Last night was fun! Admittedly, I didn’t watch from start to finish, I vowed not to do that because it was really frustrating me to waste 3+ hours while twisting myself into knots. I care, we all do, that’s why we come here and talk. What happened last night was unexpected. No way in hell did I see that coming. Considering the fact that we were outscored 137-16 (I heard Aikman say that near the end of the broadcast) the last 3 games against the Ravens, there was no reason to expect a good result.
A few questions that need to be answered . . . If Tua is healthy enough to be the backup QB, is he not healthy enough to start? The next question is does Xavien Howard have to force a fumble and recover it in order for us to win games? He has done just that in two of our three victories. The next question is, do we buy into this team after 2 straight victories?
Here’s my take on questions one through three. It’s like this in my mind, either Tua should be playing or he shouldn’t. If he’s hurt and can’t play, he’s OUT. If he’s healthy enough to play, he STARTS. It’s confounding to me the way they are treating Tua and I honestly think it’s inexplicable. If he truly is our QB, then he’s the QB. To be clear, there’s no reason that Tua shouldn’t be our QB, Brissett is clearly the lesser of the two and Tua gives us the best chance to win. When people say “I already know what QB Tua is/will be”, I scoff at that. Players evolve differently. Specifically, this team’s roster has been in such a state of flux, I don’t know how anything on the offense can be evaluated properly. We have different WR’s lining up each week, and the truth is, our two best WR’s Parker and especially Will Fuller haven’t been 100% and in Fuller’s case haven’t been on the field. Preston Williams has also missed extensive time. It’s been a revolving door, and then add in the constant shuffling of the O-line. Deiter, Mancz, Reiter, there’s a different offensive center every game and sometimes during the game. You know what helps players the most? C-O-N-S-I-S-T-E-N-C-Y. We’ve had none of that. No offense to anyone who said that they know what Tua is, but I couldn’t disagree more after just 14 games over two totally different seasons.
So we get a big win in prime time, and man, that was enjoyable. I say savor it because you never know when the next win is going to come. I know we play the Jets at MetLife next and some people are going to get ahead of themselves, although most of us here won’t fall into that trap, we’re seasoned Dolphins fans and we know better. The Jets also had a shocker when they knocked off the AFC North upstart Cincinnati Bengals 34-31 in Week 8. Who knows which Jets team shows up, the one that beat the Bengals or the one that gave up 54 points and 45 points to the Patriots and Colts respectively?
Our schedule for what it’s worth appears a little easier with games against the Jets, Camolina Panthers and then the NY Football Giants before we hit our BYE week in NFL Week 14. If we can duplicate last night’s effort the next 3 weeks is it possible we go into the BYE 6-7? I wouldn’t bet on it, and I think Brian Flores is really showing a lot of signs of WTF? lately. I expected growth from him and it almost seems like we’re seeing regression instead. This team has developed a pattern of being strong in the first quarter and then falling off a cliff. We’re pretty successful on our first drive but then the offense just disappears after that. That’s coaching, not on the players. That needs to be addressed.
Some interesting stats to digest. In the 1st Quarter, we are #7 in scoring. In the 2nd Quarter, we’re #32. In the 3rd Quarter, we’re #30. In the 4th, we’re #18. If that doesn’t point to coaching, what does? It says when we go by game plan we start out well, but as soon as we have to adjust, we completely deteriorate. I know Flores is young and inexperienced. You can be a great positional coach and teacher but when you’re responsible for running the entire show, well that’s a different story. I think Flores needs at least one very experienced coach to be his right hand man. I know Jim Caldwell was supposed to be that guy, and I think it’s a big loss that never materialized. Game management is a difficult skill to learn. You don’t want to step on the toes of your coordinators and you have to watch everything, managing time outs, challenges, substitutions all while watching the game clock and managing that as well. Having someone who’s done it but doesn’t threaten to take your job would be a welcome addition here. I think Flores has a good foundation, but I’m not 100% convinced he’s capable of running the whole show right now.
It didn’t count, but man was that fun to watch when mammoth RG Robert Hunt intercepted the screen pass intended for Myles Gaskin and rumbled towards the endzone and then made an incredibly athletic twisting leap for the goal line that Barry Sanders would be proud of. It didn’t count because he was an ineligible receiver, he didn’t report as an eligible receiver which is required but it was so crazy and amusing! I’m happy we won but the only thing that can keep me happy is more wins, and lots of ’em. Let’s hope we can be focused and keep the positivity flowing in New Jersey against our division rival NY Jets.