- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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DAVIE, Fla. -- It's going to be a long two weeks for the offensive line of the Miami Dolphins. It would be in their best interest to turn off the local radio and television stations during the bye in South Florida. Reading the paper and internet coverage of the Dolphins also are bad ideas.
Miami allowed a season-high six sacks in a 26-23 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. It was the second consecutive loss for Miami and upped Ryan Tannehill's sack total to an NFL-high 24. Tannehill is on pace to be sacked nearly 77 times this year, which would be an NFL record.
Still, Dolphins' coaches Monday said they remain confident in this much-maligned unit. Barring an unexpected trade, Miami must work with the group it has.
“We believe in the guys that we have,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said Monday. “We have confidence in them. We have to continue to strive at all positions. I know everyone wants to focus on one position. There's a lot of positions on this football team that need improvement.”
The bye comes at a good time for Miami (3-2). After a fast 3-0 start, the Dolphins have lost two games in the past seven days. Miami also was throttled by the New Orleans Saints, 38-17, on “Monday Night Football” on Sept. 30. The Dolphins have allowed 10 sacks between the two losses.
Tannehill is taking a pounding at a record rate. He's held up well so far and showed good toughness. But can Tannehill take nearly five sacks a game for a full 16-game season without getting injured or eventually being frazzled.
“I don't worry about him mentally,” Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said. “The guy as resilient a person and competitor as I've seen. I've been around some good ones and he's right up there.”
All things considered, Tannehill is doing relatively well. The pass protection is arguably the worst in the NFL, and he has little running game on most weeks. Still, Tannehill is completing 62.6 percent of his passes, won three games and has an 85.5 passer rating.
Imagine if Miami's offensive line can work its way to being average after the bye week.
“We're a work in progress and I think it will all work itself out,” Sherman said. “We will spend a lot of time this off week looking at what our issues are, even more specifically than we already have. We're going to fix what needs to get fixed. I'm pretty confident in that.”
7hEric D. Williams