Outside of starting the quarterback they pulled out of retirement back in training camp, there was nothing to suggest the Dolphins would struggle on offense the way they have this season.
This is a team with an offensive line made up of four first-round draft picks, including two Pro Bowlers; a fresh-legged Pro Bowl running back and one of the most lethal receiving corps in the NFL.
Yet here the Dolphins are, a quarter of the way through the season, frustrated, in disarray and averaging only 231.2 yards and 10.2 points per game despite all their talent and promise.
The problem is a perplexing one to say the least but it’s also so great that, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins are already contemplating taking a macro approach to repairing it.
Instead of considering short-term fixes such as benching poor performing players, of which there are too many, or scaling back the attack, which they’ve already tried, the Dolphins are talking overhaul.
Not an immediate overhaul. The plan that is apparently under consideration is an offseason overhaul, a re-tool, if you aimed at starting over fresh with a whole lot that’s new next season.
As Salguero points out, the plan the Dolphins are thinking about adopting is very similar to the one they employed on the defensive side of the ball between last year and this year, and it’s easy to see why they might be considering it.
Though their coordinator, Vance Joseph, got a head coach’s job out of it, the Dolphins were only ordinary on the defensive side of the ball last year, ranking 29th overall in total yards allowed and 18th in points allowed.
So far this year, though, the slightly altered defense under new coordinator Matt Burke appears to have taken a big step forward. Through four games it ranks eighth overall in total yards (309.5), including fourth against the run (75.5 yards per game), and fourth in points allowed (16.8 ppg).
Those are the kind of rankings the Dolphins thought they’d be boasting about on offense yet, despite the fact most everyone involved in the offense have been a part of this offense for more than a year, there is nothing to boast about.
The Dolphins through four games have scored just one rushing touchdown; their offensive line is out of sync with the quarterback, who hasn’t played well and the quarterback is out of sync with his receivers while the running game has become an afterthought.
The only thing worse is that the Dolphins appear to be at a loss as to how to fix all the problems, at least in the short term, which is why you have to wonder just how far their overhaul might or maybe should go.
Let’s face it, even during its run to the playoffs last year, the Dolphins offense wasn’t always special. Once they figured out what they had in running back Jay Ajayi, they wisely rode on the back of their running game but still only finished the year ranked 17th overall in points scored and 24th in yards gained.
The attack hasn’t gotten any better since, obviously, and the fact the architect of it all, coach Adam Gase, doesn’t seem to have an answer for how to fix it in the short term makes you wonder if he won’t be part of the overhaul, too.
That would obviously be a drastic move, but the facts are clear. The problem is not just the quarterback or the offensive line or the scheme. It’s all of the above, it’s everybody, including Gase.
Gase admits that he’s tried scaling back the scheme to make it easier but that hasn’t worked. In fact, nothing Gase has tried has worked. And Gase can’t fix his own scheme, well then who can?
Sure, the Dolphins could change out a few players and hope that makes a difference but they’ve tried that, too, including adding a quarterback with experience in the scheme and that hasn’t worked either.
It’s clear then that the problems run much deeper than personnel, which is why it makes sense, even at this early stage of the season, for the Dolphins to be thinking makeover.
You just have to wonder, though, if the biggest part of the makeover should start at the top.