I recently was introduced to Nathaniel Peters-Kroll from Pro Football Focus, who, among other things, spends his time watching Miami Dolphins game tape. As the Dolphins Correspondent for PFF, he has agreed to send us his gradebook after each game, starting with this week's loss to the Green Bay Packers. Reading through it, three things jumped out at me.
Brandon Albert handled Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers in pass blocking (+2.1), but had his worst day of the season in run blocking (-1.2), in addition to picking up his first two penalties as a Dolphin
The Dolphins as a whole could not get the running game going on Sunday, and Albert's struggles were not the only reason. Miami ultimately gained 112 yards on the ground, but 49 of those came from quarterback Ryan Tannehill, 40 of which were on one play. Running backs Lamar Miller and Knowshon Moreno accounted for all of the remaining rushing yardage, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry.
Albert's two penalties came on Miami's first two drives of the second half. The first was a false start penalty on a second-and-five from the Green Bay nine-yard line. The penalty backed up Miami, but they were able to overcome it (and a Ja'Wuan James false start a play later) to score a touchdown. The second penalty came on the next poseession, when Miami broke out a crazy formation in which the two tackles spread out to line up by the wide receivers, leaving just three offensive linemen in front of Tannehill. Miami ran a screen pass to to offensive right side of the field, but the play was called back because Albert, who was spread to the left side, lined up a yard behind the line of scrimmage. The illegal formation pealty again backed up Miami, but they again were able to overcome it, scoring their second touchdown of the game a few plays later.
Albert had to leave the game for the last offensive snap of the first half with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. He was able to return to the game in the second half, but, given his poor run blocking grade, the shoulder may have continued to bother him the rest of the game.
The Packers would not let the Dolphins run behind Mike Pouncey; on 8 total carries directed towards Pouncey or the gap between Satele and Pouncey, Miami produced just 3 yards
Pouncey made his 2014 season debut on Sunday, as well as his career debut as a guard, returning to the team after having offseason hip surgery that forced him to miss all of the preseason and the first four games of the regular season for the Dolphins. Interim center Samson Satele played well enough, along with some lingering questions at right guard for Miami, to warrant Pouncey moving back to his college guard position rather than unseat Satele, who removed the "interim" tag for one week at least.
Big things were expected of Pouncey, who has the athleticism to be a great pulling guard, and should be able to dominate along the offensive line. It did not happen this week, with Green Bay repeatedly crashing down the line to take advantage of the lack of game experience this year for Pouncey.
The best example of the Packers not allowing Miami to run behind Pouncey was the fourth-and-goal play from Green Bay's one-yard line. The Dolphins handed the ball to Moreno, who appeared to want to plow straight forward - behind Pouncey - to try to score. Instead, he was met in the backfield by the Packers defense, losing two yards on the play. Cornerback Tramon Williams was credited with the tackle, but it was the penetration directly up the middle of the line in the A-gap between Satele and Pouncey that forced Moreno to hesitate.
Whether it was a designed attack on Pouncey, or if Green Bay lucked into finding a weak spot on the offensive line in the Pro Bowler, at the end of the day, PFF gave Pouncey a negative grade for both pass and run blocking. Hopefully for Dolphins fans that was a one time situation as Pouncey reintegrates with the line.
167 of Miami's 244 receiving yards came after the catch
This was just an interesting stat to me. With all of the criticism of Ryan Tannehill's ball placement and how he does not put receivers in position to run after the catch, nearly 70-percent of his passing yards against the Packers came after the receiver made the catch.
Of course, part of that is also the lack of a deep passing game, and I am sure someone will point to that as a problem, but I just found this stat interesting.
Thanks to Peters-Kroll for the grade book for this week, and we look forward to seeing it again in the future.