Now is not the time to panic.
It’s time to assess.
The Buffalo Bills have beaten the Miami Dolphins for most of the past decade, so why does last Sunday’s embarrassing 35-0 loss suddenly shake the cage?
Why criticize everything that has been done this offseason, this reconstruction now?
The Buffalo Bills under Josh Allen are title contenders, and Miami is clearly still catching up with an AFC East rival who is bigger, stronger, faster and more talented. After all, Allen is 6-1 against the Dolphins.
A Week 2 loss doesn’t mean the season is lost. Hope must not be emptied.
Now is the time for dolphins to heal their wounds and patch up leaks.
It’s time to problem-solve, experiment, and find smart and creative ways to fill in the gaps in this team and showcase their strengths.
That’s what smart front offices do and good coaches accomplish.
So that’s when we look, assess and judge, to determine if this franchise has the right leadership.
Last time I checked, that fan base believed in GM Chris Grier, the man who assembled a draft pick treasure chest by trading in many of the team’s best players. These choices are meant to serve as the building blocks for this rebuild.
And last time around, I checked to see Brian Flores walk the water around here, because of the two years of overtaking he delivered with a team that lacked a lot of talent.
Has a nasty defeat changed all that?
The Dolphins are 1-1 with 15 games to go this season, and everything is still in front of them.
But fixes are needed.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, whose durability is disputed, has sensitive ribs from the physical blow he suffered in the second practice of last Sunday’s game, and Miami coaches must decide whether to play better. a healthy Jacoby Brissett or an injured Tagovailoa behind a troublesome offensive line. .
That’s right, the Dolphins’ offensive line looks like a leaky tap again, and most of the youngsters Miami hoped to develop – thrive as top NFL starters – haven’t. At least not yet, and their struggles are blatant.
Expect every team in this hearty league to attack the Dolphins the same way Buffalo lobbied – putting seven defenders on the line of scrimmage most snaps and challenging linemen to accurately guess who comes to feast on their quarterback and block him.
Whoever this quarterback is. But that really shouldn’t matter.
The Washington football team lost Ryan Fitzpatrick (remember him?) To a hip injury in Game 1 of the season, and Taylor Heinicke led them to a fourth quarter victory in his first start in the regular season.
Injury is part of this brutal game that we love so much. This is why there is a list of 53 players and 16 training places.
“Next man up”, as Flores likes to say.
Brissett, who holds a 12-20 record as an NFL starter, is no slouch. He has started games for two NFL teams – the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts – who have had better records than the Dolphins over the past decade.
So how bad could it be?
It would help if the Dolphins had effective running play to go with it, but the Dolphins averaged a measly 3.4 yards per carry, continuing a theme that has been consistent since Flores took over in 2019.
But Miami’s struggles aren’t just on the offensive side of the ball.
The team’s rush was non-existent for the first two games. A lot of pressure is applied, but the dolphins have only connected on two bags.
Don’t be surprised if the Miami coaches put on more of the blitz, as that has been Josh Boyer’s calling card as defensive coordinator since last season. But this approach could put unhealthy pressure on a high school kid who continues to learn and grow.
This team needs to strike a balance between bringing in extra rushers and leaving the cornerback and safeties exposed in this happy-go-to NFL.
It would help if the Dolphins’ opponents were in more difficult downhill and distance situations, but it would require the Dolphins to be better at stopping the race. This has been a systemic issue for this franchise since 2011.
So far this season, the Dolphins are allowing 4.5 yards per carry, which is the mark of the Flores era, given that Miami allowed 4.5 yards per carry in 2020 and 4.5 yards per carry. in 2019.
Perhaps things are improving when Raekwon Davis, the starting nose tackle, returns from a right knee injury he sustained in the season opener. But that may not be the case, as Miami’s linebacker play has been lackluster so far.
Running soccer, stopping the run, chasing the quarterback, and protecting your quarterback are the basics of football. They represent the bread and butter of the NFL, and sadly these are all areas the Dolphins struggle with after two games.
It’s up to Flores to sort that out. His job is to make the most of the list Grier gave him.
The road ahead comes with challenges and adversity, but it’s the NFL. It’s the norm, and good teams find a way.
Now that there are expectations for these dolphins, don’t panic.
Instead, patiently assess what we’re looking at to see if we’re comfortable with the managers, confident that they have this frankness in the right direction.
A bad loss does not mean that everything we thought should be reconsidered. But that justifies a higher level of scrutiny.
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