« After trampling by Bills, Dolphins still in hunt | Main | PFF Tuesday: Relive the Buffalo nightmare »

Mike Sherman defends abandoning the run

The Dolphins abandoned the run on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, seeing the nine runs he called in the first half not working all that well, basically abandoned the idea of running the ball in the second half.

The Dolphins called only three run plays in the second half.

And Sherman believes that was the way to go.

“I just did not feel at any point that of those 12 carries our longest run was three yards," Sherman said Monday. "We really haven’t had many explosive runs this year which is not good, we need to continue to build towards that.  A lack of productivity in the run game caused me to veer off into another direction."

And this is where the words sound fine but the logic is simply absent.

The run game wasn't working for the Dolphins so Sherman went in another direction.

Did he go in another direction when the passing game stunk? Or did he keep calling passing plays?

By abandoning the run, Sherman thought he was doing what was best for the Dolphins. Wrong. He was playing right into the hands of the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills wanted the Dolphins to pass the football. They were praying the Dolphins would pass. You know why?

The Bills lead the NFL in sacks. The Dolphins lead the NFL in sacks allowed. The only way the Bills were going to collect more sacks and build on the momentum those plays deliver is by having the Dolphins throw the football. And Sherman obliged.

Another thing: The Bills are not a good run-defense. They were ranked No. 26 in the NFL against the run. So by abandoning the run, Sherman was declining to attack the weakest part of the Bills defense.

And all this happened in a game where the score was 13-0 with over six minutes to play. So it is not as if the Dolphins were totally out of this game and needed to pass out of desperation.

Look, the Dolphins are passing team. I get that. They throw the football more than any other NFL team save one. Despite this, Sherman claims he believes in balance.

“Believe it or not, my history has always been with the run game," he said. "There is a definite place for it, as well as the pass game. You’re talking about post season play, people are going to defend what you do the best.  If you can’t keep them from having numbers to take away your run game by being able to throw it, then you’re going to have a tough time running it.  Because a of weather situations that you may face and the grunt and grind of it all you have to be able to run the football, I think to be successful.

"To be successful in the playoffs I believe this too and people are going to stop what you do best, if you’re a really good running team you can’t throw the football and capitalize on situations where there is an overpopulated box then you’re going to have a tough time too. I think you have to be able to do both and you have to be able to have balance."

To be able to do both you have to commit to both. The suggestion the Dolphins are committed to running the ball is a joke.

Running the ball requires persistence. It doesn't always work. It doesn't always work early. Teams that do it well stay with it.

The Dolphins don't stay with it. And not surprisingly, they don't do it well. 

Comments

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

Yeah Sorry mando, ahve to go with teh coach here. Tannehill and Clay and Wallace and Hartline have been your best players on offense all year. The run game was just burning yards. I don't care where Buffalo was ranked beforehand, putting the ball in the passers' hands was better than putting it in the hands of Miller or Thomas.

I didn't see you complain the last four weeks while Tannehill was throwing the ball all over the field.

12 runs for 14 yards and you still wanted more runs?

Why didn't we just play Canadian football and play only three downs and start at 2nd and 10 every single time?

Armando tell all of them they suxx
.
lol

mark u'r rambling again
.
lol

The run game and running backs are horrible. Im with the coach running the ball was putting them in long down and distance as it was. And the bills were coming up and laying the wood yesterday on the running backs. Bottom line is the fins lost the game yesterday because they got punked man to man. Every position on the offense got punked. THey got hit in the mouth repeatedly and never threw a punch back. Its was pretty disgusting. Same way they looked in the second half against the saints.

19-0

and to make matters worse a little 5 foot 7 cb was roughing clay, miller and Thomas up.

Stop running the ball and let the Bills Dline (best at rushing the passer in the NFL) pin their ears back? Yeah, brilliant.

I'm with Sherman on this one. Run wasn't doing anything and with the score as it was I think passing gave them their best chance.

Mark, I would accept that if they TRIED running on non-run downs or changed things up a bit. That read option hand-off up the gut, into the TEETH of the Bills' defense, that's NEVER going to work. Why not pass on first down, then run on 2nd or 3rd? Or have Pouncey pull around and run his way? Or get the line going one direction and have the QB roll out the other way for a run (or option pass)? I mean, there's more than 1 way to skin a cat. I see the exact same run formations and plays ALL SEASON. I thought the playbook is inches thick. With what plays? Or is it like 10 pages of plays and the rest notes?

3 runs in the 2nd half, in the rain, and your QB is getting killed, and you're ok with that? I disagree. I'd rather they ran and got the RB killed than did what they did. It's 4th quarter, you haven't scored a point, it's obvious to EVERYONE in the WORLD you're not in the game, so run it just to get the game over with. Nope, it was pass, pass, pass.

OC was dead wrong on this one. I'm usually a pass-happy guy, but I even wanted to see more run plays (and that's hard to do). Sherman once again proves he doesn't know when to just say "I messed up, or I made the wrong assessment." Stubborn. Pig-headed. Arrogant. NOT what you need in an OC.

..I agree with Mark. If this was 5-6 weeks ago. I would have been outraged by the run attempts. I hated this offense. Specifically our go to personnel grouping(11) and the formations we love so much out of said groupings. I remember being so upset that I thought the whole staff should be executed(contracts)..

Something happened from then till yesterday. We started having much better success running out this personnel. This is huge for the offense as it just doesn't work if we are pass heavy out of these formations. So in turn. The line, the running backs, Tannehill, Sherman, and Philbin all looked like the smart guys for sticking with a plan that at that point in the season looked suicidal.

Then yesterday happened. It did not look like anything we tried was going to work. We could have run it 15-20 more times. We may even have broke one, or the run could have been a catalyst for a scoring drive. But we weren't winning yesterday. They had our number.

Do notice though how many of the sacks, pressures came when we were in the 11 personnel packages. It is the live and die by the sword bread and butter of this offense. When we block it, the formations open up, and the play calling looks great. When we do not..We become stale, 1 dimensional, and some times shutout.

We chuck it, that is what we do. Like it or not. This is the offense we have choosen to play.

I have less issue with the lack of running plays and more issue with the lack of quick slants, screens, and roll outs....

This game looked like the TB game, then we started calling quick slants to the slot (Matthews) and we took a lot of pressure off Tannehill....

The one time Tannehill rolled out of the pocket he had a great throw to Hartline (dropped)

We weren't out of the game. There was NO reason to abandon the run and let a stud defensive line do nothing but rush the QB all second half. At least keep them honest and force them to defend it.

dolfan29 if we LOSE and get into the playoffs that is "backing in" if we win that is earned. Earned by a 9-7 record and beating who we had to have tie breakers. Also if we beat the NYJ again that is significant IDC who the QB is on that team. They don't win with QB they do it with a run game and Defense.

We're coming up on our 16th game. How many games did we start fast? 2-3 tops? Philbin KEEPS saying he talks to players about starting fast. Obviously, talking ain't working. What are you DOING to start fast?

Are you throwing deep on 1st down, or calling the same stupid read run play and then getting into a quick 2nd and long? I mean, you can't just TALK about starting fast, you actually have to do SOMETHING to make that happen.

Hate losing a few days before Christmas......it sticks with me until next week. Then all the hate from the NY media has already started. You should hear NYC sports talk radio. You would the Jets are 15-0!!!!

I didnt see much TE usage from the endzone. Thats when we win. Use your TE's!

Would liked to have seen Miller on some sweeps, Tanny on some bootlegs/moving around in the pocket, an end around possibly...some screens would've been effective as well...get the backs more touches and keep the pass rushers from attacking Tannehill...

Interesting comments today. What a let down yesterday. That being said if at the start of the season you told me we would be 8-7 in week 15 and if we beat the Jets in Miami last game we would make the playoffs. I would have taken that deal!!
All I hope is that it is NOT the NYJ that knock us out. Living in NY is hard enough without listening to the sad and sorry jest fans!!

Come on people, how can you defend abandoning the running game. You have to stay with it. Two and three yard runs in first quarter become four and five yard runs in the forth quarter one if you keep running,that is just basic football. You have to keep defenses honest. Deciding to let the Bills pin their ears back and just go after the QB was just bush league coaching. Sorry but the game seems to have passed Sherman by, he should see this and resign.

Still trying to figure out why D. Thomas was in so much during this game. If Miller was in more, maybe the running game would have done a bit better, esp. in the 2nd half? Let's see, 3 yards and a cloud of, er, rain, or let's call another pass play so Tannehil can get sacked again. I'll go with balance every time.

I think the main reason he abandoned it was the fact that they were average 1.2 yards per carry.

..Bill A..Exactly. Yesterday was a let down. A bunch of air out of the balloon. Most of us were riding a hookah wave of Dolphins happy hash. And that is fine. The team was playing its best ball at the right time, and he games mattered. As a fan..Arn't these the reason we all root for our teams?

So we lost yesterday. It was a blow to the gut, the way the team lost was brutal. But we can still be that playoff team most were hoping for before yesterdays debacle. We win and get in, and this loss goes away.

Onto the jets. This would make their season if they could have a hand in knocking us out of a possible playoff spot.

They don't do well on either, running and passing, simply because our OLine sukks.

Freaking Sherman has been living off his 1 good year when he took Atlanta back from the confederates in 1864. He needs to retire already and reminisce about his days with Lincoln. Was he not allowed to watch film from our first game against buffalo? Nothing different in his play calls. He was a buffoon vs buffalo.

Mr.DD as usual you are right on point with your post. No cryin in my milk here just would like to dominate, win and get into the playoffs....cause on any given day.......

Sherman has not lasted anyplace he has coached a long time. If Philbin is dumb enough to keep Sherman and Coyle next season then we have ALL new coaches in 2015.

I'm a firm believer that a run game, even when it's burning yards, not only sets up runs for later in the game by wearing down a d-line, but also helps to set up the pass by giving d-backs and linebackers something to think about.

But in essence, we lost this game when the we had no pass plays designed to help temper the blitz. I've seen this same oline protect on read options, screens, quick outs, bootlegs, etc. Why in the name of all that is sacred can't Sherman dial up some of these plays to help move the chains? This guy's playcalling is horrifyingly vanilla, and what makes it more maddening is that you've seen our guys execute them in the past to great effect.

And even if we go a few three and outs on lack of execution or good coverage, again, giving the d something to think about can go along way in close game.

And I'm sorry, Sherman cannot knock our running game when all he does is call plays to the outside out of the shotgun time in and time out. We have to have the slowest developing handoffs I've ever seen! Runs out the singleback or I-formation please? Why do we not have a fb to get those tough yards? My goodness.

Dolphins should pick up Carlos Hyde in the draft. Big bruising back that not only runs through tackles but drags guys along with him.

You draftniks here, be checking the top Olinemen in next Year's Draft, tell odin, Daytona and me about them, we'll check them out then try to convince Ireland about them.(I wanted to draft Jonathan Cooper this year)

The problem wasn't simply the lack of a running game, the problem was a failure by the OC to adapt his game plan to the game situation. I failed to see any called screens, designed bootlegs, draws, or true options -- all of which are specifically designed to take advantage of an aggressive, or blitz-heavy defense. Even more concerning was the number of plays where Dolphins offensive personnel were running into one another like the Keystone Cops. This team was clearly not prepared to beat a team they had no business losing to. That's not to say that Tannehill doesn't shoulder some of the blame for continuing to hold the ball too long, but Mike Sherman didn't do him any favors by failing to put him into situations where he could be successful. Sherman needs to go.

BLA BLA BLA. COME ON. COMMIT TO THR RUN AND STAY WITH IT. DIDN'T THEY WATCH FILM OF THE FIRST GAME? OR DO THEY THINK THEY DON'T NEED TO STUDY OPPONENTS TENDENCIES? OR, RUN PLAYS THAT NULLIFY AN AGGRESSIVE DEFENCE OR, CHANGE THE QB CADANCE OR SNAP COUNT? NO, COACHES DON'T THINK WE NEED TO DO THAT. OLD SCHOOL PHILOSOPHY. "WE DO WHAT WE DO, EVEN IF IT MEANS THROWING YOUR FRANCHISE QB TO THE WOLVES" AND, NOT USING EITHER SIMS OR EGNEW IN THE BACKFIELD TO BLOCK FOR T-HILL? COME ON! I'M TIRED OF WATCHING & SPENDING $200 BUCKS PLUS PER YEAR DIRECT TV TO WATCH THESE CLOWNS TRY TO RUN AN NFL FRANCHISE. CARLOS DANSBY ANYONE? NO, PHILLIP WHELLER. ENOUGH SAID. CINCY WILL HUMILIATE THEM IF THEY HAVE TO TRAVEL NORTH FOR A WILD CARD GAME. WHY? BECAUSE CINCY WILL WATCH THE FIRST MEETING BETWEEN THE 2 TEAMS AND ADJUST. THE BUFFALO GAME PROVED MIAMI COACHES DON'T BELIEVE IN THAT PHILOSOPHY. PHILBIN'S A NICE GUY. BUT AS LEO DEROCHER ONCE SAID. "NICE GUY'S FINISH LAST".

Both coordinators need to be fired. Sherman's thinking is limited to what is in the box. He does not like to deviate from anything. I could not help to think that with the Bills T'ing off on Tannehill and collapsing on the inside runs that there could not have been a reverse play to knock their defense off balance. The other thing is that it has been an ongoing problem that Miami has a problem picking up the corner blitz. Every team knows this so why are there no adjustments?

With the talent that is on this front 7, this defense should be doing so much better than what it is. This D should be able to get pressure on the QB with just the front 4 but instead we rely on our secondary to help provide pressure or lean on the secondary to cover the WRs long enough for someone of the DL to sack the QB. The run D has been Horrendous . Ellerbe and Wheeler are the guys who are suppose to be making the plays to stop the run and they have failed miserably. I also to this day have no idea why Jordan is at least not getting more playing time. Vernon is overrated. He got his sacks in chunks, he disappears during the game and he is never consistent. Jason Taylor struggled against the run as well in his 1st two seasons. He improved by playing in the game. I also will point out that Vernon tends to struggle against the run as well.

No chance. That kid Brenner was getting blown up and McKinney had to help him then they would send an outside blitzer around them. No chance.

MIT

So it's better to pass when buffalo has the best pass rush in the league and we have the worst offensive line in the league in protecting the QB. I'm not defending mando here but to give up on the run so early and not even pose it as a possibility it may be used again was a failure on the dolphin coaching staff. Yesterday's game with weather factored in screamed for a running game. Not an arial assult

There must be ways to go around an overpowering DLine. Also, it was painfully cold out there and I could see the pain and suffering on Tannehill's face. He just couldn't overcome it. No excuses.

McKinnie appeared somewhat gimpy also.

Dolfan29 Buffalo was ranked #4 against the rush and #24 against the pass prior to last week.

Ok folks im outta here.....as usual any post hereinafter I go is not me....lotsa TROLLS on here after 5pm and throughout the evening.

All We can do now is Win then Pray.

Bad ciaching period. BUT we need a revamped o line.

Sherman is clinically insane. Doing the same thing over and over is the definition. Passing wasn't working and played into Bills hand. Unforgivable. But spineless slack jaw Philbin won't do a GD thing. Congratulating the eFing other team is just plain stupid. Retarded owner. Retared GM. Retarded coaches.

If one is obligated to give up on the run when it is not working, is one not also obligated to give up on the pass when it is not working?
Do you see the total flaw in Sherman's 'logic'?
It's like telling one of your kids that they get no allowance when they are bad, then turning around and telling your other kid they still get their allowance when they are bad. Just bad coaching, plain and simple.

Sherman is an absolute JOKE!

When will we get it through our thick skulls Ireland is the root of all our problems. Dolfans keep repeating, CURE THE SYMPTOMS, it hasn't worked yet and never will.

Ross ensured that ditching Sparano, keeping Ireland. Ask yourselves:

1. Would Philbin, Sherman, Coyle be here had Ross axed Ireland too? HIGHLY UNLIKELY.

2. Would the last 2 drafts have been DRASTICALLY different? Of course they would.

3. Would our fa moves have been drastically different? Of course!

Armando had it right in an article a couple months ago. The axing of Sparano and staying of Ireland were HALF MEASURES that availed us nothing.

Let's get a new gm and he selects his hc, together they decide which players to keep and which players to sweep.

Don't know why so many dolfans are uptight. There's only 1 PROBLEM in Miami, too bad it's called:

EVERYTHING!

Balt. Will beat the bungals on Sunday eliminating the dulphins and setting up a wild card rematch.

What do you do when you can't either run or pass? Turn out the lights and go(apaga y vamonos).

This article right here can, and should, be presented to Mr. Sherman when he's told his services are no longer needed.

Your game plan cannot consist of "PLan A", and "Plan B", and when "A" fails, you go to "B"...and when "B" fails, you say "Welp, that's all the planning we had."

Insanity, doing the same thing but expecting different results. That's Mike Sherman in a nutshell.

Next.

BEST 2014 OFFSEASON MOVE:

Convince Ross to MOVE this team and leave the NAME.

Far to much NFL TRADITION AND HISTORY for the NFL not to award Miami another NFL franchise.

This may be the best opportunity to get rid of Steven Ross anytime soon.

FREE WILLIE DAMN IT!

Worst Dolphins performance ever?

Can the NEW MIAMI DOLPHINS become the NFL's 33RD TEAM?

Do it RODGER, do it!

Somebody should have said to sherman

"Playoffs, LOL Playoffs?"

Ok I still believe that the management structure should be simplified meaning less chiefs butting heads or just making decisions based solely on their beliefs.Why did they let Reggie Bush walk and why doesnt Sherman run A LOT MORE SCREENS to the backs if he is stuck in PASS ONLY MODE.Why cant the receivers switch sides every now and then so if T-Hill throws the deep ball better to Hartlines side put Wallace there on some plays.Running screens slows down the pass rush as far as I know.
Sherman is and old coach who has been successful and has been a head coach he believes in what he does and since he has had success he will stick to his beliefs.
Philbin is his friend and will not fire Sherman.Philbin will not fire Ireland and I dont think he can anyway.
Ross needs to forget about freakin committees and if he believes in Philbin give him the same power that Belicheck has maybe more by hiring a young offensive coordinator that Philbin can work with after all that was the job Philbin had before being promoted to HC on the Dolphins.
BTW Sherman will get a job if fired either in the pros or college,with Ireland Im not so sure.

I agree with an earlier poster... if we lose to Jets, change will happen, people will get fired, players given pink slips... if we win and make playoffs by the thinnest of margins, we will all be lead to believe or will be too ignorant to see all the BIG PROBLEMS with the team = coaches + players... all is wonderful, but we barely will have made it and we will think we are good since we made the playoffs... NOT TRUE... win or not, let's be real.. we need lots of improvement to be contenders with the big boys in the playoffs... imagine playing Denver or the Pats at their place in January!!?? No chance... better to lose this Sunday then to go through any more optimistic fantasy that we belong in the playoffs and are deservedly there because we are a quality team!!!

joke: Why won't Orlando get an NFL team?

Because then Miami would want one too!

well put that mess behind us

If following the same script of winning 3 straight to begin the season(4 straight losses afterwards). We will DEFINITELY lose to the Jets Sunday.

We did lose to the Bills after winning 3 straight didn't we? The good news is it's now impossible to lose 4 straight now, we do not have enough games remaining to do it.

Mike Sherman has a dilemma. How does he call plays when he knows the offensive line can't run block or pass protect? How does he call run plays when Thomas averages 3 yards a carry or less and Miller isn't much better? What does he do when he knows the running backs can't block on passing plays? Why does he calling passing plays when the receivers have more drops than just about any other NFL team? The answer is simple: The offense lacks real playmakers. That's not Sherman's fault. It's Jeff Ireland's. He 's the one responsible for drafting players and picking-up free agents. When no draft picks, except for the kicker, start, you've got real problems. You can't be a great offensive coordinator, if you don't have the players.

After losing to then WINLESS BUCS, dolfans should be well aware this team could lose o anyone, including the Jets on Sunday.

1 2 3 4 5 »

The comments to this entry are closed.