Miami fans finally got a good look at the Offense in Friday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. Here are some of the noticeable takeaways from the starting Offensive Unit…
Offensive Line Protects but Does Not Push
After the first drive in which Ryan Tannehill got sacked on a 3rd and 3, the Offensive Line came back with a purpose for protection on their 2nd drive. They went down the field on an 8 play-70 yard drive (most of those yards compliments of Tanny’s 55-yard rollout pass to Stills).
That drive set the tone for the rest of the game. Tannehill never got sacked again and for the most part, had time to throw.
Unfortunately, it did not look like the line got any push to create holes for the running game which was non-existent until Isaiah Pead stepped in in the 2nd half against 3rd string defensive players. The Dolphins need to fix this problem in their next game against the Atlanta Falcons or people will be wary about drafting Jay Ajayi and Arian Foster on their Fantasy Teams. The run game is vital for the success of this offense and there is no excuse for an o-line that consists of 4 1st-round picks.
No Run, No Fun for the Running Backs
Speaking of Ajayi and Foster, the two backs had little room to run and no opportunity to show their skills. As both backs combined for a total of 14 yards.
Jay Ajayi looks to still be the starting back as he got most of the touches (6 for 19 yards) compared to Arian Foster (2 for -5).
As far as their involvement in the passing game, Ajayi led with 1 target.
Pead went 4 for 48 yards rushing(most of his yards came on that 45 yard run in the 3rd quarter) and had 1 catch for 30 yards. This makes the 2nd game he’s made big plays. Which puts him in the conversation to surpass Damien Williams as the 3rd running back on the team.
Daniel Thomas was put in the game after Pead and ran hard again. He steadily pounded away 7 carries for 30 yards. He displayed nice vision and ran with conviction through the holes.
DISCLAIMER: People, please keep in mind that although Isaiah Pead makes plays, he’s still playing against 3rd string players, and for the most part has been a 3rd string running back his entire career. This “Isaiah Pead should start” conversation needs to stop.
Now, many a fan knows I am highly critical of Ryan Tannehill’s game, but the quarterback played surprisingly well compared to what I’ve seen in practice.
On the Dolphins 2nd drive of the game, Tannehill made a play action rollout pass 55 yards deep to Kenny Stills. He threw accurately on the run (funny how he tends to be more accurate on deep passes while moving) which was very impressive.
He continued to lead a drive inside the Dallas 5-yard line, but could not score due to drops by Jordan Cameron and Jarvis Landry in the end zone. This led to a disappointing turnover on downs on a 8-play 70-yard drive.
On his 3rd drive, Tannehill spread the ball around-- passing to Landry, Parker, and Stills. Tanny connected with Stills on a 13-yard curl route in the end zone to cap off a 9-play 75-yard drive.
The offense’s 4th and final drive displayed Tannehill’s running capabilities and the No-Huddle offense(which we’ve been eager to see). Once the Dolphins got to the 40-yard line, they went no-huddle and Tannehill scrambled twice in a row into Cowboys territory for 9 and 7-yard gains.
On the Dallas 33, Tannehill passed to Isaiah Pead for a 30-yard gain to the Dallas 3. A beautifully anticipated touch pass on a swing route to Kenny Stills was the cherry on top of the very impressive drive.
Tannehill ended his day with a QBR of 119.2—going 12/20 for 162 yards and 2 TDs.
Overall, Tannehill was very efficient. He did what he was supposed to do. He led 3 of 4 drives down the field, he threw very accurately and got rid of the ball quickly. He also displayed very nice footwork in the pocket by stepping up and side-to-side to avoid pressure (something that I was very impressed with since I’ve never seen him do that before. Mikey-Likey). He also made plays on 3rd down which has always been a problem throughout his career (let’s hope that trend continues). As far as command and signal-calling goes, he did not show any strong vocal presence pre-snap. His hand gestures were kind of lazy and he did seem to make any checks that were noteworthy, but I will let that slide seeing as he got the job done. He also stared down receivers at times which is something he still needs to improve on.
Kenny Stills had an awesome game. He had 3 receptions for 73 yards and 2 TD’s. It’s hard to believe he only had 3 catches considering his impact on the game. It’s nice to see the Dolphins speedy 3rd receiver finally get involved. Hopefully, there is more to come.
Jarvis Landry had 4 catches for 33 yards on 7 targets. He is still highly involved in the offense (especially considering Tannehill loves to throw short), and he had the chance to outshine Still’s but he dropped 2 would-be touchdowns--- one was a perfectly thrown pass off of Tannehill’s backfoot (Again. Somehow he throws more accurately on the run. Curious. Very curious.) This was very uncharacteristic of Landry who is known for his great hands. I don’t expect this to happen again.
Jordan Cameron also had a drop in the end zone off a slant route. He had 1 catch for 5 yards on 2 targets.
Dion Sims had 2 catches for 11 yards on 2 targets.
So far, it looks like the tight ends are still a non-factor in the Dolphins offense. A very puzzling and disappointing acknowledgment considering Cameron and Simms are very talented and make a nice 1-2 combo.