a third-and-long play, Green is afforded great protection once again, but holds the football. He's hit as he throws, completing a 13-yard pass to Derek Hagan well short of a first down.
6. With a defensive end right in his face again, Green hits Chambers for a short gain on a quick out.
7. Green looks deep off play action, and floats an errant pass downfield in the direction of Ted Ginn, Jr. The pass sails out of bounds and would have been intercepted had it been thrown on target. Green's lack of arm strength is quite apparent here, as there was no way he could fit the ball in between the corner and safety.
8. A completion over the middle nets the Dolphins a first down, but Green was over the line of scrimmage when he threw the ball, running away from pressure again.
9. On a particularly ugly play, Green once again holds the ball too long and manages to escape a sack before eventually getting sandwiched by two defenders.
10. Screen pass, incomplete. Green's throw was behind Ronnie Brown.
11. Afforded good protection, Green weakly underthrows his receiver in the left flat.
12. Miami's right tackle gets torched by defensive end James Wyche here, as Green is sacked and fumbles.
13. Green completes a short pass to Ginn just as pressure arrives from his blindside. He's hit as the ball is released.
14. Another pass batted down at the line of scrimmage, with heavy pressure in Green's face.
15. Green floats a pass to the right sideline, intended for Hagan. It's thrown low and behind the receiver, and is intercepted.
16. Screen pass, complete.
17. Finally, Green shows us what he's capable of. With a perfect pocket to work from, Green steps up and hits Hagan with 25-yard bullet over the middle.
18. Facing heavy pressure up the middle, Green dumps a pass in the right flat, only to have it dropped.
19. Same as the previous throw, only completed this time.
20. On third-and-goal, Green fakes a handoff and shrugs off a sack. After scrambling to his right, he throws wide of an open receiver in the corner of the end zone.
Dolphins fans can take one positive from the first preseason game – Green can still take a hit with the best of them. Clearly, his Miami debut is not a night he'll fondly remember. On the rare opportunities when his offensive line showed up, he often threw short of his intended target.
And if you think the passing game is a mess, the Dolphins, even with a talented young player like Brown, couldn't generate much of a running game at all against Jacksonville. If there's one thing we learned during his time in Kansas City, it's that Green needs a dominant running back behind him to succeed.
So what happens tonight?
Obviously the Jaguars have a great defense, but they don't have a pair of edge rushers that compare to Jared Allen and Tamba Hali. With the poor play of Miami's offensive line in the first game – not to mention an injury to starting left tackle Vernon Carey – you'd have to think the Chiefs will apply some pressure. Kansas City's defense appears primed for a great year, and they'll be out for blood tonight in their first game at home.
Green is walking into the lion's den.
I don't foresee a pleasant evening. All I ask is that KC's defenders let him slide.
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