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The troubles with Miami's running game decisions

I didn't like the Dolphins offensive play-calling in the fourth quarter on Sunday. As I wrote in my column today offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, with approval from coach Joe Philbin, abandoned the running game that had been working quite nicely for three quarters.

Sherman abandoned it when Miami was leading in the game. He did so to the tune of some eye-popping statistics for run-pass ratio. And then there was something that was not in the column that the Dolphins did that made it all the more puzzling:

Not only did Sherman go away from the running game which was working well and is the team's strength but when he did run the football I believe the Dolphins were giving it to the wrong guy.

I told you nearly a month ago how disappointed I've been with Daniel Thomas. Well, so far this season Thomas is the third-best of Miami's primary ballcarriers. The trouble with that is Miami has three primary ballcarriers -- Reggie Bush, Thomas and Lamar Miller.

And yesterday, after Reggie Bush went down with a minor knee injury, Thomas was summoned to take his place. And Thomas promptly fumbled. The fumble, by the way, is troubling because it's the second for Thomas in the regular season.

Two fumbles isn't a lot but when you've only played two games as Thomas has, the one-fumble-per-game average is not good.

Anyway, the fumble caused coaches to turn to Miller. And Miller was good. He was averaging 5.3 yards a carry during the game, including a 22-yard gain.

But then in the fourth quarter, for reasons coach Joe Philbin explained as normal substitution patterns to share the work as well as groupings substitutions, Thomas was back in the game. And Miller wasn't heard from again.

"That," Miller said with a shrug afterward, "is the coach's decision. I can't do anything about that."

True. But it's puzzling why it happened in light of the fact Thomas finished the game averaging 3.6 yards per carry, the lowest average of any of Miami's three ballcarriers.

Look, I get that Miller is a rookie and when you want to throw the ball, you go with the slighly more experienced Thomas as the pass protector. But otherwise, it seems pretty self evident that Miller is the better back.

He gets more production out of every carry on average and he does't fumble while Thomas obviously has.

What am I missing? Oh yeah, nothing. Miller is going to be better than Thomas in the future and, truth is, every statistic shows he's there now.

Obviously, the Miami coaching staff has a different opinion. They leaned more on Thomas on Sunday. Doesn't mean they are correct.

Comments

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I JUST want to be clear what some of you are saying. You're suggesting we need to replace Smith AND Clemmons for next year and I know you want a WR, a TE and a rushing LB. If Bush doesn't resign, then I think we need another running back from somewhere too. I'm not a big Smith fan by any means, but I'm telling you CBs are getting lit up all over the field. He's not actually as bas as some of you are indicating. He becomes a better CB with a better pass rush and better help at safety. Trust me.

Craig,

I thought Clemons played VERY well yesterday. He got beat on that one long play to Kerley but other than that he had a really good game. That INT in the end zone was a HUGE play in the game at that time.

Dolphins left three scoring chances on the field at least two FG's and Armstrongs dropped pass. Not to mention the pick six which is a rookie mistake, but all said and done dolphins should have won that game.

Craig, that's my hesitance too. Marshall isn't that big. He's ok, but nothing special. Smith at least has the height advantage over many receivers. And we can't replace the whole team. I'd rather try to get 1 CB (or else a S) next year, but more importantly a pass rusher. You're right though, TE/WR, maybe another RB, we've got positions to fill, can't create too many more (depending on who we re-sign or not).

ross is 2 cheap 2 hire a grounds crew.
lol. that field was an f'n mess and no deucheball there now to blame.

Revis out for the year. Suck_on it JETS fans

Craig M, Oline has played well in 3 games, unfornetley thats the only part of the team thats played well. What about the pass rush? Secondary? WR's core? How do they look?

Matty Ice = Best QB in football

Craig,

This is Smith's 4th season & he hasn't improved. That was the same problem with Henne. He looked good in his first season & then he never got better. At the NFL level you have to continue to get better every year or you will be replaced. Those are the facts.

bobby, that means the phins and jets wil be fighting for 1st over all and at the moment, phins have the edge.
lol

What confused me was they went 3 and a half quarters without throwing deep, then at the end of the game when they needed maybe 10 more yards (38 yard FG sounds a lot better than 48 yards), he takes a couple of shots in the end zone. Other than that a well played tough game. Tannehill was average, he had some dropped passes, but also had some overthrows. Also the need for a real number one receiver gets more and more glaring. They really need to put in Rishard Matthews, guarantee he will play well. He is like Orande Gadsen!

sherman = senile.

Posted by: Reality Check | September 24, 2012 at 12:14 PM

You are a Troll & I'm flattered, really.

DC, we weren't talking about the best defense. The topic was about secondaries.

Which was my point. The niners didn't get torched in the air. Also, try to weed out the troll impostering me.

hey, ya'll who bashed armando 4 saying if revis started the phins would lose, did ya'll take it back yet.?.
lol

hate that revis is out...

I want to beat teams @ there best....

BIT..

life goes on...its the NFL...

any status on Bush??

Craig M, Oline has played well in 3 games, unfornetley thats the only part of the team thats played well. What about the pass rush? Secondary? WR's core? How do they look?

Clue,

I think the lack of a pass rusher has been the killer. Too much time for Schaub, Palmer, & Sanchez to survey the field. Bear in mind that Palmer & Sanchez are two of the worst starting QB's in football so it proves my point that if you gives these guys QB's too much time--even the bad ones--they will find open receivers.

Bush tweeted he got "good news today" so maybe he didnt tear his ACL

What should we care about Miller pass blocking is we are going to have him runing with the ball.

Thomas' biggest contribution is juking Revis into an ACL tear

Reality Check, gotta have some faith bud. We knew this year was full of growing pains but about 20 million to spend on FAs next season should solve our OL or CB problems and then draft a WR for the future to match up with Tannehill and a CB or DE or at least a safety. This year is all about growing pains and we knew that. It's about preparing for the future...gotta start somewhere

"The MRI on Reggie Bush's left knee revealed no structural damage and he has not been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Cardinals."
Source: Adam Schefter on Twitter

BTW--Revis tore his ACL & is done for the year. Hate to see players get season ending injuries.

2 watt...

Thanks for reminding me....

Revis seemed to be a NON-FACTOR...and the true deciding FACTOR was Bush...and HIS injury....

with or without REVIS in the game...Tanne coudn't connect consistently...

but WITHOUT BUSH...our offence turned to a pile of garbage...

BUT....

Congrats to Armando for calling it right....

Clue,

Read my post from Schefter. Bush dodged a bullet. No tear & no structural damage.


sherman was a disaster at texas a and m. they blew 5 or 6 second half leads last year. sherman kept throwing the ball even when they were substantially ahead, and tannehill responded with game-changing interceptions. sherman was ultimately fired for losing to texas, their arch-rival, in the last game scheduled between the schools. in that game, a and m again had the lead, but tannehill threw two very costly intereceptions in their own territory. one of these was to jeff fuller. the point is, sherman has proven he doesn't know how to effectively protect a lead.

Posted by: austin | September 24, 2012 at 09:57 AM

I don't know specifically about this game, as I wasn't able to watch it, but overall this is accurate. I mentioned this eons ago when Sherman was first hired. I don't dislike Sherman, but he has some learning to do on how to win tough games. As does Tannehill, but he has the excuse of being a young rookie.
I trust Philbin, not Sherman.
Hopefully we learn and grow from this one.

Armando,

Miller does has so much more talent than Thomas. I would expect this coaching staff to begin playing Miller as the feature back until Bush returns. Why could the Dolphins not stop Santonio? Marshall the drum was on him! Does anyone really think that Vontae Davis would have given up as much yardage per catch or gotten flat out burned through most of the game the way Marshall did? Arstrong needs work but has the ability to burn a defense. The correct plays have to be run. He dropped one that might have been a TD but Holmes also dropped an easy catch. The difference was the Jets kept going back to Holmes with the drum (Marshall) on him.

Thanks Clue....

Man Bush has looked great this year. By far the best he's looked since he got drafted. Now teach Thomas & Miller how to be pros.

Good news on Bush, and good news on Revis (hey, any way you can get an advantage).

Reality Check,

I'm a 'homer' but I predicted before the season the team would go 4-12. Try to keep up, son.

Kris @12:26pm....LOL. Good one!

Miami20, someone was impostering me earlier. I am not doom & gloom. Just calling somethings as I see them.

The 20 million you mention however is not alot, it's actually very very small when you factor in the current needs & the needs that will be created from impending UFA's.

This team can't afford to lose Bush, Long, Starks, Hartline, McDaniel, Fields, Fasano & Smith on top of the holes we already have.

Factor in Dansby is going to be an issue as well & Burnett is getting up in age.

When you look at the holes & the players to resign, $20 is not NEARLY enough unless players want to play here for less.

Reality Check,

I'm also the guy who predicted the Jets would win 24-13 yesterday. But yeah you're right, I'm a 'homer'.

Reality Check,
I'm a 'homer' but I predicted before the season the team would go 4-12. Try to keep up, son.
Posted by: Craig M | September 24, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Have you been accused of being gullable?

Perhaps you should have noticed that I called out that person for hijacking my name.

As someone said earlier, you're a tad sensitive to ANYTHING said to you.

Read between the lines a lil. I was having a civil convo with DC Dolfan & someone up & started insulting people with my name.

1+1 = 2

JS....

while the game is live....you can go to

firstrowsports.eu

then click A.M. Football (American Football)...

then find the game you want to watch....

Its free....just got to put up with some adds...yesterdays game was excellent...and almost real time....

I'm going to continue crowing about this as long as Ireland is still GM.
We traded up in the draft to get Thomas, BYPASSING DeMarco Murray which Dallas snatched a few picks later.
Murray was higher rated on everyone's board, and a similar running style, except just freaking better.
So when everyone tries to defend Ireland and says he brought in some decent players - ...
We have some decent players, other teams get stars.
Ok, my rant is done for the day.

Reality Check,
I'm also the guy who predicted the Jets would win 24-13 yesterday. But yeah you're right, I'm a 'homer'.

Posted by: Craig M | September 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM

You also continue to talk out of yer as* if you haven't deduced someone was hijkacking my name.

BTW, why is it always about you? You take everything way overboard.

Jeez!

Promichael,

You don't know what you're talking about. First of all Marshall BEAT out Vontae for the starting job. Secondly if you give Sanchez time he's going to find his best player. Marshall played his a## off, had a INT, & didn't allow Holmes to score a TD. Smith was struggling badly with his coverage on Hill who is a rookie & Schillens who both dropped EASY TD passes.

Kris, I know, thanks. I actually sent that link out to you guys weeks ago :razz:

Just had others things to attend to. Life happens.

Got it JS....

We Have RB's,

We mentioned this last week but it's funny how different people can view the same player differently. You thought Clemmons played 'VERY well yesterday'. Geez, we definitely watched differently games. I think if you isolated on Clemmons, you would see that he gave too much of a cushion underneath and was key to the Jets getting their 65 yard play. He was out of position again and was the guy that missed the assignment. He can also be seen as the 3rd or 4th guy behind the tackle, trailing, as he usually is. Yeah he had an INT but so what.

I think you answered your own question about Smith earlier WHRB, if the pass rush was better, Smith would be better. If you feel the pass rush has regressed this year, as most of us do, then I think it's fair to say that there's no way Smith could be better this year as a result. Jones is actually playing very well but he's doing much more at the safety position than he should have to do.

Craig,

Don't take ANY of these trolls seriously. They're flat-out pathetic.

Luckily you weren't on here during the game yesterday. Some of these so-called "fans" are the most negative, little biotches (like that weasel that went up to Ireland) I have ever come across. They harp on every single mistake, all game long. I don't see how Mando hasn't blown his brains out from these whiners.

Reality Check,
I'm also the guy who predicted the Jets would win 24-13 yesterday. But yeah you're right, I'm a 'homer'.

Posted by: Craig M | September 24, 2012 at 12:32 PM

You also continue to talk out of yer as* if you haven't deduced someone was hijkacking my name.

BTW, why is it always about you? You take everything way overboard.

Jeez!

Posted by: Reality Check | September 24, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Don't expect an apology from that boob either. He's never wrong about ANYTHING!

I have to agree with Craig on this one. Clemmons is still a liability, he missed a sack on Sanchez when Sanchez spun out of the sack and barley missed a TD. He also didnt intercept a overthrown ball thrown to Holmes which a respectable S would. Lets not also forget he got juked out of his shoes on the 65 yarder. He picked a ball thrown right to him if he dropped that he shouldnt even be in the league

WHRB,

I learned a long time ago not to come here during the games. You're right the negativity is unblievable.

The facts are the team playing heard yesterday and lost a tough one in the end. There were some encouraging signs. No we're not close to any Super Bowls right now but I believe Philbin has this team heading in the right direction.

Clue, Just saw your response, 1st I think I see his knees down on the replay personally, but 2nd, My comment is based of one the player personel assistants that work for the PATS. He was standing at about the 30 yard line and text me 20 mins after and told me they got a break because he was down. I also know the dolphins player personel peeps, they graduated from my college. :) But I do not talk to them at all, not friends with them. which sucks because they get good seats in Miami

"We mentioned this last week but it's funny how different people can view the same player differently. You thought Clemmons played 'VERY well yesterday'. Geez, we definitely watched differently games. I think if you isolated on Clemmons, you would see that he gave too much of a cushion underneath and was key to the Jets getting their 65 yard play. He was out of position again and was the guy that missed the assignment. He can also be seen as the 3rd or 4th guy behind the tackle, trailing, as he usually is. Yeah he had an INT but so what.

I think you answered your own question about Smith earlier WHRB, if the pass rush was better, Smith would be better. If you feel the pass rush has regressed this year, as most of us do, then I think it's fair to say that there's no way Smith could be better this year as a result. Jones is actually playing very well but he's doing much more at the safety position than he should have to do."

Craig,

Clemons got beat on the Curley play but it's hard to negate an INT in the endzone, the six solo tackles, & one pass defensed. I thought it was Clemons best game as a Dolphin & Jones continues to impress @ FS.

The pass rush has sucked so far this year. That's a fact. Other than the sack Odrick had we didn't close the deal on Sanchez or even force him out the pocket where he tends to make mistakes.

BTW--Turnovers are game changing plays. When Smith starts forcing them then I'll give him a pass.

Craig M & Coalition Tool have the routine down.

If they disagree with you, you're a troll

If you mention something factual, yet it's negative in nature, you're a Jets fan.

If you post something & they misinterpert it(Common) they start name calling & black listing your name on the blog.

If you haven't guessed, they want to censor you all to have the blog to themselves.

This has been a paid, public service announcement.

DANIEL THOMAS HAS FUMBLEITIS... He has a history dating back from last year and his funbles hurt more than most.. He needs to be cut ASAP and bring in someone to compliment Bush, and Miller...
Watching the game I had just told my friend that Thomas had fumbleitis and he promptly fumbled after I said it.. He needs to go now before he costs us again.

"I learned a long time ago not to come here during the games. You're right the negativity is unblievable.

The facts are the team playing heard yesterday and lost a tough one in the end. There were some encouraging signs. No we're not close to any Super Bowls right now but I believe Philbin has this team heading in the right direction."

I agree with you & Sunday was definitely a horrible experience on this blog. During the first half I was SHOCKED out how well we were playing. I can't say that I saw us play like that at home during the Sparano/FG era. LOL!!!

WHRBs,

We'll agree to disagree. Clemmons is a liability. I don't see what you saw yesterday in him. He's a non-factor and very often big plays happen because of him.

I'm not going to beat it to death but he's the weak link on defence right now.

Yeah Lumpkin. Let's just cut Thomas already. That's the answer to all of the team's problems....F#cking retard.

Craig M, did you enjoy posting to my troll at 12:29 & 12:32? After I exposed him at 12:22?

You could have saved yourself time had you just read a little instead of being quick to type.

Knowledge is power.

Armando - your analysis is spot on. You need to press Philbin and Sherman for answers to why the play calling was so bad in the 4th quarter, and why they didn't use the guy (Miller) who was running better.

Craig M , the weak link on the defense is the Pass Rush, look at the Giants, a QB cant drop back for more than 3 seconds without. JPP, Tuck, Osi, in there face jeez cant we make a trade for one of there d lineman?

who else puked when spazano was fist pumping and chest thumping.
what an f'n buffoon.
lol

WHRB, what about cutting Carpenter, kickers are dime a dozens.

lol

reality noone cares your a turd.

Clue,

Good point about the pass rush. I may indeed by the pass rush. I was just calling out one of the eleven guys that play defence, as being our weak link. I'll agree with you that pass rush is very weak. But then again, we knew that coming into the season. I commented on it on here many times. It's why some of us were calling for the team to draft a guy like Colpes to help Wake out. Coples may not turn out to be that guy but there was need there for that. Looking back, with a limited cap, and a huge need at QB and RT, I think Ireland did all he good under the circumstances. Pass rush next year and let's see what the kid from UM brings to the table.

danny pops around with many different names. Rich attorney's can do that!!

Hi guys, i'm new here,what's the MO?.

Mando,allof us around the table at the sports bar were screaming the same thing.Wht did the Fins abandon the run and why give the carries to "fumblina"Thomas instead of Miller?The coaches deserve this loss!

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