« Dolphins OL must meet great force with greater force | Main | Decision on Kevin Coyle's status has been made »

PFF end of season recap of Miami Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins season ended with a whimper (again) and the team is already into its offseason planning. Part of that planning has been studying and gaining an understanding of how the 2014 team played.

My friends at ProFootballFocus.com offer this end of season recap of the Dolphins:

Offensive line

Left tackle Branden Albert went out for the season Nov. 9 at Detroit but his +17.5 was still good enough to rank him eighth best among all tackles, which highlights how big of a blow the Albert injury was to the Dolphins/

After a promising start to his rookie season, right tackle Ja’Wuan James struggled in the move to left tackle. Since Week 10, James’ -30.0 is the worst of any tackle in the league, and his 29 hurries allowed in that time were 11 more than any other tackle.


Ja'Wuan James is not a left tackle, folks. We knew this. He was not drafted for this. Cannot kill the kid for this.

Coinciding with James’ move to LT was Dallas Thomas starting five games at RT. James had the worst grade of any tackle since Week 10, but Thomas was third-worst at -20.3. He allowed seven sacks, five hits, and 14 hurries in his five starts.

Remember the Dolphins coaching staff stubbornly refusing to remove Thomas from the lineup?Remember me saying Jason Fox would be a better option -- no, not great but better?

Well, in the two games Fox started he performed well against Minnesota and poorly against the New York Jets in the season finale (who didn't)? But combined Fox graded out a -3 with no sacks allowed those two games.

Not great. But better than Thomas.


Quaterback Ryan Tannehill had a 99.7 rating when throwing deep outside the numbers to the right. He went 8-for-21 for 252 yards with a TD. It was down the deep middle of the field and to the left where he struggled, going a combined 8-for-32 for 226 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs.

Tannehill was pressured on 38.3% of his drop-backs, sixth-most in the league, and took a sack on 18.2 percent of his pressured drop-backs, which was 12th most in the league. If you interpret these stats, it suggests Tannehill successfully avoided sacks more often than not when pressured.


On 177 carries in 2013, Lamar Miller forced 20 missed tackles. On 216 totes in 2014, Miller forced 32 misses. So Miller did improve the percentage of plays in which he made tacklers miss.

One area where Miller still needs to improve is the passing game. His six drops on 44 catchable balls yielded the fifth-worst drops among halfbacks who saw at least 25% of their team’s running back targets.


Tannehill’s passer rating when targeting his receivers: Mike Wallace 114 passer rating for Tannehill, Jarvis Landry 96.6 passer rating for Tannehill, Brian Hartline 91.1 passer rating for Tannehill, Brandon Gibson 77.9 passer rating for Tannehill.

Oh-oh, Brandon.

Despite playing injured for most of the season and even missing two games, tight end Charles Clay received a similar grade in the passing game in 2014 (+4.0) as he did in 2013 (+5.0). He also vastly improved his run blocking from -6.1 in ’13 to +2.9 in ’14.

Jarvis Landry, like a lot of rookies, appeared to hit the wall late in the season. Through the first 13 weeks, he was 13th in the league in YAC (315 yards), but over the last four weeks, fell to 39th (92 yards).

The folks at PFF credit the rookie wall. I offer this alternative: The Patriots, Ravens, Vikings, and Jets -- all coached very well on defense -- changed up coverage strategies on Landry near the end of the season after seeing on tape what he had done earlier in the year.

Defensive Summary

After sitting out the first four games while on suspension, safety Reshad Jones’ +14.4 led all NFL safeties from Week 5 onward. Despite playing just 38 percent of his run snaps within eight yards of the line of scrimmage, Jones had a 7.6 percent run stop rate that was third best among safeties. When he did play within eight yards on run plays, that run stop rate improved to 13 percent.

Defensive end Cameron Wake’s 65 pressures were fourth among all 4-3 DEs, behind Charles Johnson, Michael Bennett, and Junior Galette.

Dion Jordan rushed the passer 103 times in 2014 and produced 12 pressures. He dropped into coverage 40 times.

Derrick Shelby had a -2.3 grade overall, but excelled versus the run (+6.7). His 10.3 percent run stop rate was fifthe among all 4-3 DEs who received at least 25 percent of their club’s run snaps.


Both Cortland Finnegan and Jimmy Wilson were exposed in the slot, each allowing a 120-plus passer rating to the opposing quarterback when covering the slot receiver. In limited time before he was injured, Michael Thomas allowed two catches on 35 snaps in the slot.

Brent Grimes had a +5.8 coverage grade through nine games, allowing a 60.0 passer rating against him. Over the last 7 games, however, his coverage grade fell to -5.7 and he allowed a 118.0 rating to opposing quarterbacks.