Written by Matthew Cannata at 9:00 PM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
One of the biggest knocks on the Miami Dolphins in the first half of the season was that they were an inconsistent team. It was reality though. The Dolphins would go out and dominate one week but fail to do practically anything the next. They would have a bad first half one week and an excellent second half in that same game. Now, the Dolphins have been getting more consistent and Joe Philbin explained why and how that’s happened.
“I told the staff the thing that is important is where you start to become a good team on paper statistically, but more importantly I think, when you watch the film, we are doing some more things better. It’s nice to be ranked here and ranked there, and I’m not saying those things don’t have meaning. They certainly do, but I think the flipside and the better side is, when you throw the tape and you watch guys play with good fundamentals, technique and really the effort. I thought our play-speed yesterday was really good and I thought that was a big difference in the game.”
A few players have contributed to the Dolphins becoming a more consistent team. One is Jarvis Landry, who cracked his way into the starting lineup a few weeks ago and hasn’t looked back. Landry has made a true impact in the offense the past three weeks and Bill Lazor is excited about his potential.
“We’re excited to have him. I think it helps energize the whole group, that’s probably why he’s the kind of return specialist that he is. We would like to think that offensively that we’re going to try to do our best to call passes where guys are catching the ball on the run more than they’re catching, for example, hooks and stops. We want to be accurate with the throw so that they have a chance to catch it and go with it. We try to do that with everyone. But I think you’ve got to put a lot on Jarvis and the way he runs with the ball.”
On Sunday, ten different players caught passes from Ryan Tannehill and again, this has been a recent trend over the past few weeks with so many players getting the ball. Is this by design or does this just happen throughout the course of the game?
“I’m happy so many different players are involved,” Lazor said. “If they dress, then we want them to help. Sometimes a guy dresses and maybe he isn’t your go to star player catching the football, but he might get a couple of grunt-type jobs to go in there and block. To me, if he gets a ball in the game it’s a huge boost to your ability to coach the offense. ‘Hey, look at this guy. He’s going in there blocking. He’s doing some things, and his reward is he gets the football.’ I think it helps your team atmosphere, your team attitude. We’ve had a number of plays now, I know in the Chicago game Mike (Wallace) talked about how he wasn’t the first option. We had another play yesterday where we kind of called it for a certain guy to have a shot. The ball goes to someone else, touchdown. I think any time that happens it just reinforces the fact everyone is up every play. You never know where the ball is going. You do your job, everybody has a shot.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Cortland Finnegan has been great throughout the course of the season and Philbin explained what has led to his turnaround from previous years.
“I think he’s very comfortable in the defense. I think he likes being a Miami Dolphin. I think you have to give Lou (Anarumo), Jeff Burris and Blue Adams a lot of credit for teaching them, catching them up with the scheme and everything. I think it fits his talent well and he seems to be comfortable here.”
The Dolphins of course will need more players to step up as the season moves forward but they’ve gotten off to a good start thus far with their improved team chemistry and consistency.