The Dolphins offensive and defensive coordinators spoke with the media this afternoon and here's what they offered:
Offensive coordinator Miker Sherman said running back Daniel Thomas, who left the locker room in a walking boot and on crutches Sunday evening, is obviously not playing anytime soon.
"With Daniel Thomas out of the picture certainly [Mike] Gillislee has to step up, [Marcus] Thigpen has to step up. [Lamar] Miller as well," Sherman said.
Sherman did not go so far as to say Thomas is done for the year, as some are reporting. Thomas is out indefinitely. But it is obvious that with only five games remaining, Thomas's status for the remainder of the year is in serious doubt.
The Dolphins are the only NFL team that has failed to score more than 27 points in a game this season. That is obviously terrible news in a league that basically mandates big offensive output.
"Yeah, it''s frustrating for me and it's frustrating for our players as well, I'm sure, that we're not more successful than we can be," Sherman said. "Every week you go back to work and roll up your sleeves and try to do it better. Carolina came in here as one of the hottest teams in the National Football League. I have a lot of respect for their defense, obviously their offense as well. I knew it was going to be a challenge but we still felt very good about going into this ballgame and playing at home and what we possibly could do. We had moments in the ballgame, not enough of them, but we did have moments in the ballgame and did some really good things. And at times we didn't. But it's going tough, we threw the ball for over 300, but you have to be able to run the football. The 300 passing, I'd give that away any day to get 150 rushing. You have to be able to run the ball to be effective and we have to find a way to get the balance we so desperately need. We don't have that balance right now."
I said yesterday on twitter that I was almost relieved to see Ryan Tannehill overthrow Mike Wallace on one of his passes because i was starting to wonder if Tannehill could get over that mental hump. (You see the overthrow in the photo courtesy The Herald's Joe Rimkus).
Sherman agreed for reasons that probably have to do with avoiding interceptions.
"I'd rather have him overthrow than underthrow," Sherman said.
The Dolphins haven't scored a fourth quarter touchdown in seven games -- dating back to December. What's Sherman's diagnosis?
"My diagnosis is we better get that fixed because we have to some touchdowns in the fourth quarter if we expect to win," Sherman said, adding there is no common denominator to the problem.
"There's nothing common about it. We have not been very efficient in my mind overall, not just in the fourth quarter. We have to be more consistent as an offense overall. We can put together a great highlight tape but also we can put together a not-so-great. And we have eliminate the not-so-great and get more great. And that's what our focus is on and that includes the fourth quarter."
Sherman said the last pass of the ballgame that might have changed the outcome of the game had Mike Wallace caught a Ryan Tannehill pass at the 1 yard line "was a great pass" by Tannehill.
But he didn't blame Wallace for not catching it.
"It would have been a great catch if he had made that catch," Sherman said. "I wasn't an easy catch."
Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, meanwhile, did something that we so very rarely see out of head coach Joe Philbin. In honest and straightforward fashion, Coyle addressed a coaching mistake.
He did so in discussing the defense Miami played on the next to last play of the half when the Dolphins played their secondary deep -- with defenders lined up at the goal line -- but leaving a wide gap between those defenders and the line of scrimmage.
The Panthers completed a short pass and gained 28 yards in seven seconds to set themselves up for a field goal. What should have been a 16-3 halftime lead turned into a much more tenuous 16-6 lead.
Coyle said that with a QB such as Cam Newton, capable of throwing a 60-yard pass with ease, he thought the Panthers might take a shot at the end zone.
"And with that mindset, I made a call that in retrospect I wish I could get back," Coyle said. "There was a penalty and I should have changed the call in my opinion after the penalty and he was back a little further. Not that he couldn't have thrown the ball to the end zone, which he could have.
"We were playing for him to throw the ball deep and it was my mistake. It wasn't the players in any way, shape, or form."
Compare that honesty to the answer Philbin gave about the same play and situation after the game:
"Actually, we brought some pressure, to be quite frank with you," Philbin said. "They made a good play, credit them. The ball was on the ground a little bit, they picked it up and made a nice play. The receiver did a smart thing and got out of bounds. It was a good play by them. Absolutely a good play."
By the way, given another chance today, Philbin again stressed what a good play it was by Carolina and defended the Dolphins approach -- thus defending an error.
Coyle, by the way, praised the work done by Nolan Carroll and Phillip Wheeler in Sunday's game.