5 observations from Dolphins loss


You got up this morning early to watch the Miami Dolphins lose their third game in a row. And play their fourth bad game in a row. Joe Philbin’s future is uncertain. Kevin Coyle’s future is uncertain. This is not what the Dolphins envisioned when they started their 50th anniversary season.

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Today’s game was hard to watch and the only thing that really made it nerve racking was whether or not the Dolphins would come close enough to the Jets to stave off what should be an inevitable firing of someone this week. Still there were some things that deserve mentioning. Here are five observations from today’s game, good and bad.

5: Ryan Tannehill has no touch unless he is running. 

Ryan Tannehill can’t throw a deep ball. We know this but it seems that all of his deep passes are well overthrown. He doesn’t have any touch on the end zone passes either. Why the Dolphins continue to have Tannehill throw passes he can’t complete is mind-blowing. Tannehill continues to be asked to throw the end zone fade route and he still can’t hit it. Yet for all his inabilities he can throw all of those passes while moving out of the pocket. So where is the play calling that moves him out of the pocket? There isn’t any. Tannehill looked at his best today when he was moving and yet the Dolphins still want him to be a pocket passer.

Tannehill is very good from the pocket when he is throwing the quick routes but he needs to move outside more often. For one, it gives him more time and allows him to avoid the pass rush that he was under today. This is a serious coaching flaw that continues to expose Tannehill’s inadequacies.

4: The Dolphins defensive line problems are scheme problems.

Watching today I paid close attention to Ndamukong Suh. Suh has received a lot of criticism thus far this season but guess what? He is doing what the Dolphins expected him to do. He is working against double and triple teams and yet no one else is stepping up. This is a scheme issue as much a personnel issue. Earl Mitchell is being asked to play a gap 2 defense and that does not put him in position to fill the hole where a double team exists on Suh.

Dolphins defensive players complained about the scheme today but it didn’t matter if it was simplified or not the team failed because they are not being used correctly. There is no reason for the Dolphins not to be using defensive stunts or linebacker blitzes. There is a hole on opposing offensive lines that the Dolphins are getting into. A lot of that is purely game planning as Miami defensive players look lost and confused. Not just on the defensive line but also at linebacker where Koa Misi moved into the inside at times today and couldn’t direct the plays called in. The corners are suffering because the line can’t put pressure on the quarterback.

3: The Dolphins continue to abandon the running game.

Lamar Miller took his first hand off for 13 yards and finished the game with a measly 26 yards. For the 3rd week in a row the Dolphins abandoned the running game and went pass happy with no results. The Dolphins rushed Miller just seven times the entire game and rushed Jarvis Landry twice for 29 yards. Take away Miller’s 13 yard game on their first series and Miller rushed for 13 yards.

Miller showed that he can hit the holes but the Dolphins are not sticking with the run long enough for even the porous offensive line to get into any rhythm at all. No consistency what so ever. The Dolphins have become a one dimensional offense and are leaving the running game far before they are getting blown out. The inability of the Dolphins to at least try and remain balanced is creating hell for the Dolphins passing game as opposing teams are simply blitzing almost every down knowing Miami is going to pass.

The Dolphins had eight plays from within the Jets 10 yard line and couldn’t put the ball in for a score. Seven of those plays were run with an empty backfield. That kind of play calling is costing the Dolphins offense severely.

2: The Dolphins have no sense of urgency and give up on 3rd and long.

This has been an issue with the Dolphins since Joe Philbin arrived three seasons ago. When the Dolphins get into third and long, they call plays that will net only a couple of yards. This is critical because essentially they are playing the game for first and second down and giving away a 3rd opportunity for yards. They may as well punt on third down instead. This shows a complete lack of urgency on the part of the Dolphins and a lack of trust in Ryan Tannehill. With the Dolphins facing more than seven yards on third down defenses can play up like the Jets did today and simply tackle the receiver at the point of the catch. The plays that are called don’t even put a receiver in an area to make a first.

Whether this is Joe Philbin’s fault or Bill Lazor’s it’s obvious that Miami  is simply playing too conservative with the intention on not making a mistake. Joe Philbin force feeds his mantra of playing not to turn the ball over but the Dolphins are taking that to an entirely new level with their insistence of not getting the player in position to extend drives.

1: The Dolphins need to rally around Jarvis Landry

Jarvis Landry has become the heart of this team. He is electric and there is never once a lack of effort on his part. Today Landry’s stats may not be all that impressive as he only caught four passes for 40 yards but he physically played hard and was again a standout on special teams. Landry’s effort shows off the fact that when the game is in play he is in his own world. His game is elevated far and above and other single player on the roster.

Against the Jets, Landry lowered his shoulder and drove through defenders not allowing most of the first hits he took to put him on the ground. After an end zone interception that was intended for Landry, Landry was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after he felt he was interfered with. The irony was that Joe Philbin felt the need to talk with him on the sidelines. Instead Philbin should have been talking with the rest of the team and pointing to Landry as the example they should all emulate. Landry is by far and away the most exciting player the Dolphins have but more importantly he is the only one who visibly is trying to take the team on his back.