The Miami Dolphins are relevant again, as I wrote in my column today.
But, if you noticed, I didn't exactly throw a party in my prose. Why?
There's still a long way to go. The Dolphins' climb back from being so bad they fired their head coach has been done on the backs of two bad opponents. There were signs Sunday, even in a great 44-26 victory, that troubled.
And Thursday there is the New England Patriots.
All that is covered in my column except for the troubling signs we saw Sunday.
I'll cover those here:
Trouble sign one: The Miami offense converted one of nine third down opportunities. That is bad even on a day the offense was rolling with both Ryan Tannehill and Lamar Miller setting NFL marks.
Trouble sign two: Coach Dan Campbell told his team not to let the Houston Texans off the matt in the second half. The Houston Texans got off the mat in the second half. They outscored Miami 26-3 in the second half. You can do that with a 41-0 halftime lead, but how often does any team build a 41-point cushion? You can do that against the Texans but New England, the New York Jets, even the Buffalo Bills at home in two weeks, are not the Texans.
Trouble sign three: The offensive line was excellent but giving up four sacks is still a lot and the right guard position is still unresolved. Billy Turner is improving and gaining confidence and experience. But he's still not good enough. According to ProFootballFocus, Turner's graded out a -6.1 on Sunday. That was 35 out of 37 guards playing this weekend.
Trouble sign four: The other cornerback spot is still a concern. Brice McCain is expected back this week, per The Herald's Adam Beasley. And that is good because Jamar Taylor was clearly targeted by the Texans. While Brent Grimes spent much of the afternoon on Houston No. 1 receiver DeAndre Hopkins, Taylor was on Nate Washington. Washington caught nine passes for 127 yards. No, not all of those were on Taylor. But many were.
By the way -- and this is not a trouble sign -- Cameron Wake was outstanding again. He's healthy and so he's playing great right now. He was PFF's highest rated 4-3 defensive end this week after collecting two sacks to go with the four he had against Tennessee.
[Correction: Cameron Wake was outstanding but he was not the highest rated 4-3 defensive end. That was Cameron Jordan of the New Orleans Saints. Wake was second.]
But on the other side, Olivier Vernon didn't have a tackle or a sack. He did have one QB hurry, per the stat book. But PFF rated him the 37th 4-3 defensive end of the weekend. They only rated 37 4-3 defensive ends.