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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Now that Philbin has been fired, back to our regularly scheduled program.
Have to start with Cameron Wake and the defense. Wake had 4 sacks, including a strip sack that began the turnover parade. Before this game, Wake had zero sacks. There's one sleeping giant that woke up. Reshad Jones was a missile as always with 8 tackles. Throw in a pick 6 that pretty much sealed the deal. Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins were everywhere from the linebacker spot, combining for 15 tackles, including three tackles for a loss. And Brent Grimes overcame a shaky start early to nab himself a beautiful pick late in the game.
Overall, the defense allowed 299 yards, including 63 yards rushing after being ranked towards the bottom of the NFL in rush defense most of the season. The defense also forced four turnovers, sacked the QB 6 times, stopped the Titans 8 times on 10 third down conversion attempts and, most importantly, held the opposition to 10 yards. This is the unit we were expecting since we signed Ndamukong Suh. We finally got it today. Interestingly enough, while Suh only logged 1 tackle, he did have two passes defended. The pass rush was ferocious and the run defense buckled down as the game went on.
Lamar Miller and the offense also showed up today. Miller rushed the ball 19 times for 113 yards (5.9 ypc) and 1 TD. The offense gained 434 total yards on offense, with 180 of those yards coming on the ground. Pretty impressive stuff for a team that couldn't run the ball for four weeks. Rishard Matthews caught all 6 of his targets for 85 yards. But the play that set the tone for the offense was a short catch early in the game in which he was crushed by two defenders and still held onto the ball. A shout out goes to the offensive line for only allowing two sacks and paving the way for those 180 yards.
Even though he caught a TD, Jordan Cameron had a rough game, drawing a holding penalty, causing one Ryan Tannehill interception while not being on the same page as Tannehill on the other interception. Cameron also dropped a couple of passes.
Tannehill's stat line looks rough. While he did complete passes to 8 different receivers and completed 75% of his passes, he had a couple of instances where he and the receiver were not on the same page. One led to an interception in which Jordan Cameron went one way and Tannehill threw the other. The other was with Lamar Miller. Same thing. Guys need to know their assignments, but Tannehill ultimately needs to protect the ball. Definitely something to work on there.
Olivier Vernon took that "walk the line" meme too far as he was flagged twice for roughing the passer penalties. Expect him to be fined by the NFL for his low hit on Mariotta.
There are still things to work on. The defense looked shaky early and the secondary and that zone coverage left receivers wide open at times. There were still some missed assignments on the offensive line. And obviously, the QB and receivers always need to be on the same page.
Congratulations to Dan Campbell on his first win. Talk about a coming out party. I am sure this went better than he ever imagined. So his talk about aggressiveness and waking the sleeping giant paid off this week on the road against a young, talented team that is still getting it together. The result from changing approach is remarkable as this Dolphins team lost to a hapless Jacksonville Jaguars team just a couple of weeks ago but totally thrashed the Titans. Does this serve to highlight just how much of a problem Philbin's approach was? Obviously, the early results are that Philbin was in over his head and these guys needed to be motivated and pushed.
But, this is only one game. The expectations just went way up for Dan Campbell. Next week, the Dolphins go into Houston against a team they have never beaten. Can Campbell keep the giant awake and do something the Dolphins have never done before?