It’s absolutely no secret that the Miami Dolphins have fallen off their high horse in recent weeks – riding a three game losing streak.
After watching the past three games, I could not get myself to analyze the game as I was disgusted with the way the team has played. Has the team forgotten the X’s and O’s of the very game they have played for the majority of their lives? Was the beginning of the season just a bitter sweet dream? Or have we entered a cold and dark nightmare?
With Miami sitting at 4-6 right now, the team must get back to the basics if they wish to find success. The team began the season lacking the killer instinct, and now the team lacks the will and desire to win tough games. I know the team is young, but there’s no excuse for missed tackles and missed assignments each game. These instances are killing the team and their fan base.
How can we fix it? It all starts up front with the offensive line – particularly run blocking wise. Tackles Jake Long and Jonathan Martin have played well below their abilities this season and have constantly given Miami fans a reason to moan and groan each game. Guards Richie Incognito and John Jerry are not going to over-whelm you with speed, but both get the job done when it is needed. Center Mike Pouncey has been the only offensive lineman on this team worth talking about this season with a smile. Pouncey has solidified himself as one of the league’s elite in all faucets of the center position. With a stable of capable running backs, Miami should have no problem rushing for over one-hundred yards as a team each game. That being said, running backs – Reggie Bush, Daniel Thomas, and Lamar Miller – MUST find the proper running lanes and hit the holes hard. Fullback Jovorskie Lane must begin to prove his worth to the team as well – Lane started the year hot, but has cooled off in recent weeks and just looks lost out there. If the Dolphins can get their ground game going again – similar to the beginning of the season – it will only help out their Rookie Quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Next is to fix that putrid third down defense. To start the year, Miami was one of the best defensive units on third down – more likely than not opposing teams were forced to punt. Somehow, Miami seemed to lose their edge on third downs against the St. Louis Rams – the Rams were able to convert third downs left and right. The team is struggling on third down due to a lack of effort towards tackling oncoming ball carriers. I cannot begin to explain the disgust I had while watching the Indianapolis, Tennessee and Buffalo games – simply due to the lack of effort while tackling (if that’s what you want to call it). Missed tackles can absolutely kill a teams chances to win a game, which can somewhat explain the slump Miami finds itself in – let’s not make excuses, though. Players need to stop going for the big hit and properly break down to wrap up oncoming ball carriers – it’s really that easy. If this defense truly wants to become an elite unit, the ‘Phins must put forth more of an effort to tackle oncoming ball carriers and stopping opposing teams on third downs.
Lastly, players must know their assignments and win their match-ups. Obviously the team isn’t going to win every match-up, but you get the point. Consistency is what we are looking for here – it’s a tough lesson for a young team to learn. Yes, coaches always preach about effort and giving one-hundred and ten percent each down. And it really does take that effort to win! Players such as Karlos Dansby, Sean Smith, Cameron Wake, Randy Starks, Reshad Jones, Reggie Bush, Brian Hartline, Anthony Fasano and Jake Long must win their respective match-ups on a week-to-week basis regardless of who they face. All of these players possess the ability to dominate their match-ups each week, but doing it on a consistent basis has been the downfall of this team in recent weeks. These nine players need to put forth more of an effort towards dominating their match-ups consistently. If this team can grasp the consistency concept and focus on winning their match-ups, this ‘Phins will be headed into the right direction.
The Miami Dolphins are headed in the right direction – most had Miami sitting atop their list of candidates for the worst team in the league this season to begin the year. The ‘Phins must correct their mistakes that they have had in the past few weeks, though. The time is not now for the Miami Dolphins, but it is approaching us quickly Miami fans!
As always, Keep Your Fins Up!!!