Dolphins first quarter grades are not good

5 of 5

Aug 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is tackled by Miami Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake (91) during the first quarter in a preseason NFL football game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive line – F

Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon, Terrence Fede, Derrick Shelby, Earl Mitchell. Pathetic. The defensive wants you to believe it’s the two-gap read and react scheme they are being forced to use by Kevin Coyle but it’s so much more than just a scheme issue. They are not playing well at all. The Dolphins are worst in the league against the rush and that was supposed to be the off-season focal point.

Suh is taking on multiple blockers but has also been the biggest complainer of the system or so it’s been reported. The problem is no one is picking up the holes that are being left by the double teams. Cameron Wake has been nursing a hamstring injury but the Dolphins best depth is supposed to be a long Dolphins front four. No one is stepping up and everyone is getting physically outplayed by the opposing offensive lineman.

Olivier Vernon specifically has been atrocious and he is playing for a new contract. He isn’t giving anyone in the NFL a reason to look his way. Overall the Dolphins front on defense have managed only one sack and that comes from 2nd round rookie Jordan Phillips. Who by the way was inactive for the Bills game.

Linebackers – F

Jelani Jenkins can only do so much and he is weighted down by the ineptitude of the other linebackers. Koa Misi is making tackles but he does so down field not upfield. He also misses more than he makes. Zach Vigil has shown promise but not enough quickly enough and Kelvin Sheppard shouldn’t even be on the field. To say nothing about Chris McCain who has disappeared all together and has been inactive as well. Spencer Paysinger has looked bad, they all have looked bad. Making matters worse is that none of the players can take advantage of the Suh double team in front of them. They can’t cover and they can’t tackle.

Secondary – D+

Brent Grimes is banged up but he is also not playing like the Brent Grimes of last year. Across from him it’s worse where the Dolphins have opted to start Brice McCain who is a nickel/slot corner on the inside but is being asked to play the edge where he is giving up far too many completions. Jamar Taylor hasn’t looked all that good either but he is being put in late in games when it’s typically out of hand.

Making matters far worse is the fact that corners are playing almost 6 yards off the line of scrimmage allowing receivers to easily get full speed into their routes. Receivers are driving back the corners past the first down markers making it easy for opposing teams to connect. Couple that with the poor non-existent pass rush and it’s disaster. Communication is also a problem as the Dolphins corners are getting little help from the safeties.

Walt Aikens has been out of position more often than not and Michael Thomas who I expected to break out this year has not come close to his performance last year before suffering a season ending chest injury. Reshad Jones is the meat of the Dolphins deep secondary and started strong but has disappeared the last two game almost entirely.

Special teams – B

Andrew Franks has missed one field goal and one extra point. The extra point came late in a  blowout and the field goal may have changed the course of the game. He is young and inexperienced but he excels at getting the ball out of the end zone on kick-offs which has been a huge improvement over Caleb Sturgis who couldn’t do that consistently and missed field goals. Matt Darr has been very good getting the ball down field. He struggled with too much leg early in the season but has simplified his closer punts and looks to be heading in the right direction in getting teams pinned deep.

Jarvis Landry is the reason the Dolphins are not 0-4. His incredible punt return for a touchdown against Washington won the game and since then he has looked very sharp on his kick returns and punt returns but he is doing a lot right now on offense and special teams and the Dolphins are going to wear him down quickly at his current pace.

Team overall – D

There are so many problems with this team. Offensively and defensively and coaching. It’s been a poor showing from a team that had such high-expectations. The additions of Suh and several wide-receivers made the coaches believe they didn’t have to do much on the field. They were wrong. The team lacks drive, energy, urgency, and attitude to say nothing of an identity. Hopefully things will start to change with new interim head coach Dan Campbell but only time will tell if enough change can be made to save the season.

Your thoughts?

Are the grades too high, too low, unfair, fair? Tell us in the comments.