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Philbin confidence in short-yardage runs shaken

After early success with Jorvorskie Lane hulking into the line and picking up a couple of short-yardage first downs and even a TD, the Dolphins are officially struggling on short yardage runs of late.

They blew an opportunity to convert a third-and-1 Sunday. They've blown a couple of similar opportunities the previous two weeks.

So where is coach Joe Philbin's confidence when the team dials up a short-yardage run now?

"It's not very good," Philbin said Monday. "It's not very good. You look at the film, the film is not good to watch."

This says it all: After the Dolphins failed on a third-and-one run early Sunday, they faced three other third-and-one situations during the game. They passed on all of three.

The problem is there's a multitude of issues for the failures.

"It's a variety of things," Philbin said. "Sometimes penetration, sometimes read of the back, it's a combination thereof. Usually the things that affect runs are quick penetration and decisiveness running the ball or poor course or poor read. It's all those things. You throw on our tape for third-and-1 and you'll probably see all of that."

Philbin did not name names. But here's the issue on a personal level.

Daniel Thomas, at 228 pounds, is more a thoroughbred than a plowhorse. He's not really a move-the-pile on short yardage kind of guy -- at least he hasn't proven he is.

Reggie Bush isn't that guy either, although at 200 pounds, one wouldn't expect him to be.

Guard Richie Incognito and John Jerry along with center Mike Pouncey are fine when all is fair. But on third-and-one, the defense is expecting a run to attack the A-gap. The defense is stacked and ready. All is not fair. And when that has been the case, the Miami interior line hasn't consistently moved anyone backwards.

Well, how about wide runs?

That also hasn't been a solution because, well, Jonathan Martin needs to get a bit stronger and Jake Long doesn't seem as agile as he used to be. Also, the blocking out of Miami's tight ends has not been consistently good on such plays.

Lane, meanwhile, failed on a couple of attempts after showing promise early. Coaches have gone away from giving him the ball since those failures. The team did give him another opportunity on the first drive Sunday.

He failed.