There wasn’t much to be happy about after the Miami Dolphins loss to the Jets. And I’m not about to try and find any.
Today’s game was supposed to showcase this new physical and aggressive approach against the team that cost Joe Philbin his job. Instead, the Dolphins looked as unprepared as they were in week four. It’s the first game under Dan Campbell that the team simply didn’t look ready to play.
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Typically I will re-watch every game but today, I think I’m going to pass and instead, talk about the five things that stood out to me this afternoon.
Injuries happen to every team and they are never an excuse. Today the Dolphins got hit hard with injuries. At one point the team lost Jelani Jenkins and Koa Misi for a few plays. They lost Jarvis Landry for a few plays. Then there were the bigger injuries. Earl Mitchell, Jordan Phillips, Mike Pouncey, Rishard Matthews all missed most of the game after being injured. The injuries, and why they are part of this observation is the fact Miami has little depth on the roster.
With Pouncey out and likely to miss another game or two with an ankle injury (he was in a boot on the sideline) the Dolphins turned to rookie Jamil Douglas and Douglas was horrible. Not just as a blocker but he couldn’t get the ball to Tannehill consistently. Tannehill was picking the ball off the ground on almost every snap. With Matthews out we got to see more of DeVante Parker and it looks as though he needs to play a lot more. He had some drops but overall didn’t play horribly considering it’s his most action this season.
The Dolphins started the game in New York territory and by the second series, Lazor had already abandoned the running game. Miami rushed a total of nine times compared to Tannehill’s 58 passing attempts. With a huge lopsided score you would expect a big difference but here’s the thing, Miami wasn’t down by 14 until the final seconds of the first half and they still didn’t try and run the ball.
It appeared as the only game plan Lazor came up with was to throw to where Darrelle Revis was not. On the day Miami rushed for a disgusting 12 yards. The running game wasn’t the only issue. Yet again, Lazor kept Tannehill in the pocket where he was harassed the entire day. Tannehill eventually began to roll out to make time but by then, the game was already over.
Bill Lazor has to be the biggest off-season priority. To be fired.
Last week Grimes did a very good job against Dez Bryant this week, he couldn’t cover Brandon Marshall. At all. Grimes was absolutely horrid in coverage today and it’s becoming obvious that while he is still playing with a ton of energy and can still make plays, the Dolphins are going to have to start thinking about replacing him. Grimes is going to make around $9 million in 2016 and frankly, this year he hasn’t really shown that he is worth that much.
The Miami Dolphins haven’t had a good offensive line since, well, I can’t really remember. The reality is this team, this offense, can do nothing without a line to block. The passing game suffers because Tannehill has not time and he doesn’t have the pocket presence to adjust to heavy pressure. Adding to that issue is the fact Miami can not run the ball up the middle. Every single rushing play tends to go outside of the tackles because of the lack of ability on the interior line.
That was highlighted today with the teams 12 yards on the ground.
Jelani Jenkins was banged up but the Dolphins linebackers have to be the worst in the league. Or close it. Miami can’t tackle or make plays from the position and it is killing this defense. On the very first play from scrimmage for the Jets, Chris Ivory reeled off a 16 yard run. Why? Because Koa Misi isn’t mentally tough enough to know his assignment. Instead of staying to fill the gap on the line, Misi over-committed inside allowing Ivory the big burst.
This is a continual issue for the Dolphins. The linebackers lack the basics to play the position. They don’t wrap when they tackle, they are often out of position, and when they do make plays it tends to be after the defensive line has stood up the runner. Late in the 4th quarter Ivory exposed this very issue by running for a 31 yard touchdown. He was stopped behind the line of scrimmage, bounced inside, broke four tackles, bounced outside, broke another tackle and ran it in. The linebackers are a huge problem.
A final mention
A lot of fans really like Dan Campbell but it’s obvious that he is out of his element right now. This is literally a guy who has been coaching at as a tight ends coach for three seasons and four games. The simplest of in-game decisions are a struggle. He relies on someone in the booth to challenge plays, he doesn’t call the offense, or the defense. His decisions are basically when to use timeouts, when to punt, and to get the players fired up.
The fact is Campbell is a really cool guy and it’s easy for the players to want to play for him but the Dolphins need someone who has a proven track record and far less learning curve. The Dolphins are playing very poorly this year and it can’t continue into 2016.