Time for Miami Dolphin Soul Searching

Obviously, the Miami Dolphins did not show up against the New England Patriots. Addressing this problem by declaring Ryan Tannehill sucks on every social media forum has no value. This team has talented players and the coaching staff is very good. There is no denying, one Patriot player is better than any on the Dolphins roster, the QB.

Not recognizing the QB as the key, is simply stubborn ignorance. At this point, it makes little difference, it cannot change this season. Tannehill can be good when everything goes right; he is not good when obstacles present themselves. These obstacles are not as apparent as most would think. Tempo dictates NFL football, when things go good, they tend to go very good and when things go bad, they tend to go very bad.

The Miami Dolphins knew beyond any doubt, the officiating of this game would be lopsided. It is particularly important at the beginning of the game when the tempo and nuances are set in motion. Here are some examples of how the officiating can dictate early critical drives.

On the initial drive, the Miami offense is moving then, offensive holding on Kilgore at 50 effectively stuffs the drive, forcing a punt. Miami is off the field without establishing momentum.

NE gets the ball and the Miami defense is playing well. A Brady incompletion should stop the drive, but a highly questionable defensive holding by Howard gives NE an automatic first down. Brady remains on the field and is able to establish his rhythm.

The defense still managed to hold NE to a field goal, but the tempo was dictated by two calls. By the end of the game, those calls get fluffed off as whinny Miami fans complaining about officials.

We're missing the point...

Adam Gase and his staff have to understand what they are playing against. In New England against Coach Batman and Wonder Boy, the refs are going to call the game slanted.

There is only one way to combat slanted officials at the beginning of games. Miami needs to quit starting every game with tippy-toe trap runs and dinky bubble screens and go for the dagger, early and often. The officials can call holding on any trap play or bubble screen, there is bound to be some ticky tack holding if they choose to call it.

On the flip side, the NFL loves big plays! Whatever makes it to ESPN and brings fans to the game, that's what they want. Whether anyone chooses to believe it or not, those flags are a little more reluctant on home runs than they are on bubble screens.

There's another reason to come out boldly, they are going to call these penalties anyway why not while making a chunk play? If the flag stays in the pocket, bingo! There's the tempo! Even if it doesn't work the defense will be on its heels.

They will be backing out of the box instead of running into it, again, the tempo is set.

The Dolphins played right into the Patriot's game plan. The officials are going to dictate the game, but when they call back huge plays, everyone notices. When they're stopping the bubble screen offense, no one cares.

Enough said...

The Miami Dolphins must address a very simple question...

Are they capable of winning the Super Bowl with Ryan Tannehill at QB?

Take some time… Saver the question, let it resonate because that's why you play the game, to win the Super Bowl...

Are the Dolphins capable of winning the Super Bowl with Ryan Tannehill at QB?

Before the New England game, big plays masked Miami's greatest offensive problem in recent years, 3rd down conversions. Miami is currently ranked 27th in the league. In 2017 Miami was dead last, 2016 - 21st, 2015 - 30th... Playoff teams rank at the top of this list, not at the bottom. There are two main reasons why a team ranks poorly.

Number one is penalties that leave the team in untenable down and distance.

Number two is poor QB play under pressure.

Against New England on the biggest stage, Ryan Tannehill did not show up?

Sure, Adam Gase has some answering to do because he's the coach, but he's not the guy out there on the field. Tannehill is not the leader Gase has been spouting about for three weeks while his team pulled out games against marginal opponents.

Miami came back against the Raiders by Tannehill throwing two 1-yard passes...

The QB stats were a complete folly and the guy up in New England knew his team was not going to get beat by 1-yard passes.

Miami spent 2nd and 4th round picks at TE. Are those players still on the team? Are they just bad picks? It seems that if the Dolphins don’t score on a big play, they can barely move the ball. Of the 10 drives with Tannehill on the field, seven ended in punts, two in turnovers and the other ran out the first half.

None of those 10 drives lasted more than five plays...

For some levity so we understand I'm not only picking on Tannehill, the Dolphins defense gave up scoring drives of 74, 67, 22, 85, 59 and 90 yards. The Patriots converted 10 of 15 third downs. They out-gained the Dolphins 449-172. They controlled the ball for more than 36 minutes and ran 75 plays.

“I didn’t see this coming,” a dejected Adam Gase said afterward.

Painfully I must admit, I did see this coming. I saw it coming because I answered the question above actually a few years ago, but the knee injuries pushed the reality further into the future, which is now.

I like Ryan Tannehill. He is a fine man and a very talented quarterback. He simply doesn't carry his team when the stakes depend on him being that guy.

Adam Gase believes if the system is run well enough, Tannehill does not need to be that guy. He could be right, if he had Ray Lewis or Derrick Brooks, Jon Lynch and Warren Sapp, but he doesn't.

Let's be clear, the season is not over, in fact Miami can get a lot better if they learn from this game. So what are the lessons?

Ryan Tannehill is never going to be a great quarterback. This means the team around him must execute with perfect precision if the Miami Dolphins hope to be a contending team...

Miami must understand, the officials are an opponent every week, particularly early in the game. They cannot allow the officials to dictate the early tempo. They must force flags on huge highlight plays because if the flags are going to fly away, Miami may as well be taking shots down the field.

The dinky bubble screens and trap runs have been exposed. Miami must invent a different game plan each week that is not so easily predictable. It's the NFL, no matter how well a team executes, if the other team knows the plays, they will win.

Please stop saying Cameron Wake is a special player... Lost in all the Tannehill talk is the other disappearing Miami star, Wake. He plays against the right tackle, he's had Suh and now Quinn to take away double teams, and he still doesn't get it done.

Like Tannehill, Wake does not show up in big games and he was absent again against New England. If these are the leaders of the Miami Dolphins, well maybe they should follow Suh, Landry and Pouncey out the door because on the biggest stage, they disappeared...

Someone once said, "Ryan Tannehill is just good enough to get you fired..."

Are you listening Adam Gase?