The Miami Dolphins continue to spiral downward, dropping their fourth consecutive game, furthering their chances of attaining a consecutive playoff berth. It has been a horrendous second season for head coach Adam Gase as he still tries to bandage up the unfortunate loss of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. This team has shown promising stints of fantastic play, beating the likes of the Tennessee Titans and the defending NFC champions, but got dismantled at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers. To make matters worse, the teams next two of three games come against the defending Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots, led by Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. So what positions need immediate adjustments for the next upcoming six games? Will this team show the resilience and drive to make another push towards the postseason or will they fade away with the increasing amount of injuries on both sides of the ball?
Here are the three positions that require major improvements to stand a chance in this wide-open AFC race.
Three positions that need major
The 10 million dollar man Jay Cutler was touted as the perfect fit with Gase after working with him in Chicago when Gase was the offensive coordinator in 2015. The two shared a modicum of success together as Cutler was able to put together his best season with the Bears since he joined in 2009. He posted a career high 92.3 passer rating and reduced his interceptions from 18 in 2014 to 11. Now we are in 2017, almost entering 2018, and Cutler is on pace to have the worse QB rating since 2012. Last week should cement the end of the Jay Cutler stint, as he threw three interceptions, a season worse. Not only that but Cutler is entering concussion protocol and has been ruled out in Sunday’s game against the Patriots. In Matt Moore we trust!
As the Dolphins travel to Foxborough to compete against the New England Patriots, they need to refocus on playing fundamentally sound football. No penalties nor extracurricular activities with opposing players. The Dolphins currently rank second worse in the league in penalties against them and need to completely reduce this by sticking to their game plan and their assignments. Their season total of 84 penalties is on pace to set a team season-high. In last week’s matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, penalties cost Miami a season-high 123 yards in Sunday’s loss. Half of these came against the offensive line for false starts, which will immediately be addressed in practice with various offensive line drills that will concentrate on improving the mental acuity and timing of all the offensive guards and tackles.
This position has been problematic for the last three games for the Dolphins as they have been allowing over 250 passing yards a game to teams that are below .500. Buccaneers backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had a field day off this secondary, throwing for 275 yards and two touchdowns. And not a SINGLE interception. You know it’s difficult to not pick off Fitzpatrick, who has been a journeyman throughout his whole career, playing for seven teams.
It starts off with second-year cornerback Xavien Howard who has been exposed in his last two games, especially against the Carolina Panthers. He allowed at least two touchdowns and a significant pass-interference call that led to another touchdown in a 45-21 loss. According to Pro Football Focus, he has been rated 34.5, which registers as poor in their grade system. This ranks him as the worse cornerback in the NFL, as there is plenty of development and growth to be made.
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