Miami enters their bye week with a 3-2 record and losing two straight after starting 3-0. While most fans are quick to point out the glaring negatives of this young Dolphin team, I for one am happy with our 3-2 record. Do I think they could be better? Yes. That being said, they could also be 0-5, as they just went through the toughest part of their schedule. While the bye week for most teams is a period of rest, I see three key areas the Miami Dolphins need to work on in order to “win” their bye week.
1. Protecting QB Ryan Tannehill: You shouldn’t be surprised to see this as number one. You can’t expect your starting QB to make it through a complete season after having him sacked 24 times in five games. Whether it’s finding a new combination of linemen that work better together or implementing a new offense, we have to find a way to keep RT17 upright. That also includes RT17 learning when it is time to throw the ball away. Whatever the solution is, Miami needs to find a way to protect our QB, and fast.
2. Establish a ground-game: Lamar Miller was one of the most anticipated young running backs coming into this NFL season. While he is averaging over 4 yards a carry, he is averaging under 15 carries a game. He’s had one 100+ yard game this season, and while Miller is our most explosive option at the position, we frequently see lackluster Daniel Thomas toting the rock (what’s up with that Sherman?). One reason Miami is struggling to keep Tannehill upright is their lack of a running game. Establishing the running game will get Mike Wallace more looks down field and keep the pass rush off this offensive line.
3. Playing a complete team game: When I say “complete team game” I am referring to all three stages of this Dolphin team clicking at once (offense, defense and special teams). So far this year, from what I have seen, Miami has played one game where all three phases of the game played in sync. This was their on the road victory against the Colts. In the other four games, at least one phase of this Miami team has been off while the others were on. Having all three phases of the team playing well together could mean the difference in how this team finishes come late December.
Above all, I hope that this bye week provides the injured Dolphins with adequate time to recover and get back on the field. How teams respond after bye weeks can determine the tone of the rest of the season. I hope to see our mighty Dolphins hit the field with energy and hype against the Buffalo Bills on October 20th.