Despite being 3-2, the Miami Dolphins, and their fans, have found an infinite number of things to complain about — including quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
That being said there are many things the second year quarterback has made strides in. To start, Tannehill has made significant strides on third down and is currently ranked 9th in the NFL on the down with a 94.4 passer rating. In addition, Tannehill has been clutch in the red zone and has found success.
However, the Dolphins rank 28th in yards per game, averaging 316.6. The only teams behind them are Tennessee, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville — not great company. This is not all on Tannehill, though. The running game needs to step up and that’s on Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas as well as the offensive line. I won’t go more into it because we’ve had two weeks to complain about this.
The Miami Dolphins currently rank 1st in the NFL in penalties with only 21 all season. Meanwhile, the New York Jets are ranked dead last with 55 total penalties. Sure, Miami’s had a bye week and the Jets haven’t, but 21 penalties — 4.2 per game — is a solid average and shows the Dolphins aren’t beating themselves. Well, most of the time.
I noted Tannehill’s success on third downs, well now I’m changing my tune a bit. The Dolphins rank 31st in first downs with 84 and only Tampa Bay sits behind them. These number don’t tell the whole story since Miami has had a bye and most teams haven’t, but the low number is still concerning. That breaks down to be 16.8 per game, while a team like the New England Patriots — who ranks 12th in this stat — averages 19.7 per game.
The different might not seem significant, but it is, especially at the end of a close game when a team needs to close out. The Dolphins have a tendency to play in close games, so every first down counts — especially for an offense whose run game and offensive line has struggled like Miami’s has.
This week, against Buffalo, the Dolphins will be facing its former kicker, Dan Carpenter who spent five seasons in Miami. Carpenter made a pro bowl while with the aqua and orange in 2009.
The Dolphins chose to go with rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis because of his youth, leg strength, and very low price tag. Carpenter was going to make $2.68 million if the Dolphins retained him, a heftier price than Strugis’ $405,000 salary. In addition, Carpenter missed on some critical field goals last season that Miami clearly couldn’t overlook.
Both kickers are off to stellar starts. Carpenter is 12-of-13 and Sturgis is 10-of-11. Let’s see who kicks their team to a victory on Sunday.