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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
Well, that was a really bad one.
I haven't seen the offense look this bad since the Chad Henne years. Believe me, it was unwatchable. The pass protection was terrible and Ryan Tannehill couldn't get the ball into the hands of his receivers. I promise you that many Dolphins fans tv's turned off at some point in the 4th quarter.
Everyone wants to focus on the quarterback position, and rightly so, but let's look at the offensive line for a moment.
With all the injuries to our offensive line, they will never jell to learn each other's tendencies. The Dolphins have 4 first round picks along the offensive line, and last week only two of them were playing. The biggest loss is All Pro center Mike Pouncey. The center is the leader of the offensive line and sets the tone. Steen and Urbek have played decently, but they are not Pouncey. I will give Tannenbaum an attaboy for having decent backups ready to step in at the center position.
Losing LT Branden Albert was a big loss, but the good news is that Tannenbaum invested in Laremy Tunsil as his first round pick last year. Tunsil was able to slide over from guard to LT and take over last week and did a decent job considering that he's been playing the guard position since he was drafted. Coach Gase was smart enough to give him snaps in practice at LT in the preseason, and it payed off.
RT Ju'Wuan James is our 4th first round pick along the offensive line, and he's been getting a lot of heat due to the fact that Ryan Tannehill was hit 3 times in the last 2 games from pressure from James' side. All three of those hits resulted in turnovers. Did James get beat on those plays? Yes, but it cannot be all on James. On all of those 3 hits Tannehill seems to have no clue that the right side was collapsing. If it were his back side I would understand, but this is to his right side. Aside from all of this, James did not have a good game against the Bengals. I never thought that James was first round talent, but we needed a right tackle ASAP and the Dolphins GM Dennis Hickey made the call.
When I look at the tape, the biggest weakness along the offensive line last game were the guards. Bushrod, a converted tackle, is not getting it done. How does he allow himself to get picked up and pushed into Tannehill like a rag doll? There are definitely communication issues between he and Ju'Wuan James. Perhaps with a little patience Bushrod will get a better feel for the position. There is no one who would be effective filling the position as you have Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas as the backups. You will remember they are third round draft busts. This is where our current GM Tannenbaum has failed the Dolphins as he once again looked for a cheap option rather than to grab a good guard in free agency. Tunsil has played the left guard position, but everyone knows that he could be our left tackle starter as early next year ... this year if Branden Albert gets injured. This is no real plan for either guard position.
Tannehill gets "incomplete" grade, but ...
Now, calm down. You've heard me say many times that at the moment Tannehill's problems are due to pressure he is getting due to a lack of blocking from his offensive line. It's hard to grade a QB if he isn't protected. I do not know of any quarterback that can take getting hit as often as he does and have it not affect their play. Marino hated pressure, and we've seen Tom Brady do poorly when facing pressure. If you look back to any game that we've beaten the Patriots, it was due to pressure on Brady.
Tannehill definitely has his faults. He doesn't have that sixth sense that all good quarterbacks have when feeling pressure. He also does not step up in the pocket properly to avoid that pressure. He has also been taught to play it safe his entire NFL career so much that he could be damaged goods. Perhaps that is why he does not move the ball consistently until he gets in 2 minute offense mode. When he gets in gunslinger mode he is much bolder with his throws. Gase is going to have to decide at some point to continue to force his offense to learn his system, or to go with their strengths.
Unfortunately, in learning this new offense he has thrown more interceptions than he normally does. I say to give Gase and Tannehill time to figure it out. A lot of fans are irritated that Gase does not call Tannehill out, but the quarterback position is a position that requires confidence. You want to build a quarterback's confidence rather than tear it down. I am not opposed to benching him late in games if he isn't getting it done. On Thursday he was getting the crap beat out of him every time he stepped back to throw. I would have put Matt Moore in there midway through the 4th quarter. Everyone gets benched at some point. Of course, the media would have been all over it and it would have been the only thing everyone talked about.
So, I still give Tannehill an "incomplete" but let's not forget that if you get an "incomplete" in school, it turns into an F. By the end of this season, Cinderella's chariot will turn into a pumpkin if things do not get better (orange uniforms ... pumpkins. Did you catch that?;). His salary jumps after this season and the Dolphins will have to make a serious decision on whether to stay with Tannehill or go in a different direction. Gase has a great track record of working with quarterbacks, so, my advice is to bite on a stick and be patient. The offense may just "click" at some point. While I do believe that a team can go into the playoffs with Tannehill, I would be happy to move on.
Adam Gase: Not everybody was on the same page. All of a sudden (Tannehill) looks like he doesn't know what he's doing.
Jay Ajayi. You have to like the tough running that we saw from Jay Ajayi for the past two games. The Bengals dared the Dolphins to run it by taking away our passing game, and Ajayi responded well. He even caught some passes and is looking much improved in that area. Don't blame him for missing that third down pass. It was a tough catch and Tanny rifled it. I would love to see a balanced offense if we could get the offensive line to open up the running lanes, but as I've said, they have to all get on the field together to develop that chemistry.
Matt Darr. Once again our MVP is our punter. Matt Darr is punting lights out and has nailed 10 inside the 20 yard line. In fact, he was key to our victory over the Browns as he pinned the Browns deep in overtime. He gets a Big Dave Attaboy. Matt, feel free to pay yourself on the back and say it was from Phinfever.
Kiko Alonzo. Who is our best middle linebacker since Zach Thomas? It was Karlos Dansby until we traded for Kiko Alonzo. While his pass coverage needs improving, his run stopping ability and his ability to pursue has made him very exciting to watch. Unfortunately, aside from Alonzo, Tannenbaum did not do much this offseason to give the Dolphins good depth. With Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins struggling, I am not sure what we will do when Alonzo goes down ... and you know he will at some point this season. It is who he is.
Rashad Jones. Extend his contract during this season. He's a super hero out there.
Big Dave's Crap List
DE Terrance Fede. Nice job of knocking down their punter, boneheada. It's one of the worst penalties that I've ever seen. Unbelievable. He may lose his job over it. Miami's ST Coach Darren Rizzi about had a stroke on the field. Check it out in the image to your left. I can't stop laughing at him. I love Rizzi's passion.
RG Jermon Bushrod. He was not only whiffing on blocks, but he was picked up and pushed right into Tannehill. I am still shaking my head about it.
CB Tony Lippett. He actually didn't do a bad job, but he whiffed majorly on a tackle on AJ Green. It was comical.
Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph. How do you have a defensive scheme where you make your young cornerbacks cover AJ Green one-on-one without help? How??? I'm just glad that I am not facing anyone that has AJ Green on their fantasy roster this week: 10 catches, 173 yards, 1 TD (aka a whiff by Lippett).
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The game clock eventually read 0:00.
Oh yeah, Matt Darr is still the team MVP. But is that really "good"?
Here's reaching a bit for something good, but Jay Ajayi showed signs of life running hard and catching to passes out of the backfield.
This offense was atrocious and it starts up front. Even though the Dolphins were able to run the ball for 4.8 ypc, it wasn't because of good run blocking. Even worse was the pass blocking. Jawuan James does not look anywhere like the player we saw last year. Last year he was an above average lineman. In this game against the Bengals, he was hot garbage. Add Billy Turner to that mix. He is what he is.
Ryan Tannehill was the player that needed to step up the most to win this game. With a floundering defense and no running game, he really needed to take over the game and he did anything but that. Things looked promising when he hit Kenny Stills on a 74 yard bomb for a touchdown, but then Tannehill literally did nothing after that. Tannehill missed a wide open Devante Parker on one play, instead forcing the ball to Kenny Stills. The pass was deflected by the defender that was draped all over Stills. The sad part is, Parker's route was right next to Stills. So it isn't as if Tannehill needed two pairs of eyes to see this. On another throw, Jarvis Landry was running a crossing route against a linebacker. Tannehill had good time. While Landry was covered, Tannehill could have easily thrown him open with a well placed ball. Instead, it was slightly behind Landry and the linebacker deflected it. Think about it, slot receiver matched up against LB. And last but not least, the interception late in the game. Tannehill had a receiver open downfield, but for some reason he threw a flat pass that was intercepted. This needed to be one of those touch throws with enough height to go over the linebacker. Instead, he slung it in for the pick, which led to my TV being turned off. The bottom line is, Ryan has demonstrated himself to be nothing more than a game manager in his NFL career. He is damaged goods. He was trained from the beginning to be careful with the ball and when he needs to take over a game, he can't get out of game manager mode. With a dominant defense and a good running game, he could be a winning quarterback. But that's just not the case this season in Miami.
Defensive coverage was terrible. A.J. Green had more yards receiving by himself than the entire Miami passing offense. For a while, he had more yards than the entire Miami offense. Vance Joseph's philosophy here was to single cover Green with either a second round rookie, or a 3rd string corner. No double coverage. No help over the top.
If Adam Gase doesn't get this turned round and beat some bad teams to make the losing record look somewhat respectable, this could be a one and done. This team is not playing for him. Give him credit, he is trying to push some buttons. Benching Maxwell, benching James late in the game last week. He is trying to demonstrate that he is in charge. It may take some time for him to figure it out and we may not see things start to work until later this season, but as of right now, he is 1-3 and the win came against the worst team in the NFL in a game we should have lost. Most of us were not expecting a winning season, but we were expecting effort. You know, sort of like the Browns have been showing for Hue Jackson each week. Gase doesn't seem to be that motivator type right now. And Vance Joseph does, but he seems to lack in the strategy department. Hopefully, these guys figure it out soon.
This team may be worse than last year's. The defense is asleep. The offense has gotten worse. The body language of the players seems that of guys that are resigned to losing. This is why I wanted us to hire a coach with experience, even if he was one of those retreads. Someone who has experience in building a competitive team. That is my fear with hiring rookie head coaches. They can do well in a team that is more established, but unless they have a big personality, they struggle at turning around a perennial loser.
And make no mistake, that is exactly what the Miami Dolphins are right now.