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The 4-7 Miami Dolphins, coming off a 38-20 lost to the New York Jets, come back home to take on the 4-7 Baltimore Ravens, coming off a 33-27 win at Cleveland on Monday Night.  The game is a 1:00 kickoff on CBS.

 

Let's take a look at how the teams matchup.

 

Miami comes into the game generating 335.9 yards per game in total offense, which ranks 27th in the NFL.  The Dolphins are averaging 244.2 yards per game via the pass, and are averaging 91.7 yards per game via the run game.  Those numbers rank 17th and 27th in the NFL respectively.  The Dolphins come in scoring 20.5 points per game, which ranks  27th in the NFL.  They will be facing a Ravens defense giving up 352.5 yards in total defense, which ranks 18th in the NFL.  The Ravens are giving up 258.6 yards per game via the pass and are giving up 93.9 yards via the run game, which comes in at 8th in the NFL, while the passing yardage ranks 24th in the NFL.  The Ravens are allowing 25.1 points per game, which ranks 24th in the NFL.

 

As you all know by now, OC Bill Lazor was fired this week coming off the performance against the Jets.  Dan Campbell wanted to see the Dolphins run the ball more, while Lazor seemed to be married to the passing game and very little offensive balance.  Also, QB Ryan Tannehill had little ability to audible in and out of plays, which was a problem.  This is a game in which you can expect the Dolphins to have much more balance in regards to a run-pass ratio.  Miami needs to see what they have in regards to FA RB Lamar Miller and rookie Jay Ajayi, and I expect those 2 to get the ball a good bit in the run game.  Both are also good in the pass game.  This will also be the 1st game of WR DeVante Parker as a starter, as WR Rishard Matthews is out with broke ribs.  Finally get to see what the young man can do.  The offensive line continues to be a problem spot, and once again will need to be addressed.  Here to hoping Miami can FINALLY get it RIGHT.  Even though the Ravens are stout against the run and has really struggled against the pass, Miami will need to have a balanced attack to keep the Ravens off balance.

 

Defensively, the Dolphins come in giving up 391.7 yards of total offense, which ranks 27th in the NFL.  The Dolphins are giving up 253.3 in the passing game, while giving up 138.5 yards in the running game.  Those numbers rank 21st and 32nd in the NFL.  The Dolphins are giving up 26.1 points per game, which comes in at 27th in the NFL.  They face a Ravens offense that is generating 361.7 yards of total offense, which ranks 11th in the NFL.  They Ravens are generating 263.3 yards per game via the pass amd are producing 98.5 yards per game via the run game.  Those numbers rank 10th and 18th in the NFL respectively.  The Ravens are scoring 23.5 points per game, which ranks 15th.

 

Miami has been in a free fall all year defensively, and now rank DEAD LAST in the NFL against the run.  They face a Ravens offense minus QB Joe Flacco, who tore his ACL in the game against St. Louis 2 weeks ago and are now lead by Matt Schuab.  You better believe the Ravens will come in and try to exploit the porus Dolphins run defense.  Biggest problem for this team agains the run is the linebackers, as they play has been abysmal.  The Dolphins desperately needs to address this unit during the off-season.  In the secondary, CB Bobby McCain will make his 1st start in place of CB Jamar Taylor.  Also, S Walt Aikens has been benched as well.  Can Miami do something they have not been able to do much this year in regards to stopping the run, we will find out on Sunday.  If they can, Schuab is a turnover machine.

 

The Ravens are out of the playoffs, and the Dolphins playoff hopes are on life support.  We finally get a chance to see what Miami can do when there will be a concerted effort to run the ball finally.  The Dolphins need a win to keep the very slim playoffs hopes alive against a team that has given Miami problems.  Let's see how this team performs on Sunday.

 

 

The Good

 

Jarvis Landry had one of his best games as a receiver, with 13 catches for 165 yards and 1 TD.

 

Good to see Devante Parker get on the board with 4 catches for 80 yards and his first NFL TD. On the TD, Parker demonstrated why so many were high on him coming out of the draft as he broke a tackle and took it in for a 33 yard TD. Because he did well, expect Parker to barely see the field next week.

 

Also good to see Jay Ajayi log some time as a pass catcher with 4 catches for 52 yards. It is a shame the Dolphins have not used him more since he came back. He really has a complete skillset and I look forward to seeing what the new coaching staff will do with him in 2016.

 

Reshad Jones was his typical self, doing it all on defense. He had a tackle for a loss and a pass defensed and was a big reason why the Dolphins were able to contain Chris Ivory for most of the game until he had that big 4th quarter run.

 

I really liked what I saw out of Kelvin Sheppard against the Jets. He stepped up his game against the run and was another big reason why the Dolphins were able to contain the Jets running game.

Olivier Vernon had his second good game in a row rushing the passer, logging in a sack and 3 QB hits.

 

The Bad

 

Let's start off with Bill Lazor. He is simply out of his depth as an offensive coordinator.

 

1. The Dolphins only had 9 rushing attempts. The story is going to be that the running game was ineffective. Well, the Jets running game was ineffective for the most part, but they still managed to run in 34 times. And as the game went on, it paid off as Chris Ivory broke the Dolphins back with a 31 yard TD run. Outside of that run, Ivory had 20 carries for 56 yards. That is 2.8 YPC.

 

2. Because the Dolphins ran the ball so little and because they chose to run finesse type toss sweep plays that lost yards instead of gained a couple of yards, the Dolphins often found themselves in 3rd and long situations. We know that running up the middle against the Jets doesn't work well, but if it gains 2-3 yards, it helps to keep the offense somewhat on schedule. The shortest distance between point A and point B is a straight line.

 

3. When Mike Pouncey went down, it was clear to everyone that Jamil Douglas was struggling with the shotgun snap. It was clear to everyone except perhaps Bill Lazor, who kept putting Tannehill in the shotgun, which forced him to have to worry about the snap on every single play.

 

4. The Dolphins coaching staff supposedly believes Tannehill is a game manager. So of course it makes sense to have him throwing 50+ times!

Jason Fox is hot garbage. Jonathan Martin was a better right tackle than Jason Fox.

 

Kenny Stills came to Miami advertised as a good route runner with a high catch percentage. I see a guy who rounds off his routes and keeps dropping passes.

 

Brent Grimes got absolutely schooled by Brandon Marshall. It was embarassing. What a mismatch... and one that the Dolphins did absolutely nothing to adjust on. Meanwhile, Jamar Taylor was on the other side getting schooled by nobodies.

 

The Ugly

 

Ryan Tannehill was ineffective for three quarters. Some of it his fault, some of it the mess around him. On the interception, it was clear that Tannehill threw an inaccurate pass. But it was also clear that Kenny Stills rounded his route. There were a couple of instances where Tannehill should have seen pass rushers breaking free (part of the problem is these pass rushers were breaking free so quickly) and he should have reacted more quickly. I think pass protection, playcalling, dropped passes etc etc all play a role in his struggles, but obviously he can do some things better. However, I found it interesting how the offense got it going late. Some may say the Jets went into a prevent but that is not the case at all. They were still playing the receivers and crowding the line of scrimmage. My thought is that the Dolphins going to more of a hurry up offense actually allowed Tannehill to open up the offense a bit. This has been the expectation for the past 3 and a half years, that the Dolphins would run an up tempo offense, but that is not what they do at all. Might be something to consider for the rest of the season.

 

Overall

 

The season is all but lost. Yes, the Dolphins are still mathematically in it, like they are every year at this time, but if you are "mathematically" in it, you aren't in it. It seems there will be a complete overhaul of the coaching staff this offseason. Perhaps Dennis Hickey will be gone as well. I guess all we have to look forward to is hopefully seeing young guys like Ajayi and Parker get more playing time and seeing what they have.

 

But in the end, it is just another lost season for the Dolphins.

Next Game

Preseason Game 1 - Dolphins at Giants

 

 

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