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The Good

 

The game clock eventually read 0:00.

 

Oh yeah, Matt Darr is still the team MVP. But is that really "good"?

 

Here's reaching a bit for something good, but Jay Ajayi showed signs of life running hard and catching to passes out of the backfield.

 

The Bad

 

This offense was atrocious and it starts up front. Even though the Dolphins were able to run the ball for 4.8 ypc, it wasn't because of good run blocking. Even worse was the pass blocking. Jawuan James does not look anywhere like the player we saw last year. Last year he was an above average lineman. In this game against the Bengals, he was hot garbage. Add Billy Turner to that mix. He is what he is.

 

Ryan Tannehill was the player that needed to step up the most to win this game. With a floundering defense and no running game, he really needed to take over the game and he did anything but that. Things looked promising when he hit Kenny Stills on a 74 yard bomb for a touchdown, but then Tannehill literally did nothing after that. Tannehill missed a wide open Devante Parker on one play, instead forcing the ball to Kenny Stills. The pass was deflected by the defender that was draped all over Stills. The sad part is, Parker's route was right next to Stills. So it isn't as if Tannehill needed two pairs of eyes to see this. On another throw, Jarvis Landry was running a crossing route against a linebacker. Tannehill had good time. While Landry was covered, Tannehill could have easily thrown him open with a well placed ball. Instead, it was slightly behind Landry and the linebacker deflected it. Think about it, slot receiver matched up against LB. And last but not least, the interception late in the game. Tannehill had a receiver open downfield, but for some reason he threw a flat pass that was intercepted. This needed to be one of those touch throws with enough height to go over the linebacker. Instead, he slung it in for the pick, which led to my TV being turned off. The bottom line is, Ryan has demonstrated himself to be nothing more than a game manager in his NFL career. He is damaged goods. He was trained from the beginning to be careful with the ball and when he needs to take over a game, he can't get out of game manager mode. With a dominant defense and a good running game, he could be a winning quarterback. But that's just not the case this season in Miami.

 

Defensive coverage was terrible. A.J. Green had more yards receiving by himself than the entire Miami passing offense. For a while, he had more yards than the entire Miami offense. Vance Joseph's philosophy here was to single cover Green with either a second round rookie, or a 3rd string corner. No double coverage. No help over the top.

 

The Ugly

 

If Adam Gase doesn't get this turned round and beat some bad teams to make the losing record look somewhat respectable, this could be a one and done. This team is not playing for him. Give him credit, he is trying to push some buttons. Benching Maxwell, benching James late in the game last week. He is trying to demonstrate that he is in charge. It may take some time for him to figure it out and we may not see things start to work until later this season, but as of right now, he is 1-3 and the win came against the worst team in the NFL in a game we should have lost. Most of us were not expecting a winning season, but we were expecting effort. You know, sort of like the Browns have been showing for Hue Jackson each week. Gase doesn't seem to be that motivator type right now. And Vance Joseph does, but he seems to lack in the strategy department. Hopefully, these guys figure it out soon.

 

Overall

 

This team may be worse than last year's. The defense is asleep. The offense has gotten worse. The body language of the players seems that of guys that are resigned to losing. This is why I wanted us to hire a coach with experience, even if he was one of those retreads. Someone who has experience in building a competitive team. That is my fear with hiring rookie head coaches. They can do well in a team that is more established, but unless they have a big personality, they struggle at turning around a perennial loser.

 

And make no mistake, that is exactly what the Miami Dolphins are right now.

 

 

     Gase sent a strong message to his team this week…perform or get put on the bench. The problem is he has to follow through or its just empty rhetoric. The other problem is he is throwing a young player under the bus who made only two mistakes the entire game. Yes it came at a critical juncture but you’d expect your head coach to offer some cover. I guess we’ll find out Thursday how the players are going to react to that type of coaching. Honestly, there is a part of me that is happy with that. However the other part is saying he needs to be careful with that line of reasoning or he might end up with a mutiny on his hands.

    Tonight they play a team that is 27th running the ball and 7th at throwing. Bengals are ranked 11th overall in total offense. Their passing offense is just slightly better than Miami’s but if you’re their coaching staff you’d have to be thinking heavy on the run plays coming into this game. Mix in some quick slants and bubble screens because Miami struggles against an offense ran this way. If Cincy gets pass happy and tries to throw deep too many times it will be an interesting matchup between theMiami  pass rush and their OL. Miami has to do something out of character on defense here: They have to commit any and all resources to stopping the run. I would single up Maxwell in press coverage on Green all day. First off Green is going to get his catches and Maxwell is a liability in open space. This solves that to some degree and as we saw last week, Maxwell will win a few battles.  Miami’s defense stopping the run will be key. It seems they do well but every now and then let the RB go on a 20-30yd jaunt. They have to be more consistent.

   On defense just the opposite. Cincinnati’s defense is 15th while Miami’s is 29th. Cincy held Denver’s running game in check but lost the game to a rookie QB who threw for 300 yds and 4TDs enroute to the Offensive Player of the Week Award. Their strength is stopping the pass and are middle of the pack against the run.  That still doesn’t’ mean Gase can come in with the same plan to force the run in order to help TOP, otherwise, this game could get ugly quick. Gase has a strong tendency to line up in a run formation and run all the time, especially on first down. Teams are keying on this. The 3rd and 4 or less are marred by the fact teams are keying on small ball….ie throws behind the LOS or close to it. He hasn’t done much to disappoint them. Unless he gets more liberal and aggressive tonight, they’ll lose this game. Last week in the 2nd half trailing by 3 they began throwing downfield, mid range. They quickly scored twice then went back to small ball to kill the clock. RT is a streaky QB. When he is hot, Gase needs to feed the beast until the game is out of reach.  That will allow the defense to pin their ears back. My belief is he is too focused  on TOP and has forced the running game to try and help. This has lead to a first half hole in the first 3 games of the season. He needs to up his game here and allow Ryan Tannehill to throw against their secondary early and often.  Tannehill was most effective last week throwing on first and 10. That needs to be exploited more often.

Finally, in order to even have a shot at winning Miami has to quit playing give-away. They’re averaging 1 more turnover than they’re creating each week. They can’t afford that. They’re just not that good. Also, they’re dead last in the NFL in TOP. You can’t expect your defense to shut down the other team’s offense down when they’re on the field an average of 10 min more. Think about that.

Next Game

Week 14: Arizona Cardinals at Miami Dolphins, 1 pm, FOX

 

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