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Mike Sherman addresses the 'play call,' other things

The Bryant McKinnie trade sidetracked this blog from the pursuit of answers from Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman about his work and his unit's work in a loss to Buffalo on Sunday. Indeed, when Sherman entered the interview room Monday, I was on the phone with a source about McKinnie.

But, unlike Ryan Tannehill, I have time to gather myself and get back on plan.

So here now is Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman answering questions:

(On if he knows anything about a trade for Bryant McKinnie) -- “No, I don’t talk about personnel stuff. I leave that up to Jeff (Ireland) and Joe (Philbin)."

(On if Bryant McKinnie would bring if he did come to the team) -- “I’m not even going to comment on it right now because I don’t know the where ifs or what nots. Ask Joe (Philbin) and Jeff (Ireland)."

(On if he feels there needs to be changes on the offensive line) -- “If we had…believe it or not, we got out there every single game and evaluate our personnel. Every week we put the best guys in the best position. If we thought we had better at certain positions, then we would go in that direction, right or wrong. That’s how we look at it. Take that for what you can."

(On Tyson Clabo’s season so far) -- "Tyson came in as a veteran player. (He has a) tremendous attitude, tremendous personna and work ethic. I thought he brought a lot to the table in relationship to team chemistry and being a part of that group. Certainly we’ve faced some pretty good pass rushers, (Elvis) Dumervil, (Terrell) Suggs, Jordan and no less Mario Williams. We’ve struggled. Mario Williams is going to be a Hall of Fame player at some point of his career or life, I would imagine. They are tough challenges. The first three ball games we didn’t quite face those types of challenges, those types of pass rushers, in the last couple of ball games we had. Obviously, we’ve struggled. We just have to figure out whoever is playing those positions the best way to help them. I can do a better
job of that. At times we do, at times we can’t. You just can’t based on certain parts of it. At times we are good and at times we aren’t so good. Tyson has had his struggles at different times, but he’s brought something to the table as well."

(On decision to pass in the fourth quarter with 3:37 to play) -- "The first play was a run. It was against Bear defense, and they were 100 percent trying to stop the run. We have a lot of confidence in the two receivers, Mike (Wallace) and (Brian) Hartline on the outside. We felt comfortable with that. It was a five-step pass. Obviously the result isn’t what we were looking for."

(On passing the ball during the fourth quarter before the fumble play) -- "I don’t think you can protect a 21-20 lead in this league. I think you have to be fairly aggressive. I’ve been in situations myself trying to protect a 21-20 lead, and I’ve lost those games 27-21. We are going to be aggressive with a one-point lead in the fourth quarter. We aren’t going to sit on it. The difference between winning and losing in this is so much right there. It’s one play that can make the difference in a ball game for you or against you. With a one point lead, my philosophy and Joe (Philbin’s) as well has been to be aggressive. If we got the first down, the game would have been won and we wouldn’t be having this discussion at this point. Certainly it’s a valid question, without a doubt. At the same time the what-if factor is, ‘If you get it, do you have this conversation?’ No you don’t, and it would have been a great call. Those things happen."

(On what portion of four-minute offense is pass plays versus run) -- “That’s not four-minute offense. That’s trying to win the football game. Four-minute offense for us would be under four minutes on the clock. We have a nine-plus lead, probably 10 point lead in the game. You put your two tight ends out there. You try to burn your time outs or time off the clock. The part of it is most of those plays they are different type of plays. They aren’t drop-back plays. That was not a four-minute offensive play. That was a play to win the game. With the ball at midfield and Joe (Philbin) is the best at doing research on opponents, and in our research they had a two-minute drive last week to tie
the ballgame. We wanted to win the game. We wanted to get that first down. We knew the front they were going to play. They played the exact front and coverage we thought they were going to play. It just didn’t pan out."

(On if the amount of sacks to Ryan Tannehill is affected him) -- “Let me just say this about Ryan Tannehill. He’s normally very resilient and physical. If you ever notice how he takes a hit, he’s giving to it. Do I think he’s banged up a little bit? Yes, probably. He wouldn’t be human if he wasn’t. At the same time knowing him, he’s very resilient physically and mentally. I think that is what is going to make him a very good quarterback in this league."

(On if a player would come in via trade, could they conceivably start for the team) -- “Do you want the filibuster? As far as personnel goes my comments are directed to the general manager and the head coach, who are more in-tune with that. The what-if part of it, I’m just dealing with what-ifs today. I have to get through today and get ready for a great football team up in New England. That part of it I’m not going to address, thank you. I appreciate the question though."

(On if he remembers ever having a player brought in before and starting the same weekend) -- “I don’t recall not. I don’t recall doing either."

(On how long it would take someone to learn offensive linemen technique in this system) -- “Are you guys just passing the ball around here? Let’s get this game over with so we can move on."

(On the possibility of giving Tyson Clabo block help on the play that resulted in the fumble) – “I think there’s always ways. It’s a different style of play. (Mario Williams) is going to line-up somewhere, usually on the edge to the open side. He’s going to be a problem somewhere. In hindsight, yes, I think you can always do that. It’s a different call, it’s a different structure. It was a run-pass option, and they showed the pass look. That’s what we went to. We very easily could, if they didn’t play that front, could have went to the run. There are different variables. It would have made it a little bit complicated. In an ideal world, that is a possibility."

(On if there could be a variable where Mario Williams is double-teamed wherever he lines up) -- "We did some of that in the ball-game at different times. We banged him. We thumped him. We did different things to him. To do that consistently throughout the ball game and negate the fact that sometimes he’s not where you think he’s going to be. That happened once or twice. Then we moved to him. That’s another thing. You negate the structure of your pass offense in some ways because your route distribution is out a little bit. Now can you do it? Yes, you are limited a bit from what you can do but you have a chance to bang him in those situations."

(On if the pick-6 against Buffalo was a bad throw, bad read or a good defensive play) -- “All of the above probably."

(On Ryan Tannehill having more turnovers than touchdowns as part of the learning curve) -- “I think we always want to get better than where we are, and I think he’ll be the first one to tell you that. Sometimes on some interceptions he made a bad decision on one. He got hit on the fumble he had no chance of getting out of. It happened rather quickly, and the interception for the touchdown by Buffalo he was hit as he was delivery the back. He probably would have pulled it back if he had time to. I’m hoping that’s what he would have done. There’s a lot of variables to those things. To put them all on the quarterback I think is unfair. I think we all share that responsibility."


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We just traded for a big mack to protect our qb? The hamburgler must have been denied bail.

The bright side of this is we're almost certain to draft top 10 again this year. The dark side is Ireland again trades up to #3 spot and this time takes Ronald McDonald himself.

(On if he feels there needs to be changes on the offensive line) -- “If we had…believe it or not, we got out there every single game and evaluate our personnel. Every week we put the best guys in the best position. If we thought we had better at certain positions, then we would go in that direction, right or wrong. That’s how we look at it. Take that for what you can."

Sounds like a shot over Jeff Ireland's bow to me.

If we thought we had better at certain positions, then we would go in that direction, right or wrong. That’s how we look at it. Take that for what you can."

Woe................ another Ireland personnel shot!

Ireland is desperate and so incompetent its laughable

Dear mr sherman I wont waste my time listening to your stupid avasive comments or pay attention to your dolphins anymore. you and your collective staff have your heads up your a-- you guys are comparable to tony and staff but are more evasive.I have followed the dolphins closley for 23 years now and am so over you.I had hoped whwn new coaches came things would get better.They have not.I feel sorry for Mr.ross that he can not hire coaches well.You are a total moron that cant even keep a college job.thank you for the first 3 games

We all know the coaches are going to give evasive answers. If their system is so set in stone, regardless of individual players strengths, or weaknesses, and we just have to pass if they are showing a run defense, then whycan't we roll Tanne out? Another question, why is it other teams can run on us when we know they are going to run and we have a defense geared to stop the run? I am tired of excuses. I believe with the woeful pass protection Tanne has been getting in the 4th quarter, we should have run 3 downs, chewed the play clock, punted and trusted our defense.

Their failure to do this is called not putting the best players we have in a position to win. I am sorry, but the best players on Sunday were playing defense.

Ireland did a piss poor job of evaluating and bringing in the correct oline talent during the offseason. Clearly, at 32yrs old, Clabo is now on the downside of his career. So, what does Ireland do now, brings in the 34yr old tub of lard McKinnie.

Not only did Ireland not correctly address the problematic 2012 oline for 2013, the new personnel has actually made it worse. Wth is Ireland thinking?

Ross allows Ireland to replace his busts with more busts. Like 2 and 3 generations of busts. He's drafted 3 TE's, 3 QB's and used a bunch of picks on RB and they're all busts.

Their failure to do this is called not putting the best players we have in a position to win. I am sorry, but the best players on Sunday were playing defense.

Posted by: stillhardcoredolphinsfan | October 22, 2013 at 12:47 AM

It's the very inconsistent oline. The personnel doesn't consistently run or pass block very well. How can they be placed in positions to do what they do best, when what they do best is being very inconsistent at everything?

What we have on this team is a huge personnel issue. That's squarely on the shoulders of Jeff Irelnd.

On defense, Coyle need hurry and solve this 3rd and long issue. When even an undrafted rookie fa qb is converting 3rd and longs, Houston we have a problem!

Sometimes as a fan, I can look in the Mirror and admit----I'm not the expert---but why is it so obvious to me---we need more good players and admit our coaching staff is second rate. Why can't Mike Sherman be honest about his shortcomings? Where and what has he won? Who has he developed? What dominate teams did he coach? Where's evidence his teams get progressively better? The guy played Tannehill at receiver for almost two seasons at A&M--what does he really know about developing QB's? Same questions to Philbin. Nobody would hire these Coaches if they didn't walk the sidelines at Dolphin Stadium.

Well, how can we criticize the coaching staff without first laying the blame on he who hired them. Jeff Ireland anyone?

Well, how can we criticize the coaching staff without first laying the blame on he who hired them. Jeff Ireland anyone?

Posted by: Sam I Am | October 22, 2013 at 01:03 AM

Then what about the guy that gave Ireland an extension? After 4 losing seasons!!

sherman the game has passed you by. Please can we get an oc who is not a member of AARP?

I understand, it was a run-pass option decided by if the other Team loaded the box or not. If you decide pass, you could not adjust protection there as it was set. Alright.

I agree I think Shermans play calls have been somewhat questionable in key situations ...However, I think Ireland has done a decent job with this team..Keep in mind there is a lot of improvement needed from quaterback, reciever,Passrushers and OLine they have all needed improvement and it cannot take one year to fix...I think 3 out of 4 are going in the right direction and there is a good base with Pouncey, Martin and Jerry...But Clabo is one of the worse Right tackles ive seen in Miami history next to Marc columbo...He is repeatedly getting beat and Mckinney is not that much better..Lets survive this season and draft heavy Oline next draft. Its hard to watch a quarterback costantly get hit or hurried

Now, as to not being able to hold on to a 1 point lead, that is not a fact and only a probability. Thinking about it now, our D was tired as hell and they might be right we wouldn't have been able to hold them for 2' without scoring in the event we had punted. Just trying to be fair here, guys.(why didn't all these controversial decisions happen when Shula and JJ were here?)

Shades of Diamond Dave Wannstedt..."yeah, let's call some wildly inappropriate play right here in this key spot...they'll never expect that!" followed by the inevitable disaster.The mark of a mediocre coach: when even his novelty is predictable.

Sigh. We all can see where this is going, right? The Dolphins will stagger to a 6-10 or 7-9 finish. The current staff along with Ireland will get another year to work their magic. And in 2014 everything will be exactly the same as it is right now.

Ireland just cannot get off so easy. It is becoming painfully obvious that he fukkked up big time in concentrating on D this last draft at the expense of our O which was our biggest weakness last year. He though that bringing in some FAs would have tidied the O till the next Draft. It has worked with receivers, more or less. But it has been a major miscalculation with the O line. Clabo turned out to be a stiff, Josh Samuda proved to be incompetent when tried at a position other than C, JMartin is very distant from what was expected of him at LT and you cannot expect a rookie to block like Fasano did. Major mistakes there.

No team is going to answer all of their needs in one off-season, and as some have pointed out, there were many. All indications were that Clabo would be a solid tackle, so it's difficult to blame Ireland on this one. McKinnie, on the other hand....seems if he had played in the last two games for the Ravens, he may have had worse stats.

As for Tannehill's fumbles, what does everyone expect when he is sacked more than any other QB in the league? That much pressure is invariably going to lead to fumbles and interceptions. Let's hope that installing McKinnie solidifies the line enough to reduce the amount of pressure Tannehill faces every week.

Sherman needs to be more innovative. As I mentioned on the last blog, he is the most culpable, in my opinion, for the Dolphin's struggles.

Im amazed at how polarized and narrowminded my fellow dolphin fans are

From what I gather, McKinnie still does a good job in pass protection. He seems to not do so well in run blocking.

This might actually work out well since Sherman never calls more than 20 running plays in any game. Let's hope it works anyways.

Play to win. Well we were winning by running the ball. We needed 3 or 4 yards and then another 3 or 4 yards. In that situation with Williams just screaming to get in the backfield I have a play that deflects the rusher and opens a hole. Then some guy runs through it. If you ain't gonna stop the truck move it right or left and force the play outside.
And Tanne should try to draw the defense offside. When they are sitting on your count and beating you on your 5 step drop there is something wrong and they are reading your count. In this case he could have done it. Or even waited until the last possible second and called time out to evaluate what they were going to do. There are many ways and we don't use all of these enough.




I never knew so many grown men can be such cry babies.

Also, please explain what part of the play calling you dislike. Sound like a bunch of cavemen, NO INSIGHT WHATSOEVER. Starting at the Top with the Clown on the Left Smiling.

Just cause you don't understand doesn't mean that it is wrong. But I know everyone here knows more than the next guy. We have the smartest fans in the World.

"No team is going to answer all of their needs in one off-season, and as some have pointed out, there were many. All indications were that Clabo would be a solid tackle, so it's difficult to blame Ireland on this one."

Yeah it's too much to ask for a GM to establish an offensive line that meets even the lowest perceptible measure of average over 4 years. Can't blame Ireland on this one.

Not to mention having the opportunity to draft offensive lineman, pay our former number one pick to stay, or trade for far better players before the start of the season...Can't blame Ireland on this one.

And it's weird why there were many needs in the offseason? It wouldn't be because our GM keeps drafting corners, running backs, TEs that never manage to produce, or let a former first number one overall pick slip away over a money issue, or let a viable running back leave without offering a contract. Of course can't blame Ireland on this one.

And no GM has ever managed to take a bad team and turn it around in a year or two, that's clearly impossible. Fans need to give him at least 8 losing seasons before passing judgment. So can't blame Ireland on this one.

No Expert: But here is the OBVIOUS:
1)Turn play calling over to PHILBIN !!
2)Find an IDENTITY on offense !!
3)Force feed the ball to MILLER !!
4)Move Tannehill AROUND more !!
5)No More Carroll and Jimmy Wilson PLEASE !!

Sam I Am...

Jeff Ireland can't draft Ronald McDonald...
Because he is Ronald McDonald, the clown.

Dashi Douchebag the Ireland supporter has egg on his face. Sooner or later he's going to have to swallow his pride and admit to himself that he was wrong. The default position of someone who is wrong is one where the person who is wrong complains about the people who are pointing out that he's wrong. Ireland is a dunce...and so are you for missing the obvious.

Dave Wannstedt was the last decent coach we've had. Its been all losers after him.




Dashi would support Osama Bin Laden or a Charles Manson if they were on the Dolphin team. He's mindless.

Clabo was the 2nd best RT in pro football last year according to PFF. He was the best OT in free agency. Unfortunately he's playing like crap this year.

All I know is this, I have never been this pissed after a dolphin game in a very long time. The offense is so Vanilla!! Just like Dan Henning!!!

Friend or no friend, Philbin has to sen his guy packing!!!

Lots of informative commentaries here yesterday and Today and when solid information is followed thru, the Truth always arises.

Just curious: has Sherman ever in his career said of any play he's called "I blew that one, my bad"?

Sherman cant make chicken salad out of chicken shyt. He's got no talent to work with.

Where ae all of the players that we drafted back in Apil?? We moved up in the draft and gave up a high 2nd round pick to get Jordan and he is not even starting right now. All the other draftees are either hurt or inactive game after game. WTF? So where is all of the new young guys that we drafted to help this year?

Tannehill has made zero progress from a poor rookie season. Maybe even gone backwards. And its not just one aspect of his game. Its many aspects.

i would like to know why we didnt offer reggie bush a contract offer. he wanted badly to remain a dolphin. and why didnt we acquire brandon albert when he was offered. more signs ireland is a goof.

Now that Jeff Ireland in one bold and brilliant move has remedied the offensive line issues, it wouldn't surprise me to see another move that gives the Dolphins an elite running attack. What an exciting time to be a Dolphins fan!

In spite of the fact that the team had there most productive game running the ball I did not see a play action pass in the 2nd half of the game. Please correct me if I'm wrong. If I'm right, then there is another part of the problem. Also, I keep asking this question: Why aren't Dion Sims and Rashad Mathews allowed to cath the ball? Philbin makes it so easy for teams to prepare to play them. New England will expose this truth on Sunday. Unless of course Philbin decides to come out of his vacume and begins to utilize all of his roster.

greg, on bush, that one is easy, Philbin didn't like his running style. That had nothing to do with Ireland. If the HC doesn't like someone, he's not going to be on the team. Period. So if that was a mistake, it was Philbin's mistake. As far as Albert, I'm not sure why, but I'm assuming it had to do with the contract negotiations and each party not seeing eye to eye.

People are piling up on Ireland, and he deserves some of it. It's been how many years and you've been working to shore up the OL and you still haven't done it? That's damning, especially when you see similar mistakes with the CBs (only 2 good starters were FAs), LBs (no depth behind starters). So Ireland deserves some blame.

But think about this, both Garner and Yeatman have been on the roster for a while, one drafted by Miami. Garner has started before, playing ok. So, Philbin comes in as a teacher, and someone who's supposed to be able to coach up his players, and they need to go outside to a fat Bryant McKinnie, who just got benched by Baltimore, to fix their OL problems? How damning is that on the coaching staff? Garner just got an extension. Why? If he's not even an acceptable starter in a pinch, or worse, a complete meltdown by a current starter?

Sorry, I can't put all the blame on Ireland when right now we should be 5 and 1, 4 and 2. Coaching needs to catch most of that blame. The talent is there (did you see those 2 teams last night?). Coaches need to work with what they have and stop defending their terrible decisions and absolving themselves from things that went wrong that are THEIR responsibility to correct.

All this talk about the O-Line and offensive woes...what about the defense? They've given up 140 points - likely in the middle of the pack in NFL. I thought this defense was going to be elite...

The Steelers and Raiders both 2-4 and Buccaneers at 0-6 have all given up less points...

They are ranked 21st overall; 18th in run defense; 23 in touchdowns allowed; and 25th in tackles. They are 20th in the league in sacks but they drafted DE at #3. The Browns appear to have done better with Mingo.

To their credit, they are ranked 12th in yardage; 8th in pass defense. Why pass when you can run?

Please address the defense in future stories cause this record is a TEAM effort.

One bright spot Sunday...

GIBSON....when he sold out for that TD....amazing effort....

Look for your other options (besides option 1,2,3 Hartline)...and they can make plays for you as well Tanne....

We can right this ship....

Coach and GM said "we got a heck of a football team"....

Thats the new..."how bout dem cowboys".....

Also, we're all doom and gloom (expected after that horrible loss). But IF there's any silver lining, it could be this. I think any right-minded fan thought we'd be 4-3 after week 8 (before last week). Everyone thought we'd beat the Bills, and EVERYONE thought we'd lose to NE. So we still have a chance to be just that. Just the other way around. If we somehow beat what's looking like a struggling NE team, then we're 4-3, one game out of 1st place. No one believes the Bills will be in the Playoff hunt, or division title hunt, but NE/Jets are more likely. So this game is the more important divisional game to me. I still think we're a huge underdog, but if these players have any pride, they are going to make this a much more competitive game then initially expected. If we win, that's a big if, things all of a sudden brighten up and the loss to the Bill is long forgotten.

There IS a tiny chance left for optimism, but I agree that sliver will dry up pretty quickly with another loss.

I am a Dolphins fan and want the team to succeed. But...

Sherman was fired from his previous coaching jobs for a reason.

We all know that a young, inexperienced qb's best friend is a strong running game and competent o-line. Look at the success Mark Sanchez had with the Jets, and he's not half as good as Tannehill. Why can't the coaches see this? Because they are incompetent. The run has worked, yet the coaches insist on passing for the sake of passing.

Why is the 3rd overall pick not playing? Or any other picks, aside from the kicker?
Either the GM can't pick players, or the coaches don't know what they're doing. Maybe both?

McKinney won't see the field for weeks.

New England will destroy the Dolphins, and Tannehill will be injured.

DC @ 8:47-

No offense, but you're crazy if you think Miami will beat NE. NE knows how to make adjustments and game plan, create favorable matchups, etc. Unfortunately, our coaches do not:(

"Every week we put the best guys in the best position."
- Mike Sherman

is this what you were doing when you allowed Mario Williams to go one on one with the worst starter in the league in successive plays? You're a bag if shite, sir.

Thanks for giving back a badly played game that we had salvaged.

Everyone knows the snap count gives away whether a play is a run or pass. Belechik knows this, too.

(On decision to pass in the fourth quarter with 3:37 to play) -- "The first play was a run. It was against Bear defense, and they were 100 percent trying to stop the run. We have a lot of confidence in the two receivers, Mike (Wallace) and (Brian) Hartline on the outside. We felt comfortable with that. It was a five-step pass. Obviously the result isn’t what we were looking for."

Maybe then you bag of knobs when facing that type of defense, isn't that the perfect time to call a play action pass?

Stephen Ross needs to sell this team and go bye-bye.

Too much sideline to sideline, not enough downfield or straight ahead plays.

Sherman says you have to be aggressive when playing with a one point lead, fine.

It's great to be fearless but it is stupid to not recognize danger. Mario Williams was the only danger player on the Bills. Our interior line was killing their tackles. Do SOMETHING to ensure their ONE danger player is removed.


Some football people get better with age, Dick Lebeau for instance. Sherm is not one of them, he sounds so out of touch.

I think we can win with this talent but it requires better game planning, better play calling, and know how to use personel. Oh yeah we need a strong lead blocker as well. A bowling ball if you will.

Lastly enough of Daniel Thomas. Sure he did alright but I think Miller should be given the bulk of the touches at this piont. We got to find out if we have something there or not.

DC, I love your optimistic attitude but, we need a dose of reality.

This team is going nowhere. If you think this team can move the ball 1 inch against the Jets D, you should probably find something else to do the days those games are on. IF you sit & watch them you'll probably vomit.

The teams achillies heel has been the oline since Ireland took over. It affects the run game, passing game & our Defense having to be out there more.

Until it's fixed, expect disappointments. Ireland is THE factor in all of this. Since he's been here, our Olines have been a JOKE.

Yet, some people still want to lay off Ireland? Lemme tell you something...If I sucked at my job the way he does at his, I would have been fired YEARS ago.

No reasonable explanation as to why he's still an NFL GM. He is a scout....NOTHING MORE.

FYI, 3 of the top 5 run teams in the NFL have losing records. The run game is important, but not as important as the pass game in today's NFL (remember that people).

The flip side of Bear defense Sherm if you had any idea about tendencies of the opponent is a quick blitz formation as well. Probably not a 5 step drop kind of opportunity. And Mark they tried play action and got thumped. It should have been quick out or run and nothing else.

@ 8:41, I agree. This defense has faltered large. They have been just as average as the offense when they were supposed to be a top unit in the league and have all kind of resources and depth across the board - mainly in the front 7.

DC people are looking for balance from our offense. And using what works and not getting cute. Every team needs some sort of effective running even Brady and Brees need it.

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