Posted November 01, 2013

More problems in Miami than Jonathan Martin’s absence

Miami Dolphins

The Jacksonville Jaguars may not win a game this season, but from a front office perspective, they might be Florida’s lone outpost of NFL stability. The problems with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been well-documented, and reports indicate that the Miami Dolphins have their own issues to address. Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, a second-round draft pick in 2012, recently left the team without notice and is currently seeking mental counseling.

Unfortunately, this appears to be the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to the Dolphins’ problems. Center Mike Pouncey was recently served with a grand jury subpoena related to the Aaron Hernandez case. It’s not specifically known how Pouncey may be involved, but he and Hernandez were close friends at the University of Florida, and it’s been one more distraction for the team.

Closer to the heart of the matter is the fact that offensive coordinator Mike Sherman has come in for criticism from his own players. Guard Richie Incognito, never afraid to express his opinions, recently told Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald that “I think we should just keep running the football 30, 40 times a game. That’s our blueprint for success. We have to run the football for four quarters.”

Of course, it might help if Incognito, Pouncey, and their friends blocked more effectively for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Miami’s second-year quarterback has been sacked 32 times this season, the most in the league, and that’s a bad situation for an offense that must face the Cincinnati Bengals’ impressive front seven on Thursday night.

Moreover, one high-ranking source told Salguero that Sherman is missing the boat on “101 things” — i.e., the basic mechanics of the offensive philosophy. The course said that he was “dumbfounded” by Sherman’s approach.

One part of that approach was supposed to be an effective chemistry between Tannehill and former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, signed by the Dolphins to a five-year, $60 million contract in March. Wallace has caught just 30 passes for 398 yards and one touchdowns, and he has repeatedly expressed his own frustration with his new offense.

“We’ve got to be able to throw the ball deep,” Wallace recently told Barry Jackson of the Herald. “We have to be able to back people up and not have people sitting us. We have to balance it out.”

So, everyone seems to have a different idea how this offense should run. Second-year head coach Joe Philbin said this week in a conference call with the Cincinnati media that he’s not concerned about Wallace’s outbursts.

“He’s doing a good job.  He’s fitting in well in the locker room.  He’s been productive on the field.  I think he’s improving and we’re looking forward to seeing if we can spring him loose obviously a few more times than we have.  He’s got one touchdown pass in seven games but we like the fact, we’re a little bit like the Bengals, I think it’s a positive that we have a number of receivers that have multiple catches as well as the tight end.  I think that’s good for our football team.”

But as Salguero reported, Philbin has an advisor to help him deal with the media, as his encounters with the fifth estate had become increasingly tense. Executive Vice President of Football Administration Dawn Aponte, hired during the Bill Parcells era to help manage the salary cap, now meets with Philbin before nearly every interview to go over the game plan. Aponte took that responsibility when she clashed with general manager Jeff Ireland.

Not every team in trouble has a winless record to show for its efforts. The 3-4 Dolphins have the look of a contender at times, but they appear to be failing what John Updike once called the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill.”

And at this rate, it won’t be long before many in the Dolphins’ front office are prompted to say, “Adieu.”

6 comments
dwb_alpha
dwb_alpha

This is the first time in 10 years that the 'phins look like a legitimate threat to beat anyone any given Sunday.  The response?  "FIRE EVERYONE!!"  What a joke.  The team switches offensive coordinators every year, so just wait another 7 weeks and he'll be gone...followed by the next inept guy Ireland and Ross can find.

j7apple
j7apple

Wake up call to NFL coaches across the board. What you don't know you will also be held accountable  on.

KeysSteven
KeysSteven

According to another source (Marvez / Fox - LBS), Mr. Martin has been subjected to "a slew of indignities" by some of his so-called teammates.  If true, maybe Joe Philbin's been asleep at the wheel and a change in driver is in order, then some roster-re-evaluation & "mental counseling" for the weak culprits believed to be responsible for Jon's abrupt departure would be good medicine, too.

Bostonguy
Bostonguy

Actually read the article, please. It says that the Fins can look like a contender at times, and then they can implode. In the second half against the Patriots they looked like a mediocre high school team. Tannahill was sacked six times in that game. What does that say about the O-Line? The potential to be good is certainly there, but they need to figure out who really runs the team. Is it Philbin or Jeff Ireland (who I would have canned a long time ago)? Can you imagine a comment like that from Incognito coming out of the Pats or 49er's locker room? That is a sign of a team without strong coaching or locker room leadership

clt0002
clt0002

Guy should've waited a little before he just wrote the dolphins off. They sure looked solid on that final drive of regulation, particularly the o-line (except the first play). 

sam93505
sam93505

Well, they didn't look like they were unraveling tonight... the Bengals looked like THEY were unraveling, but not necessarily the 'Fins....