The Miami Dolphins offense has underwhelmed this preseason

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill /

The Miami Dolphins offense has been underwhelming so far during the preseason. With the return of Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins hoped that it would be a return to a consistent offense that can put up points and win football games.

After the Miami Dolphins played their “dress rehearsal” preseason game, it is safe to say the offense has left a lot to be desired and has been exhibiting a number of similar problems that plagued the team last year.

Before we begin, I understand that the preseason is the time to work out the kinks in the offense and fine tune some of the more intricate pieces of the playbook.

To more effectively discuss how the offense has looked, let’s start with the numbers.

Throughout 3 preseason games, the offense has been on the field for 34 drives. Of those drives, only 4 have resulted in touchdowns and 8 went for field goals. On the more negative side of things, the offense has punted 13 times, thrown 4 interceptions, had a missed field goal and had one turnover on downs.

To summarize,12 of those drives put points on the board for the team while twenty-two had negative results. Of those 12 drives, the bulk of the first string offense was on the field for 5 drives.

Again, pre-season is pre-season and these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. To really figure out if there is an issue, we have to look at the drives of the first team offense.

In the first preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tannehill and the first team offense played only one drive. Tannehill was able to maneuver the offense into field goal position, going 4 for 6 for 32 yards. Sanders missed the long field goal (53 yards).

Against the Carolina Panthers, the first team offense played 5 drives in the first half. Tannehill went 14 for 17 for 100 yards, but the offense only managed 9 points.

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Wrapping it up with the “dress rehearsal,” Tannehill was able to lead the Dolphins to their first “first string” touchdown drive of the preseason. They were also able to score a field goal before the end of the half. The 3 drives prior to the touchdown went for a grand total of 9 yards on…9 plays. Tannehill finished the night going 11 for 16 for 115 yards and a touchdown. With the exception of the first quarter fumble and sack mishaps, Tannehill had a good night. In fact, he had three good nights when looking at the whole preseason.

Again, the hope was that Tannehill’s come back campaign would be one that kicked the offense into high gear. In reality, Tannehill has had a great preseason, but the rest of the offense has struggled. Penalties have crippled a few strong drives by the team, which sounds very familiar if you look at last year’s offense.

Adam Gase also seems to be going with a much more conservative play call in the preseason, which may explain the lack of big plays and the relative inefficiency of the offense. He has run a number of bubble screens (a local favorite) and short passes, which could limit the offense as the game goes on.

Even if the offense has been inefficient and looked downright poor in the first few drives against the Ravens, I am not sure if it is time to hit the panic button.

Tannehill has looked good this preseason. He has limited his mistakes and was able to somewhat move the ball effectively. Once the play calling opens up and he is on the field more, the offense should click under his leadership.

Will more reps help that? Probably. Will more time on the field help that? Possibly.

It’s not time to panic yet but once the season comes around, the offense will need to be able to score touchdowns, not field goals. It is impossible to predict how the first real week will go, but, based on the preseason, I have a few concerns for this offense going into the season.