Miami Dolphins: 2013 Week 5 Upon Further Review AFC

Miami begins with division games against New England and in Buffalo, followed by a visit from Kansas City and a trip to London to play Oakland before the bye. These games are key because Miami will be without Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey (hip injury), starting safety Reshad Jones (suspension) and former No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan (suspension). How the Dolphins hold up during this stretch of the schedule could define their season.

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Upon Further Review: Dolphins Week 5

October, 7, 2013
10/07/13
12:00
PM ET
An examination of four hot issues from the Miami Dolphins' 26-23 loss to the Baltimore Ravens:

Bye-week blues: It’s going to be a long two weeks for the Dolphins. Miami enters its bye losers of two consecutive games. The losing streak puts a damper on the Dolphins’ stellar 3-0 start. Now, the Dolphins are simply a middle-of-the-pack team struggling to find its way. Miami has a lot of issues to address, and also needs to use this bye to get healthy. The Dolphins will host the Buffalo Bills (2-3) on Oct. 20.

[+] EnlargeRyan Tannehill
Robert Mayer/USA TODAY SportsThe Dolphins are on pace to let Ryan Tannehill be sacked more than 70 times this season.
Protection issues: Perhaps the biggest issue for Miami is protecting starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. This is not new. The Dolphins have had pass-protection issues since the first week of the season. Miami leads the NFL with 24 sacks allowed in five games, and is on pace to allow more than 70 sacks this season. The Dolphins are suffering from various leaks. Sometimes, it's the offensive line. Other times, it's the running backs failing to block or the quarterback holding the ball too long. Miami is probably not a playoff team if the pass protection doesn’t improve. Either Tannehill is going to get injured at some point, or the passing game is going to stall. It's amazing that Tannehill is still playing at a high level despite all the pressure he’s facing.

Sherman watch: It has been a rough couple of weeks for Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. His play-calling has been shoddy, including a pair of head-scratching decisions to run the ball outside on third-and-1. Sherman called only 11 runs in what was a close and competitive game, whereas the Dolphins passed the ball 40 times. It will be Sherman’s job to re-evaluate the offense and his play-calling tendencies over the next two weeks. Opponents are starting to catch up to the Dolphins' offense after a solid start in the first three games.

Trade talk: In-season trades are not the norm in the NFL, but expect the rumor mill to get churning for Miami, especially during the bye week when not much is going on. The Dolphins could certainly use a boost on the offensive line and maybe at running back. Another veteran cornerback also wouldn’t hurt, especially considering Miami’s injuries. There are rarely quick fixes available via trades this time of year. But Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland has been very aggressive in the offseason, so you can’t completely rule anything out.

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