Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

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Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by JMP on Sun Nov 15, 2015 9:59 pm

Beer: Saranac Legacy IPA

Heroes of the Day: Ndamukong Suh, Reshad Jones, Zach Vigil

Goat of the Day: Koa Misi

This game started out like most Dolphins games the past few years…with the Phins sleepwalking through the early parts of the game and falling behind 16-3. Highlighted by an ugly safety for the third consecutive week, this looked like a typical blowout.

But miraculously, the Dolphins managed to hang in the game and eventually win it. Thanks in large part to a blocked punt, Eagles’ starting QB Sam Bradford getting knocked out of the game, and a one-time-in-a-million deflected pass that ended up in Jarvis Landry’s hands for a TD, the Phins kept their miniscule playoff hopes alive and won a very tough road game.

The Miami offense was pretty pitiful for much of the game, gaining under 300 yards and managing just 15 first downs. It was a particularly ugly game for Ryan Tannehill, who was under heavy pressure throughout the game and sustained several bone-jarring hits. Tannehill, as usual, displayed no feel for the Eagles pass rush and was wildly inaccurate throwing the ball throughout the game. He did throw two TDs and had a 94 QBR, which is nice, but one TD was a gift as mentioned above on a pass that was batted up in the air by Eagles’ defender Connor Barwin, and Tannehill averaged just 6 yards per attempt. The dink and dunk Lazor offense once again struggled on third downs, failing on 10 of 15 opportunities. The OL was a mess, with pretty much everyone on the line having at least one WTF moment. The right side, with Billy Turner and Jason Fox, was especially bad. But there were some bright spots on offense, with Lamar Miller continuing to be a playmaker as a receiver and Rishard Matthews gaining over 90 yards on 5 catches. Rookie RB Jay Ajayi had a few nice runs and a few awful runs, but has definitely earned the #2 RB job…easily stealing it from Damien Williams, who was dreadful today on offense (dropped pass) and as a returner (botched kick return giving Miami the ball inside their own one). The biggest head-scratcher to me is why the Phins are not using Ajayi as a receiver. He was excellent catching the ball in college, and could give the lackluster Dolphin offense a shot in the arm as a pass catcher.

I have to call out Bill Lazor once again. Week after week, we see opposing teams sending blitzers that are unaccounted for by the Phins. Tannehill was crushed several times today on blitzes off the corner. It happens over and over again, and Lazor either doesn’t care or has no idea how to stop it - either way, it will cost him his job. It is nothing short of a miracle that Tannehill is still able to stand up after all the vicious hits he’s taken on blitzes this season. This is an ugly, ugly situation, and apparently it’s not going to get fixed until the Phins get a new offensive coordinator.

The defense had its ups and downs, but really settled down after a dreadful start and made key plays at the end to seal the victory. The run D was excellent overall, limiting the very dangerous Philly ground game to just 83 yards. Ndamukong Suh played out of his mind, turning in his best game as a Phin with 8 tackles, a sack and multiple tackles for loss. He was unblockable and pretty much lived in the Eagles' backfield. The LBs and safeties were complete garbage in coverage, allowing Eagles’ TEs to amass over 200 yards receiving. Koa Misi was absolutely godawful, looking totally lost in coverage and getting beat over and over. Safety Walt Aikens wasn’t much better. Fortunately, Reshad Jones was able to win the game with a key INT in the endzone on a horrible first down pass by back-up QB Mark Sanchez. The Eagles at the time were in position for a FG that would have given them the lead and almost certainly the victory as well. Fortunately, earlier in the second half DE Chris McCain made his first big play of the season with a monstrous hit on Bradford, knocking the QB out of the game and setting the stage for Mark Sanchez to be Mark Sanchez with the game on the line.

One note on the defense…due to illness and injury, the Dolphins were forced to play a lot of guys that are on the bottom of the roster. Players like LBs Mike Hull, Neville Hewitt and Zach Vigil , CB Tony Lippett, DEs Terrence Fede and Chris McCain…all were forced into extensive action, and surprisingly held their own. And much-maligned MLB Kelvin Sheppard had by far his best game of the season, supporting the run and doing a decent job in coverage for the most part.

Special teams came up big with a blocked punt by Zach Vigil that led to a short TD drive for the offense, but the return game was pretty much non-existent for the Phins. The blocked punt was really the biggest play in the game, because it’s doubtful that the Phins were going to get to 20 points without it.

Overall, it was a poorly-played game by both teams, but the Dolphins were able to make plays late in the game when it counted most. This game did nothing to renew my faith in the Phins’ playoff hopes, but it was good to see a win…I don’t think there will be too many of those the rest of the way.

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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by JEGnj on Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:11 pm

Not sure why everyone keeps calling out Bill Lazor when he has to work with a guy with little talent or drive to get the job done. Even the announcers said SACK needs to know when to audible instead of getting pounded when everyone knoews the blitz is coming. It is even more torture that we are in the division with Tom Brady. Brady and TanneSack are not even in the same league.
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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by DolFan 316 on Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:27 pm

Well it's about damn time Razz I almost gave up and went to bed.

When a team's starters are bad, there's actually not that much dropoff when they get injured, because the backups literally can't be that much worse anyway. Speaking of injuries, betting on Bradford to get hurt is like betting on the sun to rise in the morning. If anything I'm shocked it didn't happen sooner.

Also, the league is just so awful in general that this team can get to 8 wins again even if they're in fact worse than the past two seasons. Especially with 10 non-divisional games to work with. Right now I can see 8-2 outside the division to offset the 0-6 in it. Tell me this team, even with the obvious holes, can't beat the Ravens, Chargers, Giants, Cowboys or Colts. That's not to say they can't lose to any of them, but none of those teams this season are clearly superior. Any of those games would be considered a toss-up at least, and the Fins would probably even be favored in most of them. It's amazing how this team manages to fight back when they're not facing the Pats, Jets or Bills.

Chip Kelly's officially lost the genius/innovator rep I would say. It's gotten to the point where I see people having to defend him by weakly saying something about how his ideas *might* work if only he got any support, etc. Face it folks, Kelly's just another college coach in over his head who thinks he's much smarter than he actually is.

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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by DolFan 316 on Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:30 pm

JEGnj wrote:Not sure why everyone keeps calling out Bill Lazor when he has to work with a guy with little talent or drive to get the job done. Even the announcers said SACK needs to know when to audible instead of getting pounded when everyone knoews the blitz is coming. It is even more torture that we are in the division with Tom Brady. Brady and TanneSack are not even in the same league.

Not that I'm disagreeing with you, but you do realize Hennehill and Lazor both being bad isn't a mutually exclusive concept, right?

I mean, who the hell designs an offense NOT to gain enough yardage for a first down? If all you do is call pass plays designed to gain 3 yards or less, then you might as well just run it every down.

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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by HalCHorn on Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:32 pm

I think Ajayi will be getting more chances as the season goes on.

As far as the wins lacking the rest of the way, well, I don't think the Fins are very good, but we are facing a lot of teams that haven't turned out to be very good either: Dallas and Baltimore are the next two home games, we have 5 of the final 7 at home.  Only New England and the Jets have winning records.  I think 7-9 is likely, 8-8 not impossible, despite the injuries.

Of course, Lazor is highly unlikely to improve, so 6-10 wouldn't surprise me either.  But only New England looks like a sure loss among the final 7, and even that is contigent upon them having something to play for in the final week.

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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by Degarmo on Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:45 pm

Lazor does not allow audible, and if the personnel are not in the game Tannehill can't shift protection. Pouncey makes the protection calls at the line as well.
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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by JEGnj on Sun Nov 15, 2015 11:21 pm

They are limited by TanneSACK's weak field presence and accuracy downfield. It's like the friggin wildcat era again. Took the league by surprise for a few weeks then they caught up. Wow another double reverse or sweep to Landry. Every time they do this they are starting 10 yards behind the LOS. When it works it's great not every possession it's 2-12.
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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by Degarmo on Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:38 am

Lazor's offense is supposed to be a play-action passing attack with a running game focus.  That's how it's designed, but he rarely calls running plays, so, I have no idea what the fuck he's thinking.  Tannehill's downfield accuracy has improved, actually, and he's always been good in the 10-15 range, but this offense has nothing to do with that.  The majority of the passing plays are guys running 30 yards left to right to gain 3 yards.  Shit, Tannehill actually used to run a fair amount, but he's rarely done that this season. It was something that kept the defenses honest and off balance. Now, we rarely do it. Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?

I can't stand Lazor.  He's fucking awful.
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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by JEGnj on Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:55 am

Yup you said it right there: guys running 30 yards left to right to gain 3 yards.
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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by white1 on Mon Nov 16, 2015 8:11 am

You guys have covered my thoughts well.

Loved to see the win, Ajayi looks like a true bright spot. Maybe for once we actually found a player late in the draft.

One final thought: If we let Lamar Miller go during the offseason it is a huge mistake. He's on my fantasy team, so I know the stats he puts up. He's clearly the best player not named Jarvis Landry on the field for the offense.

My rule of thumb for a rebuild is don't dump the talent you already have on the roster. It just makes more holes to fill, and it's a gamble the guy you bring in will be just as talented - let alone better. See our recent swap of Clay for Cameron. Miller - Ajayi could be a nice combination or us for years to come, with Ajayi taking over the short yardage physical duties, while we continue to work Miller in space through both the running and passing game.

IMO we should be dumping the guys like D Williams, G Jennings, J Cameron, D Thomas, J Douglas. The players that have had plenty of opportunity yet show little to no upside, or those that are past their prime. THOSE are the guys you get rid of to rebuild. Whining about a guy like Miller with little else to say other than "he's not the perfect running back" - that's weak.

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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by JMP on Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:11 am

Degarmo wrote:Lazor's offense is supposed to be a play-action passing attack with a running game focus.  That's how it's designed, but he rarely calls running plays, so, I have no idea what the fuck he's thinking.  Tannehill's downfield accuracy has improved, actually, and he's always been good in the 10-15 range, but this offense has nothing to do with that.  The majority of the passing plays are guys running 30 yards left to right to gain 3 yards.  Shit, Tannehill actually used to run a fair amount, but he's rarely done that this season.  It was something that kept the defenses honest and off balance.  Now, we rarely do it.  Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot?

I can't stand Lazor.  He's fucking awful.

Yep, that about sums up Bill Lazor. And even with all that, the worst part about him is that he refuses to make changes. Week after week, he continues to call plays behind the line of scrimmage on 3rd down. He continues to ignore opponents blitzing. There's no rhyme or reason to this offense at all...it's just a series of random plays, most within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage (both in front of and behind the line). Miller is averaging 5 yards a carry...yet he NEVER even sniffs 20 carries in a game. Tannehill has improved on his intermediate and deep passes - yet he rarely gets to throw them. The Phins spend a boat-load of money on TE Jordan Cameron...yet he is little more than an afterthought in this scheme.

Lazor pretends that we run an up-tempo offense - but we don't. Uptempo would be a good excuse for not allowing audibles, but the fact is we actually run a slow-paced offense and still don't call audibles, and never bother making any blitz adjustments. It's disgusting. Complete and total ineptitude on Lazor's part.

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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by rightchea on Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:47 am

A lot of Tannehill's issue is that he doesn't read the D at all. There were several plays that Tannehill needed to change the play call to make it work in Miami's favor but instead of changing the play he kept with the same play and either lost yard or got sacked. The Safety in the endzone would have never happened if he just changed the play. changed the protection or something. Tannehill needs to do better or he is done.

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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by JMP on Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:18 am

rightchea wrote:A lot of Tannehill's issue is that he doesn't read the D at all. There were several plays that Tannehill needed to change the play call to make it work in Miami's favor but instead of changing the play he kept with the same play and either lost yard or got sacked. The Safety in the endzone would have never happened if he just changed the play. changed the protection or something. Tannehill needs to do better or he is done.

I certainly agree that Tannehill has problems with reading the D, identifying and feeling pressure, and ball placement. But, he's not allowed to change plays. From what I understand, on most plays he can choose a run or a pass play - but those plays are both out of the same formation, and he is not able to change protection at all. In other words, he's handcuffed - he is stuck with the formation on a given play regardless of what the defense shows. Again, if we ran an uptempo offense where there's no time to call audibles, I could understand. But that's not the case, and Lazor continues to keep audibles out of this offense.

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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by white1 on Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:19 am

We call all agree on this. I hate this offense. Hate it. The strengths of so many players are being squandered. It's painful to watch.

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Re: Thoughts on game 9 - Phins at Eagles

Post by Degarmo on Mon Nov 16, 2015 5:27 pm

No professional offense should limit their starting QB like Lazor does.  His system is flawed because he thinks he is a genius.
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