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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
The Defense only allowed 3 points (in two games) against the Jets. Held the Jets offense under 300 yards, 3 of 13 on third downs, had 3 sacks and 2 interceptions. Xavien Howard continues intercepting passes at a high rate.
Devante Parker had a big game (something he seems to do more of when Fitz is the QB).
The running game was decently productive, gaining 104 yards on 25 carries.
The offensive line struggled in pass protection, allowing 4 sacks.
The offense fumbled 4 times, losing 2 of them.
As much of a mixed bag as Fitzpatrick is, the offense is clearly more productive with him under center at this point. Obviously all of the caveats exist for Tua being a rookie QB who didn't play football for a year. It would be nice to see him improve when he returns, though.
The Dolphins are right in the mix of the wildcard. They have one more "easy" game next week against the Bengals before the schedule toughens up considerably. But the Dolphins are a team full of holes and don't show the strengths that take teams deep into the playoffs such as run defense, running the ball or elite QB play that masks these issues. As happy as we should be with the progress from Flores in year 1, there are still a lot of questions that remain unanswered. The next few weeks will give us a clearer picture of how far we are from being real contenders.
Xavien Howard had another interception.
Tua Tagovailoa had a completely unproductive outing, missing throws, holding onto the ball too long, looking sluggish in the pocket and getting benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who locks into receivers way too often.
The running game continues to suck. And we do not have many receivers that can get open. The Broncos can't defend tight ends, and yet we couldn't get the ball to ours, despite having a pretty solid stable. At 5'7", while Jakeen Grant has speed, he is simply not a good deep option because he has the catch radius of a gnat. The Dolphins should be trying to get him the ball in catch after the yard situations.
The run defense has been a weakness all season. As currently constructed, this team, if it even makes the playoffs, will find little success in the playoffs because teams that can run the ball (of which there are usually quite a few in the playoffs), will carve this defense up by keeping it on the ground to prevent 3rd and long situations. Even when the Dolphins had third and long situations against the Broncos, they went away from the "amoeba" defense a bit and tried to use more conventional sets. Why would they do this against a young QB who hasn't proven anything yet?
The Dolphins played down to the competition, as they have been doing for years. During the favorable part of their schedule, the team struggled against a struggling team. The offense struggled against a defense that doesn't honestly scare anyone and the defense struggled against a struggling QB who was questionable to even play.
While they will probably beat the Jets and Bengals (although if both teams commit to the run, who knows!), they better figure something out for the tough part of the schedule at the end of the season. I believe this team still has a lack of talent and that the coaching staff has been the main reason for the success. That will only take you so far. Sure, it takes no talent to avoid penalties, but it takes talent to make special plays, especially on offense.
We're not there yet.
The Dolphins defense held an effective Chargers offense (averages 403 ypg) to 273 total yards and 4 of 13 on third downs. The defense also did a decent job of stopping the run, holding the Chargers rushing attack to 3.4 yards per carry. Aside from one garbage time TD catch by Keenan Allen, the Dolphins corners had a much better game against the Chargers.
Dolphins special teams were once again special. An early blocked punt by Andrew Van Ginkel led to an early Dolphins TD. Jakeem Grant consistently returned punts that put the offense in good field position. Jason Sanders finally missed a field goal, it was bound to happen, but he hit three others, including one from 50 yards. One of the common themes of this winning streak is that either the defense or special teams are making big plays that put the Dolphins up early.
The Dolphins may have found themselves a running back in Salvon Ahmed. He finished the game with 85 yards on the ground and a touchdown. He showed good vision and burst in the hole. If the offensive line could consistently run block, he could be a very effective runner.
Ted Karras may have put too much moisturizer on his hands before the game as he had a couple of bad snaps, one that led to a turnover late in the first half. Whatever he was doing needs to be corrected as this team wins in large part by protecting the ball.
After having a spectacular game last week against the Cardinals, Tua came back down to earth a little bit. He made a couple of throws that counter the reputation he has for being someone who sees the field well and rarely turns it over. Granted, he didn't turn it over, but there were at least two plays that should have been interceptions, one dropped by Denzel Perryman and one that went right thru a defenders hands and was caught by Gesicki. That being said, Tua did nothing in this game to disprove that he has what it takes to be our quarterback of the future. It is to be expected that he will make mistakes in his third career start.
It's hard to criticize a team on a 5-game winning streak, that is sitting at 6-3 in year two of a rebuild. The Dolphins are consistently finding different ways to win, whether it's an explosive offense one week or dominant defense or special teams making big plays the next. The Dolphins rarely shoot themselves in the foot or commit too many penalties. Players make plays when plays are needed most. This goes back to coaching and Brian Flores establishing a certain mentality. The "TNT" approach we were all poking fun at last season is paying off as this team plays disciplined football, despite a lack of talent at certain positions. Sitting at 6-3, with three more winnable games ahead of us, puts this rebuild ahead of schedule in my opinion.