Halfway there. It ain’t pretty folks. We started out 3-1, and we all had some hope for a successful season. After all, seasons are broken up into 4 game quarters, and we were somehow a winning team after those first 4, although the crushing loss to the New England Patriots was a wake up call that not all was sunshine in Miami. We started out the first 4 scoring 82 points, and surrendering 90 points, with nearly half of those 90 points coming against New England (38-7). In the next 4 games, the Dolphins have gone 1-3, to even it up at 4-4. In these next 4 games, we scored a little more, 92 points, but surrendered far more, 129 points, with the points given up each consecutive game getting worse, 27, 28, 32, and then 42 this past week to the Texans. Not a good trend!
Although a 4-4 record may indicate a team that can do as much right as they can do wrong, unfortunately for our team, I feel it’s not like that at all. I see us spiraling downward, which incidentally may end up in our favor if we want to draft one of the top QB’s next season, and IMO this has now become a necessity. The QB that can lead us to great things, hope for playoffs and more, is NOT currently on the roster. Unless Ryan Tannehill gets healthy and shows us another gear that he hasn’t yet brought to the table, he’s not the guy. Unless Brock Osweiler shows he can consistently make good accurate throws, he’s not our guy. Both are flawed, and neither is a championship caliber QB.
The next item is our current HC. When he was hired, Adam Gase was considered one of the great, young, offensive minded coaches available. Make no mistake, he truly was highly regarded and sought after, and I thought he may be the guy to bring our offense to new heights. It seems as if he elevated Ryan Tannehill’s play, but unfortunately, the way he accomplished that is with a balanced attack offense, and a “make no mistakes” short passing attack. Bill Belichick said “OK, I’ll just counter your smaller, faster WR’s with nickel, dime and quarter packages, let’s see you beat that!” Well, we couldn’t. Did he find a way to make TE Mike Gesicki make all those smaller DB’s pay? No. Did Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake run all over the smaller DB’s? No. Gase had no answer for that strategy, and now it’s not even the offense that is the current issue, it’s the defense.
In the first 4 games, our defense took the ball away 10 times, while our offense turned it over 6 times, a +4 TO differential. Each game, however, our yardage allowed total began to swell, 336 yards in the win against the Titans, only 257 against the Jets, but 434 yards against the Raiders, and then 449 against the Patriots. The next 4 is where it really starts to get ugly, and the turnovers that kept us in the win column dried up, but the opposing team’s yardage continues to increase.
In Game of 1 of the 2nd quarter of games, we lost to the Bengals, losing the turnover battle 3-1, while allowing a modest 332 total yards. We turned it over 3 times, and forced 3 turnovers by the Bears, and won the game in OT, though allowing a hefty 467 yards, granted, this was with an extra 9:57 in OT. Against the Lions, neither team turned the ball over, but we did manage to give up once again over 400 yards on defense, 457 to be exact. We then got shellacked by the Texans, turning it over once while not managing to get a single turnover (or defensive stop!) against the Texans. 427 yards, and 42 points.
After 8 games, we’re scoring 21.8 PPG (174), and we’ve allowed 27.4 PPG (219). We have forced 14 turnovers while giving it up 13 times. After the first 3 games, we were 8-4. Everything is getting worse, forcing HC Adam Gase to really sit down and look at everything, in an attempt to “fix” these problems. I’m writing “angry”, so take all of this for what it’s worth, but shouldn’t he be trying to “fix” the problems every week? This defense has been pathetic, surrendering tons of yards to our opponents, and now we’re also allowing tons of points too. Our offense simply can’t keep up with that, we play too careful and calculated, and now with playmaker Albert Wilson on IR, the guy who turns a lateral or 2-5 yard forward passes into 50-60-70 + yard TD plays gone, how will we score TD’s?
This is part and parcel why I can’t bear to think the Miami Dolphins are going to force Ryan Tannehill down our throats for yet another failure of a season. The NFL has changed, it’s getting closer to Arena football, except that you can’t really hit the offensive players. It’s a WIDE OPEN game, shootouts, and we play small ball. Teams are hitting HR’s everywhere, and we’re bunting guys over looking to scratch out a run. If it’s Tannehill, or Osweiler, or Fales that are holding this offense back, CUT them! If it’s Adam Gase that just doesn’t have the right field general at QB, then FIND him! Don’t insult us by going with the status quo, and telling us you’re going to “fix” the problem. I watch a lot of football, I have the NFL Sunday ticket, and it’s blindingly clear that we cannot compete in this NFL as currently constituted. We need a gunslinger, and we need DE’s that can pressure opposing QB’s.
11 sacks folks. E-L-E-V-E-N. 8 games, 11 sacks. That’s beyond anemic. It’s the DT’s and the DE’s, but I’d prefer to blame the DE’s mostly. (( Paging Charles Harris!)) (( Paging Charles Harris?)) Doesn’t matter who does the drafting for us, can ANYONE please identify a pass rusher? Robert Quinn? HELLLOOOOOOO! Did Quinn shoot his load in the preseason? He was unstoppable! Peaked too soon? Don’t blame Cam Wake, he’s just about 37 years old, and probably should be a role player now, not a starting DE. What happened to Cordrea Tankersley? He seemed to progress last season, and can we please end the Bobby McCain on the boundary please? If you put McCain back in the slot, at least that’s 2 spots (Howard/MCain) that are competent.
The Jets come to town being outscored in the last 2 games 61-27. I’ve got the remedy for that! The Dolphins have been outscored 74-44. That should even the playing field some. I’m seeing far too many similarities between Joe Philbin and Adam Gase. Hey, when you win the AFC East every year for a freaking century like Bill Belichick has, you can cut whoever the heck you want with minimal blowback. Adam Gase, he doesn’t have that cachet, nor does he deserve to at this point. He seems to have identified the players he likes, and has jettisoned the ones he doesn’t, but having success while doing so helps your cause. We’re spiraling downward, and while it’s possible the Jets offer us a brief respite, the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau will not, and either will the Colts, who are scoring 29 PPG.
Game 9, and it’s hard to find one thing that we do really well. ST’s have been one of our best units, Matt Haack averaging 45.7 yards, and rookie Jason Sanders 9 of 10 in FG’s, of course along with Jakeem Grant with a punt return and kick return for TD’s. Gase has a lot of work to do, and I hope he has his scouts looking far and wide for our next QB, that is if he’s still here to see it through. Most likely he will be given some latitude.
So, on to the Jets. Sam Darnold has been “eh”. Jeremy Bates and Todd Bowles do not an offensive juggernaut make. Bowles is a defensive minded coach, and Bates hasn’t been an OC since back in 2010 for SEA, he’s been an assistant coach all these years (QB coach). Darnold has thrown for 1705 yards, 11 TD’s and 10 INT’s. The Jets had to put RB Bilal Powell on IR with a neck injury, which leaves Isaiah Crowell as the feature back, with Trenton Cannon and De’Angelo Henderson as depth. Losing Powell really hurts the Jets, he usually saved a lil something for us in our clashes. Robbie Anderson occasionally supplies some fireworks, but it’s a pretty boring offense most times with Quincy Enunwa (Jarvis Landry) and Terrelle Pryor and Jermaine Kearse. The Jets recently signed Rishard Matthews, so maybe Rishard will get an opportunity to take out his frustrations on our defense.Jets defense has been just about mid-pack, nothing to get excited about.
My prediction? After all the thinking and analyzing in an attempt to remedy what has been ailing us, Gase finds a way to win against another struggling team this week. I think we win this one by about 4 or 5 points, no score prediction, I have no idea what team we’ll see on either side of the ball.