Friday, September 23, 2011

Dolphins seek better red zone, 3rd down play

The Miami Dolphins have been able to move the ball so far this season, just not when it matters most.

Miami is tied for third in the league in 20-plus-yard passing plays with 13 and near the top in red zone trips with 10. But the Dolphins rank tied for 25th in points scored (18.5 per game) and third-to-last in third-down percentage (23).

“They’re getting the ball down into that area, we’re just not finishing down in that area,” Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said during his Thursday press conference. “Obviously we missed a couple field goals down there and those type of things, but we want to turn those into touchdowns. So those are the areas we need to improve on.”

Whether Sparano admits it or not, much of Miami’s scoring ineptitude has to do with its failure to get the ball in the hands of tight end Anthony Fasano. Fasano has five catches for 82 yards and no touchdowns. Every other starting tight end in the AFC East has at least two touchdown receptions.

Buffalo Bills tight end Scott Chandler has three scores on seven catches, New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller has two touchdowns on 11 receptions, and New England Patriots tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski have a combined five touchdowns on 24 catches.

Fasano has expressed his desire to get more footballs thrown his way, something Sparano insists he could care less about.

“No, I don’t listen to any particular player when they’re hooting and hollering about wanting the ball one way or the other,” Sparano said. “I mean we go in there, see what we see on film, we formulate our game plan, quarterback goes through his progressions and if the ball ends up in their hands, it ends up in their hands. Now there might be a play or two that you can formulate or try to game plan to get the ball to somebody particular but the coverage dictates that.

“They get paid too on the other side so the coverage will dictate that completely. Not necessarily us… I wish it was that way.”

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