In the last three out of four seasons, the Miami Dolphins have started off the year with a 1-2 record.
On Sunday against the New York Jets inside of Wimbley Stadium, the Dolphins fell to 1-3 and it’s starting to look like the beginning of the end to what was thought of as a wonderful potential filled season. The optimism that surrounded the team early in the preseason looks long gone now and everyone is in full crisis mode because of the way that this team has performed on the field during the regular season. Someone, please tell the Dolphins that the year has started, and the season’s not over quite yet.
However, if we were to assign the beginning of the season with letter grades so far in the first quarter of the NFL season the Dolphins would have to get a D-, and that’s a grade being completely generous. Once again the Dolphins played against a team with lesser talent and looked completely uninspired. The game looked completely identical to the thrashing that the Buffalo Bills gave them less than a week ago.
— NFL (@NFL) October 4, 2015
You know there’s a huge problem anytime a team goes on a three-game losing streak in the beginning of the season. You know there’s an even bigger problem when that same team is losing at halftime for the fourth week in a row. During this colossal losing streak the Dolphins have been outscored by their opponents 91-48.
Entering the bye week, the Dolphins have to make some changes if they want to have a successful season. It might be time to make a lot of changes with the leaders among the team and not so much with the primary roster. To paraphrase Chris Tucker in Rush Hour, this team is not responding to the words that are coming out of Joe Philbin’s mouth. More importantly, this team isn’t executing the game plan that Philbin or his coaching staff are putting together. Having a coach that can’t get his team fired up to play, and mixing that in with a game plan that is fairly shallow is a recipe for disaster.
The most glaring problem with the Dolphins isn’t the offense or the defense particularly, but it’s more collectively bad how each of the units are playing. For instance, in the last three weeks the Dolphins have lost to Blake Bortles, Tyrod Taylor, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. During those three games, Miami hasn’t been able to stop the run which has led to those quarterbacks going off against them. Against the Jets, the Dolphins allowed 207 rushing yards and didn’t register a single sack. It was also the third time in four games that Dolphins walked off the field without getting one.
Offensively, the Dolphins didn’t’ do much better. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was under pressure the entire game because of the Jets pass rush. During the times when Tannehill did have a clean pocket and needed to make a play, he kept falling short. During the second half of the game Tannehill was especially needed and didn’t come through for his team. The 53 passer rating that he finished with against the Jets was the seven worst performance of his entire NFL career. To make matters worse, the Dolphins still haven’t been able to get their rushing attack going which is a reason for Tannehill’s struggles.
The bad news is that the fourth quarter of the year is over and done for the Dolphins. All of the bad that happened in the first quarter is over. The good news is that it’s not about how you start but about how you finish. With three losses on the year and entering into the bye week, the Dolphins need to rest up and get mentally focused for the most difficult part of their season. If the team wants to win badly enough they’ll get it together. For a team who just finished with an 8-8 record, it might be hard to believe, but at this point that’s all the Dolphins can rely on is belief.
Otherwise, it might be time to start panicking.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.