red-zone offense. The..."/> red-zone offense. The..."/> red-zone offense. The..."/>

Miami Dolphins Need Red-Zone Improvement


The Miami Dolphins spent time last week during OTA’s working on their red-zone offense. They need to get that type of work in. Last year the Dolphins didn’t have a lot of problems moving the ball down the field but they became stagnant as they drew within the 20 yard line.

More from Dolphins News

Some of that is the result of personnel. While former Dolphins tight end Charles Clay was a great outside threat, he wasn’t that go-to tight end once inside the 20. Brian Hartline served as a possession receiver and became almost non-existent in the red-zone. The only real passing target Ryan Tannehill had inside the 20 was Mike Wallace and while Wallace did well stretching the field, he often got tangled up inside forcing the Dolphins to throw the corner end zone fade route far too much.

In 2014 the Dolphins ranked 21st in the league in red-zone performance. Scoring on 51.47% of their trips inside the 20. It was a slight dip from the previous season when the Dolphins scored on 56.52% of their red-zone opportunities.

While the Dolphins may not be ranked all that high in red-zone scoring there isn’t a lot of stock in the percentages. Take for example the Oakland Raiders who scored on 71.43% of their trips inside the 20. Still, Dallas, Denver, and New England ranked in the top five for 2014.

This year could be, and frankly should be, better for the Dolphins. Kenny Stills replaces Brian Hartline on the outside and is a far different receiver who uses his body well to box out defenders. Tight end Cameron Jordan replaces Clay and gives the Dolphins that tall tight end who can find space and create space. Rookie DeVante Parker should also give Tannehill more options in close and we can’t forget about Greg Jennings or the returning Jarvis Landry.

The Dolphins relied on their running game south of the 20 last year especially close to the score line. I would venture to guess that will remain the case again this year and it should provided the Dolphins can convert the 2nd and 3rd and goals into six points. A lot of that will hinge on the offensive line and the passing game attack inside that 20 yard marker.

What makes last year harder to fathom and shows some of the teams failures in the red-zone is the fact that Miami was the 2nd ranked team in the NFL in red-zone scoring attempts per game. Miami averaged 4.2 attempts per game over the course of the season trailing on the Patriots who averaged 4.3. New Orleans was the only other team to average over four attempts per game.

The Dolphins ranked 6th last year in red-zone scores per game averaging 2.2 across the schedule for touchdowns only, it’s when you factor in the missed opportunities that resulted in field goals that the team dropped to 21st.

This is where the most improvement needs to be made. Miami can get into the red zone and they can get the ball moving towards the goal line but they can’t close often enough to make the impact that they need to. In other words, they are leaving a lot of points on the board.

With the 2nd week of OTA’s kicking off today, it’s likely that the team will do some more focused drills in that area of the field. With new personnel in place and Tannehill getting better each season, we could see Miami bridge that 21st rank and walk away with more points on the board at seven point clips instead of walking off the field settling for a field goal.

The last time Miami was ranked in the top five was back in 2009, they have finished one season since ranked 15th and one ranked 19th (2013) and have also been ranked 30th and 25th.