One offensive touchdown and one field goal are not enough offensive production to win most games.
While scoring in the NFL is never easy or anything to be taken for granted, still, there are some very basic strategies that the good teams employ.
Very basic strategies such as utilizing your playmakers and making smart calls. Joe Philbin does neither.
Let’s look at one series from Sunday, for example. Brent Grimes just made a great interception and changed all the momentum toward the Dolphins. We started at the Washington 21, already in field goal range.
On first down, Ryan Tannehill almost kills his tight end with one of the worst passes in NFL history. Wide open passing lane, no one near T-hill nor near Dion Sims. Incomplete.
That first down was the only good play call on the drive, and Tannehill botched it.
On second down, the Dolphins gain six on a short pass to tight end Jordan Cameron. Six yards when we need 10. How many times have we seen that?
Watch that play. It is not designed to gain 10. It is specifically designed to gain about 5 yards, and that brings up a huge Philbin flaw that we’ve seen for three years.
Joe Philbin purposely sets up his offense to be in a third-and-short situation. He strives for it. Instead of consistently calling plays designed to get first downs, the Dolphins constantly do this instead.
It’s like Philbin feels that merely getting into a 3rd-and-short situation is the goal, because we will automatically pick it up, right?
I cannot emphasize this enough. You hear it in every Philbin interview. Every time. He constantly says, “We have to get ourselves into a favorable down-and-distance situation.”
You hear it in his own words…his goal is to be in a good down-and-distance situation. Well in this case, congratulations to Joe Philbin. You got the Dolphins into a favorable d-a-d. Third and short.
Your goal is complete. Now what?
I hope you see my point. He lacks the killer instinct to obtain the crucial first downs, touchdowns, and sacks. Instead he is content with being in a situation to get those things.
It’s like Philbin being hungry, so he makes it his goal to drive to the McDonald’s parking lot. That ain’t gonna fill your belly until you take it to the next step.
On third down, we throw a pass to Damien Williams. Not Jarvis Landry. Not Kenny Stills. Not Jordan Cameron. Not Davante Parker. Lazor/Philbin called a play to go to an undrafted guy who has barely made the team two years in a row. We spent so much money and trades and draft picks to get an electrifying group of talent on our team, and we call a play to go to Damien Williams. Why? I can only ask why.
On top of that, why isn’t Williams fighting and struggling for that extra yard for the first down? He had no fire in him and no awareness to lunge ahead for that extra yard that we desperately needed.
As bad as those three plays were, Philbin saved his worst for last. Needing a yard…needing 36 lousy inches…needing only 91 tiny centimeters for our British fans…Lazor/Philbin decided to give the ball (again) to the same backup runner who had just failed to gain the requisite yard we needed on the previous play.
If at first Damien Williams fails, let him fail again.
Why was Williams even in the game? I know “third-down back” is a common cliche in the NFL, but so is “Your starter is your best.” Miller gets stuffed all the time on short-yardage situations, but he should still be the man until Williams supplants him. And that sure as heck didn’t happen on third and fourth down.
Why not have Tannehill fall forward for a yard?
Why not call the snap on two or three to draw the terrible Redskin defense offsides?
So many options, but we give the ball to an undrafted bench player.
This is a fantasy, but let’s hope Philbin learns a lesson.