Preseason Week 1 - This Dolphins Stat a Cause for Concern

Based on last year, there is no evidence that a McDaniel led team can correct these errors.

Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins
Atlanta Falcons v Miami Dolphins / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

The Miami Dolphins need to clean up a few things after a poor showing the first game of the preseason. Friday night against the Atlanta Falcons, the Fins managed only a field goal in a 19-3 loss at Hard Rock Stadium. 

In his post-game conference Head Coach Mike McDaniel didn’t seem too worried about the loss. He emphasized that in the preseason, the process matters more than the results. McDaniel was indifferent towards any particular player, wanting to reserve his judgment till after he reviewed the tape.

It doesn’t take any film study to know going 0 for 3 in the red zone is a bad thing. Not being able to score any touchdowns is probably a low point in the process. Though it probably isn’t a concern for the Dolphins, since last year McDaniel had proven his ability to lead his offense into the red zone. To McDaniel, touchdowns are not an issue. 

What is an issue though is that Friday night the Dolphins beat their opponent yet again in the amount of penalties accrued. The Fins managed to rack up 8 penalties for 72 yards against the Atlanta Falcons. Among those penalties are:

Unnecessary roughness call on Jaylen Twyman.

An Intentional Grounding & Delay of Game call on Skylar Thompson.

A False Start call on both Chris Coleman & Elijah Higgins.

And five Holding calls, twice on James Tunstall, and once on Cam Smith, Elijah Higgins and Parry Nickerson.

Despite it only being the first week of the preseason, this should be a cause for concern. Last year the Dolphins were top five in penalties with 111 for 881 yards. That puts them in the company of teams like the Broncos, the Cardinals, the Raiders, and the Titans. All of whom failed to make the playoffs last year. Based on last year, there is no evidence that a McDaniel led team can correct these errors.

Entering into training camp this year, minimizing penalties should have been a point of emphasis. Clearly it hasn’t been harped on enough since they are carrying on with the same totals from the previous season. Ultimately a highly penalized team is an undisciplined team. In critical moments against greater competition, the Dolphins can’t afford to be undisciplined. One mistake here and there can make difference in winning or losing. 

The Dolphins are probably aware of this problem more than anyone else, let’s hope they invest more time and resources into fixing it before the regular season starts.