Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
There seems to be some kind of disconnect and discontent coming out of Miami with the Miami Dolphins offense. Whether it's the fact that the coaching staff refused to publicly name Ryan Tannehill the starting quarterback earlier in the season, Mike Wallace sounding off about the offensive struggles, Brian Hartline declining to give full answers when asked about his role in the offense, or anonymous sources going to the NFL Network to complain, there seems to be something new every week.
Following Thursday night's game, Mike Wallace was opinionated and vocal about the fact that the Dolphins need to score more touchdowns if they want to compete with the best teams in the NFL. Philbin said he wasn't angry at the comments but instead, said there's a lot of truth to it and knows the offense has to get better.
“Nobody wants to be on an offensive unit I think and come in at halftime and have three points on the board. Certainly, there’s something to it. My sense and what I told the team at halftime is I thought the plays were there. The feeling that I got was that there was confidence in the offensive unit that we could move the football, that we could make some plays against a very good defense. It’s an emotional game. Everybody invests an awful lot into it. I certainly want the players to expect to score all of the time, definitely want that. We know it’s hard to do, but there were opportunities that we probably could have done better yesterday.”
With all that said, Joe Philbin and Bill Lazor aren't backing down from their philosophy and will continue to do what they think is best for the team. When asked about increasing Hartline's targets as the team moves forward, Philbin said they don't look at individual performances and whether or not they are getting the ball enough.
“The big thing is, if we were scoring enough points offensively to win games and move the ball, that’s obviously the number one objective. We want to utilize our personnel the best way we can and we are looking for guys to contribute. The more guys that contribute, the better balance that I think you have. Really, that’s the number one thing. It’s not necessarily one specific player. We want to utilize everybody on the field, but we have a progression-based system that is kind of the forefront of how we teach the passing game.”
The lack of targets for Hartline and others on the offense may have led to some players reporting to the NFL Network anonymously, in which they said that Lazor is demeaning to several starters and it was starting to wear thin on them. In addition, they said the offense has no identity and needs to do a better job. Philbin refuted much of that report and said the coaches and players work hard to create an atmosphere in which everyone can communicate openly and out of the media.
“I think Bill’s doing an excellent job, number one. When I talk to the coaching staff numerous times during the course of the year, I always tell them I want us to be demanding, but never demeaning to the players. The foundation of a successful football team is really the relationship between the players and the coaches, and the mutual trust, the respect. Certainly, we want to do a great job communicating. I think Bill’s doing an outstanding job. The way he communicates with the players and, if there’s issues, we want communicate, we’ve got an open door policy and continue to work on that.”
We'll see if the offense improves on their red zone touchdown opportunities when they come back next Sunday against the Denver Broncos. If they can't, they may find themselves on the losing end of a lot of games against the more high-powered offenses in the league.