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Postscripts, reaction from Dolphins' loss at New Orleans; Heat notes

Postscripts from the Dolphins’ discouraging 38-17 drubbing Monday night at New Orleans:

### Joe Philbin’s take: “We have to do better on defense. We obviously don’t want Jimmy Graham running down the field wide open for touchdowns.” (You don’t say?)

On the inability to slow Darren Sproles: “We tried zone, we tried man, we tried some pressures. Sproles is very good. We tried different combinations.”

Philbin said Ryan Tannehill (who now has an NFL-high six fumbles) has to “hold onto” the ball "better. He’s got to get down earlier” on scrambles.  

On the bright side... “I love the balance we had at halftime,” Philbin said. “We punted once in the first half. I thought we were executing well on offense except the two giveaways in the first half.” But his team unraveled in the second half.

With Baltimore visiting Sunday, “We’re going to find out a lot about our team with how we respond.”

### Tannehill had his first poor game of the season: 22 for 35 for 249 yards, with three interceptions, a key fumble late in the first half, and a 57.9 quarterback rating.  (On a SMALL positive note, he ran for 48 yards on four carries. And he threw one touchdown pass, a three-yarder to Charles Clay.)

“What really started it [downhill] was the fumble I had,” he said. “You have to hold onto the ball.” Curtis Lofton stripped Tannehill, who was holding the ball carelessly.

On the three picks: “First one, I held the inside guy with my eyes and [Jabari Greer] jumped the route. Not much we can do about it. Next one, got bumped a little bit and led Mike Wallace too far. Last one, I got hit as I was throwing.”

Tannehill said one problem was this: “When we got behind, we had to back off on the running game. It hurt us, not being able to use the run like we wanted to.”

### ESPN’s Jon Gruden said Tannehill and Wallace “don’t look like they’re on the same page. They need to have a conversation on the sidelines and make these corrections. They’ve got to get Wallace straightened out in this pass offense.”

Tannehill threw seven passes to him; only three were completed, for 24 yards. Another was intercepted. And the only deep ball thrown to Wallace went through his hands.

Brian Hartline also had a relatively quiet night, with three catches for 34 yards. Brandon Gibson caught six for 71 (with a drop). Charles Clay had six catches for 42 yards and is on pace to set the single-season receiving yardage record for a Dolphins tight end.

### Purely from a Dolphins fan perspective, watching the Saints’ offense might be more exasperating than watching any other team because the Dolphins passed on or passed up every significant skill position player on this offense.

You all know about Miami passing on Drew Brees – twice. Miami took John Jerry instead of Jimmy Graham, had no interest in drafting seventh rounder Marques Colston, drafted Ted Ginn ahead of Robert Meachem and signed Reggie Bush (then let him leave) instead of Sproles, though that move can be justified because Bush was a generally effective starter for two years.

### Brees dissected the Dolphins, completing 30 of 39 passes for 413 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 144.5 quarterback rating.

He threw to Graham only four times, and all four were completed for 100 yards, including two touchdowns.

Sproles torched the Dolphins, with seven receptions for 114 yards and four carries for 28 yards.

The Dolphins tried a variety of personnel on Graham and Sproles – with no success. Reshad Jones was beaten badly by Sproles on a 48-yard pass early in the game. Rookie cornerback Jamar Taylor, in his first regular-season game, had decent coverage on Graham’s first touchdown reception (a 27-yarder), but Graham still caught it by simply out-jumping him.

Linebackers Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe were victimized several times in coverage. And Graham beat Chris Clemons for his second touchdown, a 43-yarder.

### Taylor struggled mightily to cover Colston, who beat him twice for receptions. Colston ended up matched up against Wheeler on another play and torched him, too. Nolan Carroll made two impressive breakups in coverage but was beaten at least three times.

### The Saints averaged just 2.8 yards per carry on 24 attempts, but it hardly mattered, with Brees carving up the Dolphins’ secondary. And this was a killer: Brees and his weapons converted five of their first seven third-down chances, for 89 yards.

### Dolphins left tackle Jonathan Martin allowed two sacks and right tackle Tyson Clabo one. That means the Dolphins’ starting tackles have now permitted eight sacks in four games – four by each of them. Unacceptable! Gruden noted that Clabo has struggled handling power rushers.

With guard John Jerry also allowing a sack, the Dolphins have relinquished 18 sacks in four games and are on pace to allow 72 -- which would easily shatter the franchise record of 53.

### Worst call of the game: Mike Sherman opting to pitch to Daniel Thomas instead of having Tannehill run a sneak on third-and-an inch or two early in the game.

“It was a play we practiced all week,” Philbin said. “We liked it. I knew we were going to call it. They made a better play than us.”

As much as the Dolphins want Thomas to be an effective short-yardage back, he remains unreliable in those situations. Thomas closed with five yards on four carries, while Lamar Miller was far better (11 carries, 62 yards, 5.6 average).

### Positives, besides Miller? Paul Soliai, returning two weeks earlier than doctors expected, was terrific. Jared Odrick did good work, including a sack…. Marcus Thigpen, given a few snaps on offense, caught a pass for 50 yards….

Caleb Sturgis (34 yard field goal) remained perfect on the season…. And defensive tackles Marvin Austin, signed to replace Vaughn Martin, gave the Dolphins some impactful snaps.

### Gruden noted that “injuries had a lot to do with this” result and “I like the state of the Dolphins.” Of course, Miami played without Cam Wake and Dimitri Patterson and Koa Misi played but seemed less effective than usual.

Wake would have helped on a night Miami had just two sacks (Odrick and Olivier Vernon). Patterson would have helped on a night Miami’s coverage was porous. But this margin was too lopsided to believe that any one player would have made a difference between winning and losing.

### By the way,the Dolphins have played the most Monday Night Football games of any team and are 40-39 in those games.

### Please see the last post for a full report from Heat media day... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz                    

 

Comments

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General Zod

A work in progress. Still need a few more pieces to the puzzle. But going in the right direction. And if you're going to lose, lose to a non-Division and non-Conference team.

Jerry

This team is a fraud, ripe to be exposed. Still too many personnel mistakes. So much money spend on o-line and it's never fixed.

Eddie

Because AFC is so good this year, this team won't make playoffs. Theyre obviously not better than New England.

Dez

9-7. At best.

Pablo

First, give some credit to the Saints offense, which is really good with Brees, Graham and Sproles. The Dolphins pass rush in earlier games masked their weakness in pass coverage. Without Wake, the pass rush wasn't good enough. Wheeler can't cover the backs and tight ends either. Granted it's hard for anyone to cover a 6'7" 265 lb. tight end that can run, jump and catch.

The Dolphins team is a work in progress that's a good team, but not an elite team like the Saints. 8-8 or 9-7 sounds about right.

Joe r

tannehill has yet to prove he can throw a deep ball with accuracy, that throw to wallace was underthrown and even on the short routes he is missing him because of the speed. he needs to spend less time with hartline and more time with wallace. Go out there and throw 30 balls to wallace at full speed medium and deep routes uncovered and when you complete at least 25 of them then put a corner on him and do it again. They need to keep doing this everyday until there is some consistency.

Coral Gables'81

Good first quarter of the season (3-1). The challenge is to match that record or exceed it every quarter. Yes there are some deficiencies, however there are a lot of positives to build on. I would like to see them try Jenkins in some coverage from the linebacker position.

Doomed

Ireland may not have bought himself a playoff contender but he did buy himself a contract extension from a clueless owner. That's all that matters.

TK SWANN

Okay so one lopsided loss on national tv means we are not good anymore?? bull! The Saints are good because of qb Brees and head coach payton. I wouldn't be surprised if they lost on Sunday ? They have are terrible offensive line but Brees makes them look better than they are. The defense plays smart and simply makes you drive the field instead of trying to force the action. They are weak against the run. I have one thing to say about the Dolphins there OC and DC are over thinking and misusing the talent on this team. 3rd and less than an inch and calling a outside run is the worst call all year so far. 3rd down and 20 and back off and allow a 1st down is just plain unacceptable, then to repeat it on 3rd and long again is just plain dumb. Yes tannehill turnovers were deadly but coaching was awful also. Now let"s see can the team and it's coaching can respond??

Sonfin

The Dolphins will never be anything with Ireland pulling the strings! They over paid all these new signings. Jordan was a wasted pick..should have taken a big tackle.

TRW

Ireland's incompetence shines like a bright star for all to see....except the equally incompetent Ross. Our Dolphins were completely dismantled by a far superior team last night. Mid pack is best we can hope for. Again.

tony churchill

Our coach needs to go we need someone like gruden aggressive. And we need a qb tannahill blows

tony churchill

Dolphins need to throw this season get #1draft pick and get teddy bridgewater from louisville great qb this seasons a wash no defense we aregoing to lose at least 10 games tannahill will be good back up

jmike

tony churchill what kind of dope are you. They're 3-1,and should be favored against the Ravins.

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