« October 22, 2013 | Main | October 24, 2013 »

3 posts from October 23, 2013

October 23, 2013

Ryan Tannehill limited in practice with shoulder injury

The Dolphins know that Ryan Tannehill likely cannot survive an entire season of hits at the rate they've been coming. Tannehill, sacked 26 times so far, is the NFL's most sacked quarterback so far this season.

And If the Dolphins didn't know this is not sustainable, evidence arrived today when practice began and the quarterback had to be limited in his participation due to a shoulder injury.

Tannehill (shoulder) was one of four Miami players to be limited due to injuries today. The injury is to the throwing, or right shoulder.

Dannell Ellerbe (shoulder), Brandon Gibson (shoulder) and left tackle Bryant McKinnie (knee) were also limited.

So basically, the quarterback and the new left tackle that needs all the practice snaps he can get to learn the new offense were limited today. Great.

This is the second time since the season began Tannehill has been on the injury report with a throwing shoulder issue.

 

 

Dolphins 'concerned' about moving Martin

A football team is usually a tightly knit group of individuals who depend on each other for community success. And when one member of the group fails, there are repercussions on other members.

Jonathan Martin, meet the repercussions.

Martin's fate with the Dolphins has not been entirely in his hands but instead has been determined by the actions of others.

Having played left tackle his final year at Stanford, he was drafted by the Dolphins and immediately placed at right tackle because the Dolphins had Jake Long. When Long got hurt, Martin, through no function of what he was doing, was moved to left tackle.

And when Long decided he rather play for the St. Louis Rams, Martin was left in limbo while the Dolphins searched for another left tackle. Again, Martin did nothing to either solidify himself as the left tackle nor lose the left tackle job.

He simply was caught by fate's whims.

The Dolphins found no suitable left tackle replacement for Long this offseason although they hosted Bryant McKinnie in free agency, studied a handful of left tackle possibilities in the draft, and even explored trading for veteran Brandon Albert.

But because other people either weren't signed or drafted or acquired in trade, Martin was elected Miami's new left tackle.

Great, a place to settle the second-year player, right?

Wrong.

Immediately, the Miami offensive line was a trouble spot and right tackle was the most beseiged position on the team. That shouldn't affect the left tackle, right?

Well, wrong again because as McKinnie became available in trade and he has never taken a practice snap at right tackle let alone played a game there, the Dolphins acquired him and expect him to play left tackle.

(Dolphins coach Joe Philbin would not say McKinnie is exclusively a left tackle but the entire NFL knows it and not admitting it insults everyone's intelligence.)

Anyway, McKinnie's arrival means Martin, through no fault of his own, gets switched again. He's played 11 1/2 games at right tackle and 10 1/2 games at left tackle and he's soon about to increase that number on the right side.

And Tuesday it was clear Martin isn't thrilled about the move.

“You can approach this two different ways," Martin said. “You can go in the tank and be one of those guys who bitches and moans and is a cancer in the locker room, or you can be a guy who goes out there and can be a professional and plays as hard as I can."

Martin says he'll be the latter. He'll be a good teammate -- even as he's scratching his head about why he's been affected by Clabo's inability to do his job and McKinnie's inability to play on the right side.

Philbin did admit there is concern that shuffling Martin around so much (which he doesn't even confirm is happening, by the way) might be bad for the player.

“You are always concerned," the coach said. "Any time you move a player, there’s always some concern about it. You have to take that in consideration if you do in fact decide to move somebody."

But all concerns aside the Dolphins are going to do it. Indeed, they even did during practice Tuesday. Martin said he worked at both right tackle and left tackle within the same practice.

You don't think that messes with his technique a little?

Martin has said before he prefers to play at left tackle. He feels more comfortable there. It comes more naturally to him. He tried to get stronger in the offseason to prepare for playing the position. He has a future there.

No, he's not likely going to be a Pro Bowl left tackle, but he surely can develop into a solid left tackle and that has value.

Yet that development has been detoured now. Did Martin have anything to do with that detour?

No.

PFF and Salguero look back at Bills loss

This is the space were the pithy lead to the blog goes. As today I've already used up all my inviting prose, kindly go straight to the factoids and film study of Sunday's loss to the Buffalo Bills courtesy my partners at ProFootballFocus.com:

Offense

RT Tyson Clabo had his worst grade of the season (-4.6), allowing two sacks and seven hurries.

Salguero: Clabo will be replaced at right tackle by Jonathan Martin on Sunday against the Patriots or by next Thursday against the Bengals as the Dolphins shift the veteran to the bench after he's allowed eight sacks in six games. The only thing that might keep Clabo in the starting lineup is an unexpected injury or if newly acquired left tackle Bryant McKinnie takes at least a game to learn the Miami offense.

Salguero: Although Clabo gave up the two sacks, no other Miami offensive lineman allowed a sack. In fact, Martin was the only other lineman to allow so much as a hurry or hit on Tannehill. Martin gave up three hits and four hurries. Mike Pouncey, Richie Incognito and John Jerry were clean in keeping Tannehill alive.

TE Charles Clay picked up his worst grade of the season (-3.4), with the majority of it (-2.4) coming in the run game.

TE Dion Sims saw his most snaps since Week 2 (24), but he was blocking on 19 of them.

Salguero: Dolphins coaches don't seem to have a very high regard for Sims as a pass catcher. They think his value is blocking. Obviously, I haven't seen him in a practice since training camp but he was developing at that time as a pass catcher. It's unknown whether that development in the passing game slowed or coaches are simply misjudging Sims.

When facing the blitz, quarterback Ryan Tannehill had a 98.7 passer rating. Against no blitz, he produced both interceptions and a 52.5 QB rating.

Salguero: This has been a truism with Tannehill practically all season. He has been a poorer passer when he is not blitzed.

Lamar Miller rushed for 43 yards and he picked up 38  of those after contact.

Both Miami running backs had good days making space for themselves. Daniel Thomas forced seven missed tackles on his 12 carries. Miller made five guys miss on his nine carries.

Mike Wallace caught 3 of 4 targets against Aaron Williams and Stephon Gilmore for 64 yards, but just 2 of 6 targets against Leodis McKelvin for 12 yards.

Defense

Randy Starks continued his rampaging season with a +6.6 grade and four hurries, one hit and a sack. He is the 7th ranked DT this season.

The Dolphins continued to limit their two highest paid pass rushers. Cameron Wake, returning to health from a knee injury, got only 22 snaps in the game -- 14 of those were pass-rush snaps. Dion Jordan, the No. 3 overall pick, got only 26 snaps, with 19 of those on passing plays.

Salguero: Jordan is primarily a pass-rusher. Of his 19 snaps on passing plays, he rushed the quarterback 18 times and dropped into coverage only once. Jordan finished the game with one tackle, one quarterback hit and two hurries.

Salguero: Coach Joe Philbin said Wake is 100 percent healthy but he didn't want to push Wake toward a full workload on his first full game back. Look for Wake to get his usual number of snaps, perhaps double what he got last week, against New England. Wake got minimal production from his snaps. He had only one hurry and one tackle against the Bills.

Without MLB Dannell Ellerbe collecting most of the tackles in the middle of the defense as he usually does, Reshad Jones had his best game of the season with a sack and 6 defensive stops.

Jimmy Wilson was locked in at nickel corner, playing 34 snaps. Meanwhile, Nolan Carroll and Dimitri Patterson split No. 2 cornerback duties, with Carroll logging 38 plays and Patterson 30.

When working in the slot against Jimmy Wilson, Stevie Johnson caught 3 of 4 passes for 34 yards. Versus everyone else, he caught 3 of 7 passes for 27 yards. So obviously the Wilson vs. Johnson match up was not a good one for Miami. Something to keep in mind for the teams' rematch in December.

Patterson allowed two catches on three targets, while Carroll gave up three catches on three targets.