Perhaps another trip across the pond will help the Miami Dolphins prevent their season from potentially spiraling out of control.
They’ll try to avoid a third straight defeat Sunday in London against a New York Jets team that’s looking to bounce back from its first defeat.
Last season, Miami (1-2) was 1-2 and coming off two straight losses when it went to London and rolled to a 38-14 victory over Oakland. Though the Dolphins would go on to lose the game that followed, at least they are familiar with their current plight.
“We’ve been here before, so we know what we gotta do, and that’s just go back to work, find a way to get this W,” safety Michael Thomas’ told the team’s official website.
Saddled with high expectations after adding $114 million defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and confident quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Lamar Miller would take their play to a higher level, the Dolphins have floundered out of the gate. They needed a fourth-quarter rally to win 17-10 at Washington in Week 1, never led during a three-point loss at Jacksonville and were blown out 41-14 by Buffalo at home last Sunday.
Fourth-year coach Joe Philbin appeared to be on thin ice heading into the season, and might fall through if things don’t improve. Publicly, Philbin hasn’t shown too much concern for these early struggles or his own job security but won’t sugarcoat the team’s current state.
”This is not a time to panic,” he said. ”We’re not getting 53 new players. We’re not getting 24 new coaches. We’re either going to find solutions to these problems or not, and we’re either going to stick together or not.”
Philbin said that lineup changes could happen this week, perhaps on defense.
The addition of Suh hasn’t kept the Dolphins from yielding 435 rushing yards – second-most in the league. They’ve recorded one sack and allowed a combined 101.8 passer rating to the trio of Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles and Tyrod Taylor.
”I’m disappointed, but I’m mostly disappointed in myself,” embattled defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. ”I’ve got to do a better job getting guys in the right spots.”
Offensively, Tannehill has completed 61.4 percent of his passes with five touchdowns but threw all three of his interceptions last week. He’s also been sacked seven times.
Miller set career highs with 1,099 rushing yards and eight TDs last season, but has gained 105 without a score on 30 attempts while dealing with an ankle issue.
”Guys are frustrated,” Tannehill said. ”We know we’re a better team than we’ve showed. There’s no panic, but definitely urgency to get this thing turned around.”
Tannehill’s completed only 57.6 percent of his passes and has four TDs and six INTs while splitting his six starts against New York (2-1). Miller ran for a career-high 178 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries during a 37-24 season-ending home loss to the Jets in 2014.
However, both could have a hard time getting untracked against a New York defense that allowed 17 points prior to last week’s 24-17 loss to Philadelphia. Despite the defeat, the Jets yielded 231 yards and rank fourth in the league giving up 298.3 per game.
With four turnovers and a number of missed tackles on Darren Sproles’ 89-yard punt return for a TD, the Jets feel they hurt themselves more than the Eagles did.
“We didn’t lose this game because we thought we were better than we are,” center Nick Mangold said. ”We lost because of execution.”
With Chris Ivory sidelined by a quad injury, New York managed 47 rushing yards and Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions after throwing two in the first two contests.
”It’s just as important not to overreact for a loss as it is to a win,” first-year coach Todd Bowles said. ”We didn’t overreact to the two wins, we’re not going to overreact to the one loss.”
Ivory, who leads the team with 148 rushing yards and has scored twice, should return for this contest after being a full participant in practice Thursday and Friday. He’s averaged 3.7 yards per carry while gaining 171 in four games against the Dolphins.
While Ivory and star cornerback Darrelle Revis (hamstring) are probable to play, Eric Decker (knee) is a game-time decision after sitting out last week’s game. Decker is listed as questionable after missing practice Wednesday and being limited on Thursday and Friday.
This will be the Jets’ first game in London.
”I think guys think it’s cool to go over there,” Fitzpatrick said. “It will be a unique experience for all of us and hopefully bring the team together even more.”
It’s time to kick some ass fellas! GO DOLPHINS!!!!