The Miami Dolphins simply did not deserve the 2013 playoffs.
Head coach Joe Philbin and company were placed in a vulnerable position right from the start of the 2013 campaign. A few highlighted complications in the Miami organization were little, if any protection for second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, questionable play calling and missed opportunities.
Many to blame, but one would most certainly consist general manager Jeff Ireland. His strategy to draft defensive end Dion Jordan and to let offensive lineman Jake Long walk was costly. Costly meaning 58 sacks and a total of 1,440 rushing yards (26th in the NFL), Miller having a team-high total of 709 yards.
Ireland signed a lot of needs, and one gap filled that should be rewarded is veteran cornerback Brent Grimes. But he also put his team in a tough decision emerging into the 2013 season with a subpar offensive line consisting a rugged Richie Incognito, two right guards, Jonathan Martin and Jon Jerry, who didn’t deserve to be granted an opportunity due to lack of knowledge of their respected positions and an average lineman who was cut by his former team for a reason, slow getting off the line. Again, he did try to solidify the line through a trade with the Baltimore Ravens, acquiring Bryant McKinnie.
The play calling on both sides of the ball was horrific. There was no consistency whatsoever. There were numerous times when Miami ran great schemes, but there were other times when Philbin, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle went away from what was working. Miami should have used f it’s not broke, don’t fix it on both sides.
On the offensive side, Miami had a ton of leverage using the quarterback keeper in key situations. And honestly, Tannehill thrives on the ground, picking up a bulk of yardage. That’s not to say they should have ran that play all game, but utilize the strengths of each player. Sherman got the least out of his players rather than latter.
On the defensive side, the Dolphins had games where they played extremely well, but then there were sequences of games where no production was brought to the table. Take for instance, the defense had a total of one sack in their final two contests against subpar offensive lines in the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. As far as turnovers went, Miami countered off of most opportunities summing for 18 interceptions and 12 forced fumbles.
The missed opportunities include struggling holding leads following halftime and incomplete drives with failed field goal attempts or a turnover.
Miami had trouble playing for 60 minutes. In three games of the 2013 season, the Dolphins had a lead going into halftime. It’s a lot easier said then done, but if you want to be the best there are chances you need to take advantage of.
There were a number of Dolphins who had a strong season, but there were others who simply didn’t bring it every Sunday. One of those was Caleb Sturgis.
The preseason perfection went on a carousel into the regular season. When Tannehill brought his team in a position to score, Sturgis, who was chosen over Dan Carpenter by Ireland, was not there to put points on the board. He posted 26 of 34 attempts. Whoever the general manager is next year, they should definitely analyze and evaluate Sturgis.
Miami, who eyed the postseason too early, have an immense amount of work to do, personnel wise and player development. The final two defeats of the 2013 season was not the reason Miami missed the playoffs. Instead, it was the incapability of sustaining consistency on and off the field.
Looking back, all of this falls into Ireland’s palms. He should and will be held accountable for his questionable, or lack there of, acquisitions.