Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Miami Dolphins Stock Watch
By James Walker
The Miami Dolphins (3-2) are stumbling into the bye after losing two consecutive games.
Here is a look at whose stock is up and whose is down with the Dolphins:
Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman has his hands full with an offensive line that is allowing the most QB sacks through five weeks.
1. Offensive line: Not much is going right for Miami’s offensive line. This much-maligned group has allowed more quarterback sacks (24) than any team in the NFL, and Miami’s running game is ranked 27th. I’m not sure there’s much the Dolphins can do other than try to coach up the offensive line during the bye. Miami doesn’t have much depth behind the starters, and there aren’t many trade opportunities available.
2. Mike Sherman, offensive coordinator: Being an offensive coordinator is not a glamorous job. The players get most of the credit when things are working, and the offensive coordinator gets a lot of blame when things go wrong. A lot is going wrong on offense, and Sherman is shouldering the blame. The play-calling hasn’t been very good the past two weeks, and the run-to-pass ratio (11-to-40) was way off against Baltimore in a three-point game. To Sherman’s credit, his players aren’t performing up to expectations, especially on the offensive line. But Sherman must work with what he has and find the right calls to jumpstart his struggling offense.
3. Second-half performance: The Dolphins dominated teams in the second half the first three weeks. However, that has not been the case in recent losses. Miami has been outscored 37-17 in the third and fourth quarters the past two games. It appeared the Dolphins' defense ran out of gas in the fourth quarter against Baltimore. Miami needs this bye week to rest and get healthy in order to get back on track with strong second-half play.
1. Koa Misi, linebacker: Misi had one of his best games as a Dolphin, with eight tackles and a sack against the Ravens. Three of his eight tackles were for losses. Misi took advantage of the increased playing time because of injuries. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe went down in the second half and didn’t return, which meant Misi had to shoulder more of the responsibility on defense. Miami recently gave Misi a contract extension, and he played up to his capability on Sunday. Perhaps this provides some momentum for the linebacker heading into the bye week.
2. Ryan Tannehill, quarterback: You almost have to grade Tannehill on a curve with all that’s going wrong offensively. The offense can’t run the ball and can’t protect the passer, yet Tannehill is still putting up solid numbers. Tannehill threw for 307 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers in the loss to Baltimore. He nearly led the Dolphins to a game-tying field goal but took an untimely sack on third down. Still, Tannehill is showing his toughness and competitiveness by playing through all of Miami’s offensive woes. More importantly, he refuses to point the finger.
3. Olivier Vernon, defensive end: Vernon has had a quiet season in his first year as a starter. But he had his best game of 2013 against Baltimore. Vernon recorded three tackles and a sack against the Ravens, and two of his tackles were for losses. Vernon did a good job setting the edge and getting some pressure on Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco. He needs to have more performances like this after the bye.