They gave up 38 points in a preseason game.
They allowed 25 first downs.
There were missed assignments and missed tackles.
If all that weren’t alarming enough for the Dolphins, who left Philadelphia 38-31 losers in the dress rehearsal game, there’s more.
Of the 10 longest plays by the Eagles, all came in the first half, including eight in the first quarter.
Meaning: That was primarily Miami’s starters getting lit up.
When Carson Wentz hit Torrey Smith with a 50-yard touchdown pass 2 1/2 minutes in, it set the tone. Cornerback Byron Maxwell took the blame for that opening score, which ended with safety Reshad Jones giving Maxwell a “what happened?” look we’d see several more times.
One man on the hot seat is Matt Burke, the new defensive coordinator who fortunately has 17 days between the Philly loss and the opener against Tampa Bay.
Except for last year’s debacle in Dallas, you’d have to go back to 1969 for the last time the Dolphins gave up at least 38 points in a practice game.
Defensive end Cameron Wake didn’t have to wrestle with the question of what the No. 1 priority ought to be.
“Big plays, obviously,” he said.
The performance followed a 31-7 loss to Baltimore at home. That’s 69 points in two weeks. Yes, a lot of it was by players who won’t really be Dolphins, but still, it’s 69 points.
Speaking of trends, the last time the Dolphins gave up 38 points in a preseason game was last year, a 41-14 loss to Dallas. But: Before that, you’d have to go back to a 45-10 loss to Minnesota in 1969 — 1969! — for the last time the Dolphins conceded this many points in a practice game.
True, there are mitigating circumstances. One score came on a pick-six off a deflected pass by Matt Moore to Julius Thomas. There were two turnovers near midfield that led to Philadelphia touchdowns.
But there’s no excusing a nine-play, 93-yard drive late in the first quarter that ended with three plays swallowing up 43 yards, with three different factors at work.
First, Wentz hit Zach Ertz for a 12-yard gain in which slot corner Bobby McCain appeared to be caught in no-man’s land after both Ertz and Alshon Jeffery flooded his zone. McCain focused on Jeffery, which afforded Ertz space because safety Nate Allen was playing deep. (Assigning blame on such plays, without knowing everyone’s responsibilities, is risky business.)
Next, LeGarrette Blount slipped through the gap between end Charles Harris and tackle Davon Godchaux for a 16-yard run to the Miami 15.
Finally, Wentz hit Jeffery on a slant for the touchdown. Burke went with a zone blitz, leaving Wake matched against Jeffery. It appeared that Wake was counting on help from McCain that was too late in arriving.
Bottom line: The Eagles drove the length of the field without ever facing a third down. Not that it would have stopped them, since Philly converted 59 percent on third down.
“I know there was some communication issues with a couple things,” Wake said. “But I don’t think anything dramatic. The effort was there. I think guys were playing hard.”
Other big plays came down to a variety of issues. McDonald gave Trey Burton cushion on a 22-yard reception. Twice, receivers gained inside position on Maxwell for easy throws by Wentz. Godchaux committed a facemask penalty. Ertz slipped past the line of scrimmage unnoticed for an 18-yarder. And there was the kind of thing that’s simply going to happen. The Dolphins had good pressure on Matt McGloin, but the perfect play was called: a screen that went for 13 yards.
Wake wouldn’t attribute the shortcomings to players getting used to Burke calling a game.
“I don’t think so,” Wake said. “I mean, it would be different if he was a guy who came from Mars and we had never met him and, you know, he had a whole new plan and a whole new scheme and all that. But he was here with us last year (as linebackers coach). We are running pretty much the same defense that we were running last year. So I don’t think there is much of an adjustment. It’s getting on the same page and making sure that guys are working well together.”
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