A win is a win, but can any of us in Dolphin-Land really feel good about what we saw yesterday? That was about as hollow of a win as I can remember since the Dolphins beat the Washington REDSKINS in the first game of the 2015 season (or, as I like to call it, “The Dan Campbell Year”). For anyone who may not remember, 2015 was the year that Joe Philbin was fired four games into the season (when the Dolphins had their bye week) and Dan Campbell was named the interim head coach for the remaining 12 games. The whole, “our coach can beat up your coach” thing was pretty fun, though. But, back to the matters at hand here.
Let’s start with that little bit of drama we witnessed last week heading into yesterday’s game. There was a bit of a dust up at a press conference between head coach Adam Gase and one of my personal favorite Dolphins beat writers, Armando Salguero. Coach Gase was talking about Ryan Tannehill (although, gushing over Ryan Tannehill would probably be a more apt description) and Armando alluded to the less than adequate results that Ryan had been giving the Dolphins this year. Gase went on to tell Armando that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about and REALLY made himself look like a clown when he said, “Everything is results to you”. Hey Adam, buddy, the NFL is a results driven league, in case you haven’t noticed. Gase should’ve pulled Armando aside after that press conference, apologized, and tried to squash the issue. And then it was game day.
Over the years, I’ve heard many former Dolphins who played for Don Shula talk about how he would often treat a win as if it were a loss. Coach Shula would get onto guys and point out everything that was done wrong. It’s hard to look at this win and to NOT view it through the metaphorical, “Coach Shula glasses”, because this game against the Jets was an absolute S-Show that thankfully and luckily ended in victory. There were some good things and bad things that we saw yesterday, but it seems difficult to focus on anything other than the bad. The defense came alive, but the offense looked lifeless.
Let’s start with the positives. The defense had a whopping TWO sacks through the first eight games of the season, but really came alive and got four in just this one game. That was very nice to see, and it was almost like the Cam Wake of old had finally returned. Even Akeem Spence had two sacks, which I doubt anyone saw coming (I know I didn’t). The defense also racked up FOUR interceptions, four! As a defense, they allowed only six points and kept the Jets out of the red-zone entirely. It was awe-inspiring to watch…until you remember that it was against the Jets, who have no receivers, one decent running back still healthy, and a rookie quarterback who practically handed this defense those four picks, including the pick-six to Jerome Baker. And then there was the lifeless offense.
To say that the offense came out limp would be an understatement. It started out innocently enough with a 26-yard pass to Danny Amendola on the first play, but that was about it. After that play, it was more of the same that we’ve seen all year. It was more failure to convert on third downs and more negative runs. We also had the “pleasure” of witnessing the utter lack of ability to convert on 3rd and 1 and most of those of those plays ended up LOSING yardage. After the first pass to Amendola, the offense went on to average less than three yards per play and put up a measly six points. And oh yeah, there were also more penalties at the worst possible times, like when we picked up the first down, only to have it erased by a stupid penalty. And of course, no Miami Dolphins game in 2018 would be complete without some kind of drama or something out of the ordinary happening.
There was no lack of drama yesterday and this time it involved All-World strong safety Reshad Jones. For anyone that doesn’t know, Reshad has been dealing with a shoulder injury (again) all season. Yesterday, he pulled himself out of the game, unexpectedly, and the reason why remains to be seen. Was it a flare up with his shoulder, or did he take himself out because he was frustrated about something? Rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick was moved all over the defensive backfield yesterday, including taking snaps at Jones’ strong safety spot. That could’ve been something that set Jones off and made him pull himself out of the game. Regardless of the reason, it was a bad move by Jones. He quit on his team yesterday and that is the ONE thing you can’t be forgiven for in professional sports. This definitely does not bode well for his future, in Miami or elsewhere.
So, once again, the question is; “Where do the Miami Dolphins go from here?” The one thing that I personally can tell you needs to happen first and foremost is moving on from Mike Tannenbaum. I don’t want “ATM Mike” making another move for this team under any circumstances, period. This guy has completely screwed up this team’s salary cap, which is the number one thing he was brought here to oversee. The defensive performance against the Jets yesterday made Matt Burke look a little bit better, but the Jets aren’t exactly world beaters on offense. It’s going to be a LONG day against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers this week. Don’t be surprised if the calls to fire Matt Burke begin again after this game in Green Bay. Matt Burke isn’t the only member of this coaching staff who’s under fire this year.
Adam Gase, what to do about Adam Gase? The fan base of the Miami Dolphins has been slowly but surely turning on Adam Gase over the past year and a half and for good reason. In 2017, Gase was given almost complete autonomy over personnel decisions and the results were disastrous. We all know what happened with linebacker Lawrence Timmons and quarterback Jay Cutler (the ten-million-dollar mistake). We all know that one of Adam Gase’s guys, tight end Julius Thomas contributed absolutely nothing to this offense last year. The bottom line is that I personally want Gase to stick around, but it won’t happen if he can’t figure things out and start doing what he was brought to Miami to do; fix the offense. The chances of him doing that don’t look good, with or without Ryan Tannehill. I also wouldn’t bet on Tannehill playing again this year or being effective if he does. Between his demeanor, his bad play calls, and his perceived ineptitude, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to argue that Adam Gase should remain the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, even just for one more year. Even in victory, the Dolphins are still in trouble. What else is new? The game against Green Bay will be tough to watch.
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