The theme for the Miami Dolphins this year seems to be focused solely on the inability of the offense to find an identity. As soon as they appear to have a rhythm and have figured out who they are, something changes and they revert back to a shell offense incapable of sustaining any success - or even of scoring any points. It is frustrating and it has gotten old.
Even head coach Adam Gase has gotten tired of the inept offense, saying on Saturday, “I’m pissed. I’m tired of this. I’m tired of the offense being awful.”
And Gase is in control of that offense. It is that bad.
Of course, the team has been trying to deal with injuries all year, starting with quarterback Ryan Tannehill and continuing through wide receiver DeVante Parker, guard Ted Larsen, guard Anthony Steen, and quarterback Jay Cutler. Every injury seems to take a starter from the team, and a potential answer to what the team needs.
The offensive line is struggling? Two guards are injured.
The wide receivers are missing something? The number one receiver is injured.
The chemistry of the offense appears off? The starting quarterback did not make it out of training camp and the guy brought in to replace him is injured.
It has been a rough year - not to mention the hurricane that threw Week 1 out of wack and caused the team to have a 16 game schedule without a bye week.
All of those issues lead to one decision that is killing the team. Gase, in an effort to get players executing his offense, has simplified the playbook. He has taken out some of the deception and misdirection in order to allow the players to execute the basics. The problem with that has become, anyone can predict what the Dolphins are going to do. Fans in the stands are able to call out plays like they are Tony Romo in the broadcast booth. There is no hiding what the Dolphins are going to do, and defenses are able to stack the box of double the primary receiver.
Gase explained his frustration with the offensive players, saying, “I don’t think it’s a retain information thing. It’s we’re not putting the work in. That’s what it comes down to. If you can’t remember it, you shouldn’t be in the NFL. At the end of the day, guys have got to actually take this stuff home and study it. They’re not going to just learn it all in meetings. We’ve got to find guys that will actually put forth effort to actually remember this stuff and really, it starts with our best players.”
Players do not seem to be buying in to the workload for some reason. It feels like the offense sees their 10-6 season last year and are resting on the laurels of that, assuming they will be back there this year. It has led to issues, and the dumbed-down playbook. And, now, that has to change.
The Dolphins should see some of their injured players, specifically Parker and Cutler, come back for their Sunday Night Football meeting with the Oakland Raiders. They should be fired up by the words of their coach this week. And, Gase should insert back into the playbook a lot of the plays he has stripped out, making the offense less predictable.
Miami has to find itself. Whether it is on the arm of Cutler or on the ground through Jay Ajayi (hint, it should be Ajayi), the Dolphins offense needs to wake up. The defense is giving the team a chance every single week, but they are getting worn down as the offense continues to struggle. This week, with the players coming back to the training facility on Tuesday, Miami has to find its offense.