It doesn’t really matter who we are playing, when in reality, we’re just playing against ourselves. Mistakes, penalties, miscommunications, all of the above, is what we’ve been seeing the entire season. We can blame a lot of extenuating circumstances on these problems, Tannehill going down before the season, Lippett going down before the season, Raekwon going down just as the season began, the hurricane postponing our first home game, and rendering us “BYE-less”, Cutler not having enough time to get in sync after “retiring”, but despite all those negative things, it’s on the Head Coach, Adam Gase, to have his team prepared, right from the start of the season, right out of the gate. Well, that’s something young Mr. Gase has a helluva lot of work to do on my fellow Dolphins fans and friends. Last year, through 5 games, we were 1-4 scoring 14.2 points per game. This year we were worse, scoring 12.2 points per game, but miraculously, managed a 3-2 record. Yes, I’m only looking at a small sliver of each season, but every “quarter” of the season counts, and Gase hasn’t managed to get our team off to a good start yet.
Just for comparison, the Indianapolis Colts desperate for a QB after starter Andrew Luck wasn’t responding to treatment and was therefore unable to play, traded for Patriots backup QB Jacoby Brissett on September 2nd, and Brissett came in relief for QB Scott Tolzien in Game 1, and never looked back, keeping the starting job for the rest of the season, and managed to score 97 points in the first 5 games for a 19.4 point average. How is it the Colts can muster a full TD per game better than our team, when Jay Cutler already was familiar with the offense, and had better talent around him on offense? I understand no comparison is perfect, but Adam Gase hasn’t gotten the preparation job done well enough to start the season. He’s learning, this is only his 2nd year as a Head Coach, but I hope he looks long and hard at that, as well as the team in general being extremely undisciplined and sloppy the entire season. We’re averaging 8.5 penalties for 72.7 yards per game, 128 penalties in 15 games for 1090 yards. Not to get OD any more riled up than he already is, but Don Shula had the Dolphins for decades as one of the least penalized teams. To be fair, Shula was also head of the officiating committee for the NFL, which undoubtedly paid dividends in that regard.
More disturbing things. Getting blown out in games. Losing 20-6 to the Jets (Last second TD made it 6 for us), and then 20-0 against the Saints, which in essence has us losing 40-0 save for a last second garbage time TD to Devante Parker A.K.A. The Invisible Man. 40-0 to the Ravens, 45-21 to the Panthers. No question Gase has work to do, and I hope he studies these games where our team looked like it didn’t belong on the same field with our opponent. It wasn’t always necessarily from start to finish in a game, but there were breakdowns that snowballed to eventually take us completely out of contention. Gase is the Head Coach, and he must get a handle on these things. Every team has a bad game, but we have had multiple bad games this season. The Cleveland Browns for instance, have had 1 game this season of a 20 point or more loss, a 31-7 loss to the Bengals. For all intents and purposes, we had 4.
I didn’t write this to tear up Adam Gase, but the truth is, he deserves criticism, and I have hope he will be able to correct these shortcomings. Getting the O-line corrected has to be a high priority, and adding a dangerous pass catching TE should be as well. We’ll also need to add another RB to our stable to go along with Kenyan Drake and possibly Damien Williams. Beyond that, there a few places where an upgrade of depth would be welcome, such as the D-line, specifically DE, where we’re a little long in the tooth, and maybe an upgrade at LB as well. I would like it if we draft a young QB to groom, and compete for a job, but it doesn’t have to be in RD 1or RD2, especially at the expense of a top OL and TE.
If the FO can do their job well, then the pressure to succeed will surely be on Head Coach Adam Gase’s shoulders, because the excuses are evaporating quickly. Assuming Ryan Tannehill is healthy, and is able to get back close to the way he was playing before his injury, and the O-line is fixed, and we added some better depth at other positions, there’s no good reason for us to get off to a poor start like we have the past 2 seasons. Gase will likely have some tough work to do to choose his staff, unless he decides he wants to stand pat with the staff, which I honestly hope isn’t the case.
I know this article just looks like a negative piece on our head Coach, but it’s essentially just a notice that I’m holding the man accountable. Besides our record, there are some disturbing things like player development. Leonte Carroo III for example. Why make such an effort to acquire a player, and not find even the smallest opportunity to see what he can do. I’d play Carroo instead of Parker, and I’d give Grant a lot more touches instead of Stills. We know what Stills can do, I’d like to see more of Grant. I know some will say Carroo doesn’t practice well or whatever, well find the right freaking buttons to press and GET HIM TO PRACTICE WELL! We made a big investment, find a way to motivate the kid. Grant is a little playmaker, get him more touches. He has 13 to date, 3 rushes, 10 receptions, LET HIM PLAY! Carroo? 7 receptions for 69 yards. Last year, Carroo had 3 receptions for 29 yards and 1 TD. So in 2 seasons, Carroo has 10 receptions for 98 yards and 1 TD. It sure seemed like they really wanted this kid, squandering multiple picks to get him, and this is what we get to show for it? FIX THAT!
The 2018 offseason will be a huge one for both the front office of GM Chris Grier, Executive VP of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum, and Head Coach Adam Gase. 10-6 in ’16 was nice, but 6-10 or 7-9 in ’17 not so much. Gase will get a pass this season from owner Steve Ross due to losing starting QB Ryan Tannehill just before the season. He gets some leeway from me as well, but I still find the discipline, or lack thereof, excessive penalties, blowout losses and lack of player development problematic, so if Adam Gase has a list of areas in need of improvement, I hope those are on the list, and somewhere near the top.