“We’re still a good team.” - Preston Williams
I’m sorry, Mr. Williams, but I disagree.
On Sunday, the Miami Dolphins traveled to Tampa, Florida to take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their defense must have missed the flight. We all know that when you’re facing the most successful quarterback in NFL history – and Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, plus Leonard Fournette and others – that things aren’t going to be easy, but a week after the New England Patriots held that murderer’s row of an offense to 19 points, Miami’s unit fell flat on their faces while giving up a whopping 45 points before Bucs’ head coach, Bruce Arians, eventually called off the dogs late in the contest.
So, even though it’s early on, and having faith in yourself and your teammates is an admirable belief to possess, Preston Williams is just flat out wrong. The 2021 Miami Dolphins are not a good team. Anyone with a functioning cerebrum can deduce that, yet the name of the article requires me to find some “good” in every game, so I will give it a shot.
Miami streamlines their play-calling, leading to a better showing by the offense... in the first half
Miami Head Coach, Brian Flores, confirmed that QB Coach, Charlie Frye, is no longer relaying the offensive play-call to the quarterback and is therefore no longer the last voice heard inside of the QB headset pre-play. It’s bad enough that Miami has two offensive coordinators, but adding in a third offensive voice was clearly leading to the classic “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario for the Dolphins’ offense.
By eliminating Frye, while scheming better route combinations and generally calling a more efficient game, Miami’s offense didn’t look so putrid for the first half of this matchup. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to keep it up for the entire game, but when you’re cheering for the Miami Dolphins, you’ll go insane if you don’t mildly celebrate the small positives. Maybe things will continue to improve when starting quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, returns next week. Let us pray they do.
How many hurries, pressures, QB hits and sacks does Jesse Davis need to give up before he is relieved of his duties along Miami’s offensive line? His play this season has been so horrific, that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him retire before showing his face at any football facility next season, let alone Miami’s.
Tua Tagovailoa presumably returns to action next week in London when the Dolphins take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. If Jesse Davis sticks at right tackle, he will once again be protecting the blindside of our left-handed signal-caller. With Davis already facing an involuntary manslaughter charge for his actions (or inaction) that resulted in the injured reserve stint for Tagovailoa, Tua may be forced to “chuck and duck” all game long to avoid another crushing hit to his injured ribs due to the inept play of his human-turnstile lineman.
Miami’s defense has gone AWOL in 2021
Tom Brady has played in 351 games over 21+ seasons in the NFL. On Sunday, against the Miami Dolphins, Brady threw for over 400 yards and five touchdowns in a single game for the first time in his illustrious career.
Milk cartons in South Florida must be plastered with the faces of Xavien Howard, Jerome Baker and Eric Rowe so far this season, because they – along with the rest of the defensive unit – have gone completely missing since the opening week victory against New England.
Miami’s takeaway streak ended on Sunday, but that was the least of their worries as highly talented – and highly compensated – players on the defense were complete liabilities against the Buccaneers.
Xavien Howard’s legs are clearly tired from carrying large bags stuffed full with money to the bank after renegotiating his contract this offseason. After giving up multiple touchdowns on Sunday, I wonder if Miami will demand their own renegotiation. Jerome Baker signed a lucrative extension himself, but somewhere along the line, he forgot how to defend the pass or make a tackle. The third-down defense entered this contest second to last in efficiency, yet somehow, they got worse – allowing Tampa Bay to convert 8 of 11 tries (72.7%). How about the run defense? Well, they were gashed for 121 yards on the ground – good for 4.8 yards per carry. Oh, by the way, if keeping score, which they are, Miami has given up 35, 31, 27, and 45 points in four consecutive games against the Bills, Raiders, Colts and Buccaneers. If you feel sick while reading this, you’re not alone.
For a unit that entered Week 17 of the 2020 season as the number one scoring defense in the league, their performance so far this season has been completely unacceptable. Things will need to change – and in a big way – if Miami wants to have a chance at playing competitive football for the rest of the 2021 season.
Are you having fun? I’m not having fun. There has been very little to root for while watching the Miami Dolphins attempt to play football this season. It feels like a lot of people are waiting for Tua Tagovailoa to return, string together a handful of victories, and save the season for the Dolphins. Well, unfortunately, this team is missing a hell of a lot more than quality QB play before they become a competitive squad.
How are you feeling about the Miami Dolphins with roughly a quarter of the season behind us? Do you think this defense can turn things around any time soon? What would your ideal offensive line look like using only members of the current roster? Let me know on Twitter at @MBrave13 or in the comments below. Fins up!