(Our Chris Fischer is working the sideline for CBS-TV coverage again this week of Dolphins-Steelers with Spero Dedes and Solomon Wilcots)
Where do the Dolphins go from here?
They were bad last week against the Titans. I mean really bad.
It was such a deplorable effort by the offensive line that yesterday coach Adam Gase took a torch to it, cutting Billy Turner and Dallas Thomas. Both were forced in to playing positions they were rather unfamiliar with on the left side (Normally they play on the right). That’s no excuse, but neither is the fact that QB Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 11 times in two games. One thing that seemed disturbing for “Fins Fans” is when Gase told me exiting the locker room at half “we’re already max protecting, we’ve got to do a better job of keeping pressure off our quarterback.”
According to Pro Football Focus “Tannehill has faced pressure on 43.4% of drop backs so far, most in the NFL.” And yet, fans in the stands are calling for back up quarterback Matt Moore.
“I know when we have 18 drop back passes and he is hit or sacked on 9 of them and the completions we do have, he has guys in his face,” said Gase. “I’m supposed to blame (Tannehill) for that.”
Gase has been preaching accountability to the locker room. He threatened to cut guys for doing a poor job and he delivered on that promise.
Prior to Sunday’s game we learned Left Guard/Tackle Laremy Tunsil was placed on the inactive list, for slipping in the shower and injuring his ankle. “It’s one on thousand, one in a million type deals,” said Gase. “It’s a bad deal, talk about unexpected, that’s an unexpected thing to happen.”
I noticed on the sideline that Tunsil wasn’t there alongside Branden Albert, who was also on the inactive list. Tunsil took X-Rays on Sunday, and Gase said yesterday he’s walking around without crutches.
Conspiracy theorists now have something work with in regards to the Tunsil injury.
No Wake zone, Defensive line doesn’t make a splash.
They were there, I promise. I saw the Dolphins defensive line playing football on Sunday. However, Tennessee went in with the number one offensive line according to Pro Football Focus and the Dolphins couldn’t do anything against them. That’s head scratching with a unit that features Ndamukong Suh and Mario Williams.
Cameron Wake was moved to an off the edge linebacker threat on passing downs. No matter what Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph dialed up, the defense couldn’t get to Marcus Mariota. The Titans utilized a lot of play action roll outs to get Mariota out of the pocket.
This week the defensive line will get a more stable pocket passer in Ben Roehtlisberger, but expect the Steelers’ game plan to deviate.
This week’s Match-up
Black and Yellow will take over the empty aqua seats at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday.
Pittsburgh will put their fifth ranked offense up against the 29th ranked Miami defense. And while the Steelers come in with the 26th ranked defense, it’s rather misleading. Pittsburgh has given up more than 17 points just once this season.
For the Dolphins the game plan must be simple. Keep the pressure off of Tannehill and use double coverage on Antonio Brown. But, even that might not be enough to help.
“I just think we have a rough start to the quarter of the season, it will get better,” said Albert.
With an offensive line and secondary in shambles, Miami will need to figure out a way to win the Time of Possession battle. Which means they’ll have to try something new, bucking their 31st ranking in third down conversions.
The line is already 8 points in favor of Pittsburgh, but Sunday could prove to be another line in the sand game for the Dolphins locker room.