The Miami Dolphins had this past weekend off, being scheduled for the first week of byes. During that time, the Dolphins, hopefully, used the break to find an answer to several issues the team has had through the first four weeks of the 2011 season.
1. Figure Out Who Has Been Wearing the Dolphins Defense's Jerseys and Escort Them Out of the Stadium. The defense the Dolphins put on the field during the first four weeks cannot possibly be the same defense that left the field at the end of last year, right? With a year of growth, and some key additions, this defense was supposed to be dominating. In 2010, the defense finished the year as the sixth best unit in football. So far in 2011, they rank as the fifth worst defense in yards per game allowed. And, unfortunately, it's not any one part of the defense that isn't performing. The secondary hasn't performed. The linebackers aren't stopping the run (107.5 yards per game allowed). There is no pass rush (30th in sacks with 6, just one ahead of Buffalo and Kansas City tied for worst in the league). Mike Nolan needs to change something in the defensive scheme for this team, because what he's doing right now isn't working.
2. Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess, and the Entire Wide Receiver Corps Need to Fall In Love With the Jugs Machine. The number of drops through four games is ridiculous. Marshall has dropped four touchdown passes this year, not to mention the drops in the field of play. Marshall is currently tied for the league lead in drops, and Bess is right behind him in the 3rd position. If the receivers, especially those two, don't figure out how to hang on to the ball, the offense will continue to struggle.
3. Explain to the Offensive Live That They Are Actually Supposed to Stop People From Running Past Them. The offensive line is horrible. When you have an All-Pro Left Tackle and a rookie starting at center who is showing a ton of talent and promise, the fact the that offensive line ranks as the 26th best pass blocking line in the league by Football Outsiders, is pretty impressive. If someone doesn't show right tackle Marc Colombo how to at least slow down a pass rush, this year isn't going to get any better any time soon.
4. Figure Out How to Get Reggie Bush Into Space. Reggie Bush was brought in to Miami to add some explosiveness to the offense, and add a dynamic the Dolphins have been missing for a long time. Instead, Bush is being run up the middle, gaining 3.0 yards per rush. The Dolphins haven not been getting Bush out into the flat, or lining him up as a receiver, nearly enough. Offensive coordinator Brian Daboll needs to figure out a way to open up Bush's contributions to the team - period.
5. Matt Moore Needs to Rapidly Get In Sync With the Offense. Starting quarterback Chad Henne was playing well, especially when you take in to account the offensive line and Marshall and Bess dropping everything. But, in Week 4, Henne's non-throwing shoulder was separated on a broken running play, and he is now out for the year. That places former Carolina Panthers quarterback Matt Moore as the team's starter. Moore has been with the team throughout the preseason and these first four games, but he was the second string guy, getting second string snaps. The team needs to spend time this week ensuring Moore gets into rhythm with the receivers, gets used to getting the snap from Pouncey, and fully understands the playbook. Part of this is on Moore to study, but the team needs to rally behind Moore, getting him practice reps, and doing whatever they can to help him in the game.
What do you think the Dolphins need to fix during these two weeks, leading up to the Dolphins at New York Jets game on Monday?