Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
By now, we don’t need to re-hash everything that went wrong in Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills in the third phase of the game – special teams. Instead, it’s better we focus on what the Miami Dolphins did during this past week. Joe Philbin broke that down for us and went into detail on what the team did and how they have looked at the rest of the NFL for guidance and comparison.
“We really just put a focus on fundamentals. I thought Coach (Darren) Rizzi was in the special teams meeting today and he made a point that he and (Coach Marwan) Maalouf had watched, there’s been 15 blocked kicks in the National Football League in two weeks, punts and field goals. And their assessment was 14 of those were just a lack of fundamentals and execution. There was no magical double criss-cross, jump-over schemes where they freed somebody up. It was a lot of things that looked like were in the control of the kicking team. So really the point we’ve been emphasizing is we have good schemes. It didn’t feel like we got out schemed on those particular mishaps, so to speak, but we are clear that we have to execute better.”
The special teams unit is usually made up of the bottom of the roster guys – those who are young and hungry to stick around on a team. These are the players who are on a roster solely because of their ability to play special teams and the Dolphins are trying to emphasize this point even more.
“We make it clear we devote a lot of time. We devote a lot of meeting time. We devote a lot of practice time to special teams. We talk about it as one-third of the game even though snap-wise it is not necessarily one-third of the game. The thing we were disappointed about in Buffalo was that we had talked to them about really impacting field position in a positive light, not what happened Sunday.”
One thing for sure is that if the same players keep on messing up, they won’t be on the roster much longer. I’m sure that both Philbin and Rizzi made that a point to these guys during the week and hopefully, they got the message loud and clear.