Keys to improving Bill Lazor’s Offense

As we look forward to the 2015 draft, the Dolphins have just as many holes, if not more, than at last year’s draft. Our current pre-draft offensive line might be more settled than last year, but we’re short on WRs, LBs, and (as always) DBs.

No matter what players we pick, the Dolphin coaches need to do a better job of utilizing them. Today we’re going to examine Bill Lazor’s offense…what went wrong and what needs to be done. All the best offensive players in the world will not help the Dolphins unless Lazor and Philbin utilize them properly.

As we went back and reviewed every single play the Dolphins ran on offense last year, a few things immediately came to mind.

  • No trick plays
  • Too many 4-wide formations
  • No QB sneaks
  • No QB draws
  • No pitchouts
  • No fullback power rushes

To summarize, the Dolphins’ offense was far too simple and far too predictable.

Philbin needs to step away and let the smart coaches coach.
Philbin needs to step away and let the smart coaches coach.

How many times have we seen an opposing QB run a QB draw on us? It always works against the Dolphins, and our defense is never prepared. Even when us fans and the announcers know it’s coming, the Dolphins never seem to know. The QB draw is an effective play with even mediocre QBs. Given Ryan Tannehill’s running ability, we should be feasting on this play at least 2 or 3 times per game.

The Dolphins tried 2 fake punts last year, and we got called for illegal motion on both of them. Absolutely unacceptable.

We haven’t run a flea-flicker since the effective wildcat days.

A fake field goal? Tricky and non-standard offensive formations? Double reverses? Not allowed in Philbinland. All these plays work against the Dolphins, but yet we never try them ourselves.

The 4-wide formations and even 5-wide formations occurred far too often last year. With 5 linemen and 5 WRs, that left no extra blockers. We were susectible to blitzes and bull rushes, and it showed. Way too often. The Dolphins weren’t fooling anyone.

Remove three of those wideouts out and instead put in three extra guys onto the line of scrimmage, such as adding two tight ends and an extra tackle to the line. We needed more bulk on 3rd-and-inches, and we failed too many times. In addition, remove another wideout and replace him with a fullback…someone to clear the way for a RB in goalline situations. Or, quick handoffs to the fullback can be effective. Remember how consistent Lousaka Polite was? We need more of that.

We also need a coach who is willing to go for it on 4th down once in a while. Bill Lazor is not at fault here. Joe Philbin’s lack of vision and lack of a killer instinct is clearly to blame. Too many times last year we had the ball in the opponents’ territory facing a fourth-and-inches. In almost every case, Philbin opted for mid to long-range field goals. Usually Caleb Sturgus failed us, which means that Joe Philbin failed us.

Even when Sturgis did make the field goal, Joe Philbin failed us by not at least trying for the first down. When the opposing defense is facing a 4th-and-inches, do you think they’re nervous and fear when a kicker comes off the bench? Or do they breathe a sigh of relief to see the kicker coming in? As usual, Joe Philbin doesn’t get it. He helps the opponent win.

The worst case of this was the last game of the year against the Jets. It was an absolutely meaningless game for both teams. The Jets kept going for it on 4th down. The Jets ran fakes. The Jets won the game.

Clueless Joe Philbin won’t let his offense try for a first down in meaningless games. Just imagine how conservative he will be if he ever makes the playoffs and has to make such decisions in games that count!

In other Dolphins news, washed-up Wes Welker (who still defends what nick Saban did to us) and overpriced Michael Crabtree have been in for tryouts. We’ll keep you posted.

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  1. Yes!

    Another story on how the Dolphins will suck again this year because Philbin can’t coach!

    Aside from using less 4 and 5 widout sets I think everything else falls on Philbins shoulders.

    I remember him saying something about (in response to a reporters quesiton about using more 2 tightends) how they don’t have enough depth at the TE position.

    I thought….. what don’t we have two tight ends on the roster?
    Hell your just going to dump it off 4 yards to a wide out why not dump it to Sims, Lynch, or even Aurther they may be young but they can catch a 4 yard pass in the seam and hit a LB and get free they are all BIG guys but no Philbin ditched the 2 TE set once Keller went down.

    Although I was excited to read a story that for once in a long time didn’t totally depress me….. You Failed me Admin!

    No…. you duped me by giving me false hope of a constructive artical about areas we could watch for Lazor to make improvements only to completely dash those hopes by pointing out the only way Lazor will make improvement is if Philbin becomes a better HC (which isn’t happening) or he quites or gets fired!

    (That was tongue and cheek thanks for the write up!)

  2. I think Welker could contribute and I think if he were engaged he would provide a good recover for thill but at this point in his career how engaged is he going to be with a coach like philbin running the show? Also will he play for pennies which is the only way I think the Dolphins should consider him givin his recent concision history and how many games a player misses because of it.

    It would suck to go through training camp with Welker only to see him get a concussion in week two and be out five games we had a similar issue last year with Keller. Of course he was out the whole year and of course you can’t stop injuries but it has such a disruption on an offense that it’s prudent to limit to the degree you can and I think because of all that the fins should pass on Welker unless they get him for pennies and use him as a 3 or 4 player

    1. great site. I love Dolphins but hate stupid fans who say Philbin deserve more time.
      I read the article link above about Coache’s Clinic. Can you imagine being a young coach and joe Philbin comes to teach you? I would be respectful, but I would not listen to single word he says. What does he know and what accomplishments he’s made?

      1. Hi Newbie,

        For the record, I was being sarcastic! Agree with your sentiments. Although I try not to “hate” people, the Dolphins administration and coach definitely push my limits.

  3. Wasn’t it just a few months ago that philbin was rated as the worst or close to the worst HC in the NFL? To see or hear him talking about what it takes to be great is a joke because he never has proven to be a great coach.

    I’m not going to say he can’t get better but at this point I think he’s been in the NFL long enough we can conclude that what we see is what we get. To me it his constantly talking and acting as though he and his staff are great that is infuriating because it’s so insulting and indicates they won’t be getting appreciably better because they think they already are.

    It would be one thing to be doomed with a HC who tried hard to get better but our owner was to much of a dupe to make a change. I could get behind a coach to some degree, you know if he kept saying and doing things to indicate he knows where he needs to improve and this is what I’m trying to do to make those improvements.

    Philbin a not that guy. He thinks he’s great and no one can teach him anything and apparently he feels he has a lot of information that can help everyone else

    What a jerk

  4. Of your list of plays the offense didn’t run last year, the QB-related ones are the most puzzling. Tannehill is one of the best running QB’s in the league. Why won’t they design plays that let him do that?

    Philbin has shown he has no idea how to play to the strengths of his players. Does he even know what Suh’s strenghs are ? He probably thinks of Suh as a human road block he can stick in anywhere; rather than a talented player with strengths and weaknesses.

  5. RE: A Mania Dolphins Mint

    Your not that far off

    When the dolphins signed Ndamukong Suh Philbin was asked how he thought he would us him.

    Keep in mind that the Lions almost never used him as an every down player and I think that was the context of the question, would Philbin use him as a 3 down line man or not.

    Philbins response was ……. well we will have to look at that and make an evaluation based on what we see……. (Paraphrasing)

    ????? How in the world do you brake the bank to pay a guy that kind of money without knowing IN ADVANCE how your going to use him?????

    Your right philbin has no idea how to play to his players strengths and I think whats worse is that he is probably interfering with his OC and DC by over riding their decisions.

    1. Brian M: I totally agree that he overrides the OC’s and DC’s decisions; or perhaps dictates to them beforehand what he wants them to do.

      Funny you mentioned the press conference when they announced Suh – if I recall, Philbin’s 1st response to “how are you going to use him” was “Every down!” Then he back-paddled to (basically) “we have to figure it out.”

      In my book, both responses are wrong! You’re right that it’s insane they’d spend THAT much $$ without figuring (or at least imagining) how specifically they’d gain from having Suh on the team.

      1. Author

        I don’t think using Suh on every single down is a bad idea. Coyle/Philbin THINK too much. They are constantly subbing guys in and out due to situational management. In theory, it’s okay, but you have to look at the intangibles…which Philbin NEVER does.
        Paul Solai and Randy Starks are both great run stoppers, but Philbin ONLY saw them as run stoppers. He dragged them out of the game on every single passing situation, as if they had never rushed a passer before. In comes extra defensive end Dion Jordan, who found two or three offensive linemen to run into on his way to zero sacks. Sometimes, you have to leave your BEST players in the game in possibly the wrong situation, rather than have mediocre players in the right situation. Suh is that best player, but I am terrified of Philbin “letting him rest” on 50% of the plays.

        1. Suh has played most of his games in a/c domed stadiums or in the cold in the far north. He is a big guy and I dont know how he will hold up in the intense Florida heat in the 2nd half of games. Dont know if the Fins even thought about that. I have a feeling he will need to sit some plays out on the hot days.

  6. I have no doubt that will happen

  7. The offence will be anemic without any playmakers at all. Can u say 7-9 again?

  8. The only way to improve the offense is to get a better QB thats accurate and has some pocket presence.

  9. DJ we have playmakers, and we had them last year too.

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