« Dolphins fear worst as Long MRI Monday | Main | Special teams negatively affecting chance to win »

Some curious coaching decisions on Sunday

I do not blame the Dolphins defense for Sunday's loss. I do not blame the coaching. I don't blame the special teams even though they cost the Dolphins points. I put the blame for Sunday's loss to the New England Patriots squarely on the collective shoulders of the Dolphins offense and its paltry touchdown production.

Ryan Tannehill cannot blow two easy TD throws as he did when Brian Hartline twice got behind the New England defense. Can't happen. I'll have more on that later.

But having said all that, I do see some curious work being done by the coaching staff.

My first issue is the manner in which the Dolphins use their running backs:

I do not understand the love affair with Daniel Thomas. I do not understand the underuse of Reggie Bush. I do not understand or like the shelving of Lamar Miller.

Firstly, let us establish that Bush is Miami's most productive running back. He averages 4.4 yards per carry and he gets the most carries practically every game. But why only a dozen carries or so?

Through 12 games Bush is averaging 13.75 carries a game. That's one carry less per game than last year on average so that doesn't seem to matter, but the thing that bothers me is there seems to be no room made for feeding the hot back and keeping the cold guy on the bench.

Yesterday, Bush was running well. He was averaging a healthy 4.3 yards per carry. Thomas was averaging 2.0 yards per carry. Yet, on several occasions, Bush came out and Thomas got to tote the football.

By the time the game was over, Thomas had five carries for 10 yards. Oh yeah, he also blocked the wrong guy on a blitz inside the red zone and it nearly got Ryan Tannehill broken in two. Nonetheless, the Dolphins insist Thomas is the next guy up and they continue to feed him when his stats suggest he is not on par with Bush while playing behind the same offensive line, in the same condidtions, in the same games, against the same opponents.

This year Thomas has gained 3.6 yards per carry. That's almost a yard less per carry than Bush.

Look, I'm not saying shelve Thomas. He has a place in the offense. But when things aren't working for him, or when the game situation dictates Bush is doing better, give Bush the carries Thomas would ordinarily get. Trust me, Bush isn't tired. He's in better shape than practically every guy on the team and he's healthy.

Then, of course, we have the continued non-use of Miller. I would understand not giving Bush enough carries if you're spreading them out to a guy who has proven in college that he can be dynamic. That is Miller. He was a 50-yard TD run waiting to happen at the University of Miami.

Yet, he is usually inactive and even when he is active -- like yesterday -- he often does not get any carries.

What makes Thomas better than Miller? Oh yeah, nothing. If he's missing blitzers, if he's averaging 2-yards a carry, what is the point?

And, with the season in its final month, why not trot out Miller more? Give him work. Let's see what he's got.

My point? Either ride Reggie Bush more or split the carries between Bush and Miller. Thomas? To me, he's running third in a three-horse race. To Miami coaches, he's a close second. I don't get it.

I also don't get the coaching decision on Cameron Wake in the final quarter.

With 8:28 to play and the Patriots protecting a tenuous 20-13 lead, New England got the ball at their own 20 yard line. Cameron Wake was on the Miami sideline -- not injured, not tired, standing by coaches with his helmet on waiting to be let in the game.

Then the Patriots ran off eight plays and churned three first downs with Wake on the sideline. Then Miami called a time out. And Wake remained on the sideline. Then New England ran two more plays, putting them at the Miami 18 yard line. And Wake was still on the sideline.

Finally, Miami called another time out and Wake was sent back in the game.

So at a pivotal juncture the Dolphins had their most productive defensive player on the sideline as the Patriots marched 62 yards and took over four minutes off the clock.

“They were running the ball," Philbin said, explaining the reason Wake wasn't playing. "We have a play count that we want to keep guys to [in order] to keep guys fresh."

Three things:

So a hard-and-fast play count determined in an air conditioned room during the week supercedes in-game situational needs that is before your eyes on the field on Sunday? 

Also, keep them fresh for what? The fifth quarter? Next week? Next year? It's the last chance the Dolphins had to stop New England. Try to do it with your best players on the field.

Also, the Patriots passed the ball during the drive. Brady completed passes of 8, 6 and 10 yards before Wake got back in the game. Think maybe Wake, among the league leaders in sacks, might have provided a bit more pressure on those plays?

[UPDATE: Philbin was questioned about having Wake on the sideline again during his noon Monday press conference. He repeated that the team has a plan about keeping players fresh and having a snap count for each player and that was the reason Wake was out. Asked if he sticks by that decision, Philbin said yes.]

Look, I think the Miami coaching staff generally is doing a good job with a flawed roster. They get it absolutely right about 85 percent of the time.

But turning Cameron Wake into a spectator in the fourth quarter when the game's on the line? Not using Reggie Bush or Lamar Miller more? Using Daniel Thomas like he's really good?

That's part of the 15 percent.



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

...I really want to go on an Ireland rant this morning. I won't as I swore not to talk about his future until after the season.

The way this team plays offense it is impossible to beat good teams if we make mistakes like yesterday. I think the Phins D was the reason the Pats had an off day. It wasn't just a NE letdown. But when we ambsush the punter, when we hold on first down, when you miss assignments in the red zone(D. Thomas, who in his defense is a running back, and that was a delayed blitz. The decisions happen in a split second..That was a play where we were outcoached. No doubt IMO)

Anyway..Back to my point. There is rarely an occasion that a team plays a perfect game. Where there aren't mistakes here and there. Where there are blown coverages. Where New England Tight ends always seem to be open, where there are roughing penalties. These things happen. When your offense is as incompetant as ours, it makes winning games a difficult task. Yesterday was a game ripe for the taking..We had their number, we really did. To bad the offense was absent once again.

This coaching staff is pure, unmitigated *garbage*.


End of story.

Dont forget the fins already have an extra 2 from the colts and an extra 3 from bears.

The probblem with Jerry and Incongnito is both though 2 fat azzess cant block on the second level. The LBers of opposing teams are always roaming free. Wilfork made Incongnito look like a b i t c h on Sunday

Good point Craig, actually great point. Ireland was charged with building a big plodding team and is now being blamed for not getting speed guys in one offseason for a new offense. Fair enough.

And in the same sense I understand what Philbin is doing and dont blame him for not designing an offense to fit the current players. He understands that the Parcells/Sparano/Henning built offense is a relic that cant succeed in the new nfl.

Im still scared if Ireland stays he wont get us a wr or te and that is HUGE.

I am with Slam @ 11:18 on this one, fortunately the game was broadcasted in Mexico. In many times Bush was tackled behind the line while he dances, after an inactivity lapse, he attacks the hole right away, with better results.

Yah, the offense still isn't clicking, but SPECIAL TEAMS OMG ... how amazing is it that, even with our plodding offense, we *still* could've won that game if not for the spectacular failures of our special-teams and their coaching?

A properly coached player does NOT charge straight into a defenseless punter. No way do you lay that just on the player.

Tannehill's got to mature (and get some better WRs); the running game and QB protection need work; but most of all, we don't need the special teams to be losing the game for us.


Agreed. But I believe this is Philin's team now. Ireland is here to work in TANDEM with Philbin to get him the help he needds. If they don't get it right they will BOTH be out of a job at some point.

Right now I'm hoping for a top ten pick and some really good talent to get added this offseason. I'll be open to the idea of moving on without Long but it will depend on how Martin plays at LT, what kind of money Long will be looking for and just how many holes we'll have to continue to fill going forward.

...OK B.S. @ 12:15..How quick you guys forget. I can talk about years past with this chuckle head GM..

Go back and read this same freekin blog 2 seasons ago..I remember it as if it were yesterday..Sparano and Ireland both looking to add more team speed. This started much earlier then now. This is a pathetic attempt to throw a subterfuge as an out for Boy Wonder, and it does not fly. Go back and read the archives if you dont believe me. But the article has Ireland himself saying that he and Sparano both recognized that the team was in dire need of more team speed. This is 2000 freekin 10..

Even then if you want to say that the team already had it's blueprint drawn by Parcels and we were committed to this or that fine..But Ireland was part of the process that was the hiring of Philbin. At some point in this interview process the subject of player type had to come up..If indeed it is speed players Philbin wants(WE dont even know this many just assume)..Ireland did NOTHING..Again NOTHING to accomidate the type of player you guys are claiming Philbin wants..It is a joke.

everyone has to understand that this team is rebuilding. Its a good sign that they are even competitive with a top notch team. that means they have a pretty good foundation but obviously they have to play a perfect game to beat a top notch team. its really really hard to play a perfect game. And btw,New England didnt have an off game yesterday they were the hottest team in the nfl coming into the game. THe fins defense balled out yesterday.


Who is you wish Ireland had added? Gaping hole at QB and RT. Should he not have addressed those needs? Lamaar Miller fits the bill.

No money to spend in FA? What or who were you looking for? Not getting your post.


In Other Words. Philbin Is Treating These Games Like A Scrimmage!

I Give Philbin This. He had me Fooled For Half The Season.

But The Fins Are Tanking it. Rightfully So!

In your whole diatribe you forgot to mention how well Thigpin runs. And I would love to see Miller and Thigpen in the same game.

Craig M, stop the silly charade!

You don't get or understand any post that thrases Ireland justifiably!

DD, don't bother with a retort. This blob is on Ireland's payroll!

Craig Darryl just made some great points to counter in the debate. I have to say I do remember them talking about getting speedier players Darryl. But the offensive blueprint didn't change imo. I think they were looking for backs and wrs. Im more talking about olinmen who can play in a zone scheme. When I say big and plodding im talking oline. I completely agree with you on wrs, Ireland has failed with that as well as tight ends. I think Craigs point is that he has Philbin to work with now on that front and hes hoping his influence will yield results.

Great debates today guys!

Philbin was desperate enough to take the job. None of the name or respected coaches with experience would coach with Ireland running the show.

BS @ 12:15 INDEED.....

If you believe that post...then I guess you're also staying up on DEC 25th and waiting for Santa Clause to come down you're chimney....

Ireland was CHARGED with building a WINNING football team....that's his job description.....

The Ravens are a plodding football team...WITH SPEED.....

The Steelers are a plodding football team.....with SPEED.....

The 49ers are a plodding football team...with SPEED....

The Texans are a plodding football team....with SPEED.....

all of those teams have come to prominence in the NFL since the FINS have been in they're LEAN years.....with possibly the exception being the Steelers....

Ireland built a DISPROPORTIONATE team.....that may be true...but to imply he did what he was asked to due is a sraight-up falsehood.....

..Craig. M. First off I don't know for fact that speed guys are exactly what Phibin wants. This is fair yes? 2. The reason we had no money to spend on free agents is the long list of dead money this team owes on poor contracts. So yes you are right, we had no money to go after much. The reason is that the GM has mismanaged the contracts and got us into this position.

This doesn't answer your question I know. I could sit here and name names, Give you some list of players I thought we should have signed. It doesn't matter. The issue is that the general managers job is to place the talent on the team. We don't have enough now, it is unlikely that we will have enough next year. So what is the point? How long do we deal with this charade? This next offseason is HUGE..IMO the most important in this teams last 5 years. Ireland will most likely be the guy responsible for getting this right. I don't trust him one bit..Not one, and it scares me as a Phin fan that he will have his hands on the decisions.

True Slam. The funny thing is reporters and coaches were talking about yesterdays game being a guage to how the team has progressed since being blown away by the Texans. The Phins had the Pats close, certainly wasnt a blow out. Thats progress from where they were, I expected a 20 point loss again.

Thomas is a bust. And we traded up for him....

They have too many running plays on 1st down but when they attempt to pass, RT too often looks deep instead of taking the easy underneath stuff.

In Ireland ignorant people trust.

I would argue that special team is as much to blame. They have been horrible since the Jets game - giving up a couple of returns for TDs. The Pats 2 TDs came off of Field and Wilson's mistakes.

Re. Bush: I may be in the minority, but I would argue to give him a contract extension. He's the most solid RB and weapon we have. Why give up a solid thing over the possible potentials of Thomas and Miller?

I'm guessing Long's tenure will rest on how well Martin performs at LT.

True Patriots always get favorable calls which were the difference, cost us AT LEAST 10 points.
-Reshad INT return for TD called OVernon for low block, replay showed he his linemen waist high(7 pts instead of 3)
-Tannehill facemask - 15 yds penalty put us in FG position instead of punt(3pts)
-Dansby BS pass interference led to FG(3 pts)
-3 or 4 times NE was short of chains by half yard or so and they were given 1st down instead of 3rd and inches.
-Patriots WRs use pick plays to get Hernandez open or for WR screens and it doesnt get called.
Patriots are great team but if you play against them AND the refs it's almos impossible.
I have TIVO, all this is true.

Post at 12:33 why do you have to ruin every debate? Was it necessary to belittle someone because you dont agree with their opinion. Just disagree and state your counter. Time to grow up and act like a man.

yes sir. and they have signs of imporvement. The drive tannehill had before the half was huge to make it a one score game. Like I said they now have a foundation but need a couple of more guys to take them to the next level(especially on offence). Get the line shored up, add another receiver and an athletic tight end and the dolphins will be a playoff team.

See, a great point made at 12:35 ruined with your condescending sign in name. Most people probably skimmed right over it but it was a good point.

Slam @ 12:25.....

I don't think that you can gauge the FINS play against a division rival as a measuring stick.....

Its a DIVISION game....one team has DOMINATED the DIVISION to the point that they are BORED playing AFC EAST opponets....and the other usually has they;re season ended by mid OCT....

care to guess which team is which.....

Belicheats record against the AFC EAST...58-15......58-15.....58-15....

let that sink in for a bit....

do you think they were up for this game....if they didn't win the DIVISION yesterday....they would have won it in the next week or two.....WE were the team playing for our SEASON.....and offense was horrible....

I think our measuring stick was against teams on par with us.....bills....Cards.....Tennessee....jets....

and we came up short against ALL of those teams on OUR level....equal playing feild.....

UNTIL we can CONSISTENTLY beat the AVERAGE to BAD teams.....we shouldn't even consider the UPPER ECHELON teams....

of course they were up for the game they clinched the Afc east title yesterday. they are playing for a bye in the playoffs. See thats how good teams think buddy.

Post at 12:33 why do you have to ruin every debate? Was it necessary to belittle someone because you dont agree with their opinion. Just disagree and state your counter. Time to grow up and act like a man.

Posted by: Phins78 | December 03, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Do you have a problem with the truth or the facts? I didn't state 1 thing that isn't true.

I tell it like it is. My sign in name is irrelvant.

A lot of you guys want to live in the past and carry grudges. Fair enough but that's not how I work. I live in the present and look towards the future. DU, I couldn't give a F*CK what you think about me or how I operate. I've done fine on this planet for 45 years, without ANY help from you, thank God!

DD, to your point, 'Ireland did nothing to help Philbin'. That's what you called me and Phins78 out on. What I'm saying is, what is it you wish he would have done? Never mind the Parcells years or anything else. We're talking about Philbin and going forward, cause that's what you called us out on. I believe for this year's draft and FA, the BEST plan is Philbin and Ireland. DUH and whoever else doesn't like it, good for you! I'm a fan of this team and that's what I want going forward. The caveat is, if Ireland fails to make this team better next year then all bets are off.

Again, if you expected more this year you're delusional!

Hey, Philbin: just admit that you really messed up on shelving Wake. Wake was on a roll, for crying out loud! You can't justify keeping him fresh when you call all 3 timeouts before 2 min. You lose so much credibility and fans' support when you try to defend the indefensible.



He Signed Bush. Drafted Miller And Signed Thigpen! So The RB's Are Faster!

The QB is Faster! WAY FASTER!

The Center Is Faster! The New RT is Faster!

Drafted Clay and Egnew! So he EVEN Added Speed To the TE Position!

Heck Even J.Lane Is Faster Than Polite!!

Now DO WE NEED 1 DYNAMIC WR! YES!!(L.Fitzgerald)

More Speed at WR! YES!! But he did Try a 4th Last Year ON Gates. And Tried 8-5 for the Minimum This Year!(And The Gates Pick Looks To be On Sporano Not Ireland)

But The Overall Team Speed! Has Gone Way Up! THE LAST 2 YEARS!


The Defense is Going from a 3-4! To a More 4-3 Cover 2!

The Defense Needs To Get Faster! Faster LB's! Faster CB's!

And Even There Ireland Is Making This Team Faster! Gone are The Slow 3-4 DE's! In Are 4-3 DE's. And We Have 3 Speed Rushers! 2 Of Which are Rookies. And Odrick Is Fast for a DT!

Hey, Philbin: just admit that you really messed up on shelving Wake. Wake was on a roll, for crying out loud! You lose so much credibility and fans' support when you try to defend the indefensible.


they have won the AFC EAST 9 out of 10 years.....its like the SUN rising in the EAST...and setting in the WEST......

They expected to beat us....the MARGIN is a NON-FACTOR to the Pats....

Moral victories are for the FINS and the FIN FANS.....

the Patriots measure success by playoff/SB wins.....

and you forgot seattle, cincinnati who are playoff teams.

Playing GM at my work desk in lunchtime:
-let Long go, use the money on #1 WR or #1 TE + 3rd round compensation pick,
-Resign everybody else.
-Need pulling guard and RT
-Need starting safety to replace Clemons or compete, not these jokes they brought in this year.
-Need starting CB in FA or draft.
-Need another pass rush DE or LB or 2
-let go of Bush, play Miller, Thomas & Thigpen at RB.
-Need another coverage LB.
-Resign Dansby at less money, dude can play, Burnett as well.
Ireland is actually doing pretty well, Philbin not perfect but good, team is in right path.

No need complaining I think all the same people are on board for more than this year.Ireland,Philbin,Sherman etc.

Its a good sign that they are even competitive with a top notch team.

Posted by: Slam

... And really, yeah, that's all I went into the game hoping for: that we didn't disgrace ourselves like the Colts and the Jets in the past 2 N.E. games. By that standard, we did pretty well - thanks, Defense!

It just is painful to realize we could've actually won. I hope we look better in Foxboro.

No need complaining I think all the same people are on board for more than this year.Ireland,Philbin,Sherman etc.

Your an immature person who can't have an adult conversation without resorting to insults.

Have a problem with the truth? Im just telling it like it is. Time to change names again bud, back to the drawing board for you.

Keeping Wake fresh for what? Dressing Miller and not giving him a look, why? Pass pro? Who cares if he's going to run? Tanny missing Hartline wide open behind the D? No excuse.
Keeping Odrick & Wake on the sideline on a NE drive while we are one score away? WTF.

Mando, you hit the preverbal nail on the head my friend. I had all of the same questions in my mind. Thomas shouldn't be getting the reps he gets period. Bush and Miller should be 1 and 2. Sidelining Wake because of a play count is ridiculous any way you look at it...we needed a stop. Maybe Wake gets a sack fumble and gives us a chance to win or tie...terrible decisions on the coaching end of things. Ride Bush !!!

No need complaining I think all the same people are on board for more than this year.Ireland,Philbin,Sherman etc.

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/dolphins_in_depth/2012/12/some-curious-coaching-decisions-on-sunday.html#storylink=cpy

Just wait, when Ireland flops next year, you know who will be saying it takes 3 years before you can judge a draft class & Ireland deserves more time.

Bank on it!

Anyone care to guess who that schlep may be?

You guys want a new GM after what I think was a very good draft in April, fine. But be prepared for more change. Expect the GM to have HIS people in place, not the ones that are already in place. It's musical chairs ALL OVER AGAIN.

4-12, that's what I expected this year. Is that good? Of course not. Took us a while to get out of this thing, going to take some time to turn it around.

Btw Kris, the guy you hate so much, Jeff Fisher, now has his team with a better record than ours, at 5-6-1. He's taken 3 points off of the Niners this year and that's not all bad. I believe they were 2-12 last year and we were 6-10 and they have future first round picks ahead. So he's not all bad.

Dashi....good post @ 12:51....you HIGHLIGHT what Ireland is trying to do.....

Slam...good point @ 12:51....i'll buy that.....

I dont understand how Thomas who fumbles still plays, but Reggie fumbles once and gets benched for the whole half. They need to stop sucking Thomas so hard cause he isnt good.

Your an immature person who can't have an adult conversation without resorting to insults.

Have a problem with the truth? Im just telling it like it is. Time to change names again bud, back to the drawing board for you.

Posted by: Phins78 | December 03, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Why would I change my name? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Boy, you think you're something dontcya?

Yep, your comeback sure made me revisit myself!

Lemme go change my name now to hide n shame of you...


And as usual DUH you have trouble differentiating between facts and opinions. Your post at 12:33 is based purely on opinion. Please stop reporting your opinions as facts, that may work with mommy and daddy but Im obviously smarter than them.

At the end of the year, it's all up to Ross.

ROSS WAS EXPECTING A PLAYOFF YEAR. Fans know it. Coaches know it. Players know it. FO knows it.

Every other person in the world can say that this is a rebuilding/throwaway/whatever year but Ross was expecting playoffs this year based upon the 6-3 finish last year. PERIOD.

Will Ross DO SOMETHING about it, is the question.

DUH, (or whatever other names you're using),

I'm already on record as saying it's success or bust next year for Ireland. I like my plan a Hell of a lot better than your plan, which for the record, nobody has ever seen. Kind of hard to be wrong when you never actually tell anyone what YOUR plan is.

I after watching this high powered offense feel like we are still with Sparano and Co. The play calling by all the coaches is bewildering...lack of run, Wake on the sideline CB's way off WR...Man we seem to be off the charts in allowing opposing 3rd downs...sticking with Tannehill as the starter (let him learn on the bench)..Good article

DUH just made it to the ignore list. Time to talk around him until he changes his name and tries again. Too bad, oh well

Those decisions remind me a lot of Sparano's horrible ideas. And look at that, same result, another loss. Things like this is why we haven't gotten a lot of good players wanting to play here in Miami. Do you think bush would be excited to come back next year getting pulled for Thomas all the time? No. We have got to have good coaching decisions to win games and keep players wanting to stay here, and future players to want to come to miami.

And as usual DUH you have trouble differentiating between facts and opinions. Your post at 12:33 is based purely on opinion. Please stop reporting your opinions as facts, that may work with mommy and daddy but Im obviously smarter than them.

Posted by: Phins78 | December 03, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Ask Clue to sell you one bro because, you're oblivious.

Either he is on Ireland's payrool or he is protecting his lower.

Either way = you both fail.

Craig M....

I'm VERY impressed with Fisher's hard nosed play against the 49ers....but again....creme of the crop Vs. Bottom of the Barrel match-up......in the DIVISION....

One team is all HYPED UP like its home-comming.....one team just wants to get out of the game with no significant injuries.....

Let me ask you this Craig M....

Now that we see RG3 is completing 80% of his passes...and has the SKINS in playoff contention (BIG GAME TONIGHT)....do you think Fisher wish he had it to do over....

DUH (and your aliases),

You're the Mitt Romney of this blog. You attack people because they have a different opinion than you but you offer nothing as to what you would do going forward. You're afraid to commit to what you think the plan should be and then it shifts to meet your argument.

It's why you're now spending your retirement years pushing your grandchildren on the swings and playing backgammon with your cronnies, while Obama makes all the important decisons over the next four years.

Also why did we not attack the edge more with jones out? Bush had most of his success running outside on them. Wilfork had the middle filled all game. Seemed pretty obvious to me theat we are quicker than their line should have been exposed more in my opinion. But I'm not a coach. I also think this game was well within our grasp to win but you cannot beat the patriots with field goals. Haven't been able to for a good 13 years now ask any of our former coaches who tried to play them like we did yesterday, It doesn't work.

Yeah one last thing... Ireland still needs to get fired...he's holding us back as a team.

DUH, (or whatever other names you're using),

I'm already on record as saying it's success or bust next year for Ireland. I like my plan a Hell of a lot better than your plan, which for the record, nobody has ever seen. Kind of hard to be wrong when you never actually tell anyone what YOUR plan is.

Posted by: Craig M | December 03, 2012 at 12:59 PM

You're plan is to keep sucking with Ireland at the helm. Status quo!

My plan is to have him replaced 2 years ago. With anyone from the Steelers or Ravens management tree.

I have no plan but, you do? Going with the status quo isn't a plan you invilid!

LMAO Gosh, what do they put in the water in Canada!

« 1 2 3 4 »

The comments to this entry are closed.