Normally when you have a bye week this early in the season, there is a little bit of reservation in that the bye week did not come later in the season. Miami will have to go 12 straight weeks now with the bye occuring in week 5.
With that being said, the Dolphins are coming off a horrendous 45-14 loss last Monday Night to the New England Patriots and have a 2 game losing streak. The Dolphins are 2-0 on the road, but 0-2 at home with both losses being division losses to the Jets and Patriots.
Let's look at some things that have to improve for this team to meet there goals of making the playoffs in 2010 and let's start with the defense.
The Dolphins rank 7th in the NFL in total defense, 12th in scoring defense, 21st in rushing defense, 4th in pass defense and 17th in sacks with 9.0 sacks. The Dolphins have to improve against the run and generate more pass rush. The Dolphins will get Jared Odrick back along with Tony McDaniel back and that should help, but the OLB have to do a better job of setting the edge, as teams are attacking the Dolphins at the edge and getting the edge in the run game. I also believe Tim Dobbins play has to get better or give Micah Johnson a chance to see what he can do. I have seen Dobbins to many times not be willing to take on a blocker to plug a hole and take a side and open up a running lane. In regards to the pass rush, right now Cameron Wake is the sole threat as a pass rusher and tied for 21st in the league with 3 sacks, or a 3rd of the Dolphins sacks. He has been providing consistent pressure off the edge, but Koa Misi has been a disapointment in regards to pass rush off the edge from the opposite side and the Dolphins have not gotten consistent push up the middle. The secondary has had there ups and downs, but Vontae Davis is emerging as one of the very best cornerbacks in the NFL. Jason Allen has had his ups and downs at the other cornerback spot opposite Vontae and tight ends continue to have success against Yeremiah Bell and Chris Clemon, although adjustments were made in the 2nd half of the Jets game and the damage was kept to a minimum against New England.
Overall, you see some positives things with this young defense, but if they don't improve in these areas, the Dolphins will struggle the rest of the year defensively.
Offensively the Dolphins rank 13th in total offense, 15th in rushing, 12th in passing and 30th in scoring. Needless to say, the Dolphins needs to score more points as they are averaging only 16.5 points a game. Chad Henne has to bounce back from a very tough performance against the Patriots and start playing more consistent football. We also need to realize that the game against the Jets was the 16th game started by Henne. He is still growing as a quarterback and will still make mistakes, but he has to improve his play and the shackles need to be taken off as well by Dan Henning, who could help the young quarterback by putting him in better positions with play calling. Speaking of Henning, it's time to put the Wildcat in cold storage. Henning has called the formation at very bad times from a momentum standpoint and his play calling does not seem to play to what the strength of this team, which is the running game. The Dolphins have the pieces in place to be a very balanced offensive team, a great play action team. The Dolphins need to establish the running game with Ronnie and Ricky and use play action to take advantage of the weapon they have outside in Brandon Marshall. Davone Bess has continued his steady play opposite Marshall and Fasano has been solid, but Brian Hartline needs to pick his play up. Hopefully the bye week will allow the Dolphins to get healthy along the OL so they can develop the chemistry they need. This OL has the making of a very good OL as they showed against Minnesota.
The bye week also allowed the Dolphins to try to reconstruct what has been a dismal special teams unit. In the last 2 weeks they have allowed a key block punt in the game against the Jets and the unit totally self destructed against New England. They allowed a 103 yard kickoff return for a touchdown, a blocked field goal for a touchdown and a blocked punt that led to a touchdown. I don't know what Miami can do about the return game, but they have no threat of a return game at all and it is hurting the team.
The Dolphins come off the bye week Sunday against a very beat up and banged up Green Bay Packers team. Just in the game this past weekend against Washington the Packers lost TE's Jermichael Finley and Donald Lee along with there outstanding OLB Clay Matthews, and Aaron Rodgers substained a concussion and may not be available for the game on Sunday along with the rest of the players above. The Dolphins catch the Packers at a very good time and needless to say, the Dolphins need to go into Lambeau Field and get a win and break their 2 game losing streak.
Let's hope the bye week help this team get back on track.
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