Last week, I asked for the team to be competitive at the least, and in some ways they were, pushing the game to overtime before falling to the hometown Las Vegas Raiders 28-25. Now the Dolphins at 1-2 face a failed first quarter of the season unless they can get a win against the visiting Indianapolis Colts. The team was very inconsistent last week, and honestly, there’s not one unit, including the vaunted special teams that looks right yet. Both the offense and defense are still struggling. The defense gave up 100 yards rushing to Peyton Barber who was in for the injured Josh Jacobs. What does that mean exactly? That was Peyton Barber’s highest rushing total in his 6 year career with the Bucs and Redskins. We definitely miss Raekwon Davis, and one could make the argument we miss Benardrick McKinney too. We did stymie the Raiders passing attack which was on fire for the first 2 games of the season with over 800 yards passing. Including overtime, Carr threw for 386 yards and 2 TD’s and 1 INT. Considering he lit up 2 of the premier defenses in the NFL in Game 1 and 2 with the Ravens and Steelers respectively, I think we did well against their passing attack. You could also make the argument they didn’t have to pass as much because of their success on the ground and I’ll agree with that too.
I have been begging for the Dolphins to use TE Mike Gesicki and they finally did use him. He got the targets I wanted him to get but he was basically a forgotten man until the 4th quarter and OT where he finally finished with 12 targets and 10 receptions. No gaudy numbers this game, it was desperation for Brissett, but why wait until the game truly hangs in the balance to use your best target? I’m not sure that two heads are better than 1, or that either OC we have is qualified. I haven’t seen anything from this combo that makes me feel like we’re a 2021 NFL offense. Yes, our starting QB is OUT, but Brissett is capable, but we haven’t found a way to cover for the O-line this season. Both QB’s are under constant duress and therefore have been completely unable to use the downfield speed we have in Fuller, Waddle and Wilson. No time for the QB has derailed the offense. I’ve seen Malcolm Brown out there, not for his rushing prowess but for his blocking ability. Gaskin is getting the job done running and catching but Brown is the better blocker. It’s unfortunate that our starting 5 on the O-line need help and more help to block the rush, and even then it’s shaky.
The Indianapolis Colts come to Miami at 0-3. Their starting QB, Carson Wentz has been injured but has played in all 3 games. Wentz and the Colts have similar problems as the Dolphins and Brissett. The Colts once had one of the more solid O-lines with 3X Pro Bowl G Quenton Nelson and long time LT Anthony Castonzo. Castonzo retired and Nelson is injured, so former Chiefs T/G Eric Fisher is at LT and former Jaguar, Panther and Dolphin G Chris Reed replaces Nelson. Running back Jonathan Taylor is a workhorse and has been getting his share of carries but it hasn’t been enough, the Colts are scoring less than 19 PPG (18.7) and allowing nearly 27 PPG (26.7). Good news for the Colts defense is that the Dolphins have scored less than the Colts have at 15 PPG, 30th in the NFL. Good news for the Colts offense is we’re allowing 27.3 PPG which is 23rd in the NFL.
So here’s the deal. I do feel like we have a good amount of talent on our roster, and I doubt I’m alone in that evaluation. We need to make the most of that talent. We need to use the players that can make things happen, and use them more. Get the ball into Waddles hands, and NOT 3 yards into their own endzone! FTR, I do realize Waddle has 26 targets in 3 games which is great, and he has 23 catches on those targets which tells me he’s getting a ton of short passes. He’s averaging 7.6 YPR. Mike Gesicki is averaging 9.8 YPR, he’s also getting a lot of short stuff. We have to find a way to give the QB time to throw downfield if the offense is going to be what we need it to be. We’ll see if the line continues with Jackson – Davis – Deiter – Hunt – Eichenberg. It seems they don’t trust Kindley as he’s been the guy getting the least time. Davis is less of a liability at G than he is at T. I think Jackson will be better, his confidence seems to be hurting as well as his play is. Find the best 5, if this is it, and let them play together and hopefully we get the results we’re looking for.
We still have one of the best secondaries in the NFL and Xavien Howard and Byron Jones may be the best CB tandem in the league. We have talent at safety too with veteran Eric Rowe and two young emerging talents in rookie Jevon Holland and 2nd year safety Brandon Jones. The problem? Besides Christian Wilkins (2 sacks), no one else from our front 7 has a sack. You read that right, not ONE! and Ogbah each have a half sack each and rookie Jaelan Phillips and LB Jerome Baker have been shut out. Baker still leads the team in tackles and has 3 FF’s, but he hasn’t been involved in rushing the passer as much yet. The aforementioned emerging safety Brandon Jones has 2 sacks. It’s alarming though that our front 7 has been so shut down getting to the QB. That needs to improve if we’re going to be a competitive team with playoff aspirations. Let’s hope our Co-OC’s and Josh Boyer along with Brian Flores have a better game plan against the visiting Colts this Sunday. We need a win, and we need to move this talent forward, and I do believe there is a lot of wasted talent thus far.