The aura surrounding the Miami Dolphins is not a pretty sight right now. Fans are frustrated. Players are frustrated. Coaches are frustrated. For a team coming into the season full of high hopes and expectations, a 1-2 start, including a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and a blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills, is not what was anticipated. It is not time to panic, but is sure is getting closer.
Earlier this week, we took a look at the Dolphins' defense, laying a large portion of the blame for the slow start this season at their feet. A lot of changes are needed for the defense, and those changes have to start soon. That does not absolve the offense completely, however, as there are changes that need to be made when Miami has control of the ball as well.
Where is Lamar Miller, other than being buried in the backfield again? The Dolphins entered this year with a 1,000 yard running back eager to prove he can be a feature back. Now, he is relegated to an after thought for a Miami offense that has passed the ball on over 70-percent of the offensive snaps. Miami has 54 rushing attempts this season, compared to 134 passing attempts - and those numbers do not take quarterback scrambles for positive yards that go into the books as a rushing attempt.
Why is Jamil Douglas still starting at right guard? He has not continued the development that saw him eventually overtake Billy Turner for the starting position in the preseason. Is Turner that awful that the coaches would rather start a player who is getting quarterback Ryan Tannehill crushed? If Turner is that bad, why have the Dolphins not looked at another solution? Can Sam Brenner fill in at guard and be better than Douglas? Could Brenner take over at center and move Pouncey to guard? Could the team contact Samson Satele, who is currently a free agent, and have him come back to Miami to take over at center, moving Pouncey to guard. Pouncey is more comfortable at center, but the team needs to put the best players on the field, and Douglas is not the best player right now. If Miami is going to have any success - including finding the running lanes Miller desperately needs - they have to fix an offensive line that is simply crumbling right now.
The team needs to get DeVante Parker involved, and get him involved now. He has four receptions on the year on eight targets, gaining 49 yards. Compare that to starter Greg Jennings, who has four receptions on 11 targets for 39 yards. Why not get Parker involved more, making him the third option behind Jarvis Landry and Rishard Matthews?
This team needs a short yardage running option, and they need to actually use him. Jonas Gray could be that option, but they need to use him like a short yardage back. They need to make him - or someone they sign - be a fullback and become a lead blocker. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor turns to the pass even in short yardage situations because there is no one guaranteed to get the yardage. Fix the guards, add a fullback and/or short yardage back, and the team will be able to convert those short yardage situations.
The Miami Dolphins defense is a mess, but the offense is not far behind it. There are a lot of things that need to be improved to get this team moving in the right direction. Can they make those changes before they face the New Yok Jets on Sunday?