All eyes are on the Dolphins offense now. That's what happens when a unit seems to lack talent and not only doesn't score any touchdowns but makes mistakes (turnovers) that lead to 24 points for the other team.
That's not the way it should be.
And so this week offensive coordinator Mike Sherman has to address a lot of things. He started addressing those when he spoke to the media Monday.
This is all he said:
(On the number of batted passes during Sunday’s game) -“I think there were six.”
(On if there is any thought about altering Tannehill’s release, or is it a case of looking for open passing lanes or offensive linemen needing to get defenders hands down) – “I think the second thing you had is probably more appropriate (Open passing lanes).”
(On the 19 balls that Tannehill got batted down in his last year at Texas A&M) –“There were only three of them that we thought were his fault. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. It was in the game the other day, no question, but the gentleman, (Texans Defensive End J.J.) Watt, has a history of knocking balls down. He’s pretty good at it; I think he had four. And a couple of them were on twists coming down, so the quarterback wouldn’t have seen them anyways. It’s definitely something we’re looking at hard, and checking where he’s putting his eyes. He’ll be better this week with that.”
(On whether there is something that the offensive line could do to help the situation) –“Yeah, most of the time I just put that on the quarterback; he has to find the passing lane. You know guys are a little bit taller in this league, a little bit bigger, windows are a little bit smaller, and these guys have a lot of range. So it’s just something that he has to work through, and he will. He’ll be much better this week. He hasn’t had a problem with it in practice. It has not been an issue, which you would think this would be a reoccurring issue in practice. If you talk to the defensive coaches and players, they didn’t see this as a problem until the other day. But (the Texans) defensive line coach, Bill Kollar, is known very well, is a great coach, and they do a good job of the minute they read three step, hands are going up. You have to give them part of the credit. We’ll take some of the blame, but you have to give them some of the credit on a job well done.”
(On whether all of the batted balls came on three-step drops, and whether there is something to that) –“I believe so, yeah. When you drop shorter, the ball comes out a little bit (quicker), your eyes get quicker to where your target is. It’s hard to look people off at that time. Yeah they were three-step, yup."
(On whether he thinks that Houston is better than the rest of the league at batting balls down) –“I think it’s something that we have to address. It’s not just going to go away. I give Houston a lot of credit for what they did, and they are very good at it. I don’t know if everybody else is as good, but I’m not going to say that we’re not going to get any balls tipped if we’re not playing Houston. There are other teams that will see what they did and try to do the same thing."
(On how far Ryan Tannehill has progressed) –“I think the next game will be huge for him. I think from the first game to the second game, for any team, its huge, especially for a young quarterback. One thing I know about Ryan, he corrects himself and he is accountable. ‘I can do that better,’ and he fixes things. That’s the thing that always sticks with me in regard to him. He’s very conscience of what he needs to work on and then he spends time working on it and tries to get it right. So I’ll take the blame for it; I should have prepped him better for this than I did. He’ll be much better next week.”
(On his sideline demeanor) – “Yeah he’s, ‘let’s get on to the next play.’ He has the attitude that you want from a quarterback. I’ve been around some quarterbacks that have some phenomenal ability, but they don’t have that resiliency, and they struggle. I’ve also been around guys that don’t have quite the ability but have the resiliency, and they survive and survive well. So you have to have that mindset that, ‘ok we’ll fix it and move on to the next play.’ So, you know he’s mad at himself, but he’s not desperate or in despair.”
(On the thought process behind running the ball before the end of the first half instead of taking a knee against the Texans) –“You’re talking about the fumble, are you talking about the pass? Ok, well whether it’s right or wrong, whether there’s 45 seconds on the clock, we could have taken a knee, you’re right. It probably would have been safer, we probably wouldn’t have turned the ball over, but with 45 seconds left you have a chance maybe to break a run, rally, and then take a shot at the end zone. So that was our thinking going into it. If it was 10 seconds, 10-12 seconds, then I probably say take a knee. Forty-five seconds in a football game and we had timeouts left too, we just figured if we broke one, then we could take a shot, and that would be the right thing to do. If we had done what we were supposed to do there and blocked it correctly, then it wouldn’t have even happened, but we didn’t and so we turned the ball over.”
(On the Texans game planning to bat the ball down against a short passing game typically used with young quarterbacks, and if it will be a challenge moving forward) –“I don’t think so, because I don’t think that we did an inordinate amount of short passes. I know I wanted to start the game that way, and those didn’t get tipped. But I’m sure that would be a good philosophy that they could have because they are great rushing the quarterback. Those ends were the best in the league last year at pressuring the quarterback and we definitely didn’t want to get him beat up or sacked early in the game. But it really wasn’t a problem until our fourth possession, which is when it really started to unfold. The first three possessions I think we were pretty clean on stuff.”
(On whether his offensive success with past teams is motivating him to improve this offense for next week’s game) – “Winning the game is the ultimate objective obviously. However you can win the football game, that’s what you’re shooting for, but on the offensive side of the coin, we certainly let our defense down. There were a number of good things that happened in the ball game. I thought that we were able to run the ball well early, and could have continued to run the ball if the game hadn’t changed on us the way it did with the turnovers. I felt like we could move the ball, but didn’t do well, when we had some opportunities. We had some field position, we had the ball in the red zone, but didn’t put the ball in the end zone, and that’s a big concern of mine, that we’re down there on a couple of occasions and didn’t score touchdowns. Even late in the game when the game was out of hand, we had an opportunity to put it in the end zone and we didn’t take advantage of that. So as a competitor, yeah it does bother me.”
(On Tannehill’s fourth-down throws when he didn’t throw the ball into the end zone)– “Well, they were smart. Wade (Phillips’) has been doing this a long time. He made some really good calls and we had to put people into the end zone in order to take a shot. At the same time, they had everybody playing a picket fence back there and didn’t give us the end zone shot. So he elected to check it down hoping that he could run it in and that didn’t happen. Probably next time, he moves his feet a little bit, pumps and then maybe just throws it into the end zone on fourth down.”
(On how troubling it was that Davone Bess was the only receiver to catch a ball until the fourth quarter)– “If I thought it was going to be a problem this year, I don’t think it will be a problem. I think more receivers, I think the preseason has shown that the ball’s going to be spread around quite a bit. I’m not overly concerned with that because we had other guy’s catching balls. Reggie (Bush) was catching balls. (Anthony) Fasano was catching balls. (Daniel) Thomas got a screen, big, big screen. I’m not overly concerned with that, but if it ends up being a pattern, it would definitely be a concern that the receivers aren’t catching the balls.”