Why are so many Miami Dolphins on different pages during games?

Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke communicates with linebacker Kiko Alonso. The Dolphins have been making too many mistakes. (Allen Eyestone/The Post)

DAVIE — In case you haven’t heard, the Miami Dolphins need to communicate better and must get on the same page.

This is not an exaggeration. There is no exaggerating this point.

The Dolphins have played nine games and if The Daily Dolphin had a dollar for every time a coach or a player uttered one of those two phrases this season, we would have enough money to pay off Byron Maxwell’s contract.

All coaches are taking their share of the blame. All players (at least they should) are taking their share of the blame.

And it all came to a head this week, when Dolphins coaches and players on offense and defense (OK, a lot of people on defense) used those two phrases over and over and over again. And this is not exclusive to one position group.

Which Miami Dolphins must communicate better and get on the same page?

Quarterbacks, running backs, offensive linemen, wide receivers, defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs.

That’s about it. We are not exaggerating. The Dolphins have lost three games in a row, been slaughtered in two of them, and this week, all of the emphasis and all of the meetings contained discussion of those two points of emphasis.

Think I’m kidding?

All of the comments that follow were made on a Thursday in Davie (where the weather is so, so beautiful this time of the year, but the communication and coordination? Eh, not so much).

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase on the defense: “We’ve talked about this before: when you play defense, it’s a group deal, it’s 11 guys. Really at the end of the day, everybody has to be on the same page.”

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase on the offense, particularly some of Jay Cutler’s drastic misfires: “A couple of them, we weren’t on the same page. We took the wrong angle on one of the routes. He thought one of the guys were going high and he flattened it out. That was just one of those ones where he saw it one way, they saw it a different way.”

Dolphins OC Clyde Christensen has seen some progress the last few weeks. (Andres Leiva/The Post)

So, as we said, it’s not an issue exclusive to one side of the ball.

Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen, on offensive line issues: “I think you can measure it and there were some things we did better; but there were some disappointing things that again we set some people free on some runs where our communication wasn’t up to snuff, and so I don’t think that … I thought it was five steps forward, five steps back kind of. I thought that for everything we improved at, we also again had an issue with communication, and so that’s one of the priorities this week. We have to get the communication right.”

Christensen added, in a very telling comment: “There were some disappointing ones also that we should be beyond at this point.”

That means, that yes, center Mike Pouncey and his guards, at this point (even though Ted Larsen made his regular-season debut last Monday night) should be on the same page at a higher rate. This means that tackles and guards can’t afford to be moving in the wrong direction because they each think they’re doing something different.

Running the football is hard enough in this league. Especially against a defense like the Carolina Panthers. When one or two offensive linemen are wrong, there is often a huge loss, which has happened at an alarming rate all season.

And yes, at this point, Cutler and Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and Julius Thomas should be on the same page more often. Too, too often, it seems that they are not. Either that, or Cutler is just wildly inaccurate more than we can believe. We’ll take Gase at his word.

Recall that earlier this season, Gase openly questioned if some of his players were putting in enough time away from the field to be best prepared for success on the field. This is something worth considering. Gase also openly discussed how the coaches have and will continue to evaluate the methods through which they are teaching.

[RELATED: The Tape Don’t Lie: Miami Dolphins at Carolina Panthers, a review]

Defensive coordinator Matt Burke was so frustrated about the lack of communication, he called an entire-unit meeting on Tuesday in which all defensive players had to identify how and why things went so terribly wrong at Carolina (45 points, 548 yards, 294 rushing yards).

Burke on why he called a ‘macro’ meeting: “There’s been a little disconnect I felt between the different levels of the defense. I felt it was important for everybody to be in there together and talking it out. I just didn’t feel the communication was there. I didn’t feel the understanding of how the front fits with the linebackers and how the coverage in the back end fits the linebackers and that sort of thing. I felt it was important this week to really take most of the meeting together.”

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers humiliated the Miami Dolphins on national televison. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn, File)

The players have taken a cue from their coaches this week, repeating the same themes again and again. It’s not just about being physically overmatched, as Cam Wake explained right after the Panthers game, it’s about being in the right spot at the right time.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh on what’s gone wrong: “I can go through a million different examples but at the end of the day, it’s all about being on the same page, and one of the best ways to be on that same page is communicating. Starting from our middle linebackers, starting from usually our free safety, that gives the down and distance, things that we anticipate obviously, and the calls that are being called where guys need be at, where guys need to be lined up. We obviously have different checks that we have. For example, when we have unbalance we call it ‘tank’ and we move into different situations like that where we have different alignments that we need to be in. So for me, communicating that to my linebackers – because a lot of times I see it first because I look for different things in the pass game, pass rushing, seeing where the formations are, all the different stuff like that – I can communicate those things to my teammates and vice versa, they can communicate those things for me. I missed some things last week and I blame that on myself.”

Suh took some responsibility and veteran linebacker Rey Maualuga cited the importance of players doing just that.

“What must change?” Maualuga said. “Everyone needs to be truthful with each other. Be accountable for the things that we do that’s wrong. And just move forward. If we move forward, and obviously clean up our mistakes, and not dwell, and move forward, we can get ready for our next opponent.”

Why have such long runs been allowed?

“Someone being out of their gap,” Maualuga said. “Or not being at the right place at the right time. Again, all that is fixable. And we just have to concentrate on becoming better. Use these next couple days to do our homework and cancel out all the things we did wrong in the last game.”

Safety Reshad Jones, who is responsible for making sure Miami’s defensive backs are lined up correctly before a snap, said, “‘Backers, cornerbacks and safeties should all be in sync. And on the same page. The corners should look to the linebackers. The linebackers should look to me and I look to them and we all relate the same calls. This side can’t be calling one call. And this side can’t be calling one call. Everybody knows where everybody is supposed to be and everybody is doing their job. Everybody is trying to do a little bit too much. Everybody just needs to do their job and be where they need to be. We just have to be where we’re supposed to be and do our job, man!”

There was an exasperation in Jones’ voice. He’s disappointed. He’s frustrated. He’s concerned.

But all agree, acknowledging the mistakes and working out ways to fix them together, is the only possible solution.

“Really, the quickest way to get things going in the right direction is getting 11 guys doing their job and everybody trusting each other as far as what they’re doing,” Gase said.

Miami Dolphins’ Jay Cutler: You always ‘fight’ drifting under pressure

Miami Dolphins’ Xavien Howard ranked 115th-best CB by Pro Football Focus

Miami Dolphins make entire defense watch atrocious Carolina second half together

Miami Dolphins: Why did Jay Cutler miss so badly on some Monday throws?

It’s time. DeVante Parker must be Miami Dolphins’ Demaryius Thomas, Larry Fitzgerald

 Get stories in real time by liking the The Daily Dolphin Facebook Page




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s