Malaise - noun. a vague or unfocused feeling of mental uneasiness, lethargy, or discomfort. -Dictionary.com.
This feeling of being out-of-sorts, or just not-quite-right, seems to surround the Miami Dolphins. Medically, it typically signals the onset of a disease. As the Dolphins prepare to face the Oakland Raiders in this weekend's edition of the International Series, the team is currently out-of-sorts. Will the trip to London be the shot-in-the-arm that shakes Miami out of this malaise before the disease completely takes control?
Miami is currently 22nd in total offense, 24th in points scored (61), 29th in passing yards (570), and 7th in rushing yards (412). Miami is ninth in total defense (972 yards allowed), 7th in pass defense (596 yards allowed), 20th in rush defense (376 yards allowed), and 29th in points allowed (83). Currently, the Dolphins are being outscored 27.7 to 19.3 points per game.
The team was supposed to have a new, flashy, explosive offense this year, with a dominating defense - especially against the run - which should help them win games. Instead, the team is scoring a half-point less than their 2013 per game season average. They are also allowing nearly a touchdown more per game in this season's first three game than the average for all of last year.
Something obviously is not quite right with the Dolphins.
You can call it what you want. Bad coaching decision, poor play calling, Ryan Tannehill not living up to his potential, poor execution, bad tackling, drops, time mis-management, or whatever you see as the main culprit. At the end of the day, Miami is in a malaise, and they need something to shake it up.
Enter London and the Oakland Raiders.
This week is not a road trip for the Miami Dolphins. It's an international flight to face an AFC West team in a soccer stadium in front of 85,000 fans. It's something different. It's something that will shake the team out of their usual routine. Even as coaches and players try to downplay the scheduling changes and the size of the event, the International Series could be exactly what Miami needs.
If they can come out and beat an Oakland club who has struggled this year, the Dolphins could head into the bye week with some momentum, a 2-2 record, and be a maximum of one game back in the AFC East. The Dolphins can then use the next two weeks to get healthy, get Reshad Jones back from his suspension, and get the team right.
Can London be the shot-in-the-arm this team needs to get back on the path toward a playoff run? It better be.