Looking back at last week’s piece and I can see I may have been wrong. It’s one thing to de facto tank due to lack of talented players on the roster. However, you can chalk some of that up to cleaning up bad contracts and stacking up draft capital for a rebuild. And yes, tanking and rebuilding in my eyes are two different things.
It is another thing to tank on the field by way of effort and over all game plan. Since this season seems to be carrying the same theme over and over and the nationwide dialogue of our Dolphins is anything but positive, I figured let us have some fun with this. So again, the essential question is, are the Dolphins tanking this year or rebuilding.
Before last week’s game, I would have to had set the Tank Meter at a solid 4 (with 1 being not a chance and 10 being give us that number 1 pick.) Then Sunday 1:00 hit. Or should I say 1:03, when Mark Ingram took the first carry 50 yards, I knew we were in trouble. By the time the First Quarter ended it was 21-0 and I knew had I had to reevaluate my opinion.
The most devastating loss since the 62-7 beating in the 2000 Divisional game as far as I can remember. Our roster is lacking talent but not entirely devoid of it. Let’s start with our defensive performance, as it was unbearable.
I hope most of these Dolphins players only have a 1 year lease on their apartments or rented homes
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) September 8, 2019
We do have a talented rookie first round Defensive Tackle. Our linebackers were expected to be a strength. And our secondary has a pro bowl caliber player in Rashad Jones and former rookie of the year candidate, Minkah Fintzpatrick*.
This is our first real look at Coach Graham’s scheme and from all reports it is one that will change week to week. This week it was a straight failure. We knew talent was short but hoped that coaching and attitude could bridge the gap. The Dolphins chose to stack the box and dare Lamar Jackson to throw over the top on them. Dare accepted apparently. Graham bet wrong and Lamar Jackson torched us for a perfect passer’s rating. But read between the lines and you will see some more troubling info. From what I gather, Rashad Jones was not on the field for any of Lamar’s touchdown throws. That is concerning as far as the Tank Meter goes. I am not sure why there is such a heavy rotation in our defensive backfield. It did not appear that there were any adjustments at the half, despite being down 42-0. Another puzzling move. Lastly, from player reports it seemed like no one was prepared to play in the new system. They all cited being out of position or poor technique. I had high hopes for our D and for this week at least, they were blown apart.
Offensively, I can say I did not mind what I saw. Our line struggled as we all expected but I love to see us taking shots down field. Fitzpatrick was average at best, but he stepped up in the pocket, kept plays alive and took some shots. Preston Williams showed what he can do despite a drop and before injured, Wilson looked good to. I like what Chad O’Shea was doing and look forward to seeing more this week. Our running game was brutal and again so is our line. But nothing in this unit’s performance, other than being bad, made me feel like this was a tank job.
Nothing stands out on Special Teams for me. But I do miss the fire and energy of Coach Rizzi on the sidelines. A few of our players had arrived in South Florida days before taking the field on Sunday. This needs a few weeks of evaluation. We do know that our Punter is good!
What am I getting at? Well, this week’s Tank Meter. Last week it was a 4, based solely on last minute roster cuts. The Tunsil trade for me made sense. This week the Patriots come to town. It puts us in a tough spot. I want to keep the Tank Meter at a 4, telling myself it was just a bad game. But I can’t. I can ignore the lack of in-game adjustment and the rotation in the defensive backfield.
However, after Jonathan Ledbetter got placed on IR, the team re-signed Tank Carradine. He is nothing better than good, but still that signing is not a Tank move, pardon the pun. So officially, I am setting this week’s Tank Meter at 5.0. I am sure it seems light for a lot of readers, but hey, I am an optimist. I am excited for this game. I cannot wait to see how this team reacts, because this will be a direct reflection of the coaching staff. The meter could end up moving mid game or even after the first snap. I need to see more consistency from our players as far as executing the scheme. But more than that, I need to see more mid game adjustments from our coaching staff. We all knew physical talent was not a strong hold of this Dolphins Team but my confidence in the Coaching staff and the culture was a silver lining. We just have not seen it yet from the team.
On that note, breaking news today that Minkah Fitzpatrick wants a trade. I say let him go despite me being a fan. I live in North Jersey and followed his career. He was easily better than Jabril Peppers (they came out the same year) but just didn’t get the press coverage. We are in a rebuild. He is a second-year player whom got beat for two touch downs last week. He was drafted in part due to his versatility but does not like being placed in different positions on a weekly basis. It is a team sport. If you are not willing to be played out of position for the greater good of the team, well that is not the Patriot way. I meant the new Dolphin way. He is worth nothing short of a 2nd but I hope we squeeze out a first rounder if he goes.
Minkah Fitzpatrick was the #11 overall pick in LAST YEARS DRAFT! If a team wants him it will be a 1st round pick PLUS something else. One 1st round pick isn't enough. #FinsUP pic.twitter.com/8n4Ez55reE
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) September 13, 2019
We will get to know everything about this young team about halfway through the first quarter on Sunday. It is a challenge for any Coach, none the less a first-year coach, to keep such a young group together during tough times. It is also a challenge for some of our young players to step up as leaders and show why they are on this roster. I expected that from Minkah, but again I guess I was wrong. I am seeing it from Jerome Baker who I think will soon become the face of our franchise. But we need more than him to step up as a leader.
Going to be a very revealing game, just hoping not to painful.
TANK METER: 5.0
Prediction: Patriots 27 Dolphins 10 (that my friends, I would feel good about)