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Bunch of thoughts about ... running the football

Normally I try to give you a clear and cogent theme on blog posts and try to do it in a logical manner that connects the dots so as to make sense.

Not this morning.

This post is about the Dolphins running game and that's as much as I can tell you. It's going to jump around. It's not going to flow. It's going to be like a stream of consciousness that perhaps makes sense only to me.

Thoughts:

1. The Dolphins could not run the footballagainst the Cleveland Browns on Sunday and so today they are ranked No. 32 (last) in the NFL running the ball. So who's at fault? The offensive line, first, because there was no daylight. The Cleveland front seven, which I believe will prove itself to be formidable this year. The Dolphins running backs, who didn't make anyone miss or run through anyone. And finally, Miami's coaches who had no schematic answer to the Browns other than throw the football.

2. Talking to Lamar Miller on Tuesday, he's applying himself to watching more tape to get better this week. From that tape study he said the Colts are "pretty much the same front we played last week but faster." Well, that's not good news.

3. Miller said aside from watching more film this week the thing he's going to do to get different results is "try to get positive yards and run harder." He also said he has to "get more hungry and do better this week." Run harder? Get hungier? So he wasn't running as hard as he could against Cleveland? He's getting his first NFL start and he's not as hungry as humanly possible? Really?

4. Another week like last week against the Colts and the Dolphins better start shopping for available running backs. Willis McGahee comes to mind. (Does that make you hungrier, Lamar Miller)? Anyway, I'm told by a source the Dolphins have so far shown no interest in McGahee, who worked out for the Giants this week.

5. Tyson Clabo was bad against the Browns. He knows it. But he's convinced the Miami running game will get right.

"I feel like we're a unit right now," Clabo said. "We're all on the same page, communiction-wise. It's just a matter of execution. I think we'll be fine."

In the next breath, Clabo adds, "I think we have a chance to be really good up front."

6. By the way, Clabo draws lines of distinction on who is playing well up front for Miami. Good? Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey.

"Obviously Richie and Mike are pretty good football players," Clabo said. "In my opinion, the rest of us are just trying to catch up, to play at their level. The bar is really high for us right now. I think we can get there."

And this:

"They [Incognito and Pouncey] are really talented but they do a good job, they do pretty much what they're supposed to do pretty much on every play. Physically, they don't get beat often. You're a competitor so you see that and, man, you want to do that."

7. The Dolphins have an interesting dynamic going on when deciding how to deal with a defense that is commited to stuffing the run at the expense of protecting against the pass. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman likes to continue to try to run the ball to see if something busts loose. Head coach Joe Philbin is more apt to give up on running the ball altogether and simply throw it all the time.

“I think coach Philbin is certainly of that mindset, I don’t know if I’ve quite reached that mindset yet," Sherman said. "I like to be able to keep them honest, hand the ball off here once and a while just to eat up some clock time and also to say hey we’re still going to run the football but I think coach Philbin could possibly convince me otherwise."

That's all. Enough thinking for now.

Come back later for another update. And follow me on twitter @ArmandoSalguero

 

 

 

 

Comments

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First?

The running game were incredably bad, but I hold the O-Line responsible, not the running backs.

When you run 5 yards and the defense is ready to tackle you, you try to make a move for extra yards. This can work out well as we all know.
But if you are tackled behind the line you cant do much as a running back. You lack the speed, it is probably more crowded and since the running back know it isnt enough With a couple of extra yards, he will try to do to much inn an effort of breaking loose.

The O-line must be responsible for every play that goes less than one yard, minimum!

You never saw Cleveland's defense confused or off balance at any point. Miami doesn't confuse with formations so the O-Line has to win their blocks. When you go 3-wide and the D keeps 4 LB's on the field and its a run play that also makes it tough to run. Either have to check out & throw all the time or average .5 yards a carry.

Armando, I'm not saying we should give up already on Miller, but wouldn't it be wise to take a look at some vets still out there as insurance? McGahee, B.Wells, Benson etc..

C'mon, Mando. Ease up on Lamar. What was he supposed to say? It was a typical answer by a young athlete who had a horrible game. I've heard the "We've got to work harder,be hungrier" comment from different athletes a million times. It's the most common theme in all of sports.

So what you're saying is we're pretty much the same as we've always been: one dimensional on offense. Once teams just focus on stopping the pass, we're doomed.

God Morning trolls and welcome to Club Mando!

Today we need to focus on being 32 in the league in rushing the football after the first game that we won.

We put up 23 points and smashed the hell out of weeden but rushing the football is what makes Peyton Manning Peyton Manning....so lets get on these guys to run the football because if you cant run the football in January, then this team will go down in history as the worst in playoff history.

Anyone who criticizes Jeff Ireland for understandably overlooking the offensive line and running game lack a basic understanding of the myriad duties of a general manager, as well as the necessity of proper work-life balance. Just as Jeff Ireland was man enough to delegate to Dawn Aponte the responsibility to negotiate with Paul Soliai, he will not rest until he finds someone who he can tell to fix the offensive line and running game.

Armando, why would a team run the football if the defense is taking away the run. The Browns were taking away two things; the run and Mike Wallace. So they lost doing that when the Dolphins adjusted.....Let's move on to see what happens against the Colts. Obviously a balanced attack is needed but a defense can not take away everything if there is enough talent to run or pass. In general the best receiver or running back in the NFL can be taken out of the game; however at what cost?

Please remember we are one whole game into the season. Does this mean that the Browns will only allow an average of twenty yards per game? Mike Wallace will average one catch per game? Dimitri Patterson will have two interceptions per game, Nolan Carroll one? I think not. How about we see maybe three or four games before we determine exactly what is the trend for this season.

Don't the Dolphins want to run an offense based upon the West Coast offense -a short-pass-oriented offense which, when successful, is supposed to open up the running game? Sounds like Sherman has his priorities mixed up or he simply doesn't believe in his passing game. Seems to me we saw the same thing last year.

The lack of rushing yards is on the blocking first and foremost. When RB's are constantly hit at the line or behind the line the blocking is obviously the issue. Miller doesn't strike me as an overly strong guy but he has a major burst. The OLINE needs to get a hole open and allow him to burst through. My worry is that he doesn't cut back to open space very well. He tends to string the play out side-to-side vs. burst up field. Let's see if this proves out in the film room and he learns from it.

I don't think the running game is issue #1 for the Fins this week. I see the biggest issue as stopping Andrew Luck. He was sacked three times and hit 8 times last week. I think our front can cause trouble for them. But I worry about TY Hilton and TE's over the middle. The LB's and Secondary are going to need a big game.

I agree with the posters saying Miller didn't have much of a chance. He was hit behindvthe line far too often. Also makes me wonder if Ricky would have had just 7 yds. on 10 carries in the same game. Yeah, right.

Mando,

I have been a fan of your blog for many years now...basically since you started it here. I mostly appreciate your dedication to it and your regular interaction with fans. I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with you spending soooo much time on the Wallace and Starks "news" following a victorious season opener on the road.

This team has shown real progress and has a ton of potential this year. We have a tough schedule and we need our young QB to rise and shine if they have any chance of a winning record or making the playoffs. The team had some real struggles against Cleveland (i.e. no running game, couldn't stop TE's, couldn't get our TE's into the game, etc.). But there was some shining moments as well (THILL overall, pressure on Weeden, D creating turnovers, Sturgis 3 for 3, etc.). But you chose to spend the next 48 hours pressing the 'drama' instead of celebrating a well won victory.

As we head to Indy this week the team has a huge opportunity to become 2-0. They went to the 4th QTR to determine the game last year. This year they have a real chance to beat up Luck and pull out a big win. Can I ask you to please begin focusing on Indy and lets get into issues that impact that game vs. the nonsense tied to last week's game?

Again, much appreciate your efforts overall. Thanks for considering the feedback.

I think this running 'issue' is being overblown. The performance against Cleveland was pathetic. But its week one in the NFL. Preseason is not 'full speed' and it's not against defenses that have planned for your game. Week one is the first chance the OLINE really has to gel and get it going.

They struggled. It's a shame. Lets move on. Lets see if they improve against the Colts. They put up another pathetic mess...we have an 'issue.' They put up 100 yards or more and they are fine. This is really not that pressing of an issue NOW.

no, I dont think Lamar Miller was running hard (seriously)--D Thomas was for the most part but had little daylight.....but I said it several weeks ago during the late pre-season....does anyone go down easier than Lamar Miller?--I know Thomas is the punching bag and thats fine, but Miller gets tripped up, bumped down, waved at....and goes to the ground--for a guy thats crazy athletic, either his balance sucks (hard to believe) or his effort/determination does--plus, both still hesitate and dance way too much at the line (Miller more than Thomas IMO)--yes, Miller is a home run threat, but the dude needs to have more heart

Focusing on Indy....I am looking at:

1) Can THILL continue to run the offense effectively and maintain solid control of the game? Can he limit turnovers and convert 3rd downs effectively? Can he score TD's when in the red zone? He does this and this team is well on it's way to victory.

2) Will Sherman show some flexibility and diversify how he uses Wallace? Can they get him in motion? Can they put in the slot a few plays? Can they line up another WR or TE next to him to create traffic to free him up on his side of the field?

3) Can the DLINE continue to put pressure on the QB? Luck was hit a lot last week. If the Fins get steady pressure they should win the game.

4) Can we stop penalties? They seemed to kill momentum several times last week on offense. Clean this up and THILL will move them down the field regularly.

5) Can we stop TE's better? It seemed the only player making plays last week for Cleveland was their TE. This needs to be addressed.

6) Can we stop T.Y. Hilton. The kid is dynamic and is a real playmaker. We can't let him burn Carroll and Clemons. The Cleveland WR's were weak as a unit. This week our secondary will see its first real challenge of the season.

I despise player interviews... I wish the press would stop doing it. They are coached on exactly what to say. And you hear the same answers after every question. "well I just wanna go out there and play hard and win the game" YA THINK!!! Please spare us another one of those!!! interview the towel boy and make it interesting!!!

the owner
the gm
the coaches.
wtf else?

how many total yds. did bush have last week.?
yeah. i thought so.
lol

Oh and the Coach press confrences are even worse. I have never seen one man that can stand behind that podium for 10 to 20 minutes and answer countless questions and basically say nothing!!! its amazing!!!

For those that know my thinking regarding running the ball, I promise you, this is really DC. While I like Philbin's thinking (if the run doesn't work, move to the pass game), I begrudgingly understand that will get you only so far. I think it's fine within games, but ultimately, if you want to be a SB contender, you need a modicum of a run game to A) keep defenses honest, B) allow play action passing to work as intended and C) run the clock down late in games where you have a lead.

So I think over the course of the year (or next year), we'll need to improve our run game to be a well-balanced team.

Obviously we miss Reggie Bush and the blocking of Jake Long and Anthony Fasano. RT is also weaker than last year. Thats what happens when you cheap out.

T Watt, Bush plays for the Lions. The Lions played the Vikings. We are here to discuss the Dolphins. The Dolphins played the Browns. See how this works?

I dont want McGahee. He couldnt do anything with no holes. The offensive line was dookie bad.But, I dont feel like they are hot garbage yet. I do think we need to see how they play against Indy.

I am one who tends to believe the Browns wanted to do 2 things.

1. Stop mike Wallace - Ok, that worked, but all that did was open Brandon Gibson and Hartline, who both had good games.

2. Stop the run - Ok that worked, but with a safety and their best player on Wallace all day, created opportunities for other players to get some yards. Especially the second half.

I think the Dolphins win this game 28 - 16. I dont see Grimes or Patterson dropping easy interceptions. I dont see our pass rush getting to Luck a half a second too slow. I believe will rush for about 150 yards and keep the Colts under 75 yards rushing.

MY BOLD PREDICTION:

Wallace will roast Vontae for a 50+ yard Touchdown!

Posted by: ericatl | September 11, 2013 at 08:34 AM

I agree the Philbin doesn't say anything (notable) in pressers, but I've come to appreciate that. While I'd love to know all the in's and out's of his thought-process, that would also give opposing teams everything they need to know to beat us week-to-week, so it's a tricky game of giving your home reporters and fans information while not exposing yourself to opponents.

Oh, to be like 2 Watt. Everything he said last week turns out to be wrong and it does not matter. He is still on here spouting his drivel. Iron psyche.

I think the answer is pass to the tight end.

It seemed to me that Cleveland ran a run blitz almost every down. There were no gaps. The obvious call is to dump it to the tight end behind the blitzing linebackers.

We were intent on running and throwing the ball down field. Stubborn yes, but it worked and it will make Indy work to try and stop those intermediate passes. That will leave check downs and deep balls for Tanne.
I hope they are working on that this week in practice.

13-3. That's all you need to know. Bank on it.

one 30 yd burst from miller will quiet the trolls...we will not finish the year ranked 32 in rushing.

I like Philbin's approach...if the running game is not working, go to the air.

Sparano was the opposite...if the running game is not working...keep at it.

Tannehill was pretty good at finding an open receiver when he was faced with 3rd and long.

should be a close game just like last year...with one exception...our Defense is BETTER!


Obviously we miss Reggie Bush and the blocking of Jake Long and Anthony Fasano. RT is also weaker than last year. Thats what happens when you cheap out.

Posted by: Michael | September 11, 2013 at 08:38 AM

WTH? Cheap out? Are you kidding me?

If Indy keeps base defense on field vs. 3 wide Tanny will throw for 400 yards. Who cares about running then? If they go nickle there will be holes for the running game. The idea is to take what is given. Wallace took the best DB's out of the picture and we had a LB covering Gibson so we threw to him a bunch. Hartline had single coverage by the #2 corner so we threw to him.

Need to quit stressing about OLine. Several of the "sacks" were on Tanny not stepping up or out in the pocket.

Oh and the Coach press confrences are even worse. I have never seen one man that can stand behind that podium for 10 to 20 minutes and answer countless questions and basically say nothing!!! its amazing!!!

Posted by: ericatl | September 11, 2013 at 08:34 AM


This teams front office hates the media and the fans. And then they wonder why they have an empty stadium for most games.

KS....agreed, take what the defense gives you. this is where tannehill has progressed from last season.
WR covered deep, hit the slot receiver underneath.

running game stuffed, find single coverage down the sideline for a quick 10 yrd gain.

Tannehill seems to have progressed to the point where he can read defenses very well and pick them apart with outs and slants.

Tannehill throws for over 300 and if our defense does what they are capable of doing...we win this on the road again.

KS, you have got to be kidding me. You are telling me that all that pressure Tanne got in the second quarter was because he wasn't stepping the correct way??

Aren't you with PFF? You could've backed up your opinions with facts.

Agreed with your statement at the beginning. That was a bunch of jibberish only you understand.

Again, you just rambled on without anything of substance to say.

Forgetting to mention Cleveland has one of the best NT in the game in Phil Taylor. Or that Cleveland run defense was just as stout as the Dolphins last season, and they upgraded their front 7. But of course none of that matters.

I would've expected a better breakdown for so many words I had to read. Which side was better? Which linemen was better? YOU HAVE PFF!! You can tell us the Facts. Not just some linemen's opinion.

Same Reggie bush who already has an injured thumb, Shoulder, and leg. Who might not be able to play in week 2. Yeah, we miss R.Bush. The same one who only has ONE 1000yd season in his 8+ years in the NFL. Yeah, we miss Reggie. Reggie would've had negative yards Vs Cleveland.

Dashi,

Bush is already beat up? LMAO

Cleveland knew they were outclassed going in. They picked their poison and lost.

Our defense did a good job in all aspects of the game. That is how this team is being built. I don't think Team Philbin is deeply concerned about a 1 dimensional team stopping our running game. Tanne played like like a winner which is what we have been looking for for years. Onward and upward!!!

And within 3 weeks, Long will be out for the season.

Hey, sometimes finding a hole in that line is brutal.

Sherman, do you keep a defense honest with too easily readable 1-yard runs?

Rdubs,

Yet, some here think Bush is a God. He had 1 good play last game. Take away the 77yd screen that the Vikings didn't even chase til after he was past the secondary and Reggie had an average day. Did Reggie gain 100yds Rushing?

But NOOOO!!! We need Reggie Bush.

While we at it why not start crying for R.Brown. He looked decent with the Chargers.

I agree with you Dashi. Reggie is a nice player and hard worker, but Ricky Williams he is not!! God I wish we could have Ricky from 10 years ago on this team. Love me some Ricky Williams. Unfortunately, I dont know if either of our RB's are either. i dont blame either of them for week 1, that is all on the OL. I do think Thomas and Miller can be a good tandem. For some reason I like Thomas, he is capable of making plays, but NEEDS HOLES TO RUN THROUGH!

The positive thing is that the Dolphins won despite such an awful running game. And they won by a relatively large margin. So, maybe this season the defense can win games for the offense.
At least we all know what the team needs for the next draft: one elite RB, one elite TE and as usual, one or two OL players.... And of course a new GM.

Agreed Mando, everyone has to step it up for the running game. Can't expect much more yardage wise than what we got from our passing game last week every week and can't count on three turnovers every week either. If the Dolphins want to have a top 15 ranked offense to match their top ten defense, they better get a lot better at running the ball. Last year's offense provided 1800 yards - got to match that at least. A little bit to make up now...

Speaking of running back we let go, people are talking about Reggie but as a running back here - he was good, not great. Averaging 1,000 yards a year on a rush reliant team is nothing special. But I was watching some of that San Diego Houston game from Monday and Ronnie Brown was looking pretty good - especially as a receiver. Certainly better than Daniel Thomas at least considering their of similar physical style.

Yes, The Doofins beat the Browns.Ross,throw a parade.
LMAO@UHOMERS.

I find it amazing we outscored the Browns by 13 points with only 20 yards rushing. That is an absolutely astounding factoid. No way we win any games last year, with 20 yards. Tannehill put his team on his shoulders and delivered. I know its already been mentioned, but when he grabbed Rishard Matthews and put him in his place was awesome, considering how low key and friendly Tannehill appears to be!

Ronnie Brown could have been awesome. His first few years always started out great, but then all the injuries:( I am sad, I own Culpepper and Ronnie Brown jerseys, although they are the Target versions LOL

Thomas and Miller aren't the problem. The O-line is the Problem. With Jerry finding his form I expect to see some growing pains the first couple of weeks. The Colts are easier to run against. Expect improvement.

Only 1 Ricky Williams. The closest player to Ricky is Eddie Lacy right now.

Before the Clown goes on his little Rant that Lacy sucks. Which is blasphemy cause anyone who has seen Lacy run knows he runs like a Man. Lacy is running behind ZERO LINE and was going against the 49ers and he still had an OK game. You need more than 2 people to bring down Lacy. Or 1 really big one. Rarely does Lacy go down after the first hit.

L.Miller keeps reminding me of C.Portis. Even after the bad game. The running style is to similar.

Hey Sherman..How bout getting Tanne on the move more?... Oh and play-action only works when your run game has been successful!!.. STOP IT.. More shotgun dummy!!

Just saw that Jake Long was the 30th ranked OT according to PFF last week... for what it's worth.

I think we all need to take a breather and realize the Dolphins won the game even though they are ranked 32nd rushing. I guess when you consider the stats, 3 of the top five rushing teams LOST! So ask yourself; would you be happy being in the top 5 and being a loser? Let's not forget that NE should of lost to the Bills had the Bills used better clock management. The Bills were snapping the ball with 20+ seconds left on the play clock during their final drive and then gave it back to NE with around 2:05 left in the game. In addition, had the Bills won, it is still only 2 of the five top rushing teams with a win. So do good rushing stats really lead to wins? Nope.
Top 5
1) Philadelphia 263 yds
2) Oakland 171 yds
3) New England 158 yds
4) Buffalo 136 yds
5) Carolina 134 yds
Bottom 5
28) Baltimore 58 yds
29) NY Giants 50 yds
30) Cleveland 47 yds
31) Pittsburgh 32 yds
32) Miami 20 yds

If the rushing attack falters again in week 2, then we have reason for concern. Until then, we all should be happy with running for 20 yds and a win.
Therefore, to further put things in perspective, IT IS WEEK 1 PEOPLE!!!

Speaking of Ricky Williams ... anyone see that RB Gurley from Georgia run yet??? Wow, Dashi, this guy has Lacy's power and tremendous speed for his size.

Mark,

You see that is what I am talking about. You state a fact. J.Long is ranked #30.

Mando takes a lineman's opinion on the Line. Which is OK, but hit us with the Facts. How bad are they? Where are they ranked. He made a big Hoopla that he paid for his PFF membership this season.

Hi,I'm new here,What's the M.O.?,I should fit right in on this blog.

Whoops, meant that he is associated with PFF this season.

30 out of 64 is above avg. you MORONS!.

Mark, I was wondering how Long did. My hunch is he'll be out of the league soon. Great player at one point of his career, but certainly no Joe Thomas (or even probably Ryan Clady when all is said and done).

Jonas Gray would have gotten some positive yards...still pissed we cut him.

I'll take a win over a 100 yd rushing game anyday!

We have a championship caliber defensive unit...the type that Ireland saw the NY Giants beat Tom Brady with...TWICE in the Superbowl.

Think 2000 Ravens....Dilfer at QB and a defense that took over games.

Next week is a big test....and week 3 even bigger.

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