Raising red flag: Miami Dolphins simulate game situations for replay challenges

Dolphins tight end Dion Sims (80) reacts after catching a pass eventually ruled a touchdown against the Jets. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

DAVIE — To challenge or not to challenge — that is the question Dolphins coaches are asking themselves as they review film of the 2016 season and test themselves for contingencies that might crop up in 2017.

Rizzi, the Dolphins’ associate head coach and special teams coordinator, said coaches will put tapes on a big screen and — pardon our pun — challenge themselves to make the correct call on whether to throw the red flag.

There’s just one catch.

“We try to play those reviews out as if we were live, in-game, because you don’t have that much time to make a decision,” Rizzi said.

No lounging around with a Coke and chips, in other words. Instead, coaches are under the gun to make a call within seconds, because if the other team has the ball, it’s probably rushing to the line to avoid a second look at a call that went its way.

It wasn’t until deep into November before Adam Gase threw his red flag for the first time. He lost that challenge against the Rams, and there was only one other game (against the Jets) in which he threw it again.

Gase actually went two for two that day, first objecting to an incompletion on a Dion Sims reception that became a touchdown, then challenging the spot on a Bilal Powell reception that turned a first down into fourth down and led to a change in possession.

“It ended up being two huge plays,” Rizzi said. “And then all of a sudden, we went into a drought again.”

There’s a decent chance next season will see more than just three appeals, so it’s back to the film room.

”It requires a lot of film work and really trusting your instincts,” Rizzi said. “Fortunately – knock on wood – we’ve been pretty good with it in the last couple years, and hopefully it continues.”

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