As I sat down to write this weeks article, after deciding this week would be a bad week to try and extract questions from the group, I thought to myself, “What am I going to write about today?” So many unknowns, a new HC in place, a team that seems to have played worse than the apparent talent on it, so what do I say. Do I take a positive spin on the season, or a negative one. I’ve decided to do a little of both.
The good news is, the Dolphins finally realized that Joe Philbin is not the leader they needed going forward. I’ve felt that way for quite some time as you all know, but always hoped for the best. The bad news is, even with Joe Philbin gone, and hyped up, physically imposing Dan Campbell in, the players that were here underachieving for Joe, and making excuses are still in uniform, on the active roster, and will be donning those uniforms this Sunday against the Titans in Tennessee. Although I blame Joe for a lack of fire, and certainly not enough accountability, I still feel the players should have enough drive to go out there and do their job with passion, whether they agree with the scheme, or the coach, or the GM, or the owner. They get paid the big bucks to play, yes play a game, and to not be prideful enough to give your all for yourself, and your teammates is inexcusable.
We’re 1-3, and of course, the New England Patriots are in 1st place at 4-0, followed by the New York Jets at 3-1, and then the Buffalo Bills at 3-2. We’ve already lost once to the Bills and Jets, leaving us 0-2 in the division. The Patriots and Jets are 1-0, the Bills 1-1. While we’ve only played 4 games, it’s a deep hole to start. OK, some good news! Outside our division, if you’re hoping like hell we can somehow get a Wild Card berth, the future looks brighter outside our division. Take away 1st place teams like the 5-0 Bengals, the 3-2 Indianapolis Colts, and the 5-0 Denver Broncos, and the rest of the AFC, with the exception of the Pittsburgh Steelers who are 3-2, are under .500. The Titans are 1-3, while the Jaguars and Texans are each 1-4. The Raiders and Chargers are 2-3, while the Chiefs are 1-4.
So where do we go from here? What do we need to improve on to become a contender, at least for a Wild Card? Big picture, we’re 28th in the NFL on Offense, and we’re 29th on defense. Suh is here! Devante Parker is here! Jordan Cameron is here! Kenny Stills is here! None of the above have made an impact on this team. So how do we change this? First of all, on the offensive side of the ball, Dan Campbell better run an Oklahoma drill on Bill Lazor’s face if he doesn’t relent from his PASS-PASS-PASS-PUNT mentality. While this much maligned O-line has looked absolutely putrid, what can get them fired up and more confident than imposing their will and running the ball down another teams throats? Time to make a concerted effort and RUN-THE-BALL. Our 24YO RB who ran for 1099 yards last year with a 5.1 YPC average has 37 rushing attempts FOR THE SEASON! Not 1 game, FOUR games! He’s averaging a way below career average 3.5 YPC, and has no rushing TD’s. I wish I could say it was because another RB has picked up the slack, but Jonas Gray, who basically has had action in one game is 2nd on the team with 10 carries. Are you kidding me? Just for fun, Ryan Tannehill is 3rd, and Jarvis Landry is 4th , with 8 carries, and 5 carries respectively. See a problem here?
On offense, it all starts with the run game for me. That’s been the biggest weakness, and due to the lack of commitment to the run game, our offense is one dimensional, and with the our less than average O-line, there is too much pressure on that unit to succeed. Branden Albert hasn’t been healthy, and his replacement at LT, Jason Fox hasn’t been either, and both have played very poorly. LG Dallas Thomas has struggled mightily. C Mike Pouncey has been OK, but when water starts pouring through the dam, one brick can only do so much. RG Jamil Douglas has struggled as well, as I expected. What I didn’t expect is RT Ju’Wuan to go backwards, way backwards after such an impressive rookie season. Our O-line is pathetic, and now we need to try and mask it somewhat by running the ball. Give these guys some confidence, and if they can’t get it done, find someone else on the roster that can!
On defense, thankfully Coyle was removed. We need to be more aggressive. It seems we can’t get 100% agreement from anyone as to what type of scheme we’ve been running “2 gap” “Read and React”, but whatever it was, it clearly wasn’t working. One place where I do believe we have legit talent is on the D-line. Suh, Mitchell, Wake and Vernon. Wake’s injury has really limited his effectiveness, to the point where he doesn’t even belong on the field. If Suh is really being double and triple teamed every play, it’s impossible that no one else can win a one-on-one battle, but we haven’t. We have plenty of differing opinions here, but mine is clearly that Suh has played well. We need him to be a beast, and he’s been tame. Maybe Philbin’s exit and Campbell’s entrance will awake the beast. Regardless of what Suh does, where is Earl Mitchell, Olivier Vernon, Terence Fede and especially Cam Wake? WTF Cam, if you’re hurt that bad, sit out the game and let an able bodied player play. It’s insane! 4 games, ZERO TACKLES, ZERO SACKS, 1 assist. GTFOOH!
If any of you have seen the 1977 movie “One on One”, with Robbie Benson, we need to “Pull the stops out” Incidentally, if you’re of fetal age like D, there’s no shot you’ve seen that movie, so I’ll explain the context. In the movie “One on One”, Robbie Benson plays Henry Steele, a HS basketball player from a small town in Colorado, recruited by a big college “Western University” in Los Angeles. Henry struggles with both the academics and the physicality of the college game, Henry is a slightly built but talented guard. The coach G.D. Spradlin plays Coach Moreland Smith (Same guy who played the HC in “North Dallas Forty”) tires of Henry’s struggles as he’s on a 4YR full scholarship, and tries to intimidate Henry to in order to make him renounce his scholarship. Here’s a clip from the movie, but I couldn’t find the “Pull the stops out” video, which I’ll get to later.
Henry feels frustrated with his play, so he asks his roommate and friend on the team for help, who gives him some pills, likely amphetamines, and and during practice, Steele (under the influence) at first starts to make some fantastic plays, but as he succumbs to the drug, he becomes out of control until he is escorted out of the practice by his friend. They play a very seventies-esque song call “Pull the stops out” to accompany the scene. My best pal Scott and I both love that movie, there are some classic lines we always bring up, like one would from Goodfellas, or any classic movie. Anyway, we do need to pull the stops out, and being conservative in any way should be thrown out the window. these are desperate times my friends, and the window of opportunity for this season is closing fast. But it ain’t closed yet, and a win against the Titans is the place to start.
The Titans are also 1-3, and also desperate as we will be, so it could be a wild and wacky game. Neither team can afford another loss, so I expect a hard fought game, with at least one surprise play from both teams. I hope Dan has his team ready to compete, because they haven’t really competed hard in any game this year, including the win against Washington. Son’s buddy Kirk Cousins gift-wrapped that one for us. Time to show some pride, and and fight hard, and it’s amazing sometimes what that can lead to. GO DOLPHINS!!!!
And now for the babe of the week . . .