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Dolphins dealing with issues including QB and RB

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- I have seen zero improvement from Ryan Tannehill so far this year. And that's why I wrote in my column today that the Dolphins may have a problem that goes far beyond losing to Buffalo or playing inconsistently.

I don't think it is time to bench him yet.

But another stinker next week like he delivered against New England and Buffalo and I can guarantee the conversation about benching Tannehill will be joined within the Dolphins coaching staff. It's not about having patience here. Joe Philbin has plenty of that, especially for his quarterback.

But the clock is ticking on everybody on the football side of this organization and people in that kind of situation who merely stay the course often stay the course right out the door.

By the way, Joe Philbin defended Tannehill after the game when I asked him if thinks he can win a division with a quarterback playing like Tannehill is playing. The coach blamed everyone for playing poorly thus covering for Tannehill.

And, yes, the special teams were bad, the defesive front got no pressure and the offensive line ineffective. But Tannehill's game stood out as bad because it's his second in a row and, pssst, he's the quarterback.

I trust deeds more than words. And Philbin's deeds spoke volumes to me at the end of the first half Sunday.

With 2:21 to play and all three of their timeouts, the Dolphins got the ball at their own 17 and ran the ball. And ran again. And again. And again. And again. And again.

They actually moved the ball to their own 29 with 19 seconds to play and did not call time nor did they try to pass. They had the ball at their 35 with 13 seconds to play and did not call time and did not try to pass.

That tells me Philbin didn't trust his offense and he obviously didnt trust Tannehill to avoid an interception or a strip-sack of some kind. The Dolphins played it safe down 9-0. They didn't throw downfield trying to get in field goal territory.

Safe is good. But safe doesn't score before halftime and give you a chance to take the lead with your first possession of the second  half. Safe does not change momentum before halftime.

So Matt Moore is not at bat yet. He's not even in the on deck circle.

But if Tannehill continues to struggle like he has to start 2014 it will not be long before Moore is picking out a bat.

Tannehill, by the way, is not Miami's only issue right now.

The team needs to find a running back because Knowshon Moreno is out at least a month and probably longer and, let's face it, Lamar Miller isn't the answer there. I mean, Miller is a nice change-of-pace guy. He titilates with his size (222 pounds) and speed (4.49).

But his hands are inconsistent and he simply doesn't run over people or make them miss. And now that he's nursing a bit of an ankle injury, how's he going to carry the load?

GM Dennis Hickey most assuradly will be searching for help. Maybe it turns out to be Daniel Thomas. Maybe someone else is out there. None will replace Miller but the hope is someone can take carries for Miller.

The Dolphins have something of a quandry right now because they are soon going to need two roster spots for the return of Reshad Jones and Dion Jordan.  If they add a running back, they're going to need another roster spot.

There is speculation the team might place Moreno on the Injured Reserve (designated for return) list. But that is not an easy decision because that means Moreno would not be allowed to practice for six weeks and cannot be activated for eight weeks. During this time, the player doesn't count against the 53-man roster limit, but he does count against the cap.

So the team would get the roster spot but lose Moreno until mid November. That's harsh. I suppose it all depends on whether indeed Moreno has a fracture (likely) and what kind of fracture (clean break or not) it is to determine how long he'll be out. 

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