Every week this year, Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk and GMC have asked us a question about the Miami Dolphins. Usually, those questions have singled out players who are doing the yeoman's work, but are not getting recognition, or the player who knows just how far he can push the envelope before drawing a penalty. This week, however, Faulk's question is a little more generalized. He asks us for the area, or areas, that the Dolphins have to sharpen in order to get an edge, in order to move from a good team to an elite one.
For most of the year, that answer was fairly simple. The deep pass is missing from the offense. A combination of Ryan Tannehill not throwing the ball deep down the field well, as well as wide receiver issues such as Mike Wallace not tracking the ball well or receivers not able to pull in a catchable ball, has led to the Dolphins not including the threat in the offense.
Miami's offense has been efficient this season without the deep pass, but it is not an elite offense without it. The deep ball will not be my answer, however, because I have seen Chad Pennington win with a "dink-and-dunk" offensive system, and the Dolphins are playing well without the deep pass. It's something else, and something I did not think would be a problem, that has to be sharpened to give Miami an edge.
The Dolphins suddenly cannot stop the run. Something that should be the strength of the defense, suddenly is a huge weakness. The Denver Broncos and New York Jets ran all over the Dolphins the last two weeks, and Miami has to find a way to fix the issue. If the Dolphins are going to make the playoffs, something has to be done to stop teams from running the football as easily as C.J. Anderson and Chris Johnson did. A blueprint for beating Miami's defense has been created, and then verified, and it is now up to the coaches and players to change the schematics enough to shore up the weakness.
Otherwise, Miami may not have an edge the rest of the season.