Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
With the exception of the game against the Oakland Raiders in London, the Miami Dolphins haven’t been able to put together a full game and instead, have been starting off in the first half really slow before turning it up a notch in the second half and working to come back from behind. Count Ryan Tannehill as one of the many players, coaches and fans who are frustrated.
“It’s tough to win games when you get off to slow starts, especially when you are playing good teams. You can’t expect to get off to a slow start and be able to rebound and win in the second half. When your defense plays well, it keeps you in the game like they did this last game. They played great in the first half, kept us in the game when the offense was doing a terrible job of moving the football. We were able to kind of bounce back during the second half, but it goes down to the end. We are one play away. That one play could have been made in the first quarter to change the whole game. So we have to be able to get off to a faster start and make plays from the beginning of the game and carry it out throughout the game.”
Mike Pouncey weighed in and hinted that it may have to do with the way that practices are being run and the players not being fully prepared leading up to the game.
“We’ve got to do it in practice. It’s all about preparation. When our team comes out in the second half, we’re on fire. That’s something we’ve got to do in the first half. So whenever we do that, you’ve seen what happens. We did it against the Patriots and the Oakland Raiders. Once we jump out on teams, it’s going to be hard for them to come back.”
Joe Philbin has been working with his coaches to get a solid routine going but also pointed out that the Dolphins are fifth in the league when it comes to scoring on the first drive of the game.
“We have a routine that we think works in terms of getting the team ready to play. Offensively, again, I could be mistaken, but I think we’ve scored three times on our opening possession out of five in the game. We had one touchdown I believe and a couple of field goals. Certainly, we’d love to score every single time. Defensively, last week, we played very well in the first half, but we didn’t play well in the opening drive. It’s something we look at. We practiced it a couple of times where we’ll simulate, ‘Hey, this is an opening drive of the game, bang.’ Try to simulate that in practice from an emphasis standpoint and situational standpoint. When you go back and look at it, as we have, it’s really execution and we have to do a better job, and coaching-wise, I have to do a better job getting ready and getting them in the right situation and producing.”
It seems this week though that the Dolphins have had their best practices in weeks and Philbin is hopeful that this carries over to the playing field on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
“Like I said yesterday, yesterday was excellent. I thought today was a very good practice. We’ve got to watch the tape again and I feel very good about the guys. Guys have been in there working. Weight room workouts have been excellent. Meetings have been good. I went to the special teams meeting today. I was in the offensive meeting today. Guys are engaged and so far the preparation has been good.”