Joe Philbin: It’s hard to function if you can’t protect the quarterback

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The Dolphins were on pace to give up 72 sacks for the season heading into this Sunday’s game against the Ravens, a rate that led guard Richie Incognito to opine that everyone on the offensive line should be fired if that happens.

Incognito and company might want to polish up those resumes because things got even worse this week. The Ravens sacked Ryan Tannehill six times, including a big sack by Elvis Dumervil as Miami tried to tie the score with no timeouts at the end of the fourth quarter. Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs had three sacks by that point, making the most of a matchup with left tackle Jonathan Martin, and the Dolphins offense couldn’t score points in the second half.

It was no surprise, then, that coach Joe Philbin said after the game that the line’s inability to block the Ravens made it almost impossible for the offense to function.

“It’s hard to function. It’s hard to function offensively when you’re going backwards,” Philbin said. “It makes your job…it makes it tougher. It makes it tougher, no doubt about it.”

A couple of tackles — Levi Brown and Eugene Monroe — were traded last week and the shuffling could continue. The Dolphins are on a bye this week and may spend some time looking over any remaining trade options on the offensive line if they want to avoid seeing how many hits Tannehill can take before breaking.

47 responses to “Joe Philbin: It’s hard to function if you can’t protect the quarterback

  1. Maybe Philbin should talk to Mike Sherman about:
    1. Don’t immediately abandon the running game
    2. Call running plays that fit your OL abilities (hint not outside zone/stretch plays)
    3. Use RBs/TEs to chip edge rushers
    4. Use max protect sometimes
    5. Motion receivers and bunch receivers to get clean releases on short routes for quick and easy completions

    Or keep doing what you’re doing and say “everyone has to do better”.

  2. Branden Albert is playing pretty well. but no. fins wouldn’t pay a fair price to the chiefs in draft picks.

  3. In all fairness too Suggs and Dumervil aren’t exactly nobodies. Suggs is only two seasons removed from being DPOY, and has a sack in every game this season. Better lineman than what the Dolphins have have struggled the same.

  4. Anyone who suggests Jake Long would somehow make things better is delusional at best. He couldn’t play in this offense either. Injuries have taken their toll on what was one of the best LTs in football. He is a shell of his former self and doing a good job making sure Sam Bradford gets hit.

  5. Philbin calls ’em like he sees ’em..

    I told everyone last year after the first episode of Hard Knocks that Miami got themselves a good coach.

    2013 AFC East Champions

  6. spizotfl says: Oct 6, 2013 7:06 PM

    Anyone who suggests Jake Long would somehow make things better is delusional at best. He couldn’t play in this offense either. Injuries have taken their toll on what was one of the best LTs in football. He is a shell of his former self and doing a good job making sure Sam Bradford gets hit.


    Long didn’t exactly break the bank while the Dolphins were throwing a fortune at Wallace to drop balls. Maybe Long wouldn’t have solved their problems, but the Dolphins weren’t on pace for some dubious sacks allowed record with him on their line.

  7. There needs to be a replacement @ OC. No draw plays, indiscipline screens, no drag routes, too few slants, less than double digit run attempts, no hot routes and absolutely no half time adjustments. Mike Sherman has become too much of a liability and should be held accountable. Fans of the Phins should now make noise to rid us of mike Sherman.

  8. Long is getting 8.5 million a year to be about as inept as Martin. Martin, by the way, is making about 1.25 a year. The problem is that with OL Guru Sparano and OL guru Philbin, they cannot draft and develop a quality OL who can play the style of offense either wants. Signs point to Ireland for the drafting and the coaches for lack of development and game planning.

  9. I’m surprised Sherman hasn’t used more design roll out, which would help avoid sacks and better utilize Tannehill’s talent throwing on the run, which was evident on the 4th down play. Fact is they should’ve done that on the final play before the field goal. Then he would have the option of passing, running out of bounds, or throwing the ball away. Yeah, it takes away half the field, but half the field is better than none.

    Sherman’s play calling is becoming a concern, IMO. That said, for the fins to be 3-2, with wins over teams they were underdogs to (the Browns are looking better than anyone expected as well) is certainly better than most reasonable people would have anticipated. That and the fact that they are going into a bye and can get better and healthier, is all good.

  10. During this past week Mike Sherman said he would have nightmares about a bad play call he made against the Saints — running a sweep with Daniel Thomas on third and 1 for a loss.

    He fixed it this week in their first series. He ran a sweep on third an 1 with Lamar Miller. Another loss

    I sat their in the stands not believing what I’d just seen and my expectations for the team went to zero for the rest of the year.

    Philbin won’t fire Sherman because Sherman gave him his start in the league. And Philbin won’t make him change because Philbin himself is too much of a Stepford wife to change. This team has no chance of success under the current coaching staff {except Kevin Coyle and Kacy Rodgers} and my season ticket money is going to a team that won’t win {but at least we have a great time tailgating before the game}

  11. Sherman sucks as an OC. He’s failed to make adjustments in play calling for an inept OL. Get creative, ya shmuck! At this rate, I’ll be highly surprised if T-Hill survives the rest if the season. I love my Fins, but C’mon, man!

  12. There is talent on the Dolphins but they need to play as a team better than they have the last 2 weeks.

    The line has issues but Sherman’s predictability and stubbornness are not helping. They have a big-run threat in Miller but he needs some consistent carries to be effective. He will get you 1, 1, 0, -1, 5 and then bust one for 30+ but you have to keep running the ball (especially in a game that is not out of hand. All of Miami’s run plays seem to take a while to develop. Stop running stretch plays, they are not working. Maybe a toss or a swing pass can get better results.

    Wallace needs to catch the ball better, although he did go up high to break up a potential INT. You can see there is a disconnect between Wallace and Tannehill. It is getting better but it looks like the QB isn’t sure what Wallace will do based on coverage.

    The team needs to get healthy on defense and the bye should help a lot.

    PASS PROTECTION STINKS LIKE HOT GARBAGE. Linemen are getting beat, backs are missing blocks, QB is a half-second too late when he decides to move. Call plays that can help. Runs, screens, roll-outs, WR screens, quick slants. MOVE THE POCKET and use your QB’s strength of throwing on the run.

    On 3rd and less than a yard, try a QB sneak and stop trying to get cute with the play. Find a fullback that can hammer out a yard (Where did Lousaka Polite wind up?)

    I like the team and I like the coaches but they need to stop being stubborn and adapt to what is and is not working on the fly.

  13. Hey Philbin, its also hard to function when you manage the clock about as well as Chip Kelly …

  14. How much confidence do you have in an OC when he’s burying his head in his hands as shown to millions during the Monday night debacle. Sherman and this atrocious OL is the Achilles heel of this team.

  15. I refuse to believe that Philbin is a do-boy, he has made some very bold decisions since coming to Miami. He has let go Long, V. Davis and even Bush. So certainly he can see Sherman is not working and should begin to kick around some thoughts of change. He has a solid defense and special team staff along with a lot of talent on offense if Sherman can’t make it work then by all means seek out an OC that can get the job done. How hard can it be to design a set of plays to get one yard, instead of running first and ten plays when the objective is to get one ball length. It has gotten to the point where Shwrman seems incompetent as a football coach. Some OCs shouldn’t be head coaches and some head coaches shouldn’t be OCs!!! Sherman doesn’t seem to have the proper mixture of brains and balls to coordinate on this level. I suggest that he sits in a dimly lit room somewhere until he comes up with a least 7 plays designed to get RBs open in the shallow middle, 6 plays designed to isolate our RBs on a LB, 5 plays designed for QB runs, 4 plays designed to get 2 yards, 3 plays designed for middle screens, 2 plays designed for a deep pass to slot WR or 1 play designed to get the hell out of Miami!!!

  16. I don’t place most of the blame on the OL, I place majority of the blame on the coaches. I agree with everyone who says the offensive play calling is lacking creativity. The past three weeks I found myself thinking they need to roll Tannehill out a few plays. I have only seen two creative plays this year. The screen pass to Wallace against the Colts and the game winning TD against the Falcons. This offense has become too predictable. Opposing teams know that if they stuff the running game for two quarters Miami will abandon the run completely in the 2nd half. The OL is struggling but at the same time the coaching staff could help make life easier for the OL by not being so predictable. Philbin needs to get things straight with Sherman because I think he is the biggest weakness on this team.

  17. No OC can call many good plays when the Oline can’t run block or pass protect. Defenses are already creeping up and jamming the shorts routes and running plays because they know the oline can’t protect long enough to go downfield. We need to pick up at least one good tackle in the bye week or Mario and company will be living in our backfield.

  18. Why in the world is Miami, on third and less than a yard running wide? This has happened in the last 2 games, We have a QB who is 6’4″ and he can’t sneak it?

  19. Is our O-line bad? YES. Do we need a LT, RG, RT? YES. Do we need a back who can block as well as run? YES. Do we need a TE that can block and catch? YES. But we still a LOT of talent on offense. There is quite a bit that a smart OC can do. He could run more often, not only will this expose your QB to less hits it will also allow your O- line to be more aggressive. He could scheme to our strengths to the opponents weakness. He could also reduce the zone blocking to plays and not a scheme since we don’t have a ZBS line. As of now our OC gasket has is where the engine is leaking and it needs to be replaced.

  20. Whole heartedly agree with any examination of OC Sherman’s job performance and play calling. Why we are running to the outside on 3rd and short is beyond me. We we cant get our backs more active I dont know. Is Sherman trying to make us lose. ALso the OL Coach needs to be fired now. Not next week not tomorrow, right now. I would trade that line best I could. Anything is better than what we have and yes that includes Pouncey. Another season of his botched snaps is really pissing me off!

  21. Not trying to pile on here, But Sherman is who my problem is with. He’s just not very creative and he doesnt know how to use certain players the to get maximum output.

    example one Reggie Bush: Just look how hes destroying teams in space. Thats what reggie does, smashes defenses in space. Mike Sherman had him running in between tackles all season, thus lowering his production, thus leading the rest of the coaching staff to think that he was done and washed up. then he goes to detroit…

    Example two Mike Wallace: first of all…I dont want to hear anything about 1 trick pony. Thats garbage. I also dont wanna hear Steeler fans say “i told you so” and “no wonder we didnt want him back” The steelers offered 55 mil to him and he left.

    Now, I understand alot of you are upset because of his dropped passes last game. I understand. But the fact remains that he STILL led the team with 100+ yards receiveing. he is without a doubt our BEST THREAT. Yet All Sherman can say is “if he’s double teamed we wont force it”

    Well why is it that the Lions can get Calvin Johnson the ball every game. Why does Desean Jackson see so many touches? 100% of teams, players, coaches, fans and owners all know that these players are going to be highly targeted every game, yet they still produce.

    Ever hear Sean Payton say “well we would like to get Jimmy Graham more involved but the coverage doesnt dictate it so we wont force it.” ?


  22. Wow! so why did GM Ireland not want to pay Jake Long. There were more options like trading a 2nd round pick for Brandon Albert. It comes down to poor evaluation of the Dolphins players and not spending the money.

  23. Could be worse – you could have overpaid one player so much that the team around him can’t be competitive. Nevermind, I forgot about Wallace.

  24. Some are still trying to tag Ireland with this debacle, I simply don’t see it that way. Yes, we could have gotten Albert for that 2nd rd pick, but getting Jordan with it was a MUCH better scenario. Overpaying Wallace? Maybe, but not having him would be a lot worse. Not paying Long? Not debatable, Long is aging ahead of time and a contract for him would handcuffed the team from all the upgrades we did acquire. Bush is iffy along with Vontae, but you cant argue with their replacements. Our probs fall squarely on the coaching staff, we have the talent because that’s is what won the first three games. All e need now is the direction and creativity, then we can pick O-linemen next year.

  25. It was reported today (monday) on WQAM radio, Maimi by Channing Crowder that he noticed that everytime T-hill is going to run the ball he says Go! Go! in the snap count. When it is a pass he doesn’t, or only says Go! one time. Crowder says he noticed it in the Ravens game and went back and looked at the previous games and it is true. T-Hill is telling the defense if it is a pass or a run. Did anyone else listen to the radio show and hear this?

  26. @officialmiamidolphinsspokesperson,
    I agree with most of what you are saying. However, I disagree with your take on Sherman’s “if he’s double teamed we wont force it”. He is absolutely correct. They cannot force it because of how Wallace plays. He doesn’t jump well and he rarely fights for the ball. I’ve seen him fight off a defender once (last game) but he was trying to prevent an INT and did not try to catch the ball. Sometimes that is the only play but my point is he can’t be trusted on contested balls.

    A few wide receiver screens will force the safeties and CBs to get closer and then he can use his speed better and not doing that is ALL Sherman. He does need to get creative but he can’t continue to get “cute” while trying to outsmart defensive play calls. Sometimes he just needs to let our guys beat their guys on a play.

  27. This entire mess can be laid at Mr. Ross and Jeff Ireland’s feet. These two characters are cheap. They have consistently cut from the top of the roster and hired recently injured players to one year contracts. The offensive line and the secondary are both good examples. If you had kept Jake Long, Sean Smith etc. and cut the Nolan Carols and Jimmy Wilsons of the team, we would have enough depth to sustain injuries and keep winning.

    The draft is no better. Over the years, these two have traded down, traded away and selected lower costing linemen over high priced skill players every time. Jordan represents a new phenomenon – poor judgement. We didn’t need a DE we needed an OL, which was the best area in the draft. Its the best athlete at an overstocked position theory. Go figure!

    The two mutts picked Philbin because no one with any previous experience would work for them. Put it all together and you have a team that is paying worse today than it did a month ago.

    OH! I forgot Mr. Ross’s $200 million dollar gift to his favorite college – Michigan. Next time give the money to local schools so that you can truthfully say that you are putting the public money we gave you back into the community. Create a winning team and use common sense – you just might get your remodeled stadium then!

  28. crownofthehelmet says:
    Oct 7, 2013 3:20 PM
    Could be worse – you could have overpaid one player so much that the team around him can’t be competitive. Nevermind, I forgot about Wallace.

    -So who did the Steelers pay to be non-competitive?

  29. It would help reduce the number of sacks if Ryan would at least try to have some sort of ‘pocket presence’. I’ve watched defenders rush and sack him when he appeared to have time to move or get rid of the ball. At times, some defenders rushing him appeared to be right within his eyesight, yet he acted as if he wasn’t aware they were coming. I’ve been a Dolphins fan for a very long time and I’m excited that we have a promising young quarterback (finally!) but Ryan really can help his own cause by trying to improve his pocket awareness.

  30. I agree with most of the previous posters on here about the play calling. Coming out of a half-time in which we led 13-6, we give up the opening drive touchdown. We’re now tied at 13. Not too big a deal, it’s all tied up. At this point we abandoned the running game??? The entire second half we had two rushing attempts; two!!! Both were very successful. First offensive play of the second half R.T. around the end for 6 yards. No other attempts in the third quarter. First offensive play of the fourth quarter – Miller up the middle for 9 yards.

    All I heard from the radio announcers was about how hot it was down there (I’m in Ohio.). The Phin’s O-Line should have been pushing the Raven’s D-line in the ground. We should have been gassing them. We averaged (hold on while I do the complex math here… umm… 6+9 = 15, divided by 2 attempts) 7 1/2 yards a carry. Why are we asking our lineman to pass protect for 5 to 6 seconds every play rather than push and create worn down defensive lineman. Go ahead ask those Guards and Tackles which they’d rather do. Meanwhile our defense is getting breaks on the sideline during the following time of possesions for the second half: 2m 10s, 1m 36s, 2m 28s, 1m 18s and finally 1m 9s. The Phins are the team used to playing in the heat. Use it to your advantage. RUN THE BALL!!!!!

  31. Regardless of OC or OL dollars spent…
    If the defense doesn’t fear the run – then they know they can feast on the QB.

    Reggie Bush, for all the dancing behind the line of scrimmage he did last year – always made the defense play honest because you knew that for all that dancing he could (and occasionally would) burn you for a long run.

    D. Thomas, Gillislee and to a lesser extent Miller have not instill fear when you hear of the Dolphins running game. Being one dimentional on OFF will only get you so far.

  32. If it disrupts your gameplan then you DO something! C’mon Philbin or whoever needs to pull the trigger on a deal…this team can be better this YEAR!

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