« Highlights from the Mike Sherman weekly media session (yes, sacks were brought up) | Main | Notes from Tuesday practice and interviews »

Dolphins defense focused on limiting big plays

One of the areas of concern the Dolphins identified in the offseason -- allowing explosive plays on defense -- was a topic of much conversation and study for the team during the bye week, as coaches tried to figure out why a defense that had limited those plays the season's first three weeks had imploded the past two games.

Against the Saints, the Dolphins yielded three explosive passes (defined by the team as covering 25 yards or more) and one explosive run (defined by the team as a run of 15 yards or more). Then against Baltimore, the defense allowed pass completions of 40, 41 and 43 yards to Joe Flacco and also was hit on a 28-yard run by Bernard Pierce.

The eight so-called explosive plays Miami allowed in the last two games outnumbered the six it had allowed in three previous games. And even the the six previous big plays was too much, if you ask coach Joe Philbin.

No wonder the coach said stopping explosive plays this week against Buffalo is a priority on defense.

"Number one is, we’ve given up too many explosive plays," Philbin said. "That’s something we need to address. We need to do a better job at. I would like to get people in a little longer-yard situations so we can kind of tee up on them, get our pass rush going, our blitz package or drop eight, a variety of all those things. But we have to do a better job of limiting explosive plays, no doubt. "

That is largely the assignment for defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, who obviously studied the issue so closely he recalled the individual plays from memory on Monday.

"Last week we had four explosive plays," Coyle began. "The first plus 20 yard run we gave up in the entire season was last week. It was in a defense that we didn’t fit the run correctly. It really was a play to our advantage to where they ran the ball and how they did it, yet the ball popped out and they gained 28 yards on it. We need to get that corrected, and I think we have.

"There were three passes, three big passes in that game the other day of 40 yards plus. Two of those came after a completion of about six yards. On the first one we missed a tackle and the guy ran for another 30 some odd yards. There was another one on an over route. We were in great position. It looked like we were going to intercept the ball, and we didn’t make the play on the ball at that point."

I asked Coyle about his level of concern given his boss's worries.

"I’m as concerned or more concerned than coach (Philbin) is about the big plays, but you’ve got to analyze how they are happening," he said. "Sometimes if they are happening, which is balls being thrown vertically down the field, then you have some issues in terms of the matchups. We haven’t really had those major problems thus far this year. I think we are just going to have to make more plays on the ball, create more pressure on the quarterback and hopefully we’ll see those things diminish quite a bit."

The problem with that is Miami hasn't really been at full strength defensively in recent weeks and the big plays have been the fallout result.

With defensive end Cameron Wake mostly out with a knee injury the past two weeks, the Dolphins haven't gotten the kind of pass rush they usually get when he's healthy. Starting cornerback Dimitri Patterson has missed four games and that has had a ripple effect throughout the secondary.

As Patterson is out, that means Nolan Carroll moves up to start and Jimmy Wilson moves up to nickel duty. So the Dolphins are putting their fourth-best rather than third-best cornerback on the field in nickel situations. And with Carroll dinged up at times in recent weeks, rookie Jamar Taylor has been pressed into duty at times. That's the fifth-best cornerback on the field.

(The Dolphins, by the way, are hopeful both Wake and Patterson will be available against Buffalo but it's still too early in the week to know for sure. I'd say Wake is expected to play. Patterson remains a bit of a question mark.)

Safety Chris Clemons has also been limited in practice for several weeks with various injuries. He missed part of the work Monday and Wilson took snaps at safety. That means Taylor must have had to take some snaps at nickel.

It is obviously difficult to get everyone working as a cohesive group when the group's individuals parts are often changing. Despite this, Coyle says the goal set at the beginning of the season when everyone was mostly healthy remains the goal today:

Cut down on big plays.

"We need to do a better job," he said. "We set that as a primary goal going into the season."


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

Who cares about first?
Good article. I would really love to see Patterson back in the game. It would change things and not put as much pressure on other players. But he has been out for 4 weeks so he isn't going to be the savior when he does get back in.






Once Wake and Patterson get back,the defense will improve.My problem is the vanilla play calling.We have great speed on offense,but for some unknown reason,the coaching staff seems to be running the same things,wake up Sherman.Quick slants,bubble screens,RT rolling out,maybe a reverse once in a while.

Shermans play calling is killin us .....come on why do we continuously have to have these dinosaur play callers for OCs..........

I love being divorced from this team. Watching this dysfunctional organization stumble around in the dark. Ireland has a blue print for building a team. It didn't work the first time around. Now he's getting a second chance, and it's not working again. O-line problems, can't cover TE's, inaccurate quarterback, incompetent offensive coordinator, head coach who is under qualified. Same b.s different era. The first go around made the Dolphins irrelevant.

After Matt Moore's performance in 2011, he should have been given the opportunity to start in 2012. Then if he faltered, the Dolphins should have acquired Alex Smith. Instead they hitched their wagon to a WR turned QB because in Lil Jeffy's fantasy world where every player he acquires has "upside", Tannereach will someday be an All-Pro. I've seen enough at this point to know that this isn't going to happen. He missed Wallace for two touchdowns against the Ravens. Tannehill's inconsistency and inaccuracy will eventually frustrate the fans, then it will frustrate the front office and owner. Tannehill will eventually be Philbin and Ireland's undoing. He's better than Henne, but his time here will play out just the same. Long three-four year look...and ultimately a disappointment. Just being real people...

Drew Brees
Matt Ryan
Alex Smith

This organization has had its chances to get a franchise QB.

You know the thing that gives me the most hope for this Season? LV. Except for the Cle Game, their lines up to now indicate that they consider our Team is better than last year's was. They even had us favored over what it is still a good Team, the Ravens. I must believe them.

Fire Ross - the team is 3-2, they way things look, we will be going into New England with a chance to take the division lead. Tannehill has a better rating than Brady, should the Pats dump him? Dolphins are on the upside now not the same team Parcell's put together. Usually you stop talking to your significant other after the divorce, why don't you blog about your new team instead.

Sherman's play calling is killin us.....why do we always have to have these dinosaur play callers as OCs?.....

It's put up or shut up time for this team period, and Buffalo is getting Byrd back this week !! This game can go either way, and this defense is very mediocre at best !! Where's all the M.Wallace fans at now ? I'm hearing crickets right now from the Wallace contingent !! Where's the L.Miller contingent ? Again I'm hearing the singing frog singing"there goes my touches" !! And this offensive line coach gotta go !! These clowns in here like Dashi Oscar and Mark never say a damn word about Turner !! This line is the worst on the planet !! Fire him now now DAMN IT NOW !!

Do you have a better option now to substitute for Turner, mace?


Will you kindly settle the f%ck down? You are hootin and hollerin' like we are 0 - 5. Pump your brakes homie, it aint that serious. We still have a winning record and if we win Sunday, we can play for first the week after. I am not saying your issues dont have any merit, but we have alot of new players and starters.

We were told even before the season it was gonna take time for everyone on the team to gel and that is he case. I dont think it is time to panic and riot in the streets yet. I have an idea, how about you focus on some of the positives we have seen this year. We have a Qb who is capable of winning games. We brought in an amazing CB. Wake and Dmitri are getting healthier and hopefully will play on Sunday. Soliai is playing better than I have ever seen him play.

Sit back relax and enjoy your team play. Ok, maybe that last part is too much for even me to say, watching the Phins play is stressful, always comes down to the wire, so no relaxing will happen. That just makes it more fun, in the end!

#1 BONEFIED way to stop big plays: Play against a practice squad QB (who is hobbled). Whether we see Thaddeus or Flynn (I'd actually rather see Flynn) neither has consistent big-play-ability in them. Not saying they can't have big-plays (they are NFL QBs, even if barely so). But those big plays are few and far between and also encourage big turnover plays for the defense.

Buffalo SCREAMS for an 11-in-the-box strategy. Force them to pass (Stevie Johnson should still be out). And the secondary will need to step up and play the ball. This is the type of team (mediocre, struggling) that Miami should be able to beat, especially at home, especially if they are a division rival, especially if we have any glimmer of hope to make a Playoff run (which for the naysayers we'd be in if the Season ended today).

FIRE ROSS: You must really be upset that your JETS lost to the Steelers Sunday. And you think the Dolphins are a disfunctional team? Go to the JETS blog,I am sure their fans will love your comments. Moron!

What's more troubling to me (or eye-opening) is the coaching and the strategy. Mando's mentioned the (lack of) adjustments to the oline (one, if not the, worst in the league). People mention play-calling by the OC. But let's analyze the DC for a second. I'd like to put into evidence Pats vs. Saints. How did the Pats EFFECTIVELY take away the Saints' best weapon (Jimmy Graham)? By putting their #1 CB on him all day (until he got hurt). They also were physical at the line so he had to adjust his route and that messed up the timing, which is essential to Brees' style. And the outcome, 0 catches for 0 yards. The Pats were able to strategize to help their personnel perform and execute, and that ultimately gave the offense just enough of a chance to pull victory out of the face of defeat. Now, other than needing the late-game heroics of a Tom Brady, that performance by the COACHING STAFF is what keeps the Patriots on the top and the other teams struggling to catch up.

If there was any self-scouting done during the bye week, I hope the coaches self-scouted THEMSELVES by watching how they play a pivotal role to assist their personnel during the course of a football game.

On offense; Tannehill has to start rolling out a lot more until the OL gels. This one adjustment will improve every area of offense immediately! John Jerry and Clabo should switch positions immediately. Tannehill took my advice on the deep pass to wallace, by adding more arch to his deep passes; he just needs to throw it farther so that wallace does not have to wait on the ball. When a receiver has to wait on a bomb, that is a fast receiver!!!!!!!! The defense will be fine. They just need to press the TEs and receivers at the line and disrupt the timimg throws. Talib did this to Jimmy Graham and caused him to disappear. I suggested this to the dolphins prior to the game against the Saints but my advice was ignored and Miami lost another game that they could have won.

Agreed DC. Not to mention how horrible the Saints play calling was the last 3 minutes. Drew Brees is your QB and you choose to get conservative MULTIPLE times to put the ball back in Brady's hands. And these coaches get paid the big money, for what?

Sherman and Coyle aren't the only ones with bad play calling in the NFL. Not that this makes me feel a whole lot better!

Stopping big plays is on the mind of EVERY coach in the NFL. Not sure if focusing on it will necessarily stop it.

Note: a short bubble screen pass is designed to gain around 10-15 yards if executed properly. But a key block downfield can turn it into a TD. How do you gameplan for that? You don't.

TE runs a seam route and jukes the safety who closes too fast and misses the tackle...a 20 yard gain turns into a TD because a safety is a half second late.

We can talk x's and o's all day but in the end you need players to step up and be in position to make the right decision and earn their million dollar salaries.

still concerned about our OL. Western New Yorkers have a stout front and are 2nd in NFL with 21 sacks.

One week at a time. Bottom line this week- protect Tanny and Fins will win the game. Sounds repetitive, but this week it is 100% the key to the game.

With the Bills banged up on offense, I don't anticipate them being able to make many big plays. Lewis can fling the ball but get in his grill and his inexperience will take over.

PROTECT TANNY, win the game. Got that Oline?

The only way we win this game is if our coaches game plan effectively towards exploiting the Bills weaknesses and hiding our own. Sherman better have come up with a better strategy to hide our blocking weaknesses than "guys got to make plays". Help them make plays you relic, game plan and play call effectively!!

Guess Ireland is second guessing his decision to not pay Vonte Leach?
There are two glaring holes in our offense:
1. Protecting our RB ( major role for a blocking FB)
2. Opening running lanes ( a major role for a lead blocking FB).

Clay is not a lead blocker...neither is Thomas, and forget about Miller stopping a blitzing LB.

Leach would have been the 'missing piece' to this slogging offense and if Ireland was sitting next to me I'd pluck him in the back of the head and call him a nasty name.

oops, #1 above should say protect our QB not RB.

Yeah I think Armando touched on the reasons forgoving up thebig plays......this defence has been decimated by injuries. Wake being out really hurts the pas rush. Patterson beingouthurts the secondary. Soliai has been dinged and sohas Ellerbe, Clemmons and Carroll. You're adking guys like Wilson, Jordan, Trusnik and Taylor to step up and fill holes and they either can't do it or aten't ready to do it. This is life in the NFL. No big mystery here.

DC, got to agree with you - I think between now and week 12 is when the Dolphins really define themselves. WE know they can play with good teams through five games. But now they need to beat up on the softest part of their schedule. This Sunday must win.

I see even with my limited presence here Dashi is still #1 on the Troll's mind. Pitiful. Another man obsessed with another man. What a Home-O.


Not Dashi


The defense does need to limit Big Plays.

What I like about these coaches is that they admit The Team Needs To Do Better. To many times Spo would just deflect the downfalls of the team. Just fist pump away for his Star Kicker.

This Coaching staff doesn't throw their own players under the bus. They keep the problems in house. Players like that. Philbin is not Schiano. Philbin is a disciplinarian and demands perfection, but he isn't a dictator like the fascist in Tampa.

We are still in it!! We need to keep winning to keep pace with the top teams in the AFC.We are still only 1 game behind the Pats. This game has to be won. And it needs to be won with Defense. This is the perfect game for the defense to start showing that it is a Dominant Unit. We are playing against a Practice Squad QB this week or M.Flynn. Either Or we need a dominating performance from our defense. We will be getting a couple starters back from injury. No excuses this week. Buffalo shouldn't reach 10pts.

You can run the Ball without a FB. More than half the teams in the league do it.

Having a FB in the backfield just adds another defensive player in the Box. And the last thing this O-line needs is to block an extra defender. Plus, V.Leach has been one of the worst FBs in the league this season.

How would that have been a good move? Because Leach went to a Pro bowl before. Clabo also went to a Pro bowl once before. How has that worked out.

Just cause a guy had a HOF career doesn't mean you need to sign him at the end of their career. V.Leach is not L.Neal. Was J.Rice the same player in Oakland that he was in San Fran? And Jerry was the best conditioned athlete ever.

Mark, are you sick to your stomach with Luck's performance yesterday? You had me dead to rights (measly 12 point lead) with Luck left (while I was all out). And he turns out an 8 point fantasy performance. ESPECIALLY when he was supposedly the #1 start for most fantasy "experts" this week at QB.

Funny thing, I started him in my 2 other leagues, but I had already won those games by Sunday, so I was praying he had a bad game. Gotta love FF huh? I was 3-0 this week, AND the Dolphins were on a bye. Couldn't of had a better week unless I got blown in my sleep by a wandering Playboy Playmate.

DC, I am quickly reminded why I stopped playing FF. This is very uninteresting and sucks ...

By the way, we are finding out that there isn't much difference between Tannehill and all the other young Qbs in the NFL. Tannehill holds his own with them all in year 2.

Haha. Don't worry man, I started Geno instead of Glennon which almost came back to bite me. And losing because you started a Jets player is probably worse than getting your d*ck caught in a vice grip held by an Afghani Taliban fighter fresh off a Ramadan hiatus.

Fire Ross, Why don't you divorce this blog. You just sound like a scorned Ex that is livid that the new wife is better than you.

Since Bridges in Miami aren't high enough for you to kill yourself, why don't you jump off the GWB. Do us all a favor and end yourself. No one will miss you but we all will be happy you are gone.

P.S.- Send me an invitation to your funeral so I can relieve myself on your grave.

Haha, take that, Daytona!

By the way, how does New England get three possessions with 2:30 remaining in the clock. had to eb teh worst coaching choke job in recent memory by Sean Peyton. Thanks for nothing dipshite.

Hey, I still have the worst FF team even if it is only for 1 more week.

Finally I had a week when my opponent didn't have the best FF team that week. It was beginning to look ridiculous.

The first key to making the playoffs is to defeat teams that usually make the playoffs. We need to defeat the Bengals, Steelers, Chargers, Patriots and Jets. In this way we will win all tie breakers if it comes to that. This is why I hate that loss to the Ravens. It may come back to bite us in the you know what.

The game against the Bills is a key one. If the Dolphins loose, very likely won't make the playoffs. This means that like many times before, we would have to start thinking about the 2014 draft. This is frankly boring since having Ireland as pilot, we already know the plane will crash again and again.
It's just amazing that Ross keeps such a blind faith on a guy who has made havoc on a use-to-be winning organization. We're light years away from those sweet times.
Our only hope is that by some miracle all the holes that this team have right now be corrected sufficiently to win 7 of the last 11 games. Looking at the statistics the Dolphins are among the worst teams in many areas. We fans have said almost everything. There isn't too much left to said. The day Ireland is fired, Buoniconti will open two bottles of champagne.

That Pats game was disappointing. The Saints just choked. Good thing S.Payton isn't a Dolphins coach. He would've got ramrodded by the Media and the Fans down here.

We complain about our OC messing up one 3rd down in the game. Imagine doing that 3 times at the end of the game. They would've put that picture of R.Ryan at the end of the game on the front page. With the Headlines "The Dolphins Suck". The trolls would've shut down this website with the excessive amount of traffic. North Perry Airport would've looked like MIA INT'L with little planes going up every 5 Minutes to fly "Fire Ireland" over the Stadium.

I am a moron.

Hilarious just how many delusional jock sniffers there are in here. People who can't handle dealing in reality. Post something they don't care to read and they'll look for reasons to discredit you and begin with the name calling. This is typical human behavior from people who are both ignorant and dumb. Two adjectives synonymous with the types of no lifers who take sports entirely too seriously.

The possessive terms are forever lolz too.

"We're 3-2" lmao.

As if somehow you're actually a part of what the team does.

The players think all of you are idiots...and they're absolutely correct.

The NFL thinks you're idiots too, that's why they overcharge for everything.

There are some extraordinarily dumb people who are into sports.

..and the fantasy football thing roflmao.

When I look at a collection of football fans, most of them fat, out of shape, looking like giant eggs with their guts and man boobs, I couldn't be happier to be disassociated at this point. I'm embarrassed to say that I ever was...same as I'm embarrassed to say that I used to watch t.v. until I was eighteen/nineteen. There's another "activity" for retards.

Learn a language, an instrument, find something to invest money in, jog, lift weights, find a productive hobby.

To work all week and then spend Sunday in front of the t.v. eating fatty disgusting foods is a slow death. I guess the circus on t.v. is just enough to keep the sheep from noticing.

Tannehill throws behind receivers. He has no pocket presence. He has zero accuracy when throwing deep.

It's not good enough, and these things aren't likely to improve.

Only a delusional douchebag living in an alternate reality sees things differently.

Tannehill has a better QB rating than Brady lol.

Seeing what you want to see = delusional thinking.


Interesting comments this morning boys....

Mark, you are dead right about Tannehill.....Luck, RGIII and Wilson get all the praise but only Wilson, IMO is standing above Tannehill this year. Luck was AWFUL last night and if that wS Tannehill the experts would be ripping him. Luck was the guy i loved coming out last year but he's been spotty this year. Tannehill is at least his equal this year but gets zero attention.

Two Mondays in a row have done me in on my teased picks, hopeless!

And i also have to wonder what the Hell Payton was doing at the end of the game to give Brady three cracks at it. Really poor play-calling and clock management.

Daytona, you aren't disassociated becuase you're still here. Dashi is right, you are the scorned lover - the silver medal. Crapping on a place that wants nothing to do with you but you still stay. You are the most pathetic sort ....

fire ross is a breathe of fresh air, keep it up.

Craig, if he had just run the ball three times, that game is over. That's all he had to do, make NE waste their timeouts then the game is over. Some genius.

Well, its the offense thats the problem. How about playing Matt Moore?

When I look at a collection of football fans, most of them fat, out of shape, looking like giant eggs with their guts and man boobs, I couldn't be happier to be disassociated at this point. I'm embarrassed to say that I ever was...same as I'm embarrassed to say that I used to watch t.v. until I was eighteen/nineteen. There's another "activity" for retards.

Learn a language, an instrument, find something to invest money in, jog, lift weights, find a productive hobby.

Posted by: FIRE ROSS | October 15, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Thank you for your terrific insight FIRE ROSS. So would you consider spending countless hours each week bashing a team, in a game you care nothing for, a productive hobby?

If so, keep doing what your doing. I hope it works out well for you.

And regarding Luck and Indy... they are everyone's sweethearts but we beat Buffalo this Sunday and we have an identical record and beating them in the process ... oh well...

Ryan Tannehill = Another Irescum bust

And by the way, when did Tannehill starting playing offensive tackle in the NFL? How could he lead the league in sacks allowed?

Damn Dolfans love to hate. We ran through the guantlet and came out 3-2. Take care of Buf and we are playing for division lead. There are holes on this team, but have some damn faith. Some call that being a true fan!

T=Fumble puts extra pressure on the defence with all the turnovers and 3 n outs. He just doesnt have "it". But dont be surprised if these idiots waste 4 years with him just like they wasted 4 years with Henne.

Yeah, Tannehill is a bust .... then what does that make kaep, RG3, Alex Smith, Topm Brady, Matt Schaub, Joe Flacco, Carson palmer and Eli manning?

By the way, Tannehill STILL has more passing yards than Andrew Luck despite playing one fewer game and having fewer attempts.

Trolls, time to get your material refreshed.

Good jpb, Mark......you're on a roll today!......lol

I can tell it was a good Thanksgiving Day weekend for you. Now get that FF teamfigured out....lol.

My Dear B'tch,

Dashi pushes your button like an Elevator. You come on here and desecrate this blog with countless 1 line post and insult others when they post more than a paragraph. The Dashi (Which You talk about even when I am not here) comes here and slaps you around like the Twit that you are. Then you instantly catch feelings.

Give it a break. From now on you call me Daddy Dashi. Now go back on the Corner and make Daddy some money. Remember Old Hags like you have to work Twice as hard to earn Half the pay.

You know the Motto. Now get to work.

Im not as high on Tannehill as many of you are. The guy cant sense pressure in the pocket or move around within the pocket to buy more time. All the great QB do this, Marino, Brees, Brady, when the pressure is around them they move around in the pocket.

Tannheill stands there like a statue and he knows his OL sucks. Instead of trying to escape the pocket for a couple of yards he crumbles down to the ground and takes the sack.

Im not saying the OL isnt a problem, all Im saying is Tannehill isn't helping himself at all by standing in one spot holding on to the ball when he knows his OL stinks

Posted by: Steve69 | October 15, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Didnt you just know Irescum would bring us another Chad Henne? LOL

Hilarious just how many delusional jock sniffers there are in here. People who can't handle dealing in reality.

Posted by: Troll #1

Ryan Tannehill = Another Irescum bust

Posted by: Troll #2

The Republicans are the modern day terrorists attempting to ruin the US Government. Republicans need to stop their assault on women, minorities, and the middle class.

1 2 3 4 5 »

The comments to this entry are closed.