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Why the Dolphins third down offense is so terrible

I know some pundits that include former coaches and players would have you believe football is a complex sport. And, yes, it has it's own language and culture. But when it comes down to it, the NFL is about matchups and your playmakers beating their playmakers.

The team that exploit matchups typically win.

The team that gets the most plays from its playmakers typically win.

And that is why the Dolphins are 1-3 today. (They'll be 2-3 tomorrow evening, but that's for another post). As I wrote in my column today, the Dolphins are not getting enough plays from their playmakers. Indeed, I'm starting to wonder how many playmakers this team really has.

DeVante Parker is not making enough plays.

Kenny Stills is not making enough plays -- indeed he makes one extra play this year, the Dolphins beat Seattle and they're 2-2.

I list the so-called playmakers that aren't producing enough plays for the Dolphins. And, yes, Ryan Tannehill is among the list of guys not making enough plays for the Dolphins. It is just true.

Think about this:

The New England Patriots have not seen Tom Brady on the field four games into the season. They've played with backup Jimmy Garoppolo and third-stringer Jacoby Brissett. And yet the Patriots have not thrown an interception this year.

The Dallas Cowboys have not seen Tony Romo on the field four games into the season. They've played with backup rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. And yet the Cowboys have not thrown an interception this year.

The Vikings lost their starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in practice before the regular-season began. They started backup Shaun Hill and then traded for Sam Bradford who took three minutes to learn the offense before he got rolling. And yet the Vikings have not thrown an interception this year.

The Eagles traded Bradford. They're starting rookie Carson Wentz, who missed much of the preseason with an fractured rib. And the Eagles have not thrown an interception this year.

The Dolphins? With Tannehill? He's thrown more interceptions than Cleveland Browns quarterbacks.

This is not sustainable. He must be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. He must be a playmaker for the Dolphins.

And this isn't just a Tannehill issue. This isn't a running game or passing game issue. It's an everybody issue.

Miami is 31st in the NFL in running first downs. Miami is 26th in the NFL in passing first downs.

It's also not a offense-only issue. The defense needs to make more impact plays.

Turnover margin is one measure of impact plays.

The Dolphins are minus five. That's 29th in the NFL.

The Miami defense has four take-aways. Buffalo has twice as many. New England has seven.


Miami has nine which is 26th in the NFL. Miami's four lost fumbles in four games is horrible!

I will say this: I note in my column how horrible Miami's offense is on third down efficiency. The defense, interestingly, is pretty good. The Dolphins' D is allowing third down conversions only 31.7 percent of the time and that's second-best in the NFL.

So on the big money down, the Dolphins defense is making plays. That's great.

The problem is the offense stinks.

Example: The Miami D held Cincinnati to 3-of-15 (20 percent) in their last game, versus Cincinnati.

The problem is the Miami O was worse than Cincy's O. The Dolphins converted only 2 of 11 third downs all game, including none in five tries the first half. The 2-of-11 rate is 18 percent. So, awful.

Again, the NFL is about matchups and playmakers making impact plays.

The Dolphins are so far terrible at getting impact plays from their playmakers.