“Not good enough.”
That is how Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores described the performances of himself and his coaching staff through the first four games of the 2019 NFL season. Miami, after one quarter of the year has been completed, is 0-4 and has not been close at the end of any game. It has been ugly. It has looked like a team completely torn apart and in the process of trying to put it back together.
Of course, that is exactly what they are, but on the field, the coaches, and the team as a whole, have not been good enough.
“We’ve got to do a better job – and it starts with me – of getting this team ready to play and specifically in the second halves, just talking the last two games,” Flores continued. “And putting our guys in position to make plays. This is what we have and we haven’t made the plays on the field. But at the end of the day, we can always do a better job as a coaching staff.”
On Wednesday, the Dolphins got back on the practice field, looking to make corrections that will have an impact on the team over their final 12 weeks.
“We’ll be out in pads, working on our fundamentals and technique,” Flores said of Wednesday’s practice plans. “We did a lot of self-scout the last couple of days. Some things we just need to work on offensively, defensively and in the kicking game – specifically the run game, both offensively and defensively. Just areas we need to improve and get better, and be more consistent. It’s something we’ve really talked about all year but this morning was a good time to really highlight them over four games, going through it, and showing them game after game after game of things we could have done better, ways we can improve. We’re going to try to implement that in practice today.
“It’s the same thing defensively. In the kicking game, on return units, there’s just some opportunities we feel like we could have taken advantage of. If one guy makes a block or we don’t get a penalty here – there’s basically one (mistake) on every play. Just highlighting those things in all three phases. You don’t want to overload them with information either. This, this and this – we’ll focus on those and try to improve them in practice today.”
The Dolphins have already made a quarterback change this season, moving from Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started the first two games, to Josh Rosen, who took over for the second pair of contests. “He’s a young player,” Flores said of Rosen’s play and how he can get better during the bye week. “He’s developing. He can get better in every area – command of the huddle, accuracy, deep, long, intermediate, going through his reads and progressions, checking the ball down, specifically throwing the ball away or running or getting out of bounds or sliding just to kind of protect himself. Look, there’s 100 things; but we really try to pinpoint one or two things for him and prioritize those things.
“There are a few things that I’ve talked to him about – getting the ball out on time, stepping up in the pocket, his footwork that’s related to things such as accuracy and stuff,” assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski said of Rosen’s development. “I think he’s done a really nice job embracing those challenges that we’ve all given him and working hard at those. Again, it’s not always perfect and there’s going to be some things that he can do better; but for the most part, I think those are the areas, the continuous ball out on time, stepping up in the pocket, playing comfortable from the pocket, especially under pressure, are areas that he can continue to improve on that’ll help him.”
“I think that Josh has really made progress,” offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea added about Rosen. “I said in the first week – I thought his communication was good and his overall operation of the offense was good. I think despite the one turnover he had, for the most part, he made good decisions with the football and tried to play the game the way we wanted him to play it. The overall operation again was good for the second week in a row, and we didn’t have any issues there. His communication was good with the offensive line and some of the things that go unforeseen – the line calls and communication that occurs before the snap, he was good on. I think that we’re definitely headed in the right direction. I think he made improvement. I think he’s embracing the challenge of continuing to improve, and I think it’s a positive thing.”
“We really do that for every player, every position group, every unit,” Flores explained of improving the entire team, not just Rosen, during the bye. “Again, it’s football. There’s 100 things but we need to prioritize and pinpoint one or two, and we’ll try to focus on those things today.”
The start to the Dolphins’ 2019 season has not been good enough. During the bye week, they are hoping to pinpoint that problem and have it fixed before Week 6.