Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManicas
The Miami Dolphins special teams unit is considered one of the best in the NFL. They have one of the best long-snappers and arguably the best punter throughout the league. They also have a second-year kicker with a strong leg who has shown some promise in the past year. However, on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, the unit had a complete meltdown with a blocked punt, a muffed punt return and they allowed a kickoff return after the offense had scored a touchdown.
Joe Philbin talked about the various ways the team can improve and said that the coaching staff would stay on top of them in practice throughout the week but ultimately, the players need to step up and take responsibility for their assignments and production.
“We had plenty of time to practice and prepare. The looks and the schemes that we saw, we were ready for. I think we have to execute better. We’ve got to do a better job. We’ve got to do a better job. Our guys have to execute the fundamentals better, the scheme better, we’ve got to coach them better,” Philbin said. “We’ve got to do everything better. We had opportunities, we knew what they were going to do. We had practice and so you’ve got to go out and perform. This is the National Football League, you’ve got to go out and perform.”
When it was time for final cuts, the team released punt and kick returner Marcus Thigpen and put Jarvis Landry in his place. After he fumbled the punt on Sunday, Philbin was asked whether or not he would remain the returner or if he would be replaced with someone else.
“He’s going to be our punt returner. He’s going to be our returner, yeah.”
It seems that the Dolphins always have at least one game each season where their special teams unit breaks down. Sunday was that day and it will be up to coordinator Darren Rizzi to get these problems fixed in time for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.