Sherman Costs ‘Fins Another Victory, Possibly Playoffs


Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, we should not be surprised at the inconsistent play of our beloved Miami Dolphins.  They have beaten some of the league’s better teams like the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals, and have lost to some of the league’s worst like Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  One week they play a complete team game and beat the New England Patriots, only to forget to show up and get shut out against the Buffalo Bills just seven days later.  Despite the roller coaster ride this season has been, one Dolphin has remained consistent and stable in his ways.  That person is OC Mike Sherman: Miami’s enemy from within.

Sherman has managed to hide his horrible play calling in all of Miami’s close losses.  The blame has been spread around throughout different areas on the team and in the organization, but yesterday’s 19-0 beating Miami took in Buffalo unmasked Sherman’s terrible play calling and brought Miami’s main issue to light for good.

It is true that Miami was terrible on defense and special teams too.  That being said, P Brandon Fields neutralized the Bills with almost every punt and the Dolphin defense played well considering their amount of time on the field.  They forced an interception and kept the ‘Fins in the game for the majority of the game.  The Dolphin offense had 103 total yards on the day (89 pass and 14 rush).  They were 2 of 14 on third down conversions.  Tannehill was also sacked 7 times, one of which injured the QB and forced him to exit the game briefly.  As you can see from the stats, this game was all on the offense’s inability to give the defense a rest and move the ball.  And the lack of ball movement came from OC Mike Sherman up in his booth of doom.

Entering the game, Buffalo led the league in sacks and Miami led the league in sacks given up.  Miami knew Buffalo would bring the heat on Tannehill, as they did in Week 7, which ultimately led to a sack and forced fumble by Mario Williams.  This play led to Buffalo’s victory in Miami.  So naturally, we could expect Sherman to dial up plays that got Tannehill out of the pocket and that got the ball out of his hands quickly right?


Sherman kept Tannehill in the pocket, and continued to try to throw the ball on routes that took forever to develop.  The Bills’ pass rush had a field day as Tannehill was forced to wait for long routes to develop.  I don’t remember seeing a single running back screen pass thrown.  I can’t remember watching Tannehill roll out a single time.  The only image in my mind was the same old plays, even after they failed to work time and time again.  Instead of seeing Tannehill use his legs and accuracy on the run, we just saw him on his back as Brandon Fields took the field numerous times.

The Bills were also giving up more than 120 yards on the ground per game.  Surely Sherman would dial up some running plays and attack the Bills’ defensive weak spots right?

Wrong again.

Miami only ran the ball 12 times for 14 yards, and I remember seeing the read option hand off up the middle with Daniel Thomas on almost all of these attempts.  Even after it did not work the first five times, Sherman kept sticking with it, and the Miami offense continued to stall.  There were few to zero attempts to get Lamar Miller in open space on the edge, and Sherman gave the offensive line zero opportunities to get out in the open field to block.  Every run was defensive or out of the read option and the offense gained few yards on these plays and absolutely no momentum.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing something over and over and expecting different results.”  Based off of this definition, it is safe to call Mike Sherman insane.  We are heading into the final week of the season, and the offense has yet to truly reach its full potential.  Sure, Sherman has had his moments where he has put together successful drives, but the consistency of good plays and good drives has never been there.  It seems as though he does not prepare for each opponent individually, but rather has a set in stone game plan that he sticks to whether it works or not.  The talent is there.  Ryan Tannehill is a great QB, despite his struggles with the deep ball and awareness.  Other teams are getting it done on offense with less talented QB’s, for example the Buffalo Bills.  I truly believe this discrepancy is completely on Mike Sherman.

Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Miami Dolphins find themselves with the best shot out of the remaining four teams alive (Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, San Diego Chargers) at the 6th and final playoff spot.  However, unless Sherman comes out of his shell and calls the necessary plays, Miami will not beat the New York Jets and their slim hopes at the playoffs will disappear right into Sherman’s booth.  If the ‘Fins don’t make the playoffs this year, Sherman needs to be the first one sent packing.



Topics: Miaim Dolphins, MIke Sherman

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  • gofins60

    Miami has not played a complete game all season… except for maybe the Jets game. The offense installed by Philbin and run by Sherman is pathetic. This team is never prepared to play; not even with a bye week. This offense gets shut out for at least a quarter every game, and usually for an entire half. Ireland can’t build an o-line. Philbin and his system did away with the decent running game that he inherited. Sherman needs to retire. Ireland spent a lot of the owner’s money on Free Agents, but the only one who can make plays is Grimes. Wallace should be scoring more, but this staff doesn’t know how to use him because he doesn’t fit into their system. Ireland just wasted an entire draft for a kicker and a part-time player.

    Yes, Sherman’s playcalling is a big problem. But, just replacing him won’t solve anything. You must get rid of Philbin (and his offense) and Ireland’s drafting follies.

    BTW, I’m not just venting after a shut-out, I’ve been saying this after every game win or lose. The ONLY reason that Miami has won any games is because of a half-decent defense that can slow down high-scoring teams, and even that has its weaknesses. Ross needs to bring in someone who actually knows what they’re doing!

    • Chris

      When we get rid of Ireland and Philbin and Sherman, we’ll bring in a new group, who is going to want to bring in their own guys and start gutting the current roster, probably QB included. Then, we’ll start rebuilding through the draft, and forcing out current veteraned Miami players. Then, we’ll have an abysmal year and it will be chalked up to the rebuilding state of the roster. After this first year, we undoubtedly won’t make the playoffs, which will be cause for everyone to start calling for the heads of our newly acquired GM, HC, OC, etc. The second year will be followed with disappointment, as the new regime will be feeling the heat of not making the playoffs in their first year at the helm and already having fans demanding their firing.
      This process will continue for the next 100-200 years.

      • gofins60

        Your fears are valid. But, IMO, giving these guys any more time would mean more wasted years. It’s a passing league now, so teams build their roster to stop the pass first and foremost. So, why not be a running team? I don’t mean a total “ground and pound 3 yards and a cloud of dust” offense that Johnson and Parcells wanted like the old days; just have a strong enough running game that forces the defense to play closer to the line of scrimmage. This would open up the passing game, along with Wallace drawing coverage deep.

        I want a team that has a big strong o-line that can both pass protect and allow a rusher to get a yard on two on 3rd and short even when the box is stacked. A strong running game is needed to hold a lead and to run out the clock. Philbin instead wants to throw short passes, but when the defense takes away those routes it results in a quick 3 and out with no time taken off the clock.

        Philbin’s offense may look good on paper, but it’s not working on the field. It could be years until he has enough of the types of players that he needs to run his offense efficiently every game. Philbin and Ireland have had 2 years already to put together their offense, and so far they have no o-line, no reliable running game, RBs that can’t block. They should be improving in Year 2 but they’re regressing.

        • Eric Roddy

          Chris, I know what you’re thinking and feeling, but this team does not need to clean house, just Sherman, he is this team’s biggest problem. Philbin can get the job done and has a great attitude and Coyle is doing everything he can considering teh defense is EXHAUSTED every game. Gofins60, I agree with what you said. Establishing the running game is KEY to having a good passing game. Thanks for the read and comments guys, Merry Xmas. Go fins!

          • gofins60

            The only way that I’d let Philbin stay is if he hires an OC who has experience AND values the running game. Philbin has not shown himself to be flexible when it comes to his system. If he can learn to adapt and change then he may have a future,

          • tpl

            The reality is philbin is going nowhere. Neither is Ireland. At most all we can hope for is anew offensive coordinator.

          • Chris

            I think Sherman should be fired. I think Philbin should get atleast one more season but he’d better make damn sure he does everything possible to improve the O-line. Tannehill deserves the chance to play behind a decent offensive line so that we can fully evaluate him. If you think about it, this team is a good OC and Oline away from being a lock for the playoffs.

          • Eric Roddy

            You said it perfectly Chris. Heck, they were a lock for the playoffs this season if they had stopped the Panthers on that fourth down and if Sherman had just called ONE MEASLY game better. They would be 10-5 right now instead of 8-7 and would be competing for the division this weekend instead of the final spot. You’re exactly right though a better offensive line would do wonders, but only if Sherman is gone. Even with a good offensive line, his play-calling is still suspect.

          • Chris


        • Chris

          The 2 issues you’re pointing out could easily be solved in an offseason. Obviously, the O-line and the running game have been cause for grave concern all season but you don’t need to clean house to fix those 2 things. I would definitely like Sherman to be gone ASAP though…

  • CdnFinFan

    Amen to that. I felt like I wanted to puke watching the offense. No roll outs, no QB runs, no runs to the edges, no quick slants, etc. How could he not realize they needed to call more (or really any plays) that go the ball out of Tannehill’s hands quicker. If Sherman is back next year (playoffs or not this year) I will not expect much more from this team than 8-8. Is that what you want Mr. Ross?

    • Eric Roddy

      I thought for sure they would mix things up after being shut out and destroyed in the first half, but NO. NOT ONE CHANGE. Thanks for seeing what I have seen all season. Merry Xmas !

  • J holobinko

    I’m sorry, how can you say tannehill is a great Qb? What has he done to warrant that label? Please stop sniffing glue before you write things!

    • Eric Roddy

      I am interested to see why you don’t think he is a good QB. Last week he was given time in the pocket and outplayed arguably the best QB ever in Tom Brady. He has grown tremendously this season in terms of stats and leadership. besides Russell Wilson, he has been the best Qb of his class this season. I am open to your argument though, and thanks again for reading and commenting!

      • Dolfandave Uyemura

        I think he will have to establish himself a bit more personally. Wilson was great from day one pretty much. THill has been a work in progress though his O Line doesn’t help. He would be more consistent if he weren’t running for his life that often. As with all teams his play is really a reflection on the entire offense’s success. If the O looks great then the QB must be great. We have seen flashes of great plays ie vs NE. Some of those passes were big league throws but also his lack of awareness, instincts shows up and we know the reason for that, his overall lack of experience. I think we have our guy here. He will be fine w/ a much, much better O Line. Heck he may not improve one lick (though I am sure he will of course) and w/ an improved O Line over the offseason and he will be perceived as much better.

        • Eric Roddy

          Agreed. What is key is giving him time to grow. We forget he is still just in his 2nd season, a season where most great Qb’s take a step backwards. Next year and the years to come we will be able to criticize him if he is still making the same mistakes. Growing pains.

          • Dolfandave Uyemura

            He isn’t a “great” QB. He is a good prospect as of now. I see him developing in the future. As I said I think we have our guy.

            Happy Holidays.

          • Eric Roddy

            Happy Holidays to you too!

  • Dolfandave Uyemura

    Sorry but I disagree

    We can’t roll out into a collapsed side

    • Eric Roddy

      The point of a roll out is to get the Qb out of the pocket, Tannehill is quick enough to beat a heavier D-lineman or rusher. you run short routes and roll Tannehill out to the same side and he can make a short throw good for 6-10 yards everytime. So the collapsed side really doesnt matter because it enables Tannehill to run or throw. Not sit in the pocket and die. thanks for reading and commenting!

      • Dolfandave Uyemura

        Sorry but both sides plus LG Brenner were getting run over so it does matter
        I know the purpose of a rollout
        I have been watching football for forty years
        We were simply overmatched

        • Eric Roddy

          I agree the offensive line was getting destroyed, as we have seen a lot this year. Do you think Sherman should have just thrown in the towel? Or not tried something new? I am just curious as to what you think Miami should have done since they were getting dominated in the trenches! I feel you’re pain though.

          • Dolfandave Uyemura

            I agree w/ the short passing game as we did often vs NE but I believe it should come from short sets in the pocket. The guy had nowhere to run. Believe me the defense is aware of rollouts and that is why they rush the “way” that they do. Keep him contained and collapse in the middle. McKinnie after playing well really got schooled Sunday. Beyond that I don’t think we were as up for this game as we should have been. I know that’s easy for me to say sitting in my chair in Southern California but that is their job. Also plain old execution was an issue. Hartline’s dropping the ball was the biggest example. It will take an offseason but the O Line will get much better. We will “buy” a couple of free agents w/ the cap space we have and draft a couple. That coupled w/ hopefully retaining Brent Grimes and we will be a solid, 10 win team.

          • Eric Roddy

            Now I see where you are coming from and I agree. Philbin fails to get this team motivated frequently!

  • LostSok

    I’d add one more to the list: with Sims and Egnew playing better, and showing decent blocking, why did we NEVER go to a 2-TE set to give Tannehill max protection? Sherman’s approach to the Bills league-best rushing attack was apparently to pretend it didn’t exist.

    Still, you can’t blame the 3-4 dropped passes on Sherman. The players stank it up when they DID have a chance.

    • Eric Roddy

      The drops by Hartline hurt, but the overall outcome of the game was a result of just terrible offensive packages. I would have loved to see a stronger and more guarded pocket, but short passes and screens would have sufficed just fine. Thanks for reading and commenting though!

  • Chad Ronnebaum

    First Sherman is an assistant coach. So if Sherman is a problem then the fault is with Philbin. He has the power to take over play calling if he does not agree with what is going on. Second the Bills D-Line was completely dominating the game. Watch the game and look where the Bills Linebackers are. They were sitting back covering the 5-10 yard area of the field for quick slants as well as sitting back for screens. Matt Moore showed what happened when you throw into it. Normally you can take advantage of the next level of the field but there was a lot of wind and almost no time to pass. In hind sight yes, they should have tried to go double TE to see if they could move the ball better but I don’t see Sims beating the coverage and I don’t see Agnew blocking. If they had Dustin Keller would be a lot different. Bottom line is our oline got smoked by their D-line. You can run any scheme you want. When a team can just blow into your back field over and over with just 4 d-lineman there is not much that is going to work. Everyone lost the game not just Sherman.

    • Eric Roddy

      would have been nice to see Double TE for a bit, or even some more screens and slants! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Jeff Neal

    I. Absolutely agree that Mike Sherman is the Dolphins Achilles heal. It time too begin the process of finding and hiring an offensive coach that can get spread vertical game working for a team with plenty talent. Go FINS… let get it done.

    • Eric Roddy

      Cheers, Jeff! FIns up! Get rid of Sherman!

      • Jeff Neal

        Help hope that we can win one for Xmas.

  • frankic

    The problem is Philbin and Sherman go way back. Philbin will not call out Shermin or throw him under the bus. Thats the problem with having a staff with a history together. The best thing we can do is have Ireland step in and remove or replace Sherman. I cannot fathom why Sherman does not make adjustments? When you have fans themselves pinpoint obvious problems and how to correct them you have a huge issue. I would love to hear Philbin come out publically and state that the Game plan was horrible and that it needs to be corrected. The head coach needs to take the bull by the horns and make changes. If Philbin does not step in and correct this he needs to go as well. This franchise needs leaders that will make decisions whether they popular or not and lead by example. No one should be above the criticism.

    • Eric Roddy

      Thanks for reading and commenting! Glad you see it my way too. Sherman and philbin may be a package deal, though I really like Philbin and can’t stand Sherman.

      • gofins60

        Maybe we’ll get lucky and Sherman will retire or get a Head Coaching job elsewhere.

        • tpl

          Philbin could create a position for Sherman. Assistant head coach maybe.

          • Eric Roddy

            I wish Philbin and Sherman didnt have history. Sherman would be long gone by now.

  • Jcartwright67

    That was simply a pathetic display on every level. Tanny looked very average so I can’t agree he’s a great QB based on this performance and this season. He’s a good QB with a “high ceiling”. I don’t agree with the statement that other teams are getting it done with lesser QB’s like the Bills. The Bills got it done against Miami this year. That’s there season in nut shell. I’ve written it before and now again, Philbin will have to fire his friend and patriarchal figure; Sherman. I think Sherman has played out his role. He helped guide an organization to draft a very promising QB and helped a new, first year coach get his footing. He’s done now. Now Philbin must take the next step in his HC career and replace both coordinators. Yes, Coyle has managed to take a top 10 defense into the cellar. Good or great coaches don’t necessarily make good coordinators. There’s a difference!

  • Gene Hauze

    I agree that Mike Sherman called a poor game. But, I put the loss on Tannehill.

    First, he had plenty of one-on-one situations on the outside and failed to hit the long ball. If he had hit one, that would have changed the defensive scheme. I know Hartline dropped one — but, it is a consistent theme that he under throws Wallace, who by the way needs to play more like he is being paid — fight for the ball, for heavens sake.

    Second, Tannehill failed to pick up the two CB blitzes. That is on him. He should have checked off into a quick slant pass.

    Third, he does not use his feet well. At times, he could have stepped up in the pocket, but instead he moved outside right into the arms of the DE. Plus, it was Tannehill that did not choose to step up and if no one was open, he should have run!

    Fourth and most important, he has no sense of urgency. Drop back, be decisive, and get rid of the ball, for heavens sake. At times yesterday, he looked like Chad-duh-Henne. Quit the damn Texas slow poke attitude and get some urgency to your play.

    By the way, I also put this game on the two big-time off season pick ups by Jeff Ireland. Wheeler and Elerbe sucked.

    • Jcartwright67

      Couldn’t agree more. In fact, I think Tannehill is responsible for half the year’s sacks for the exact same reasons you cited. Speaking of LB’s, I live in AZ, guess who’s playing lights out this year and picked up his 4th INT against SEA yesterday, Dansby. Probably going to the the ProBowl. He didn’t play well for us but he played better than Elerbe.

      • Eric Roddy

        I think putting it on Tannehill is a little harsh. His offensive line really hurt him, and so did Mike Sherman making him stay in the pocket the whole time. True, he could have thrown the ball away and had better awareness, but you can’t blame him being a little tentative and having so many problems back there. You simply can’t have that many passer hurries or sacks in one game. Thanks for commenting and reading though! Give Tannehill a chance. He is actually great on the run and can make every throw if given ample time.

  • orwell2010

    I don’t know how we simple lay people can see the obvious yet an offensive cooridinator comes up with that game plan. Wet conditions, a buffalo defense who can’t stop the run and Thad Lewis at QB, dictated that the phins run and run and run until Buffalo adjusted to stop it. The phins inexplicably pull L Miller out and go with an injured D Thomas who is marginal at best all the while looking across the sideline a speedy CJ Spiller running effectively in those conditions. Instead, we throw the ball, keeping RT in the pocket against the strong Buffalo past rush who beat the snot out of them in the first game. Sherman is a joke and his gameplanning and play calling suck!

    • Eric Roddy

      I have been shocked to see Sherman use Thomas on the sweeps and outside plays and Miller to run straight up the gut and in between the tackles. It makes me suspicious that Sherman truly wants this team to lose. He isnt using our personnel correctly. Fins up!

      • panamaman

        Dolphins left the run to early. 12 runs does not make for a trend. Sherman said today that the run wasn’t working so he “veered” from it to the pass which left them one dimensional and right in the wheel house of the Bills sack masters! Dumb! And if you were going to veer, then RT has got to know to pull the ball down a run out of trouble. In the end, the poor play of the O-line remains the ongoing, and apparently unsolveable problem!

        • Eric Roddy

          Exactly! He has done it all year too. Either something will work tremendously and he will abandon it, or something will not work because of his inability to implement variation, and he will abandon it.

  • Elvis

    Same O nothing’s. Can’t rush and can’t stop the rush. Can’t block on offense and can’t get through blocks on D. Can’t turn a 3rd down into a first and can’t prevent a first on 3rd no matter how many yards are needed.

    This year I’ve had to shut off the game 3 times in the early 4th even though the score was close. It’s just too painful to watch a bunch of guys that seem to be half asleep and no motivation.

    Coaches need to go….. Again because they can’t consistently put their players in winning matchups. We need 5 Pounceys on the line.

    Injuries, penalties, and lack of a big play threat. Another wasted year.

    • Eric Roddy

      Could not agree more. Thanks for seeing it my way. FINS UP!

  • maurice

    No way you can blame Sherman,tannehill or the Easter bunny. The o-line is the worst in the league this year and the worst in franchise history. The bills have the best passrushing d-line in the league. I know you guys are hurting right now so am I. Bill Walsh could have been our OC if you can’t block them it really doesn’t matter the play call.

    • Eric Roddy

      Maurice, while that is true that this offensive line is ultimately the problem, good teams CHANGE IT UP when it isnt working. Take for instance the Pats. One week they knew they didnt have the wide receiver talent to be a full force passing attack and it showed against the Fins. The next week they go purely run game and defensive minded and run the ball down the Ravens throats, which got their passing game involved. Their offensive coordinator played AWAY from their weakness and played to their strengths for the time being. Miami has yet to do that once this year, and it shows. Thanks for reading and commenting though!

  • tpl

    The solution is to improve the offensive line. Miami’s top 2 picks in the draft will be.offensive lineman. Top pick Will probably be a left tackle.

    • Eric Roddy

      Absolutely. If Ireland does not go for the top tackles in the draft, he should be fired immediately. No FA stop gaps like McKinnie either. I want the best in the draft.