Gase set for troubling movie: game tape of Dolphins defense
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — With no game Sunday, Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase will spend much of the weekend watching bad movies.
That wasn’t exactly the way he described the task Friday, but his study of the team’s recent games won’t be much fun.
After a 3-0 start, the Dolphins (4-4) reversed course and are gathering momentum in the wrong direction. They’ve been outscored 167-99 while losing four of their past five games, including Thursday’s 42-23 thumping at Houston .
Their next game is Nov. 4 at home against the New York Jets. That gives Gase plenty of time to assess and address a myriad of problems.
“I’d like to say I’m actually going to see my kids this weekend,” said Gase, who has three young children. “But when we give up the amount of points we gave up and play as bad as we did on defense, and we have a lot of things to clean up on offense, I’ll probably spend most of my time working through all this stuff.”
The Dolphins have played the past three games without injured quarterback Ryan Tannehill, whose status for next week is uncertain. And that’s not even close to their biggest issue.
The defense has been awful three weeks in a row. Over that span Miami has allowed 200 yards rushing per game and 5.9 per carry. During the same stretch, opposing quarterbacks have thrown for 751 yards with 10 touchdown passes, one interception and a passer rating of 143.9.
Questions are swirling about the job security of second-year defensive coordinator Matt Burke , but Gase said he’s not inclined to heap blame on his assistant.
“First, I always look at players,” Gase said. “To me, they have the final say on a lot of this stuff.”
And their performance speaks volumes. Five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake said the wide-open receivers and gaping holes for running backs make it clear blown assignments are the biggest issue.
“I’ll give you a pro tip: There is no defense from kiddie football, high school, college where players are uncovered,” Wake said. “There is no defense where gaps aren’t filled. So any time you see that, where there’s a guy running through the gap untouched or a receiver running free, there’s an error being made somewhere. Whether it’s miscommunication or a bad read, whatever, obviously there’s a few.”
On offense, the outlook is less gloomy. Backup quarterback Brock Osweiler had his worst game yet at Houston, but Tannehill may be close to beginning a throwing program that would test his right shoulder injury, Gase said.
Tannehill hasn’t been ruled out of the Jets game, but his rehabilitation will proceed cautiously, and it’s more likely he’ll return after the bye in Week 11.
“I want to make sure I’m not putting him in a position where he has some kind of relapse and goes through this all over again,” Gase said.
Tannehill can’t help the defense anyway. That unit ranks last in the NFL in yards and rushing yards allowed, and the per-game sack rate is second worst.
The Dolphins are tied for the league lead with 11 interceptions, but that source for success has dried up of late, and they have no takeaways in the past two games.
In short, the problem is a team effort.
“It’s not one position; it’s the whole group,” Gase said. “We have to use our hands better at linebacker. We have to stop running around blocks in the defensive line. In the secondary we have to know who we’re supposed to cover.”
Is the Dolphins defense simply overmatched physically? Maybe.
“It’s hard to tell,” Gase said, “because we don’t play what we’re supposed to play. When you don’t execute anything right, it’s hard to evaluate that.”
To make that determination, some bad movies will need to be watched more than once.
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