Dolphins coaches reevaluating their methods

The Miami Dolphins are 0-4 heading into the bye week. They have been outscored 81-0 in the second half through all four games. Players are growing frustrated with the team’s inability to execute. Now, the entire coaching staff finds themselves questioning how they’re handling things.

“We’re going to go and closely evaluate what we do in all areas of the second half – the approach, the scheme we use, defensively study what they’ve done (against) us in the second half.” Offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea said on Tuesday. “I think it’s a combination of factors that we’re really going to look closely at and determine what’s best for us moving forward.”

In all fairness, there are many rookies on this Dolphins coaching staff. Both O’Shea and head coach Brian Flores are first-timers at their respective roles. If Patriots head coach Bill Belichick were in the business of passing on his skills to his subordinates, more of his coaching tree would find success upon leaving New England. Additionally, the talent level on the roster is severely lacking in several areas. The offensive line in particular. When coaches have to add new players through the regular season, success is hard to come by.

“I would say we made a lot of changes to the roster,” Brian Flores said on Monday. “(We were) kind of building the team on the fly in a lot of ways. But we’re not going to make excuses about that. We try to put the guys in the best positions to play well, but at the same time trying to build a team and build some camaraderie and build some communication and build some rapport. I think that’s been a big part of these first four weeks.”

With this in mind, it’s not surprising to see the coaching staff looking to make some changes. Considering their desire to emphasize basics and fundamentals, the lack of execution is troublesome. The number of wide receiver drops is especially alarming. Miami ranks second in the league with eight drops. Only the Philadelphia Eagles have suffered from more with ten. So even how the coaches teach players how to catch is not immune to scrutiny.

“I think that one of the things on catching the football is it’s something that we have as part of our everyday drills.” O’Shea said. “We think that throwing, catching, blocking, tackling are things that we try to work every day, and we’re going to continue to do those, but we’re going to – as a coaching staff – again, we’re evaluating all aspects of our program right now. One of the things we’re evaluating is the teaching progression and what we do on the field and the drills that we have and those things.”

It’s not ideal to hear that the Dolphins coaching staff already feels the need to change how they do things. However, the previous regime displayed the other side of the spectrum. Adam Gase – now with the New York Jets – refuses to change. As a result, his team has also failed to win a game so far.

It’s been said numerous times that 2019 is all about evaluation for the future. Perhaps, it bodes well that the coaches are willing to take an honest look at themselves in the mirror. If they can find a method that works by 2020, then perhaps the rebuild won’t take nearly as long as projected.

“You’re always in the process of self-evaluating and trying to improve.” Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. “I ask the players to get better every day. I make it a point on myself to get better every day. If I’m never thinking about how I can improve for the next week or the next day, then I think you get complacent, and then when complacency sets in, in this league, you’re not going to be here very long. That’s how I approach it. There’s a bunch of stuff – I don’t feel the need to get into exactly all of the stuff that I know that I need to improve upon, but I’m constantly evaluating myself and trying to figure out how I can become a better coach, a better husband, a better brother, a better son. That’s just how I’m built.”

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for six years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung

Minkah watch: Did he raise his stock Sunday?

By now, you likely know that Dolphins second-year defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick is available — the only question is how available.

I had suggested the Dolphins sit Fitzpatrick on Sunday against the Patriots.

After all, if he’s an asset, you don’t want him playing and hurting himself, and losing value. And he was more likely to hurt himself if his head and heart weren’t into it.

Turns out I was wrong about that.

Fitzpatrick was good Sunday; he was about the only Dolphins who was.

How good?

Here’s what Pro Football Focus — which dissects every play — said:

Which sort of raises a question:

Why are you trading him?

Well, they shouldn’t, not unless they’re getting more than the pick (No. 11 overall) that they gave up for him. Especially because he’s a more seasoned player than anyone they are getting.

So, yes, I agree with Dave Hyde:

Yet this feels too far along.

The Dolphins are all in on the tank, and it doesn’t matter how many young players it rolls over.

Even if they’re young players that GM Chris Grier wanted.

Great photo by our Tony Capobianco — that’s Minkah with Patrick Chung.

It’s worth a creative caption.



Dolphins trending to be worst team ever

The sample size for these Dolphins is super small…. and the first two opponents were really good.

Still, how much more do you need to see?

Rather than write another treatise about tanking, one tweet summed up the Miami Dolphins’ situation, having been outscored 102-10, at home, by the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots to start the season.

A week ago, I wondered whether this would be the worst non-expansion team in South Florida sports history. (Spoiler: It is.)

Now the question is whether it will be the worst team in NFL history.

Just click the tweet below….

And hide the kids….

Patriots RB James White looking to show out against Dolphins

Local product James White is coming to town, hoping to lead the New England Patriots to victory.

As the New England Patriots take on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, a familiar face will be recognizable from the opposing sideline. New England Patriots running back James White will undoubtedly be a part of the game plan for New England. A Florida native, this is sort of like a homecoming game for him. Given that the Patriots and Dolphins are division rivals, he has been back several times as a member of the opposition.

Playing high school football at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, White certainly excelled. In three years of varsity football, he accumulated 1,679 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Averaging 9.1 yards per play, he accumulated 57.9 rushing yards per game. His best season came in his senior season of 2009-10. As some may remember, he had a great year. Playing 11 games, he carried the ball 102 times for  979 yards and 11 touchdowns. Averaging 9.6 yards per carry, he averaged 89 yards a game.

A different type of running back

So far in his tenure with New England, White hasn’t really been a pure running back. In fact, he has become one of their best receiving backs. Take for instance his 14-reception, 110-yard receiving game against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI. A Super Bowl MVP award was the result of what was an incredible display of pass-catching. New England patriots Fans had obviously seen what he can do. The Super Bowl performance was a coming-out party for him on the national level.

He has made a living of catching the ball out of the backfield for New England. Fantasy owners love him, and the Patriots have been able to find the perfect niche for him in their game plan. The last time New England played Miami, White rushed the ball four times for 13 yards. He also caught the ball two times for 15 yards. With how crowded the New England backfield is, it’s important for each player to make the most of their snaps. White has certainly done that over the years.

He is the perfect type of running back for this era of football. Running backs that are pass-catchers are often times even more valuable than one-dimensional running backs.

In the New England Patriots season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, White had a great game. he rushed the ball four times for 26 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per carry.

He will certainly need to keep up that level of production against a Miami team that has given New England trouble at home. Wherever your rooting interests lie, there is no denying that it is great to see a local kid make it.


Tom Brady needs to feel heat from Dolphins pass rush

The Dolphins need to bring defensive pressure to the New England Patriots in the passing game.

It’s no secret that the Miami Dolphins have a tough task this weekend with the New England Patriots coming to town. After all, New England demolished the Pittsburgh Steelers by a 33-3 score. With a stout defense and Tom Brady at the helm, they did whatever they wanted last Sunday. Oh by the way, Antonio Brown should join the team in Miami just in time for the game. It is safe to say the Dolphins will have their hands full.

This may seem like an obvious statement, but the Dolphins need to get pressure on Brady. Last weekend, Lamar Jackson was pretty much free to do whatever he wanted. He burned the Dolphins for 378 passing yards and four touchdowns. Tom Brady will do the same if the Dolphins do not get to him quickly. A receiver like Josh Gordon can beat you with pure speed, while a receiver like Julian Edelman is great at improvising routes and getting an initial first step on his defender. The running backs are huge part of the passing game as well. They can catch screens, wheel routes, and even line up as receivers. They are extremely versatile and add another wrinkle for the defense to look out for.

Sam Eguavoen  and Jonathan Ledbetter each recorded a half sack last week. With one sack in total, the Miami defensive line did not get to the quarterback enough. If the Dolphins have any chance of beating the Patriots, they need to create a consistent pass rush. If you give Tom Brady time to throw, he will make you pay. Even at 42 years old, he can still throw the football extremely well. it’s fascinating to see quite frankly. However, he always seems to struggle in Miami. Whether it be the heat or the crowd noise, a New England Patriots-Miami Dolphins game in Miami is always a good one.

New England Patriots need to feel the heat

Bringing pressure up the middle often makes Tom Brady think a little bit in the pocket. I used to see it a ton with the New York Jets defenses in the early part of this decade. They would bring pressure up the middle, and also bring a little bit of pressure off the edge. They constantly stumped Brady and rushed him into making throws he didn’t like.

Those New York Jets defenses were very good. I’m not asking for the 2019 Miami Dolphins defense to play like those just defenses. The formula of getting pressure up the middle and making Brady think is something that they can do on Sunday. I like to see a little bit more out of Christian Wilkins in this game. He can do a little bit of everything. He can clog up running lanes, but he can also rush the passer. I would love to see him be able to get pressure on Brady. Getting pressure on the quarterbacks was something he did at Clemson, and his skill set should translate well to the National Football League.

Playing Tom Brady and the New England Patriots is not going to be easy. The odds are certainly stacked against the Dolphins, but they can at least make life for Brady in the new England patriots difficult.  Getting pressure on Brady would be a nice step toward keeping this game close. keeping this game close and general would certainly be a moral victory for Miami.

Patriot Games: Wide receiver Antonio Brown signs with New England

Antonio Brown is headed to the New England Patriots.

One year, up to $15 million. That’s all it took for Antonio Brown to sign the dotted line with the New England Patriots. According to multiple media reports, Brown is headed to New England. He joins the likes of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. This is the last thing that most NFL fans want to hear, but as has been the case most years, the Patriots are playing chess while the rest of the National Football League is playing checkers.

Antonio Brown’s deal is one year in length and worth up to $15 million. It includes a $9 million signing bonus.

Brown, a Miami native, went to Miami Norland High School. He has had a successful NFL career overall, but within the last year, he has really taken a negative turn.

Antonio Brown joins a solid receiving unit

Brown joins the likes of Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, and Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman in what is a stacked wide receiving group. This is a low-risk, high-reward move for New England. If Brown can regain his old form, he would be an additional weapon for Tom Brady to throw to. With only a one-year, $15 million commitment, the signing does not break the bank. If he causes as much trouble in New England as he did in Oakland, the Patriots will have no problem cutting him. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has not been afraid to let go of players who have caused a problem.

I have no idea what the depth chart is going to look like and how many snaps Brown will get. I do think that he will have a chance to get a ton of targets maybe not initially, but as the season goes on. He has so much talent and I definitely see him succeeding in New England. They know how to put players in  positions that accentuate the positives of their game.  Adding Brown to the mix will make it difficult for defenses to key on one specific receiver in the New England offense.

New England was already one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. If Antonio Brown can get back to what he was in Pittsburgh, this clears the path for New England to repeat as champions once again

Dolphins assistant head coach Jim Caldwell taking leave of absence

The Miami Dolphins will be missing one of their most experienced and high profile coaches for the 2019 season, as assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell is taking a leave of absence to address health issues.

A statement was released by the Dolphins on Saturday morning regarding Caldwell’s status.

“I will be stepping back due to some medical complications that require my full attention,” Caldwell said. “I want to thank Stephen Ross, Chris Grier, Coach Flores and the rest of the organization for the support they have given me and my family.”

Head coach Brian Flores offered his own sentiments within the statement.

“Our focus is on Jim’s health and supporting him in every way that we can,” He said. “With his knowledge and experience, Jim has been an invaluable member to our coaching staff and will continue to serve as a sounding board for me throughout the season.”

Caldwell will still serve as a consultant to head coach Brian Flores, but not having him physically there will have an impact. Caldwell is one of the first coaches Flores added to his staff, bringing him on board on Feb. 8, 2019. His experience as an NFL head coach was projected to be invaluable to Flores, a rookie head coach who is only just starting to learn what it means to be a head coach in this league.

Not having proven, experienced people behind him is likely part of what led former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase to make the mistakes he did. Flores was smart to hire Caldwell to be his right hand man.  He brought with him 17 years of coaching experience, with two stints as a head coach for the Indianapolis Colts from 2009-11 and the Detroit Lions from 2014-17. In that time, Caldwell put together a 62-50 (.554) regular-season record, four playoff berths, two 11-win seasons and one conference championship. He also won a Super Bowl as the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens during the 2012 season.

On top of being the assistant head coach, Caldwell was also tasked with coaching the quarterbacks, as he’s had experience coaching the likes of Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford, and of course Peyton Manning, who spoke to Michael Rothstein of ESPN back in 2015 about Caldwell’s stressing of fundamentals and how everything had a specific purpose.

“The discipline of having that routine really made an impact on me,” Manning said. “I really felt like I just sort of took a step up during the years that he was my quarterbacks coach.”

The hope was that Caldwell would have a significant impact on the next young QB who stepped foot in the building. In this case, Josh Rosen was that young QB, and Miami is hoping he turns out to be worth his initial top ten pick draft status. Now, however, it will be up to seven-year veteran Jerry Schuplinski to fill that void, who spent his previous six seasons in the league with the New England Patriots, starting his role as assistant QB coach in 2016 for Tom Brady.

Caldwell’s absence will hurt the team, but true to form, the Miami Dolphins have made it clear that they care about the people working for them. With any luck, the 64-year old Caldwell will overcome his unspecified health issues and be able to return to the sidelines in no time. Until then, Caldwell will have the support of the team as he rests and recovers from whatever ails him.

Tom Brady annoys people again

It’s April’s Fools Day, if you weren’t aware, people play practical jokes on this day.

And no one is a bigger joker than Tom Brady.

So today, the typically reclusive New England Patriots quarterback — and Miami Dolphins tormentor, except in Miami Gardens — sent out his first tweet.

And it was a super funny one.

This thing had nearly 100,000 likes as of this post.

Apparently, some didn’t find it that amusing, even those very calm people in the Boston area.

No, the Tuck Rule call was a bad joke.

So, sorry, Dolphins fans.

You’re getting more Brady this season, with all his hilarity.

(Photo by our Tony Capobianco)