The Miami Dolphins made a leap into a new era by officially announcing the hire of its new head coach Brian Flores. Coach Flores flew in overnight after guiding a dominant Patriots defense to a Super Bowl win. Fin fans everywhere are hoping he can bring the same winning culture to South Florida and turn the fortunes of the Miami Dolphins around. Welcome to Miami Coach Flores!
I am a tired old Dolphins fan. And these past 20 plus years has taken its toll on me. And so forgive me if the articles have been few and far apart. But I have shaken off the funk and am jumping back into the flow.
So…Gase is gone. And the presumptive new coach is Brian Flores. Who brings no head coaching or even coordinator experience. Well he sort of does, he was the “signal caller” this past year for the New England defense. Isn’t being the defensive coach for Belicheck a little like being the quarterback coach for Peyton Manning? Wait…that sounds familiar. Hmmm. Let’s not go down that path. Let’s rewind and look at the positive,
This team has reached the right conclusion by determining that the most recent talent acquisition and coaching team had run its course and the formula was no longer working and had actually turned toxic. I’m not making a commentary on Adam Gase’s ability to be a good head coach in this league,it was just clear that the time for him to go had come. He lost the locker room and he was losing on the field. Which often go together. Mike Tannenbaum was “reassigned” which is a graceful way to say he was fired. Chris Grier was then promoted and given the keys to the entire football operation. Chris Grier who was in charge of the teams draft and scouting department for many years and has been involved with all of the bad drafts is now the big man on campus. What we don’t know is that of the many bad drafts and trades that have plagued this team, how many were his call. Or, is it possible , that he was overridden in selections by Tannenbaum, and the players he targeted and coveted have played well for other teams. What we can only assume is that there are people within the organization such as Dan Marino, etc. who have been involved deeply and first hand have seen what Grier can do and has endorsed his football and talent acumen. So now Grier has the last word. We can hope this is a positive move, because the thing that is certain is that until this team can find better talent it won’t matter what else you do.
In additional moves, the team is expected to hire Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator and Asst. Head Coach. This makes sense because it brings some administrative over site in from someone who has actually run a professional football team. This should help the inexperienced Flores navigate the operations and dynamics of life in Davie. As far as being a good offensive coordinator, that is a mixed review. He was able to help the Ravens win their Super Bowl as well as the Colts. So he knows a winning offense. I am just not sure how relevant that experience is in today’s game.
So what does this all mean? Absolutely nothing. Dolphins fans here is the cold reality. This team will be worse this year, and bad the next year. There will be a huge influx of talent and they will either get it right or blow it. During this transition Grier and Flores will get the chance to prove they can get it done. If Stephen Ross is true to his word he will not tolerate their failure for an extended period then we could go through this all again. Or maybe they get it right. And maybe the ongoing misery ends. We just don’t know anymore do we?
Phinzone’s very own Joe Curry and Dale-Paul Jordan give their take on this past Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers. The season is not going as well as Fin fans would like, and Joe and Dale give their perspective on all things Miami Dolphins throughout the year.
Miami had a back up LT, a back up RT, a 3rd string LG, and a 3rd string C snapping to a back up QB, with WR’s having some injury problems on their own. Recipe for disaster? Yeah, you guessed it.
Miami had a big TO on our first drive, and FOUR FG’s with no TD’s. Brock was sacked 6 times but, had time, before the 4th quarter to make some plays. He is a back up, although a good one, who is not athletic and cannot throw deep. Many open receivers had no shot on his passes, and he does jump the gun to run right under pressure. Our ”Replacements” on the OL did give Gore a chance to run well while the game was in doubt but could not maintain.
The play calling of Gase was all he could do with what he had to work with. There is only so much one can do with back ups at 7 positions on O. Anyone thinking otherwise are wrong.
There is not much to analyze on O from this game, other than second tier players cannot play with 1st tier players. I look forward to our team on O getting somewhat healthy and being a NFL worthy O after the bye.
What can you say about this defense; Aaron Jones, another running back that had a career day against the Dolphins D. The run defense still has not been solved, and opposing teams understand that by running a single back isolation right through the A and B gaps. Matt Burke has not tried anything new to address this concern and that is the biggest problem. Bringing in two street free agents who have not made a difference.
The Linebackers, Kiko and Raekwon played okay this evening, but the way Burke has created this defense, they are built for speed and not tackling. Both were spread wide, when Jones ran for 94 yards, that wasn't on them, but how Burke called the formation. Kiko, Raekwon and Jerome Baker kept Jimmy Graham in check all night, but had issues containing the Packers running back in wheel and split outs. Although the gains were minimized, all linebackers need to improve in how to attack these routes.
The secondary actually played the best, and were tested based on how the Packers got the ball. Reshad Jones was benched in the 1st quarter based on his actions last week, which made sense, so once again the Dolphins swiss army knife; Minak Fitpatrick was asked to play 3 position this game. Xavien Howard played well against Devanta Adams, even though Adams scored two touchdowns. Howard is the best player on the Dolphins Defense and whom ever is leading the Dolphins this upcoming offseason, needs to reward his play.
In the back-end, no safeties made any difference against the Packers. TJ was once again caught taking poor tackling angles to the ball, Reshad Jones didn't make any difference on the field and to be honest, I don't think Minkah name or number was called once by the announcers. Burke needs to start thinking outside the box, as his line ups or better yet his formations are vanilla. There is zero creativity in his play calling using any of his safeties. The frustrating aspect is that Burke thinks that each week his players will make a difference using the same play calls and formation. It's frustrating as a fan, to see that opposing coordinators know this and attack Burke defense, but there are no adjustments or changes. That's why 80% of teams playing the Dolphins have been able to score points on their opening drive.
The only player that should receive a game ball is Robert Quinn. He played amazingly tonight. One of the few players that actually showed up. Before the game got out of hand, Quinn was attacking the line of scrimmage, which led to his 2 sacks. The Dolphins invested so heavily in their Dline and they are not worth that type of money. Cameron Wake and Andre Branch won't be on this team next year and we have no idea who Charles Harris (the Dolphins first overall pick last year). The frustrating point is that once again, Burke loves his Texas Stunt (C and and B rotations) which have led to opposing running back running through the line of scrimmage with no issues.
To me, the Dolphins have exciting young potential. Minkah, Baker, Raekwon and " X" are pillars you can build a defense around, but I don't believe that Matt Burke is the person that should lead them. He's in over his head and his lack of adjustments show's that he's not ready to lead this young team.
Do you agree with Joe and Dale? Have your own thoughts? Post them here!
The Miami Dolphins have partnered with the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) on RISE to Vote and will hold a registration station at the Dolphins’ September 23rd home game against the Oakland Raiders. RISE to Vote is a nonpartisan effort to register athletes and their fans to vote. Stop by the North Plaza at Hard Rock Stadium and register to vote, take a photo to share, and help yourself and others become informed and engaged citizens.
Founded in 2015 by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. Led by an unprecedented alliance of professional sports leagues, organizations, athletes, educators, media networks and sports professionals, we use sports to promote understanding, respect and equality.
Leadership programming for student-athletes, coaches and administrators at every level to equip them with the knowledge and skills to stand up against racism and advance the conversation around race relations.
Opportunities for athletes to amplify their voice and make a difference as effective advocates to stand up against racism and promote social change.
Events for fans in conjunction with college and pro sports games and public awareness campaigns encouraging the public to join with professional athletes and community leaders in taking a pledge to stand against racism.
MIAMI IS 2-0 Baby!
FINS DEFENSE TAKES DOWN SAM DARNOLD
The Miami Dolphins should win these games, right? Difference is this year they ARE winning these games. The Dolphins went into a crazed Meadowland that was intoxicated with it’s new star rookie QB and abruptly cancelled the party. After the Jets blew out the Lions in their season opener there was great hype surrounding the 2018 version of the New York Jets. Would the highly drafter Sam Darnold be the QB savior they have been waiting for? The answer is, maybe. Look in all fairness to Darnold, he played pretty solid considering he was under pressure and was seeing a lot of zone coverages that, as a rookie, he isn’t use to seeing. This was a learning game for him. Give Matt Burke and the defensive line credit. Because they were able to pressure Darnold early on with a four man rush, it allowed the rest of the defense to disguise various coverage packages and flat out confuse the young QB. The result was three sacks and two interceptions on the day. There is a future for Sam Darnold and it looks good. But the rest of the team will have to get better around him and this first round belongs to Miami.
On the offensive side of the ball for the Miami Dolphins, the story was mixed. Ryan Tannehill at times did not look like a seven year veteran as he held the ball WAY too long and took sacks, and on one play he literally just dropped the ball for a fumble and the Jets recovered. He also struggled with his accuracy and missed wide open receivers. None more cringeworthy than when he overthrew a wide open Albert Wilson streaking down the sideline with what could have easily been a big play dagger in the Jets hearts. Now Ryan Tannehill did do some good things. Most notably the big plays he made with his legs. At key moments Ryan was smart to hold on to the ball on the RPO and then use his athleticism to turn in big plays. The running game was also sporadic. At times Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore were able to find a crease and get six to ten yards, but many times there was just nowhere to go. The loss of Pro Bowl Guard Josh Sitton was apparent as the holes that were there in week one were not in week two.
So what do we as fans take from this game? Hey, we are 2-0 baby. You can only play your schedule and the Dolphins have won their first two games. The next three games do get harder as they face the Raiders at Hard Rock and then that is followed by the Patriots on the road, and the Bengals on the road. Really tough games. But there are some good things happening that we didn’t see last year. We are winning our winnable games. The team also cleaned up its penalty issues this week and very importantly they showed the ability to close the game out by grinding out the clock on a long drive at the end of the game to seal the victory. Now that is different, and that is movement in the right direction.
The injury bug finally has bitten the Miami Dolphins. Starting Left Guard Josh Sitton was lost for the season with a torn rotator cuff. Sitton inured the shoulder in the Tennessee Titans game and now it will be the only game he will play for the Miami Dolphins in 2018. He will be replaced by Ted Larsen who started the last 8 games for Miami in 2017 when Kenyan Drake led the league in rushing. But still the loss of Sitton is a huge setback as he was considered the best run blocker on a unit that was vastly improved over last season.
The Miami Dolphins overcame a most bizarre start to the 2018 season to defeat the Tennessee Titans at home 27-20. Perhaps this is how it is now for the Dolphins. Maybe every year needs some form of chaos. There was the Hurricane last year and the inexplicable behavior of Lawrence Timmons. We had the cocaine sniffing offensive lineman and the whole bully gate thing. So it seems it is only fitting that we start with two lengthy lightning delays this year. Those two delays stretched the game into a seven hour affair which, in the end, the Miami Dolphins found some big plays and just enough defense to win. So that is what really matters right? But just weird and frustrating for fans who have been waiting the whole offseason for some NFL action.
When they did finally get down to playing the game Miami rode a balanced attack of run and pass to two offensive touchdowns and then got a real boost on a 101 yard kickoff return by Jakeem Grant. Ryan Tannehill for the most part looked solid in his return and connected on a beautifully thrown 75 yard TD bomb to Kenny Stills. However, he did also throw two interceptions, both which were confusingly off the mark. The game had a mixed bag of ups and downs. The much anticipated pass rush from the Dolphins never was a factor which was disappointing, however the big concern about the run defense didn't show up either as the Dolphins front seven kept the highly regarded Titans run game in check. It was just that kind of day and game. The player of the game? Easily Reshad Jones. His two interceptions were game changers. They came when the Dolphins needed them and the last one was not only a tremendously athletic catch, but his return put the Dolphins in position to kick the field goal to put them up two scores and seal the game.
In the end there were many things to feel good about, and many things to still show concern. But despite the ups and downs, the bizarre weather twists, and turnovers, the Miami Dolphins found a way to win. And that my friends, is a good start.
TALK ABOUT THE GAME IN THE
OFFENSIVE GURU? QUARTERBACK WHISPERER? MAYBE NOT
The book on Adam Gase when he was hired was that he was a highly coveted young offensive guru. He had been the man working with Peyton Manning in Denver, and under his guidance Jay Cutler had his best season as a Chicago Bear quarterback. The reputation was supported by other coaches and NFL front offices who know way more about football than I do. Right? But as the team moves into year three of the Adam Gase era there is a growing unrest in Dolphin Nation that perhaps the Quarterback Whisperer may be a false profit. The Miami Dolphins offense, particularly the play calling, has been vanilla and ineffective. In fact, if you take out Jay Ajayi's monster season in 2016 it leaves you wondering if this offense is any better at all. What is happening on the field simply does not match up with what fans were lead to believe they were getting when Coach Gase was hired. There really is little difference between his results, and the results of Joe Philbin, and the results of Cam Cameron. In fact, despite changing all the players and the coaches out many times over, the Miami Dolphins look, talk, and play like exactly the same team for the past 20 years. How is that even possible? But I digress. Back to Coach Gase.
Adam Gase's biggest accomplishment prior to joining the Miami Dolphins was being the quarterback coach for Peyton Manning. Isn't that a little like being workout coach for Arnold Schwarzenegger? It is a little bit of a "gimme". After that he was Chicago's Offensive Coordinator for one year. And in that year Jay Cutler went from sucking to being decent. So we hired him as Head Coach. "The Man" to run all football operations, even though he only had one year of coordinator experience. In his first year, he did manage to repeat his Chicago success and was able to elevate Ryan Tannehill from "meh" to decent before Tannehill was inured. So is there something there? I don't know. It all seems a little underwhelming for a guy many feel was one of the great young offensive minds in the league. And it is not just the losing, it is how the team plays. It seems to this writer that the area that has fans expressing the most concern is the play calling. How many times will we see a bubble screen to the wide receiver in one game? And it rarely works out. How many three yard passes a game? Where is the use of the tight end? Where is the up tempo offense we have been hearing about for two years? How may third down plays are going to be run three yards short of the markers and then to no surprise we end up being the worst third down team in the league.And there is more. Missed blocks. Missed assignments. Players seem confused. And then there are the penalties. For years the Miami Dolphins were the least penalized team in the league. Now we are one of the most. This smacks of a lack of discipline and accountability. And the penalties make those third downs longer. It is one thing to be a players coach, but players have to do their jobs and be held accountable when they don't.
2018 will be the most important year for Adam Gase as the Dolphins head man. He made big moves to get rid of the team's top talent in the name of culture and to get commitment to his system and way of doing things. And this year the talent on offense is better with more depth and speed at wide receiver. Depth and veteran leadership at running back with Frank Gore. A huge talent at tight end with Mike Gesicki. And for the first time in years, the offensive line is solid. Ryan Tannehill comes back and may pick up where he left off in 2016. But is also under the microscope. After seven years the Dolphins fans are willing to give him one more year, but that is it. If he does not elevate his game in 2018 the outcry from Dolphin Nation will be loud and large.
Many of the "experts" have the Miami Dolphins finishing at the bottom of the division. Some say no more than six wins. That won't fly with the Miami Dolphin fans who are just flat tired of looking up at the Patriots for what seems like an eternity. This is the year the Adam Gase plan has to mature. It has to start coming together now. The promise of dynamic playoff caliber offense has to be fulfilled. If not the Miami Dolphins could be looking for a new Head Coach and a new quarterback in 2019. And Miami Dolphin fans will be left wondering when things will ever get better.