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?
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.