Written by Matthew Cannata at 2:00 PM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
You’ve heard it ever since you became a fan of an NFL team and you’ll hear it for the rest of your life. Every coach, no matter who it is, will always stress protecting the ball on offense and creating turnovers on defense. That’s why it’s no different here with Joe Philbin and the Miami Dolphins and it will continue to be that way forever.
On the offensive side of the ball this year, the offense hasn’t turned the ball over that much. In fact, they’ve thrown six interceptions and have lost four fumbles through eight games. They’ll look to continue to limit turnovers as they move forward the remainder of the season.
“I guess I think of the close calls. I think it’s been a big difference in guys holding onto the football. The thing you don’t want to do is paralyze your players,” Bill Lazor said. “You don’t want them running with two hands on the ball making sure that they don’t give the ball up and not thinking about making big plays. As coaches, we have to make sure they know the right way to do it, and we emphasize it in practice every day but at the same time not take away from their aggressiveness with the ball in their hand because I think that’s made another big difference for us, and there is a balance there between the two.”
“Certainly, in the passing game, it starts with protection. When the quarterback is getting hit a lot, before he throws it or after he throws it, you are going to have turnovers. When he is clean like he was for a good portion of the day yesterday, then that’s going to help. Then it comes down to the quarterback’s decision-making. Again, we don’t want to take his aggressiveness away. You’ve got to take shots if you are going to have big plays, and as you all know we’ve stood in here a lot of Mondays and talked about needing more big plays. There’s just a balance between taking shots down the field, giving you guys a chance to make a play, but don’t make them stupid shots. That’s the balance.”
On the defensive side of the ball, they have forced nine interceptions and have recovered nine fumbles. The vast majority of these turnovers have come in recent weeks as they struggled to get much going the first few weeks of the season. Kevin Coyle said it’s been a point of emphasis ever since training camp began months ago.
“It’s been a point of emphasis since the day we got here. Now we’re just starting to see it. Generally, you hear people talk about it, that they tend to come in bunches and, once you get them, there is an expectation level and a confidence level, it’s not, ‘Oh, we need to get one.’ It’s like, ‘When are we going to get the next one?’ That’s the feeling you have on the sideline right now. You’re not pressing to get a turnover, you’re just expecting good plays to happen and when that happens it does. That was a real positive yesterday.”
The Dolphins are ranked third in the NFL in turnover ratio with +8. New England is first with +12 and Arizona is second with +10. The Detroit Lions, the Dolphins’ opponent on Sunday, has a turnover ratio of +2. We’ll see if that comes into play in just a few days and whether or not the Dolphins can capitalize on those types of opportunities.