Miami Dolphins: Five Areas of Improvement

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (#93) running on to the field from the tunnel. Shot by: Ronald Lyons
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The Miami Dolphins haven’t lived up to the billing for the entire NFL season. Many people expected this team to compete for a playoff spot and it looks like they won’t make it anywhere close to the postseason. When fans saw them play against the Buffalo Bills, it wasn’t a pretty sight. People left the parking lot angry and hostile. Nevertheless, there is plenty of time for the Dolphins to get their act together and to turn the season around.

Almost a quarter of the season is finished for the Dolphins and our quarter of the season report card is coming very soon. However, we’re going to look at the last three games the Dolphins have played and point out the most glaring problems on the roster. Here is five areas of improvement the Dolphins need to make if they want to make it into the playoffs. 

1. More Physicality
The beginning of the Dolphins problems has to start with the lack of physicality that they have on their roster. During the Joe Philbin era, he’s gotten rid of the players on the team who had strong personalities. You know the type of players who have that dog in them. The type of players who ooze aggression and that get so angry that it inspires the teammates around them.

Some of those alpha dog type players were Brandon Marshall, Richie Incognito, Vontae Davis and Karlos Dansby. Most of these players are people who went on to have better careers and made their respective teams better after leaving Miami.

The Dolphins are going to need to address the issue of them not being physical enough. Time and time again we see the defensive line get pushed around. Time and time agin we’ve seen the offensive line not hold a block. Speaking of the offensive line….

2. Better Offensive Line play

The Miami Dolphins haven’t been able to consistently protect Ryan Tannehill. At the beginning of the season, a lot of people were clamoring that the Dolphins needed Evan Mathis. It’s only been three weeks later, but it’s safe to say the Dolphins really need Evan Mathis.

Miami hasn’t been able to protect Tannehill to save their lives and it’s directly correlating to their lack of success on the field. Against the Buffalo Bills, we saw Tannehill face a number of pass rushers and he was facing the blitz the entire game. Tannehill finished only getting sacked twice, but he was under heavy pressure the entire game. Speaking of pressure…

3. The Defensive Line

It’s only been three games, but it looks like the defensive line of the Miami Dolphins isn’t what many people were expecting it to become. The Dolphins defensive line on paper is their highest paid unit.

Maimi Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi (#55) chasing Tyrod Taylor (#5).  Shot by Ron Lyons.
Maimi Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi (#55) chasing Tyrod Taylor (#5).
Shot by Ron Lyons.

A huge part of that is because of the massive contract that defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh signed this offseason. Even though Suh signed with the Dolphins, his impact hasn’t been profound on the field quite yet. People already want to write his contract off and call him a wash, but it’s way too early for that. 

Nonetheless, the Dolphins were expected to stop the run and make quarterbacks routinely feel the heat with their defensive line. The complete opposite has happened during the beginning of the season. The Dolphins are going to need to create pressure from their defensive line for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, the Dolphins need to stop the running game. Teams have been able to run the ball down their throat and pick up first downs. Secondly, if the Dolphins can apply pressure on quarterbacks, it makes the rest of the entire defense’s job easier.

4. The Secondary

The good news is if you’re a fan of watching exciting plays then you should watch to the Miami Dolphins play football on Sundays. The bad news is if you’re a fan of the Miami Dolphins then you might not want to watch because the exciting plays are happening to them. The Dolphins for the last two weeks have given up a number of incredible plays to the opposing team. Last week Allen Robinson gave the secondary the work all over the field. This week we got to see the Buffalo Bills handle business all game long.

Wide receivers like Percy Harvin, and Sammy Watkins all had great games against Miami. The secondary was picked apart and what made it worse is that Tyrod Taylor was doing the damage. Miami looks like they need to find another second string cornerback or they’re in for a lot of problems the entire season. Brice McCain who was signed to play opposite of Brent Grimes hasn’t lived up to the billing.

5. Coaching

The biggest indication that this team needs serious help is the way that the Miami Dolphins are responding to the coaches. Well in all reality the Dolphins aren’t responding to their coaching staff at all. It’s only been three games and the Dolphins have been outscored a grand total of 81-44. The last game against the Buffalo Bills one of the worst efforts that the Dolphins have played within the last ten years.

Joe Philbin this season needs to outsmart his opponents. Rex Ryan came into town and executed a game plan so flawlessly that his defense held Miami to 14 points at home. The blitz was coming from every portion of the field and Ryan was exploiting safeties and corners. Philbin looked like he was outclassed by a more experienced and better head coach. When Rex Ryan can take Tyrod Taylor and turn him into Michael Vick against your team it’s a problem that lies on the coaching staff.

D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.

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