Things have been less-than-ideal for the Miami Dolphins at the start of the 2015 season. A 1-2 start to the year, including a Week 3 blowout loss at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, has the fan base on edge, and could even signal the beginning of the end for the coaching staff. The Dolphins now face the New York Jets in a contest in London's Wembley Stadium, in a game that could make-or-break the year for Miami, just four weeks into the season.
What should we be watching during the game?
The Dolphins have trailed at the end of the first quarter and at the end of the first half in all three games played this year. They have three total first quarter points. That is flat out unacceptable, and something that has to change this week if the Dolphins are actually going to compete this year. The offense cannot get into a rhythm for some reason during most of the first half, then finds itself during the two-minute drill at the end of the open 30 minutes and comes back out in the second half with some good adjustments and starts trying to make a comeback. Miami has to come out fast against the Jets. Set the pace, attack, and use the two-minute offense from the start. Attack, attack, and attack. Shake it up and get after the Jets' defense. Run the ball, play action pass, move Ryan Tannehill - and attack.
Pressure Ryan Fitzpatrick
Cameron Wake. Ndamukong Suh. Olivier Vernon. Zero. Zero. Zero. That is the sack total for each of those players, players who are supposed to be destroying opposing offensive lines. Where are they? What is happening? If Wake, who has been dealing with a hamstring injury all season, is not 100-percent, the coaches should consider either resting him for the entire game, or potentially just using him like Jason Taylor was used near the end of his career - line him up only in passing situations and keep his snap count lower. Something has to happen to allow this defensive line to get after Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is 3-3 all time against the Dolphins (all during his time with the Bills), throwing for 1,402 yards on a 60.5-percent completion rate, with six touchdown passes and eight interceptions, but has never been sacked by Miami. That must change on Sunday morning.
We touched on the Dolphins' offense needing to run the ball and to move Tannehill around. None of that works if the offensive line does not figure out how to block. It seems like a pretty important part of the job description for offensive linemen, but it has not always been happening. Branden Albert's injury is a part of the problem, but the offensive line has to improve, and they have to do it immediately. The coaches have to consider shaking up the line, potentially bringing Billy Turner back into the mix, maybe moving Mike Pouncey out to a guard position, or something to fix a line that has allowed seven sacks and 35 quarterback hits so far this year, tied for the tenth most in the league and fifth in the league, respectively.
What will you be watching this week?