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Week 7: Dolphins at Jaguars
ALL READY REBUILDING
Let's face it, we are all ready in the middle of one. With the firing of JEFF IRELAND and hiring his replacement in DENNIS HICKEY as our new general manager, the team has new direction. Unfortunately, as I have been saying since midseason last year, Miami needed to get rid of the general manager, head coach, and coordinators. Two out of four has been done. We're just in a wait mode to axe Philben and Coyle. "Wait for it ... it's going to be ..." (sorry, I just can't write "Lengenday" right now).
LAZOR IS A MOVE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Offensively we saw MIKE SHERMAN get the boot at season's end, and we saw BILL LAZOR hired as the new offensive coordinator. Coach Philben made a good decision here even though he was forced to fire Sherman.
Currently there is a lot of inconsistency in the pass game, but the running game has improved majorly in run blocking and we've seen very decisive running by LAMAR MILLER. Even DANIEL THOMAS looked good and useful last week. When the Dolphins get KNOWSHON MORENO back, he will be an even bigger boost to the run game and the offense. Moreno makes better decisions, is a very good blocker, explodes quickly through the hole, and elevates his team with his attitude. Moreno also catches passes better than Miller as Miller all ready has 3 drops this year and a fumble.
BUT you don't have a running game if you are not using it. The Dolphins have been very pass heavy in Lazor's playcalling and they only have 1 rushing touchdown in 3 games.
This isn't the Bill Lazor that we expected when he was hired as he has worked under Dan Reeves, Joe Gibbs, Mike Holmgren and Chip Kelly in his coaching career. Every one of those coaching greats said very good things about Lazor after we hired him. He came very highly recommended and he chose the Dolphins over the Lions who are stacked offensively.
We expecedt a balanced attack of run and pass plays, and we expect him to go with the hot phase of the offense. What we have seen is a repeat of Mike Sherman's pass happy offense with the short safe pass plays. I find it hard to believe that Lazor has full control of the offense when I see a repeat of Sherman. In fact, I will go out on a limb here and say that the offense will improve and he could be our next head coach. He is that smart.
As Rich said this week ...
- Some things to think about.
- Ryan Tannehill is second in the NFL in pass attempts.
- The Dolphins are 7th in rushing yards and 2nd in yards per rush.
- The Dolphins are 23rd in rushing attempts.
- We don't have Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, folks.
- We should not even be in the top 10 in passing attempts.
- We also shouldn't be in the bottom 10 in rush attempts.
- The lack of balance on offense has been staggeringly mind boggling considering how well we run the ball.
KEVIN COYLE IS KILLING ME
When Joe Philben was hired as our head coach, he said that the Dolphins are moving from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3 defense. We all knew that was a huge mistake. It had taken years to move to the larger and athletic linebackers of the 3-4 scheme and our defense is going to have to be rebuilt to get to the 4-3. Ireland took a big step in the process last year by adding Dannell Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler and booting out Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett. That proved to be a horrendous move. Even though Ellerbe and Wheeler played very well the previous year, they failed miserably with the Dolphins. Wheeler ranked dead last compared to other outside linebackers in the NFL in 2013.
Last year we had some young talent, but Coyle was hesitant to use and develop them in games. He is wasting young talent and putting them in positions where they will not achieve their potential. I mean, why put Dion Jordan on the defensive line where he has to put his hand in the dirt rather than line up at linebacker and let him do his magic? He even has Chris McCain lining up at DE. I do like Coyle's agressiveness, but he feels he can put players in his scheme and it will work. He needs to get adjust his defense more to the talent that he has.
The zone defense is giving up long third down completions, and the tackling is horrendous the past two years. Why can't Coyle see that we have the corner to press the receivers and that they've done well in that regard when called upon? I swear, seeing all of this each and every game makes me want to turn off the game each week as it is frustrating.
JOE PHILBEN IS NOT HEAD COACHING MATERIAL
As we saw this week, Philben caused a lot of controversy by not saying that Tannehill was his starter when he had planned to keep him in as his starter all along. Geez, grow a brain stem and make smart team decisions. I do like his personality improvements this year as far as relating to his team, but you have to wonder if he has lost his team all ready. Three years in as the head coach you should see improvements in his thought process. I don't see it as he keeps making mistakes.
While Philben has been elusive and pointing fingers at his team to the press, Bill Lazor has been taking the blame of the offense on himself and standing behind his quarterback in public. What Lazor is doing is what a head coach should do, and take care of business in-house.
TANNEHILL IS STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS
Yep, I am tired of using the excuse that the offensive line is not blocking well and this is causing Tannehill to rush his thought process. Guess what? It is still true. I will say that Tannehill has improved in each game this year, and I expect him to show improvement throughout the year. I really like his skillset, and I think that Bill Lazor will be able to develop it. BUT Tannehill needs time to throw the ball. He has been so used to rushing his reads knowing that he is going to be hit that perhaps it has ruined him. He was a young and developing quarterback when we drafted him, but being hit or sacked on every pass has got to have a toll on him mentally.
And how about the highest priced receivers catching the friggin' ball? Right now the Dolphins rank #1 in the NFL in dropped passes. No kidding.
What would I do with Tannehill? I would keep him as our starter, but I would also pull him out if I felt he was not being effective. Matt Moore is a backup quarterback for a reason. With Tannehill, we have to make a decision this year if he is the franchise or not. Lazor has worked with a lot of quarterbacks, and I think Tannehill could be a slower learner than some others. Tannehill really did not play all that bad last week, but he didn't do much to push the ball downfield. He seems to be playing it safe and he's looking Mike Wallace's way too much. I like it that Wallace is getting used more as he can be a home run threat every time he touches the ball, but throw the ball around, too.
Where is Tannehill's leadership? I don't see it, and that is concerning. If he does not take the next step forward he will get benched. There is no surprise there, but now is not the time. As I said, bench him during games if the offense is not effective. I think people will see that the backup is usually not the savior.
The offensive line has to block much better and the receivers need to catch the ball. He needs help. Is he Andrew Luck? Not right now, which is why a lot of fans had the "Suck for Luck" thing going on. Not many quarterbacks coming into the NFL are as good as Andrew Luck.
So, I am asking everyone to quit panicking, because the team needs to rebuild from the top. We have our GM and we have our Offensive Coordinator. The Dolphins will have to replace Philben and Coyle in the offseason. It is what it is, so, try to enjoy the season.
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It's what the Miami Dolphins are lacking, and it's what is needed to get back on course, because right now the Dolphins are off course. From Joe Philbin, to Kevein Coyle to Ryan Tannehill there is a lack of leadership, someone needs to step up as a leader to keep this franchise from floundering.
Coyle is being criticized by the defense, Philbin is being criticized by Tannehill, Tannehill is being criticized by Philbin, a lot of finger pointing to go around, and it's what can happen with a lack of leadership, born out of frustration. The answer is easy, get a strong leader, but easier said than done. Leadership is much more than being appointed as the leader, in our day to day jobs that's usually enough, but on an NFL team that isn't enough.
True leadership is measured by being someone others will follow, it's not just being in charge, it's those you're in charge of, wanting you to be in charge. Some one to rally around, some one who's banner you will fly proudly, some one who has the right answers.
The Dolphins need a real boost of leadership, this would get everyone on the same page, clearly they are not on the same page right now, and things will most likely get worse before they get better if no one steps up as a leader. There's not much good to talk about right now about this team, a win in old London town against the Raiders would be a start, not a fix, but a start, but an emerging leader, that would be a fix.