You will hear a lot about growing pains associated with rookie starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill as he formally takes over this Dolphins team and this offense and attempts to see his football skills grow to NFL standards.
Friday night reminded us that it will be Dolphins fans feeling that pain.
This could be excruciating, folks, a year that challenges long-suffering Dolfans to discover how much patience remains in the emptying reservoir.
As long seasons go, we could be setting out on a marathon.
But know this: The problem with this offense right now (and by extension this team) does not start with Tannehill, with his raw inexperience or with all he has to learn.
The problem is everybody else. The problem is all around him, as we were reminded in Fridays punchless 23-6 preseason loss to the visiting Atlanta Falcons on a depressing night that fittingly ended in a tropical storm-of-a-downpour in an emptied stadium.
Tannehill was hardly great in his 2 1/2 quarters of work: 11 for 27 for 112 yards with a tipped-pass interception, but he also suffered at least four dropped balls. (Matt Moore was no better, also sabotaged by drops.)
Were really close. A mistake here, a mistake there, said Tannehill afterward, redefining the positive spin.
Tannehill is the solution, remember or at least deserves a very elastic benefit of doubt on that.
The problem with Tannehill is his non-supporting cast. This poor kid doesnt need a playbook, he needs a Help Wanted sign.
To be fair, Jake Long is an excellent left tackle, of course. And Reggie Bush is a decent running back in glimpses and spurts, though closer to just-OK than elite. Davone Bess has his moments.
And thats about it.
I hate to use jargon or technical terms, but if youd indulge me Id say this Miami offense looks downright stinky.
New coach Joe Philbin and new offensive coordinator Mike Sherman are trying to mask the lack of playmakers with tempo and speed, with a fast-paced attack that often dispenses with the traditional huddle and makes routine the pace of a two-minute drill.
But that does not disguise the fact Miami has nobody on offense who concerns, let alone scares, an opposing defensive coordinator. Tannehill might someday, maybe even soon, but not yet. And his getting to whatever his maximum potential proves to be will only be slowed by the lack of help.
Offensively, lets face it, we didnt have a whole lot of rhythm out there, said Philbin after the game. We stopped on third down. It wasnt pretty at all. Of course Im concerned.
(Aside to Joe: If the hat contains any rabbits, it might be time to pull them out. Id hate to see your shiny new head-coaching career take a sudden wrong turn and start to careen out of control down Cam Cameron Boulevard.)
Fridays loss left Miami 0-3 in the preseason for only the third time since the late-60s expansion years, and third exhibition games are seen as the ones that put the most stock in the final score. Starters play more, and the game is more of a true dress rehearsal for the regular season. If so, this dress rehearsal found the Dolphins in rags.
This should make Friday nights result all the more sobering for Dolfans.
So should a comparison of the weapons the opposing Falcons had on offense vs. what Miami could bring in terms of so-called skill-position guys.