This season has been anything but ordinary.
And on a day that saw Matt Burke’s defense completely shutdown an inept Jets’ offense, it still left fans and media with plenty to talk about.
Here is what we learned from the Dolphins 13-6 victory over the New York Jets
Reshad Jones is the sacrificial lamb
The Dolphins defense,for lack of a better word, have been terrible over the last few weeks of the season. In consecutive weeks vs the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans, the Dolphins defense has allowed 1000+ yards to Bill O’Brien and Jim Bob Cooter.
In other words, they have been terrible.
So with ten days off to sit and think about what changes could be made to help resolve the recent struggles, Matt Burke did exactly what NO ONE expected.
Sure, we all wanted to see Minkah Fitzpatrick get close to 100% of the reps on defense. And yes, many of us suggested he take some of the reps from T.J McDonald. So obviously, McDonald rode the bench in Miami’s base defense in favor of Minkah Fitzpatrick...
Instead of giving Minkah Fitzpatrick reps at free safety, Burke decided to limit Reshad Jones playing time and make Fitzpatrick the strong safety in base defense.
Obviously, this did not make Reshad Jones happy and soon after a Kiko Alonso interception, he would take himself out of the game. This isn’t how you would expect Jones to act, and it appears there is an internal struggle going on in Miami. Coach Adam Gase said at his press conference today that he had to figure a few things out, but everything would remain internal.
Nevertheless, the Dolphins defense looked light year’s better than week’s prior. Is it because Reshad Jones was no longer “freelancing” on defense? Or does it have more to do with how bad Sam Darnold and the lowly Jets have become?
The real test is this week, as the Dolphins travel to Lambeau to take on the 3-4-1 Green Bay Packers.
Frank Gore significantly out-touched Kenyan Drake
When the Dolphins acquired Frank Gore in the off-season, we all knew he would get significant reps in favor of Kenyan Drake. And for much of the early part of 2018, the touches were nearly identical between the two-headed monster. But then on Sunday, in a game where the offense was unable to score a single touchdown, Frank Gore toted the rock 20 times in comparison to Drake’s 3.
Frank Gore carried the football 20 times for 53 yards.
Kenyan Drake carried the football 3 times for 9 yards.
Yes, Drake had 6 targets in the passing game.
Between Drake’s carries and 4 receptions, he touched the football 7 times.
Even more worrisome, is those 7 touches ALL came in the first half.
During today’s press conference, Adam Gase was asked about his usage of the two running backs.
Adam Gase talking about Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore workload pic.twitter.com/uYdYiwC1vO— Antwan V. Staley (@antwanstaley) November 5, 2018
If the Dolphins offense wants to have better production, they MUST find a way to get Kenyan Drake heavily involved.
Dolphins defense played lights out
I mentioned this earlier in the article, but Matt Burke’s defense looked leaps and bounds above the unit we watched get abused in consecutive weeks. Oddly enough, a pass rush that seemed non-existent for much of the season, finally showed up.
Cameron Wake and Akeem Spence both had 2 sacks.
The run defense was menacing, and held the Jets to just 80 yards rushing.
All three of the Dolphins’ linebackers played sensational.
Rookie linebacker Jerome Baker returned an interception for a touchdown.
Kiko Alonso had an interception.
And Raekwon McMillan looked the part of the second-round prospect many experts highly coveted during the draft process.
In the secondary, the Dolphins did not miss a beat with Reshad Jones out of the lineup. And Minkah Fitzpatrick continued to play all over the field.
Xavien Howard and Bobby McCain, both looked great.
Walt Aikens had an interception that sealed the game.
The defense as an entire unit, looked nearly unstoppable.
Can they do the same next week vs the Green Bay Packers?
INJURIES! INJURIES! INJURIES!
We constantly hear throughout the NFL season, how “every team” has their fair share of injuries. Well that is absolutely the case with the Miami Dolphins, who lost both of their starting tackles for a portion of Sunday’s game. And although Ja’Wuan James returned and finished the game, Laremy Tunsil did not. Adam Gase did not have much to say about Tunsil’s injury, other than he will learn more later this week.
Nevertheless, the Dolphins have been severely affected by the injury bug. Miami must find a way to push through this weeks’ game vs Green Bay, before they get a much needed BYE, that will hopefully allow the team to get healthy for a late season playoff push.
A healthy Miami Dolphins’ team would greatly improve their chance at making the playoffs.
Get healthy soon, Ryan Tannehill
For many years, Ryan Tannehill has been one of the more polarizing players in South Florida. He was never good enough to some fans, and to others, never did no wrong. Well now after watching Brock Osweiler play football for several games, it is clear this team needs Ryan Tannehill back, sooner rather than later.
The issue however, isn’t whether or not he will be the starter when he’s healthy, because he will. But the biggest concern is whether or not his shoulder will ever fully recover. Yes, I’m being a bit over-dramatic, but the arm strength is not there yet and that has to be cause for concern.
Let’s hope Ryan Tannehill shows some progress in the coming days and maybe, just maybe he can return to action after the Dolphins’ Bye week.
How do you feel about the state of the Miami Dolphins after this week’s performance?
This article was written by Josh Houtz. Follow him on Twitter!