If I’m mad, imagine how mad Adam Gase is.
I get paid to write about this trash and Gase is paid to fix it and he hasn’t been able to yet.
It’s hard to say if he’ll be able to fix anything before the season is over, but it appears a reset is needed. A do-over. A restart. A mulligan. Anything to bury this season. Perhaps one day, Gase will symbolically set ablaze and bury the tapes of the Miami Dolphins 2017 season in a far corner of a practice field in Davie.
But I’m actually paid to do things like this week’s edition of “The Tape Don’t Lie.”
And I enjoy it. But make no mistake: watching this stuff could drive anyone insane.
Gase says, “The Tape Don’t Lie.” Each week I give the game tape a closer look. Here are some things I noticed:
- The 2017 Miami Dolphins highlight tape should be called, “My bad. I thought you had him.” It must be extraordinarily frustrating to be a Dolphins offensive lineman or defensive back. It must be extremely frustrating to be a Dolphins offensive line coach or defensive backs coach. Or the play-caller. Or the defensive coordinator. They all must be banging their heads against the wall trying to figure out why every game, it seems, and this is especially true of Miami’s offensive linemen and defensive backs, that they have no idea what the other guy is going. They’re supposed to work on a string on the line and secondary, coaches and players say. Like a string of puppets. The string is broke. The strings are broken. There are no strings. It’s a disaster. Time after time after time, players seem to be doing the wrong thing and creating embarrassing moments. That leaves players staring at each other as if to say, “I thought you had me, man.” No! No! He didn’t have you, man. Because you didn’t do the right thing. Because he didn’t do the right thing. Because nobody is doing the right thing consistently! Gase must have had it up to here. Imagine how he must fume behind closed doors. Imagine how much he must be weighing down on his coordinators and position coaches to get it right, to get it fixed. But they haven’t. And there isn’t enough time now.
- Why does it so often appear to be amateur hour in the Dolphins secondary? It’s hard enough to stop Tom Brady when everybody is doing what they’re supposed to do. In the first quarter, Brady hit Phillip Dorsett on what appeared to be a secondary bust in for 39 yards. Cornerback Xavien Howard was chasing his man in man-to-man when the others appeared to be in zone. Howard, Cordrea Tankersley, Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald all have a high level of skill and talent. But they need to get on the same page. Heard that one before? In the second quarter, on a 3rd-and-14, the Patriots hit Brandin Cooks for 37 yards, wide open, on another apparent secondary bust. Cooks got lost. This time, Tankersley let Cooks peel away from him and into a completely wide open zone in the middle of the field, perhaps thinking he had safety help. The secondary looks confused. It looks exploited. It looks bad. After the game, in the locker room, Reshad Jones seemed very upset. After watching the tape, it’s easy to understand why. Jones did not have a good game. Time after time, it seemed like big plays were happening around him. Time after time, it seemed he was unable to shed a block and make the types of plays he been known to make over the years. And Jones seemed to catch a stare from linebacker Kiko Alonso in the third quarter, after Alonso was caught flat-footed on a 15-yard touchdown to Rob Gronkowski. Did Alonso think he had safety help? Sure seemed that way. Too many times this season, Miami players have looked at each other to say, “Where the hell were you, man?”
- Miami’s offensive line gets beaten for sacks by teams that don’t get sacks. It is true that when the Dolphins get in a hole, as they have so often this season, opposing teams can tee off because they know it’s almost always going to be a pass. This was a contributing factor to New England’s ridiculous seven sacks on Sunday. But although not all the Dolphins’ offensive linemen are physically superior to their foes, too often miscommunication and mental errors have led to quarterbacks getting smashed. It is true that Ja’Wuan James and Jermon Bushrod missed this game due to injury. But it hasn’t really mattered who has been in the game, it’s been alarming and disappointing. It also also fair to wonder how or if the departure of offensive line coach Chris Foerster for you-know-what-by-now has played a role in the seeming regression. The Dolphins have tried to do some things differently along the offensive line in how they prepare for the game and how they attempt to execute and it has not improved results. Opponents seem to get sacks in every possible way. In the third quarter, a blitzing, standing linebacker came through the center. Then a defensive end beat left tackle Laremy Tunsil (yes, he’s been disappointing and we’re not sure all the reasons why) to the inside with speed. In the fourth quarter, neither the center nor the left guard accounted for that same blitzing middle linebacker. One went left. One went right. Hey! Who’s got that Patriot in the middle?!? Then, the right guard was beaten to the inside. Back to back sacks on two key possessions, when the Dolphins somehow had a chance to get back in the game. On New England’s final sack of the game, a recent practice squad player beat the left tackle and left guard, because really, whose guy is that, anyway? The common trait for Miami’s offensive linemen and defensive backs in 2017? They look confused as s—.
- DeVante Parker needs to look at that man in the mirror. It means nothing if you don’t fight for the ball. It means nothing if you don’t attack the ball. The height, the speed, the athleticism, it all means nothing. How high you can jump means nothing — if you don’t jump. How did you not jump? How do you see the ball in the air and not, at worst, make sure that the opponent does not intercept it? All offseason, the talk was about giving DeVante Parker 50-50 balls because he’d win them. He has not been. Four times in the last two weeks a so-called 50-50 ball for Parker has been intercepted. Look, it turns out he’s also not great on red zone fade passes. Check Twitter and you’ll see Dolphins fans screaming, “Why don’t we throw DeVante the ball in the red zone?” Well, because even though DeVante looks like he should be a red zone killer, he is not. Because as of today, at this stage of his career, and it is not over yet, he has yet to develop a killer instinct. Is it innate for him? Perhaps not. Can it be developed? Maybe. Maybe not. He’s too talented to be benched. He’s too inconsistent and disappointing to know for sure he’ll be a part of the team for years to come. Maybe Parker’s struggles increase the chance Jarvis Landry stays here long term. At the moment, I’d say yes.
- EXTRA POINTS. Bobby McCain has been good. Of all of Miami’s problems, slot corner (assuming he stays on the field) does not appear to be one of them at the moment. An actual non-draft need for Miami!… Andre Branch hasn’t seemed himself and left the field again due to injury in the fourth quarter on Sunday… Matt Moore’s scramble for a first down in the first quarter reminded me of how Ryan Tannehill’s mobility was critical in Adam Gase’s 2016 offense… Cam Wake had a few eye-opening rushes where he drove an inferior tackle back to Faneuil Hall, reminding all of us that, as he nears his 36th birthday, he’s got something left in that tank… When the Patriots isolated Rex Burkhead on Chase Allen at the goal line before a touchdown pass, it reminded us all of how New England’s scouting identifies and creates those key mismatches… Kenny Stills fights for balls (take note, DeVante) that are not catchable… Kenyan Drake showed he can be fill that third-down role vacated for now by Damien Williams, on a nice 8-yard touchdown catch on a screen. Drake did have a drop and did have a fumble. He must eliminate both as he continues to try to prove worthy of lead-back treatment… Reshad Jones has missed more tackles than usual this season… Nice effort by Lawrence Timmons, Branch and Davon Godchaux on an under-the-radar stop of Rex Burkhead on a 4th-and-1 at the Miami 25 on the first play of the fourth quarter. This was a sign of disrespect by Bill Belichick to bypass the field goal attempt here…. What an outstanding deep catch and throw by Matt Moore and Stills on a 28-yard completion on a 4th-and-2 where Stills keeps his feet in bounds, dragging one… Lawrence Timmons appears to have slowed down as the season has gone on. He didn’t have any shot to catch Cooks on a jet sweet that sealed the game. In general, he’s not as active or involved. That linebacker spot is once again, going to be a key off-season focus, assuming they let Timmons go.