Despite everything that’s happened in the past 4 weeks, we have to look back several months ago. Back in the spring when the NFL first released its schedule, we knew this was coming.
We all saw 3 September games against incredibly strong playoff teams…ALL three on the road. We hoped for an upset (almost had one too if Kenny Stills didn’t blow the Seattle game). But we knew we’d lose. We saw a home game vs. the Browns., and we all figured we’d win that one. We barely won, but a win is a win.
So, given all that, we are right where we all figured. No surprises about our record.
Also no surprise is that Mike Pouncey hasn’t even played yet. Same thing every year, and yet this guy makes the Pro Bowl?
No surprise that Arian Foster is hurt yet again. No surprise that Ryan Tannehill is looking as average as ever. No surprise the offensive line isn’t cohesive. No surprise that our special teams and overrated Darren Rizzi have added nothing to our games. No surprise that our linebackers can’t cover.
The only surprise to me is that pretty much EVERYTHING is as it was last year. I don’t think we’re any worse, but certainly not any better. We were 1-3 at this point last year, and Philbin was fired.
Although I am not surprised, I admit I expected more from Adam Gase. The only thing I like so far is that he’s benched a few players who were doing poorly, and I stand by him for doing so.
But the playcalling from this alleged genius is beyond baffling. As I’ve been saying for four straight weeks, Gase sees what offensive plays and what formations are successful, and he only tries them once or twice. He watches plays fail time after time, and he sticks with them.
He has Tannehill roll out maybe once or twice a game, even though he’s far more effective when he gets away from pressure. Instead, Gase keeps him inside the pressure/pocket, and we all see what Tannehill does in those situations.
We’ve all but abandoned the read options, which were fairly effective plays for us in the past.
We still cannot pick up 3rd and shorts. Frustrating. But even MORE frustrating is how we get into those third and short situations to begin with. It’s usually because we are at 2nd and 7, and we gain 6. Or 2nd and 8 and we gain 7. Our short passes aren’t long enough, and the receivers are not breaking a single tackle. That stuff happens. But for the Dolphins, it happens CONSTANTLY and it’s never corrected.
The bubble screens aren’t working this year, at all. Opponents now know that Landry is good; they’re not going to sit back and watch him take a screen pass and weave for 40 yards afterwards. We try (and fail) that same play 5 times a game, and nothing productive is occurring.
Gase doesn’t want to recognize that Tannehill lacks pocket presence. The Bengals, Browns, and others figured out our offensive line as the game went on, and in the 4th quarter especially, the pass rush against Tannehill was tremendous. It caused fumbles, strip-sacks, INTs and losses.
All because Gase kept calling standard drop-back passes and refused to call a rollout.
He also refuses to call a bootleg. Good things happen when Tannehill runs the ball himself, but Gase (like Philbin/Lazor/Sherman) doesn’t give him the call very often. We see other 3rd and 4th string QBs burn us weekly with bootlegs, but we don’t try it ourselves. Baffling.
On defense, I think we’ve been great, despite 3 losses. In 3 separate games, the D only gave up one touchdown. They wear down later in the game, usually because our offense is anemic. But there are also boneheaded penalties, like Terence Fede pushing a defenseless punter, or Cameron Wake taking a shot against Jacoby Brissett about 5 seconds after he threw the ball. We’ll never turn into a winner when we make such losing, avoidable plays.
It seems like once a month, our kick returner starts to come out of the endzone, and stops right at the goal line. Then panic sets in. We saw Drake do this last night in Cincy. Damien Williams did it twice last year. One time, remember, he took it out, ran back in, then had to dive out. We started that series on our own 1-yardline and immediately took a safety. Darren Rizzi needs to practice that stuff a hundred times a day until it’s second nature. It’s the type of thing we never see from other teams.
And we wear disgusting neon orange uniforms.
Listen, we’re not a great team. However, there is some hope. You have to remember that the schedule will get a bit easier now. No playoff teams for the next few weeks, and we play some winnable games. Let’s see where we go. See if we can build some momentum. See if Gase makes any improvements. I think we’re still looking at 8-8 AT BEST, but if we show promise looking into next year, that’s all we can ask.