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3 posts from September 25, 2013

September 25, 2013

Reasons for Tannehill's 14 sacks are everywhere

Ryan Tannehill has gotten sacked more than any other NFL quarterback and that really is not a sustainable statistic if the Dolphins are going to keep the most important offensive player healthy.

Tannehill, sacked 14 times in three games, knows this is a problem and says the Dolphins aren't happy about it.

"Well obviously you don’t want to be taking sacks, that’s a negative part of the game and you don’t want to be on the ground," Tannehill said. "I’m not concerned with it, I’m not thinking about it as I’m back there.  The situations where I need to get the ball out of my hands obviously I need to correct and either get the ball out or tuck it up and get back to the line of scrimmage as best I can.

"It’s not something we’re happy about right now, it’s something we’re looking at, we’re working on, but I’m not concerned with it, I have confidence in the guys in front of me.  They’re getting better, I’m hopefully getting better at the same time and we’ll hopefully see those numbers go down."

It's obvious the offensive line is responsible for protecting Tannehill. And so are the running backs and tight ends. But Tannehill knows he's responsible for keeping himself out of trouble either by getting rid of the football quicker or running out of trouble.

That's why he admits at least one sack against Atlanta on Sunday was on him.

"The one early in the game, the first drive, I definitely held the ball too long," he said. "It wasn’t playing out down field the way we thought it was going to, and I didn’t get rid of the ball in a situation I should have, so that one was definitely on me."

Here's a twist on the whole sack deal. Sometimes Miami's receivers aren't getting open. And sometimes the secondary is playing very well against the Dolhins.

" There was also some times when the coverage’s were just great down field, and I just wasn’t able to get the ball off, so I think it’s a combination of sometimes holding the ball too long and sometimes the other team doing a good job,” Tannehill said.

Latest on the injury front (with analysis)

The Dolphins are back at practice, preparing for New Orleans and with that practice it is becoming more evident what is going on with the team's injuries.

First the good news: Defensive end Cameron Wake (knee) is doing some light work so he is at least limited in practice today. Reports of him being out two-to-three weeks or longer are greatly exaggerated. He hopes to play Monday night against New Orleans.

That does not mean he will play against the Saints. But he is not today certain of missing the game. Wake is wearing a brace on his sprained knee.

If Wake can go, he'll still be somewhat limited. Expect a lot of snaps for Derrick Shelby and Dion Jordan. Obviously if Wake cannot go, both those youngsters will get even more snaps.

Now the other news: Paul Soliai, who missed last week's game with a knee injury, is also in the Nick Saban Memorial Bubble but he is not practicing at all today. He has been fitted with a brace. And despite that he is limping noticeably.

While he wants to play against the Saints, I seriously doubt he'll be able to do that. Seriously doubt it.

Cornerback Dimitri Patterson, who has missed the past two games with a groin injury, is also not practicing. His status for Monday night is also in serious question to the point I would doubt it.

The Dolphins are getting practice repetitions for rookies Jamar Taylor and Will Davis. Davis played last week while Taylor was inactive.

Finally, Koa Misi, who played less than two dozen snaps against Atlanta, is practicing today. He took part in all the portions of practice open to the media. He could be limited the rest of the way but it is looking good for him to be on the field Monday night.

Dolphins outscoring the AFC East

It was the turn of the century, in the year 2000, when the Dolphins won the AFC East with an 11-5 record. The team had four Pro Bowl players on defense. And on offense the team did something it hasn't done since.

It outscored the New England Patriots.

Since then for a dozen years New England has scored more points than the Dolphins -- until this year.

But right now, today, the Dolphins are averaging 24.7 points per game. The Patriots, an offensive juggernaut for a dozen years since Tom Brady took over at quarterback, are averaging 19.7 points per game.

And indeed the Dolphins are leading the division in scoring.

It might be a new day in the division.

This statistic speaks to the addition of talent the Dolphins got on offense this year. Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson are helping the passing game.

This statistic speaks to the maturation of talent the Dolphins drafted. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, tight end Charles Clay, and left tackle Jonathan Martin are playing well.

And, yes, the statistical fact speaks to a talent decline in New England. Aaron Hernandez is in jail. Rob Gronkowski hasn't played a snap. Wes Welker is in Denver. And Danny Amendola is injured, as he perpetually seems to be.

Tom Brady doesn't have the supporting talent he's had in the past. (It's like watching the 1996 Dolphins with Dan Marino and only one worthy wide out, O.J. McDuffie, a possession receiver).

But this statistic is also interesting because while the Patriots have played Tampa Bay and the Bills and the Jets -- none of them playoff teams a year ago -- the Dolphins have played two 2012 playoff qualifiers -- Indianapolis and Atlanta -- in two of their first three games.

Now, I recognize this is a small sample size. The season is still very young.

But I suggest the Miami offense has room to grow. The running game, mostly a non-factor so far, can get better. The combination of Tannehill to Wallace is still not quite comfortable for both players. The pass protection has been poor. Tannehill, while very good so far, could help by not holding the ball so long.

There is great room for improvement in Miami.

By the end of the year 24.7 points per game might be the Dolphins' output on a bad day.

All this is good news for the franchise. The truth is fans who grew up watching and expecting great offense every week when Marino was quarterback have been starved for good offense for nearly a dozen years.

Yes, the defense has often been very good.

But the offense has rarely been any good.

The Dolphins have had to win many 20-17 games in which they score only two TDs. It was unexciting.

This year the Dolphins have scored three touchdowns in two of their three games.

Progress. Perhaps a new day.