The Miami Dolphins offense has been up and down over the course of this season but lately, they have been more down than up. Against the New York Jets, they struggled to get anything going throughout the entire game and this past Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, they stalled after the first quarter.
Why are they struggling so much and why have they been so inconsistent? Ryan Tannehill admits that he doesn’t have the answer to that question.
“I don’t know specifically. I know we haven’t played well in parts of the last two games specifically. You really look at the first half, the first two-and-a-half quarters of New York and the second half of this last week, we just didn’t put together full games in either situation. We have to find a way to do that.”
One possibility that the Dolphins might be able to employ is using the no huddle offense, which they have had much success with in the past. However, Joe Philbin doesn’t sound like he’s jumping at the chance to use it during the game.
“We actually used it a couple of times in the game the other day. It’s a little more challenging. There’s kind of two ways, I think, if you studied us on tape, you’d probably say they shift a lot, they motion a lot, they move, they try to force some adjustments. When you’re doing no huddle, it’s not that it’s impossible to do that, but it’s a little bit different mindset. The combination of the two, sometimes I think right now what we primarily are is we’re a team that’s going to, at times, line up and get going, but other times we’re going to hopefully dictate some adjustments, be it front or coverage and so forth. That’s kind of a philosophical approach that we have right at this moment.”
Philbin said that Tannehill has developed well since the first week of season, calling him more comfortable in the offense and noted that he is now making decisions faster and has been more accurate with his passes.
“There are a lot of things that can happen post-snap and, whether it’s changing a play at the line of scrimmage, changing a protection, changing a route or adjusting to something that happens post-snap. All of those things are a part of the system. I think, as you mentioned, the more reps that you see, now he’s got about 3,000 or so NFL snaps under his belt. I think that experience helps him to see things once the ball is snapped.”
When the offense has been productive on the field, they have failed to convert many of their end zone opportunities into touchdowns. Philbin said that this is mainly due to getting penalties and sacks in those situations.
“Specific to last week, I thought, I think I mentioned, after the first two possessions of the game, we either had a penalty, a sack or negative run in each subsequent possession, and I don’t think we are unlike a lot of offenses. That makes your life a little bit more difficult when you are behind the chains so to speak. I think that’s a big focal point for us this week and, if I think you look back at what we were able to do in the first game, I think we were able to be in some manageable third downs, and I think that is going to be important in this game, without a doubt. You are on the road. They have a good pass defense. They have a good pass rush.”
Tannehill said that he doesn’t know if this year’s offense is better than last year because they don’t have the wins to prove that it is. He noted that they have three more games to win and they are just trying to improve every week to get to where they need to be.
With all that said, anyone who has watched the team this year knows the offense is better than last year. There have been four games this year where the defense had a chance to make a stop when the opponent has been driving down the field in the closing seconds. In three of those four, they couldn’t make the big play when they needed it the most. Had they done so, the Dolphins would be 10-3 with a firm hold on the playoffs. Instead, they are fighting to get in and will have to win on Sunday to keep their season alive.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs