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Pass protection the focus for Dolphins during bye week

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The Dolphins have allowed 24 sacks through the first five weeks of the season, the most in the league and a number that puts them on pace to allow 77 sacks over the course of the regular season.

It’s no big surprise, then, to learn that providing better protection for quarterback Ryan Tannehill is one of the team’s main focuses during their bye week. Tannehill said all the sacks haven’t affected him mentally, but that the team is going to have to try to do different things to ensure that his physical health isn’t compromised.

“I really don’t feel a mental toll,” Tannehill said, via the Miami Herald. “Obviously, we have an issue. It’s been well-documented. We talked about it a lot inside the building. It’s something we’re going to continue to work and use this bye week to lock in some ways, screens, quick game, moving the pocket. We’ll use this time to really do that, move forward and cut down those numbers.”

Different approaches to throwing the ball is only one of the solutions being bandied about in Miami. The Dolphins haven’t had much of a running game in the opening weeks of the season, leading them to throw almost twice as often as they run. Center Mike Pouncey thinks more balance is essential to better pass protection.

“We have to get our running game going. We’ve got to stop letting teams tee off on us when they know we’re throwing the football,” Pouncey said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “If we can fix our running game our passing issues will go away.”

It’s going to take a little from Column A and a little from Column B to get things moving in the right direction for Miami. And that’s still not all the battle. Tweaks to the scheme and the play calls are only going to help so much if the actual play of the offensive line doesn’t improve at the same time.

If all that comes together, the Dolphins offense will be in much better shape. If not, that 3-0 start may feel like it happened years ago by the end of October.

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15 Responses to “Pass protection the focus for Dolphins during bye week”
  1. slick50ks says: Oct 9, 2013 8:47 AM

    Teams without a LT usually get sacked a lot. It would probably help to have an even serviceable RT as well.

    Ireland is an idiot.

  2. markeyh says: Oct 9, 2013 8:53 AM

    “It’s something we’re going to continue to work and use this bye week to lock in some ways, screens, quick game, moving the pocket”

    Maybe they should read some blogs they would have known to do that last season…..is this coaching staff that clueless to not have had that a part of the game plan day one?

  3. markeyh says: Oct 9, 2013 8:54 AM

    Oh look another Ireland hater blaming the GM for poor coaching again!

  4. markeyh says: Oct 9, 2013 9:04 AM

    Reggie Bush would look good in some of those screens… Oh, they let Bush walk and now he sure looks good in Detroit! (SMH)

  5. realfootballfan says: Oct 9, 2013 9:45 AM

    What are they going to do, max protect with 5 linemen and 3 tight ends on every play? Outside of Pouncy, that whole line is awful.

  6. wannstache says: Oct 9, 2013 1:34 PM

    It’s a little late to focus on it now. It should have been focused on in the offseason, but that’s a job for a competent GM. Hopefully next year we’ll have one.

  7. markeyh says: Oct 9, 2013 3:03 PM

    We have a good GM! Move on to a real issue.

  8. jcampol says: Oct 9, 2013 3:06 PM

    Why is this Ireland’s fault? Can someone give me a rational and competent thought or reason behind this? John Jerry has regressed to the point of not being an NFL caliber player. Tyson Clabo has shown no signs of being the same player he was.(and he was a decent right tackle in past years) Martin was a gamble and I’m pretty sure the situation would not be much different if we had an injured Long on our line as he has not been responsible for most of the issues. Louis never fully recovered from an ACL injury and was never able to be our insurance policy. All the people saying the line was not addressed in the off season are misinformed. I put the blame on coaching more so than Ireland. The lack of changing schemes to suit what your players do best and continue to let them fail out of ego and stubbornness is one of the most frustrating things to watch in the NFL. Unfortunately for the Dolphins I believe Mike Shermann is one of those guys

  9. wannstache says: Oct 9, 2013 3:18 PM

    @markeyh:

    All problems/issues lead back to the GM. He IS the real issue. And what do you think he has done (without Parcells) to qualify as “good”?

  10. phillyphinsfan says: Oct 10, 2013 5:56 AM

    Show me a GM who spends a lot of money during the off-season on free agents and I’ll show you a GM who can’t draft.

  11. 1uniquename says: Oct 11, 2013 11:13 AM

    I agree with the above statement. However winning cures all and if the dolphins win next week and the line looks decent all will be forgiven. If Ireland could draft well our blocking would be much better, wiffing on too many TEs and o linemen has caused this problem BUT I think going forward we have some guys to build around.

  12. thetannchise says: Oct 11, 2013 6:33 PM

    Rebuilding takes time. Last season we didn’t have near enough talent at the skill positions. This year the loss of Long and the decline of others has hurt the OL. However, the receiving core, linebacker play, QB, etc. have all made great strides. To be honest I am extremely pleased with the Philbin tenure thus far. A little more time to fix the OL and add to the secondary this is going to be a great team…

    I mean come on, this is way better than the Sparano Fist Bump Field Goal Bonanza…

  13. FinFan68 says: Oct 12, 2013 11:19 AM

    It’s not Ireland. It’s not even just the o-line. Philbin needs to talk to Sherman. The play-calling is exposing the weaknesses rather than the strengths of the team. They abandon the run completely. (9 called runs in a game they never trailed by more than 10) Defenses pin their ears back and go after it. No roll-outs, maybe 3-5 screens all season, slow developing stretch plays on 3rd and inches, etc. They know they are predictable and when they have tried to address that, they have gotten way too cute and got hammered. Line up and play football. Let your guys beat their guys on plays that are geared to your collective strengths. They have a mobile QB that has awareness issues in the pocket and can throw very well on the run. MOVE THE POCKET AROUND every once in a while. Feed Miller the ball. He is a rhythm runner that will get a few short runs and even some lost yardage but he will bust one for 30+. Get rid of Thomas and go find a real FB. Maybe consider looking at Hillis or even Tebow. We need a short yardage guy and there isn’t one. (Lousaka Polite of a few years ago on this team would be great) Maybe let your 6’4″ QB run a sneak behind one of the best centers in the game in order to get 6 inches. You know those drives at the end of the half/game that consistently look great? Call plays like that early. Sherman is the main issue because he is stubborn. Adapt to what will work rather than what you want to work.

  14. dolphincritic says: Oct 13, 2013 1:30 PM

    The Dolphins alienated Jake Long and let him go over money not his level of play. Martin was pressed into ths lefttackle spot even though we all saw that he wasn’t good at LT last year. We passed on several veteran tacklez.better than our current staff due to cost.

    The answer is forget about cost and concentrate on talent. We traded up in the draft and then took a good player but at a position we didn’t need. We.needed DB and OL; not DE.

    If we hadcut from the bottom of the roster, we would have gotten rid of the dead weight and developed depth at quite a few critical positions. ALL IRELAND’S FAULT!

  15. FinFan68 says: Oct 13, 2013 3:31 PM

    Dolphincritic,
    You are not objectively looking at this. Long was great for a couple years. 2010, 2011, 2012 he was injured much of the year and didn’t play up to his established norm (and went on IR his last two years as a Dolphin). You can’t pay top dollar for that kind of risk and inconsistency. If Ireland had paid Long, you would have been the first to scream about how stupid the move was as soon as Jake faltered or got injured.

    All those draftable O-lineman are either average, or hurt right now. Jordan was a great long-term pick.

    The pass protection issues are not all on the o-line. Play calling, RBs, TEs, Tannehill, and game situations have all played a role in this fiasco. The key thing is it is repairable. Smarter play calls that are geared to the team’s strengths will fix much of it. Roll out the QB, run the ball and throw in some screens will slow down the pass rush and help rest the defense. Inserting Garner into the mix could help as well. I think Clabo has been working through some kind of injury. He was much better than this the last few years. Maybe the bye will help. The team has played well but has not played consistently good football for an entire game. That has to change and my bet is that it will.

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