« Miami Dolphins DE Dion Jordan: 'I'm drug free' | Main | Joe Philbin answers media questions »

Miami Dolphins kicker and punter in the crosshairs

Tuesday was not a wonderful day at work for Miami Dolphins kicking specialists Caleb Sturgis and Brandon Fields. That's because their boss called them out for jobs not too well done so far this NFL season.

Coach Joe Philbin singled out Sturgis during a team meeting, in front of all the other players, for missing a field goal in Chicago last weekend.

The coach was also asked during his press conference about his punter Fields having a suprisingly poor season kicking the ball so far and Philbin didn't mask the fact something is wrong there.

It was eye-opening because the coach often covers for some players.

Not this time.

Sturgis is connecting on only 78.6 percent of his kicks so far this season. That's 28th in the NFL out of 32 kickers. From 30 yards on out, Sturgis is 6 of 9 (66.6) and that is also not a good mark.

Sturgis had a 32-yard attempt blocked in Chicago. But it was the missed 50-yarder that drew unwanted attention for Sturgis.

"We told him today, we were in the team meeting today and we said we’ve got to make those field goals," Philbin said. "We kind of went through that sequence where we took a sack and knocked ourselves back, and made the field goal more difficult.

"That being said, I said to him right there in the whole team meeting, we’ve got to make those field goals. He knows that and I suspect that he will work at it and he’ll get better at it."

Sturgis is in his second year and hasn't yet lived up to the No. 5 draft pick the Dolphins invested on him last season. So the fact the coach called him out in a team meeting and then shared that fact publicly is not terribly shocking.

This is:

Fields, arguably the best punter the Dolphins have ever had, is having a terrible season so far. And Philbin didn't argue the point Tuesday.

"Early on we got the punt blocked in Buffalo," Philbin said. "He just hasn’t looked as comfortable quite yet back there, as he has in the two years that I’ve been here, the previous two years. I’m confident he’ll work his way through it and he’ll get back to being the outstanding punter that we all know.

"For his standards, it’s not quite what we’re used to. I think he would acknowledge that, but I’m very, very confident that he’ll get back to that soon."

Fields has a long way to go to get back because his 43.3 gross average this year is 31st in the NFL out of 32 punters. His average is the worst he's had since his rookie year in 2007 and, amazingly, it is only one yard better than his 2013 net average of 42.4.

As for the net average this year?

It's 31.8. That is dead last in the NFL. That is so bad it is nearly four yards worse than the next worst net average. Oh, and it is the worst of Fields' career by four yards.

Yes, long way back.