The Miami Dolphins effectively have three starting wide receivers. And they're happy with the effort of two of them, following Sunday's victory over the Cleveland Browns.
The Dolphins are pleased with Jarvis Landry.
The Dolphins are pleased with Kenny Stills.
DeVante Parker caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the first quarter. But I'm told the Dolphins are not pleased. It seems coaches want more production and more effort from Parker.
Parker was targeted six times on Sunday. He caught two of his three targets in the first half. He had one catch in three targets in the second half. But it's not about the hands, here. It's about the route-running and the effort the Dolphins want to see improved.
In some regard I guess you can say Parker is making strides. A couple of weeks ago the Dolphins were merely trying to get him on the field and through a game healthy. Now they want more.
The grades from ProFootballFocus.com today reflect a win but obviously not an impressive one. And that's exactly what Sunday's 30-24 overtime victory over Cleveland was.
Rookie running back Kenyan Drake (70.8) put in a solid showing on the ground in spite of getting little help from his offensive line. His 37 yards on nine carries may appear meager but he gained 62.2% of his rushing yards after first contact (2.6 per carry), compared to a team average on the day of 54.7 percent.
While Tannehill was only sacked once and hit twice more, three of the Dolphins' offensive linemen (Branden Albert, Laremy Tunsil and Jermon Bushrod) surrendered five hurries apiece. Only Ja'Wuan James had allowed that many in the first two games of the season combined for the Dolphins' offensive line.
Ndamukong Suh earned an overall grade of 82.4, third best on the Dolphins' defense, but was the only Dolphin defensive tackle to earn a grade above 60. So maybe now you understand why the Browns were able to rush for 169 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per run. The play of the Dolphins' other defensive tackles and the linebackers behind them helped the Browns gain 4.25 yards per carry on runs between the tackles.
Cameron Wake played a season high 35 snaps and was a force as a pass rusher from the outset with strip sack on the opening drive. Wake's seven pressures (one hit, six hurries) were his most in almost a year and helped him earn the highest overall grade on the Miami defense this week (85.3).
(It's good that PFF rewards Wake with the highest grade. My eyes told me Wake was the second-best player on the Dolphins on Sunday. Reshad Jones was better.)
Wake topped the NFL in Week Three in pass rush productivity -- which measures pressure created on a per snap basis with weighting toward sacks -- at 25 percent after collecting seven quarterback pressures and a sack during 22 pass rushes.
Safety Reshad Jones racked up six defensive stops, tied for the second most in a single game in his entire career. Jones was a force around the line of scrimmage against run and pass, particularly early in the game when the Browns first started rolling in Terrelle Pryor at quarterback. Jones also notched his first sack since Week 10 last season against the Eagles (another six stop performance).
CB Byron Maxwell was a key piece to the Philadelphia Eagles' acquisition of Miami's 2016 first-round pick that they would use to acquire the No. 2 draft slot to select QB Carson Wentz. While Wentz has excelled beyond expectations, Maxwell's play has left plenty to be desired after surrendering five receptions for 84 yards to Cleveland WR Terrelle Pryor. Through three games, Maxwell has permitted 1.43 yards per coverage snap over 129 coverage snaps. In 2015, only 17 of 79 cornerbacks defending at least 50 percent of passing snaps allowed 1.43 yards per coverage snap or more. Not good. But not surprisingly, Maxwell was one of those.
So the Dolphins have gotten exactly what they must have seen from Maxwell in Philadelphia.
Miami LB Jelani Jenkins recorded the Dolphins' lowest PFF grade (37.3) in Week Three. Jenkins recorded one tackle in defense of 24 rushing attempts compared to two missed tackles. He allowed his lone coverage snap to gain 10 yards after the catch while missing a third tackle and was flagged for a roughing the passer penalty during seven empty attempts rushing the quarterback.
Jenkins had more missed tackles (3) than he made solo tackles (2). Despite playing 150 snaps thus far this season, Jenkins has only recorded five solo tackles and ranks as PFF's worst 4-3 OLB in run defense.
(I would say Jenkins is playing hurt. He obviously has not been the same coming back from the knee surgery he had in August. Having said that, Donald Butler is coming. Jenkins needs to play better or he'll be replaced).
Tannehill was consistently targeting Jarvis Landry on longer-developing crossing and intermediate routes. The two players connected on four passes thrown outside the numbers to the intermediate level (10-19 yards downfield).
Tannehill was effective at throwing the ball downfield against the Browns. He completed 11 of 16 passes to the intermediate level of the field (10-19 yards downfield).
(But, as I wrote a couple of days ago, his uneven performances need to stop. It is a 60 minute game. He needs to show up in the first half.)
Jarvis Landry terrorized the Browns’ defense all day. Landry caught 7 of 12 targets and had receptions against six different Browns’ defenders in coverage. He also had 46 yards after the catch. Landry had 120 receiving yards rand a touchdown against the Browns. He was the most targeted WR so far graded by PFF in Week Three along with Denver's Emmanuel Sanders.
On the season, Landry has been targeted 32 times -- also most in the NFL.
After starting TE Jordan Cameron left with an injury after just 12 snaps, Dion Sims took over and played 60 snaps and was the highest graded player on the team (tied with Landry). He was exceptional as a run blocker, grading out as PFF's No. 1 run blocking TE in Week 3.
(Yeah, what did I tell you about him replacing Cameron in my post Monday? This is what I told you).
The Miami offensive line struggled all afternoon, as all five starters graded out very poorly. They allowed a ridiculous 19 total pressures on 40 passing plays, although Tannehill was only sacked one time. Facing no pressure, Tannehill was 16-of-22 for 207 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception and a NFL QB Rating of 113.3. Under pressure, however, he was 9-of-17 for 112 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a rating of 68.7.
The running back by committee Miami employed worked out well against the Browns, as the ground game produced 115 yards on 25 carries (4.6 avg.) and the game-winning touchdown. The backs were able to force a combined four missed tackles and had 63 yards after contact.
Rookie cornerback Xavien Howard struggled some in coverage on Sunday after impressing in the first two weeks of the season. He allowed five receptions on six targets for 68 yards and was beaten by the Browns' Terrelle Pryor multiple times for first downs. He continues to be impressive in run defense with his tackling, recording six more on the afternoon from his cornerback position.