Starks Picks Up Where He Left Off

Posted Sep 9, 2012

Some random thoughts and observations on a hot and muggy day when things fell apart in a hurry for the Dolphins.

HOUSTON — Randy Starks is back playing defensive tackle in a 4-3, and it obviously suits him. Starks was simply dominant. He had a pair of sacks in the first half and was solid against the run throughout.

Starks just picked up where he left off last year. Remember, he ended last season by coming up with a sack and two picks against the Jets. In leading the Dolphins to a 19-17 victory that day, he became the first defensive lineman in team history to record two interceptions in a game. Starks, you may recall, played tackle in Tennessee’s 4-3 before signing with the Dolphins as a free agent in 2008 and beginning to play in a 3-4.

No question, Starks has been one of the team’s best free agent acquisitions in recent years.

• In case we didn’t know it before, the game at Houston showed that the front four is the strength of the Dolphins. The starting quartet of Starks, Paul Soliai, Jared Odrick and Cameron Wake actually is among the best in the league.

• Offensively, the highlight clearly was the running of Reggie Bush, who showed a second consecutive 1,000-yard season should be attainable.

• Despite the final score, the game at Houston showed the Dolphins can compete with the elite teams in the league — as long as they don't beat themselves.

• Outside of that forgettable second quarter, the Dolphins actually played even with the Texans and may even have had the upper hand.

• You also have to respect the way the Dolphins played hard the entire game.

• Liked the aggressiveness of Head Coach Joe Philbin electing to receive after winning the coin toss.

• Also liked all the different formations we saw from the Dolphins offense early on, whether it be trips (three receivers) to the left, or two receivers stacked on behind the other on both sides, or five wide with an empty backfield.

• The Dolphins kept CFL import Marcus Thigpen on the roster because of his return ability. Now we know why. His touchdown in the third quarter was the first Dolphins return for a score since 2007 when Ted Ginn Jr. did it against the Eagles.

• While this wasn’t the kind of NFL debut that Ryan Tannehill would have liked, let’s keep in mind that Peyton Manning also threw three interceptions in his first NFL start — against the Dolphins back in 1998.

• Wide receiver Davone Bess got his season off to a good start. He is simply a tremendously reliable player.

• Before he left the game with an injury, Daniel Thomas turned in a simply stupendous play in the second quarter when he caught a short pass, avoided a tackle, and turned it into a 32-yard gain.

• For all the talk about the replacement officials, didn’t notice anything horrible in this game. It did take an awfully long time to make an offside call in the fourth quarter, though.

• The Dolphins now get set to play the Oakland Raiders in the home opener next Sunday, and it’s a game that shapes up well for them. West Coast teams usually don’t fare well in 1 p.m. ET games, and the Raiders will be coming off a Monday night game on top of that.

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