FanPost

Ask the Phinsider

Greetings. You all know how this works, so I'll just briefly give a summary of the Miami Dolphins performance so far:

The Miami Dolphins went on the road in week 1 and beat a Cleveland Browns squad that was missing its second best offensive player in Josh Gordon by a score of 23 to 10. In a victory that has looked more impressive in hindsight, the Dolphins beat the Colts in Indy in week 2 by a score of 24 to 20 courtesy of a few big plays on offense by Mike Wallace and Charles Clay and some impressive second-half defensive stops. In a victory that has looked somewhat less impressive in hindsight, the Dolphins managed to pull off a close victory at home against the injury-depleted Atlanta Falcons, winning 27 to 23. However, the Falcons game left several key members of the Dolphins defense injured (most notably, star defensive end Cameron Wake suffered a knee sprain), which left the Dolphins shorthanded as they went on to try to beat the Saints in New Orleans on Monday night football in week 4.

I believe the Dolphins would have struggled if healthy and playing at home to compete with the Saints (I'll explain why in a second), so playing the Saints shorthanded on defense and on the road (where the crowd noise could hurt our offense) helped turn what could have been a competitive game into a 38 to 17 blowout. The Dolphins hoped to rebound against the Baltimore Ravens, but Joe Flacco managed to orchestrate a couple of key touchdown drives as the Dolphins offense struggled to produce touchdowns against the Ravens defense, leading to a 26 to 23 defeat. The Miami Dolphins are coming off a much-needed bye week, and reportedly all of the players on the roster except Dannell Ellerbe are practicing on at least a limited basis.

In my opinion, the Dolphins strengths are QB, WRs, TEs (Charles Clay is legit), defensive line (DE and especially DT), and the secondary (when healthy). The Dolphins wins have come as a result of a good (and balanced) passing game and the defense making key stops, particularly in the redzone.

However, the Saints game exposed our weaknesses on both sides of the ball. As Sean Payton's gameplan on offense demonstrated, you beat the Dolphins defense by spreading us out with multiple WRs/TEs and attacking favorable matchups (meaning don't throw the ball at Brent Grimes, especially since 2 of our other top 3 CBs are dealing with injuries that have cost them snaps). Don't call many interior runs because our best run defenders (Soliai, Odrick, etc.) are in the middle. Instead, call for outside runs because Cameron Wake (in addition to being our best pass rusher) is also our best run outside defender but is injured, and our other DEs aren't quite as good at setting the edge. Also, as Darren Sproles fantasy football owners will tell you, try to get your running backs involved in the passing game by challenging the Dolphins' linebackers to cover them (only Ellerbe has been above-average in coverage).


As Rob Ryan's defensive gameplan showed, you beat the Dolphins offense by NOT blitzing and instead dropping 7 in coverage. Tannehill is very good against the blitz, and has been since his rookie year, but an inconsistent offensive line combined with a young QB who hasn't developed a great feel for pressure in the pocket means that teams can get decent pressure on Tannehill with just their front-4. If the pass rush doesn't get to Tannehill early, Tannehill's refusal to challenge good coverage by throwing the ball to receivers who aren't wide open combined with his reluctance to scramble for yards or throw the ball away leads to many coverage sacks (almost all of his league-leading 24 sacks have come when he has 2.5+ seconds of pass protection, per ProFootball Focus). The Dolphins run game has ranged from "terrible" (against teams like the Browns) to "average" (against teams like the Colts). We're on track to finish the year as one of the 10 worst rushing teams in the NFL, and our offensive line's poor run blocking doesn't give me much cause for optimism in that area.

The team reportedly spent the bye-week getting healthier on defense and trying to improve both pass and run blocking on offense, but it remains to be seen how much they could fix in just 2 weeks. Given your recent performances against the Bengals and Ravens, I'm expecting a competitive game. And with that, time for your questions...

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.

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