Things I Liked, Things I Didn't, Things To Look For Against The Raiders

Another winnable game, another brutal loss.  The week only was made worse by Coach Joe Philbin's inexplicable behavior.
Things I Liked:
  • Lamar Miller had his best rushing day as a pro. He carried the ball 15 times for 108 yards a GREAT 7.2 yard average. He also added 4 receptions for 24 yards (strange fact, in Miller's only other 100+ rushing game against Cincinnati last year he also had 4 receptions for 24 yards.) 
  • Earl Mitchell was a great free agent pickup. He was a beast all game, still giving his all with the Dolphins virtually out of it in the 4th quarter.
  • Jarvis Landry sure does make kick off returns exciting.
  • Both Randy Starks and Derrick Shelby bulldozing their men on Shelby's sack.
  • Jelani Jenkins has blitzing skills.
I could write for a month about the things I didn't like about the game. Hmm, where to begin?
Things I Didn't Like:
  • When I watch Dallas Thomas play, I am shocked that he was a 3rd round pick. Even more shocking is he's the 3rd best guard on the team. 
  • The dropped passes. Miami led the NFL in dropped passes before the game with 9, and I counted at least 5 more during the Chiefs game.  Brandon Gibson's drop in the 2nd quarter really cost the Fins. It would have at least made Caleb Sturgis's 48 yard field goal attempt (and miss) 11 yards shorter and much more make able.
  • Speaking of Sturgis, I have no faith in him. What a waste of a 5th round pick.
  • Missed tackles. Too many to count. Brent Grimes missed tackles all day. Louis Delmas wasn't much better.
  • Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle had no answer for  RB Joe McKnight catching passes out of the backfield. Killed Miami all day.
  • Bad special teams play. Yes Landry had some great kick-off returns, but his punt returns were not good. He seemed to be playing too shallow all day (bad coaching) and what ever happened to standing on the 10 yard line and if the ball goes over your head you let it go? 
  • Quarterback Ryan Tannehill's regression. Can the loss be pinned on him, no. Did he play poorly again, yes. His decision making was horrible. Whether it was not throwing a ball away,  not using his feet when a first down was reachable on a scramble, throwing a 3 yard pass when they needed 5 for a first down. It was horrible. Franchise quarterbacks make plays and make the players around him better. Tannehill just is not doing that. 
  • Questionable play calling. 3rd and 10 on the opening drive, you have the ball near mid field and you call a run? The game changer was the 4th quarter. With the Fins driving near mid field on 3rd and 1 and you call a pass? The score was 21-15. That's when you hand it to Miller, twice if need be. Instead Tannehill gets sacked. A 46 yard punt with a 47 yard return and the game was essentially over. 
I don't know what to really expect this week. I believe the players when they say "we are closer than you think."  They are one dropped ball, one bad play call, one missed tackle, one bad decision away from a winning record. But it's the NFL, and every team could say that. Are they going to come out flat? Do the Raiders have an advantage from being in London all week? I don't know.  One thing I am certain of after this week is Joe Philbin is not the answer. He shows no faith in his team and created a controversy that was not necessary. He is not a leader of men.  Quite frankly if  I were Stephen Ross and Miami losses this week, I would fire Philbin. Problem is, I don't know if anyone is remotely qualified to be the interim Head Coach on the current staff.
Things To Look For Against The Raiders:
  • Raiders have the 4th best pass defense, but are ranked 31st against the run. Bill Lazor should use all his running backs and pound the rock all day. 
  • Don't let the 4th best pass defense fool you though, Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 73% of his passes against the Raiders, Geno Smith 82%. Look for the run to set up the pass and the play action fake to be open for big plays.
  • Khalil Mack vs. Brandon Albert should be an interesting match up. 
  • Just like I was afraid of Sammy Watkins having a coming out game against the Fins (which he did) I fear the same with Mack and/or quarterback Derek Carr. 
This week is a must win for both teams. The Dolphins could quickly spiral out of control if they go into the bye at 1-3.  Raiders offensive line coach Tony Sparano might be the new Head Coach in Oakland if they go 0-4. Something's gotta give and I don't like having to play another team with their back against the wall. The Dolphins however have more talent. Prediction: Dolphins 19 Raiders 17. Everyone enjoy the game!

@carlccrowley

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