If you attended any of the Dolphins home games last season they would have the commercial on the big screen with that theme along with a message to drink responsibly. Now me being a non-drinker it was easy to comply with the one thing I controlled. The other issue was squarely on the Dolphins.
One thing separates the top teams in the NFL more than any is their home record followed closely by their division record. That is what will make the difference between our consistent mediocre .500 or below seasons these past few years and a playoff berth. In fact losing home games late in the season cost this team that exact thing a playoff berth. In 2013 they needed to only beat the Bills on the road or the Jets at home and they would have made the playoffs, both division games were lost and Miami was put out of the playoffs.Last year the Dolphins lost two home games in December as well as 4 of their last 6 games.
So the one thing I will pay attention to is how the Dolphins protect their house. If they are to take that next step up than we should have to look no further than their home record, followed closely by their division record.
Miami under Joe Philbin have a 7-11 division record 13-11 home record thus you have mediocrity and until they can turn these two issues around they will always fall short of their goal of making the playoffs. So ask yourself can Miami finally get a winning division and home record.
• 2014 division 3-3/ home 4-4
• 2013 division 2-4/ home 4-4
• 2012 division 2-4/ home 5-3
If history is any telling factor Miami will once again falter in one if not both of these areas as I am not sure they have established the culture under Joe Philbin to not accept losing at home and at least being above .500 in our division.
A look at our division and the off-season moves made I feel every team has improved and the Patriots who did win the SB last year will continue to be the dominating force within the division that every other team in the AFC must strive to overcome.
We will see real soon if they have matured to the next level and look no further than the two major factors that can make or break the season our Home record and how we fair against our division. It will not be easy but it can be done.
Like I said in my previous article it was just our first preseason game so no need to panic right, or is it? A closer look should give us some reason to be concerned. The typical response we all give is that we feel that the first team played well on both sides and indeed they did as our offense marched down the field and scored a TD and our defense pitched a shutout and produced a three and out on the first drive the Bears offense played.
The concern comes when you look at the performance of the rest of the players the backups. They played so badly that if it were my decision as implausible as it might be I would replace them all. I did not see anything from anybody that gave me confidence that should one of our starters go down we have adequate backups to step in and deliver.
Miami’s starters left the game with a 10-3 lead and basically did a very good job of handling the Bears starters. Our Offense drove down the field on the first drive and scored a TD and took a seat. Miami 7 Bears 0. The Defense produced a 3 and out on the Bears first possession and things looked very good for Miami.
The next offensive possession Matt Moore took over and quite frankly stunk it up from that point on. His first possession stalled and they punted the ball away. Miami’s starting Defense remained on the field up until the 1:23 mark of the first quarter when they were replace by the 2nd team unit and immediately the Bears ran 15 yards up the middle and they were able to move the ball from that point on that drive lead to a field goal 7-3 Miami. Matt Moore takes over again and goes 3 and out after a stop of the Bears by the Defense Matt Moore once again does nothing to support the claims by some he is a top backup QB in the NFL as the proceeding drive stalls and they are forced to punt again. After a brief drive by the Bears they punt again and the 3rd string QB Bethel-Thompson takes over and the QB play goes from bad to worse as he and Josh Freeman produce QBR 21.9!
There is a lot of work to do with this team even the special teams coverage and return units looked suspect I know it’s just the first preseason game but considering the way this team has disappointed over the years despite IMHO having more than enough talent to make the playoffs I do have some concerns as the same old excuses by both the Media and us fans are used when they dismiss the loss by clinging on to the fact that the starting units played well. I say we cannot overlook how poorly the 2nd and third team units performed.
Hopefully we will see a better outing in the 2nd preseason game coming up next Saturday at Carolina.
I know it’s just preseason so you don’t want to get to high or too low on much of what you see but as a fan you can’t help but be both encouraged and very concerned about our first preseason game of the season.
The Chicago Bears hosted our Miami Dolphins in the first preseason game of the 2015 season and just like most of you I was excited to see what the Dolphins would do and early on in the game with both first team units I was not disappointed, I must say they looked very good.
Ryan Tannehill took the opening drive 14 plays, 85 yards and even going for it on 4th down to get the TD and the night was over for the first team offense. No big concerns with the starting offensive line unit (minus a couple holding calls) the blocking was good (both pass and run). Lamar Miller looked good had a very nice 27 yard dash and Ryan Tannehill was almost flawless in his 6 out of 7 for 56 yards and zero int’s , Jarvis Landry had a TD reception. You could not ask for anything better than maybe not having to go for it on 4th down to get the TD.
Bill Lazor’s offense is so pleasant to watch he is an excellent play caller as he gets balance and keep defenses guessing. He is by far one of my favorite coaches on the team.
On defense what needs to be said more than the very first play when they lined up against the Bears offense as one of the interior linemen jumped off-sides knowing BIG SUH was growling on the other side. Cameron Wake had a sack called back due to a penalty, Rashad Jones and Jelani Jenkins were all over the place as a unit they looked great. They were also dominant as they stuffed the run and forced a three and out.
That was the good news and if it were not for the fact the backups were so terrible this would have made for a very good outing but the 2nd and 3rd teams were horrific. Matt Moore looked awful as did McLeod Bethel-Thompson (0 TD’s 3 INT’s) and considering he went against most likely the Bears 3rd string players Josh Freeman was not impressive either (0 TD’s 1 INT), even though he has less time in this system than any of the other QB’s and he did have a sure TD dropped by one of the fringe players.
So as excited as I was to see how well our first team units played it was equally and even more disappointing to suffer through the performance of the rest of the players as depth should be a major concern as to much youth and inexperience and just plain poor play gives reason for concern. It was night and day the very second the backups stepped on the field.
Oh and one last note we had a couple of injuries one potentially serious as Jordan Tripp walked off the field in a protective boot. Something nobody wants in the preseason.
For those of you concerned about the score Chicago 27 Miami 10
What did you like and dislike about our first preseason game?
It’s no secret that one major weakness on this 2015 Dolphins team involves a position that ever sense they gave Richie Incognito his walking papers has been unstable, the Guard position. There is one Veteran player on the market that is a clearly obvious solution to our problem and I for one am mystified as to why he is not in camp. They say it is about money as Evan Mathis is (according to reports) requesting 5 million dollars. Now I understand the financial dilemma but the first question I would ask is why wasn’t the offensive line issues better addressed this off-season? Was it some secret that we had issues at the guard positions? Why sign Ryan Tannehill to a big deal and not assure you have protected that investment?
Now that Evan Mathis has become available I feel Miami MUST find a way to bring this guy in NOW! I have zero confidence in Dallas Thomas and the host of other players on the roster competing for the Guard positions yes positions as both the right and left guard spots are up for competition. Now there are reports that Dallas Thomas is injured….This season is extremely important as the owner now well invested in money (over 2 billion shelled out since acquiring this team) and patience seems to be sending signals that another .500 season will not be tolerated.
In hindsight will this be the Achilles Heel that derails our 2015 season? If so the consequences will be rippling and the troubling thing about it is this was a concern from last season and I do not understand how our team does not get it or how they allowed this to continue to linger on to now.
Ask any diehard fan what concerns them about our team and I am sure just about 100% of the answers will involve our offensive line specifically at the guard position. The Dolphins have been extremely fortunate that Ryan Tannehill has been able to get up from taking the most sacks in the NFL his past 3 seasons but how long is it before their luck runs out?
The Dolphins need to make a deal happen now! Bring in Evan Mathis sign him and let him raise the competition at the guard spot. This team is headed for trouble if they go with the status quo I would feel much more comfortable if we just do whatever necessary to fix this issue with our line is there a potential trade to be made we have a lot of depth at the DT position with some young players who have potential. Will we wait for training camp cuts to take place? Or are they much more confident in the current players on the roster who seem to still have issues dealing with our defensive line?
Is it possible that Miami’s defensive line will be that good that no matter whom they line up against they will be unstoppable? If so, that is great news but that also provides them with a wonderful opportunity to assemble an offensive line capable of competing against our defense and assuring that if we produce a line good enough to hold their own against our D-Line than we will be set going against just about any D-Line in the league and make no mistake about it within our own division are some top 10 defensive fronts with Buffalo and the Jets.
It’s time to avoid a disaster and bring in help to sure up the offensive guard spots on this team.
Are you happy with the offensive line?
TDS NFL Fantasy Football will resume the draft is scheduled for August 29th 2015 at 9 PM EST (subject to change) if you are no longer playing this year please let me know ASAP!
With the 2015 NFL season fast approaching I want to extend an invitation to anyone who would like to join our FF league, it’s free and makes for a very fun season even if your real team disappoints you the fantasy team can be the joy of your season and you would have no one to blame but yourself if your FF team is a bust!
Come join us and have some fun. (http://fantasy.nfl.com/league/980041)
If you need help or have questions just post here or e-mail me and I will get back with you. Once again it is easy to sign up, the draft is fun but even if you cannot make the live draft the computer will draft for you and it tends to do very good job in selecting for you. ? It really is not that time-consuming if you are able to invest 10 minutes a week or less you can set your roster and be done. If you were a member in the past we would love to welcome you back if you are on the fence please get off and join us this year.
The Dolphins have fortified the defensive unit by adding the top FA on the market this past off- season Ndamukong Suh. He came at a hefty price and he is considered a top 3 defensive player if not the 2nd best after J.J Watt.
Suh has a reputation of being a nasty player and the last reputed nasty play we had on the team was the center of controversy in the bully-gate scandal. So there comes a certain risk in acquiring Ndamukong Suh but any person in their right mind would see that the potential reward far outweigh the risk. (For now)
Miami’s defensive front line has the potential to be 2nd to none with the talent we have but looking within our own division both Buffalo and the Jets defense also seem to be formidable and this division might house 3 of the top defense in the league. Time will tell…
Make no mistake about it this Dolphins Defense is loaded with talent just look at the projected starters:
Ndamukong Suh DT
Earl Mitchell DT
Cameron Wake DE
Olivier Vernon DE
Koa Misi LB
Jelani Jenkins LB
Chris McCain LB
Brent Grimes CB
Jamar Taylor CB
Reshad Jones S
Louis Delmas S
Add to this the fact that Miami possess some talented players on the depth chart that can come in a spell some of the starters and even potentially step in and replace one should they suffer an injury.
Just as the case with my concerns with our head coach I am equally mystified why our DC Kevin Coyle still has a job for he has proven to be a huge disappointment in my eyes.
I find it so inexcusable the way our defense has regressed under Coyle and after what appeared to be a very solid early season last year to see them collapse down the stretch again last year just as the season before when I feel our defense let us down more than the offense in the losses to Buffalo and the Jets in 2013.
Word has it Joe Philbin has told Coyle to simplify what is deemed a complicated defense so the players can do less thinking and more reacting, but I am not sure that in itself is the problem when it seems to me players are being played out of position (Dion Jordan, Koa Misi to name a few) I once again put the blame where it squarely belong on the coaching.
Had we had better coaching Miami would have made it to the playoffs these past two seasons but they have just played .500 ball these past two 8-8 seasons. It is time for the coaching to step up and in particular the defensive side of the ball because the talent has always been there and it’s been fortified with one of the biggest free agent signings on defense both in the man signed and the amount of money shelled out.
Nothing less than top 5 is acceptable and that is being generous!
Where do you think Miami’s Defense will rank?
I knew it was just a matter of time that Ryan Tannehill would get a huge contract. (Just under 100 million The New Overpricing of NFL QB’s and Pro Athletes) I was hoping that maybe just maybe Miami would make him wait one more season as he has played very well but just as I blame the head coach for Miami’s sub .500 record the person who also bears some culpability is the player who gets way to much credit but not enough blame our QB.
There are areas that still need improvement in his game like pocket awareness, deep ball accuracy and being a leader who can get his offense to respond and play well. The way all the veteran receivers parted like the red sea this off season says the relationship between Tannehill and his WR’s was not where it should be and no matter who you blame some of it has to fall on Ryan Tannehill.
In all fairness we first have to agree that Ryan Tannehill has shown steady improvement over his 3 years starting and considering the wasted Mike Sherman OC years (Good HC, Bad OC) can you imagine how much further he would be had he had Bill Lazor his entire NFL career as his OC?
Ryan has shown durability when you consider the number of sacks this kid has taken over his short NFL career much of it the fault of the OL but far too often his pocket awareness can be blamed as well. Ryan has excellent poise and as he is now entrusted with a complete overhaul at the WR position (for the most part) we will see if the new group can get on the same page with Ryan. I do like the height of the new young draft pick DeVante Parker 6’-3” as well as our FA TE pickup Cameron Jordan 6’-5” both of whom will mask some accuracy issues with Tannehill.
Miami’s Defense on paper is poised to be a top Defense in the league and with Ryan going into year two of Bill Lazor’s system coupled with the Dolphins making a big-time investment in our young starting QB I expect big things from Tannehill this season. If this team can play up to what they appear to be, there is no excuse for them to not go to the next level (playoffs). A big factor in that being the case rest on Ryan Tannehill’s shoulders. Will he reward the management and deliver or will he once again be part of the problem and not the solution?
As you might be aware I have endorsed Tannehill since day one when he was drafted and now this year is the year I expect him to take his game to the next level where he makes the players around him better no one to blame anymore but himself if he fails to take it to the level worthy of his new signed contract. Its time he earns his contract and prove he is worthy of it!
What do you think: Is Ryan Tannehill ready and deserving of his contract?