It was sloppy. It was brutal. It was painful to watch. And Miami Dolphins fans had to really dig deep to find anything positive to say about last week’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
But at least the uniforms looked better, right?
How bad was this game? At one point, fans were so frustrated with the play on the field, they started chanting “We want Moore.” And although the obviously ill-prepared TV commentator thought they simply wanted more from their team (which they did), the chants were actually for backup quarterback Matt Moore.
Yep, that’s how far the Dolphins have sunk; five games into the season, and fans are calling for starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s head, and would rather see Moore out there taking a beating.
Because that’s exactly what would happen. With the entire left side of the offensive line out injured, and a piecemeal lineup thrown together the morning of the game, the Dolphins offensive line was a sieve, allowing six sacks and numerous hurries and hits to Tannehill.
But fans need to take their eyes off the ball for a few minutes, and see the whole field. The saying goes that when things are going bad, the most popular player on the team is the backup quarterback. And while Tannehill is certainly not scot free when it comes to placing blame on the Dolphins terrible play, there is a lot of blame to go around. Just ask head coach Adam Gase.
“I know when we have 18 drop-back passes, and he (was) hit or sacked on nine of them,” said Gase. “And then the completions we do have, he's got guys in his face. So I'm supposed to blame him for that?”
“I (have to) look at the whole picture,” he continued. “I'm calling the plays. I know what it's supposed to look like, and it's not looking like that right now as far as what's going on around him. When we start cleaning some things up, and we give him a chance to perform at the level that I think he's going to perform ... if he doesn't do it, that's one thing. But I need to see to where we get a chance in protection.”
Obviously frustrated, Gase didn’t stop there. “(Tannehill) tries to fit (a tight pass) in, and he gets jacked to the point where I thought he was going to get his rotator cuff blown out and his knee blown out. And then everybody gets pissed at him.
“Everybody wants to blame that position. It's the easy thing to do because you can see completion, incompletion, interception. (But) when you hit your back foot and you get sacked, there's not much you can do about it."
And while Tannehill certainly heard the calls for Moore (“Do I like it?” he asks. “No, but it doesn't affect how I play or how I think about myself."), he has Gase’s confidence for the remainder of this year, as the coach has made it abundantly clear that he’s not benching his starting quarterback.
“No. He's not coming out,” Gase emphasized. “You can ask me a hundred times. He's going to be in there the rest of this season.”
And fans need to realize that Gase is correct. In spite of bad play across the board, keeping Ryan Tannehill in at quarterback gives the team their best chances to win each week. And Gase needs time (and a healthy offensive line) to truly evaluate the play of his entire offense before making any decisions to move on from any players. And he cautions fans to have patience.
“I know everybody wants to rush to judgement,” says Gase. “I mean we're five games in. I know this: We're going to go back to work on Wednesday and then we're going to figure out a way to get better."
As for Tannehill, he is taking any criticism in stride and moving on.
“I know Coach has confidence in me,” says Tannehill. “I have confidence in myself, and I think the guys on offense have confidence in me. We're going to go out and play. I'm going to go out and play. I'm going to push myself in practice, do anything I can to get better and I expect to play better.
“I love being on this team. I love the guys in the huddle with me, and I'm going to do everything I can to go out and play the way they expect me to play.”
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball.
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