I was working when the game was played but caught up with the replay late last night. After hearing the 27-3 scoreline and reading the stories here, I was dreading the game but came away relatively impressed. Overall, we have overhauled and I believe we have improved immensely from last year. Across the board we are quicker, shiftier, and sneakier. We are younger and hungrier which is good because we're not great...yet. We will need the resilience inbuilt into youth as we experience our growing pains. One thing worth noting that was the Dolphins second game our first which is a big difference. Now to specifics.
D-line is much improved and generate pressure at pace. Much has been made about Marks and it's great to get a starter discarded from a division rival FOR FREE, I hope he can continue on all season but I have my doubts as he seems a little undersized. Alualu however, looks revitalised by the change of position and much more of a threat. Pluggers Love and Miller are tradesmen that set their stall out right where the RB wants to go and refuse to move. At 364lb T.J. Barnes is a big unit but nimble and a little light with it. I think he struggles to bend at 6ft7in and should have stuffed that last touchdown by just dropping his big butt in the way but he tried and arm tackle got run through. Stow him away somewhere roomy and develop him. The depth in the D- line is great, we haven't even seen Deaderick and Mincey who might add something too.Position of strength with lots of looks and rotations I can see this being a real asset from day1 of the season.
Linebackers: Poz and Russell Allen we know. Geno Hayes made a couple of nice tackles behind the line of scrimmage he adds athleticism and speed to the starters. Allen is a good athlete and I think that's why they've pencilled him in to start, under our old schemes I always thought he's a little light and average but this scheme suits him better. LaRoy Reynolds looks like a keeper, more of a thumper than Allen he's being groomed to take over from Poz I suspect. I can't see him not making the team with his good size and strength plus 4.5s 40-yard speed. Brandon Marshall was tidy too. Seemed to be in the right place at the right time and while not rocked-up like LaRoy has potential as an every down LB. Stanford is a top athlete and improving in coverage too. Do we keep 6 though or stack the D-Line? Would I prefer quality starters here? Yes, but I'm happy to go into the season like this and see who rises to the top and address the position next year.
Secondary, watching live without rewind it was hard for me to keep track of. Ball was better than I thought he would be, so pleasantly surprised there. Stuck tight and made a nuisance of himself. Gratz got the intercept. I mainly watched the line, probably because they were worth watching because they we blitzing from different places and chasing the QB out of the pocket a bit. But I did notice Prosinski whiffing a few times.I think I'll reserve judgement on the secondary apart from Prosinski until I see a few more games. They were plenty aggressive like promised and QB had to dump it off into the flat a lot.
O-line were okay. Monroe was solid as usual. Joeckl got torched twice by Cameron Wake early but I'm sure he'll learn and adjust and did as the game wore on. Gerberry gave away two penalties, one for holding and one for balking, these stood out because they were so rare, either because the refs were lenient or we were disciplined - again no rewind facility.
The guards were largely anonymous but overall the line didn't generate many inside running lanes until the 2nd half which is a bit of a worry because the Dolphins were torched in this area for 5 yards per carry the week before but maybe it was an area they addressed accordingly.
WRs: we have real options here now with Blackmon and CS3 yet to suit up. Mike Brown looked a lot better; like he belonged out there. Ace Sanders has great hands and separation - apparently he amazingly never dropped a pass in college - but got his first NFL pass slapped out. Shipley made one nice move and looks shifty. MoMass might be on the bubble as he didn't do much.
RBs: Again got great depth here with MJD and Forsett yet to lace up. Todman started and looked good as a change of pace scat back but got stuffed between the tackles. Made one big run on the outside when lanes didn't open. I was more impressed with Jonathan Grimes. At 5ft 10in, 209lb, he appears to be a do-it-all bell cow back. The year he came out of college  he earned the national all purpose yardage total. Good hands, hits the hole hard and falls forward. In my mind, if MJD were to go down, Grimes would leapfrog Forsett and Todman like they were Prosinski to be our starter.
OWs: Denard was the OW he was advertised to be, made some searing runs but got pummeled on the wildcat play - quickly shelved for his safety. D-coordinators across the league will be cursing this guy out, his mere presence on the field limits what they do, he needs to be accounted for. We may lose a lot this season but with Ace, Tobias, Todman and Shoelace, we will be entertained.
QBs: Blaine isn't all to blame but he is a QB that doesn't seem to synch well with others naturally. He struggled with the no huddle and maybe headset problems? Henne came on and instantly the whole offence was in rhythm. Blaine hit Marcedes twice which was nice and maybe he misses CS3, Blackmon and MJD a lot. He also had to deal with the Wake of Joeckls two mistakes and the misfiring run game. He seemed to make decent decisions and was on the verge of a drive when the intercept occurred, probably 50-50 blame with the ball a fraction too high and hard. Jury still out.
Henne was a bit better. He had the good headset and the no-huddle suits him. He's made the QB competition a lot closer. If you can quell the egos, I can see a scenario where they both split time just to give Ds more to think about.
Kafka was Kafkaesque, he started off steady then steadily disintegrated flaming out in a hail mary of a nightmarish pass to MoMass. He ran well and seemed decisive but maybe he shouldn't be so much. Great Scott was better, he has potential. Good runner, good zip and good pocket presence, took two late hits on the chin and threw a great long pass that wasn't caught (because Jaguars). Needs a year on the bench and in the weight room.
Now this unit is going to get the fans standing. That second kicker is gone, see I didn't even learn his name. Banger needs to land them in field because we had good kick chase that was wasted a couple of times. Banger and Scobee are above starter calibre. Also, our bugbear the return has been addressed big time. Sanders, Todman, Shipley, Palmer, Denard as a DW so many good options. Lots of big quick CBs and linebackers to chase. This area should show massive improvement and highlights. Looking forward to the rankings rising on this unit.