Have a question for A.C.? Submit your questions to Andy Cohen on Twitter at @ACohenFins. Andy will answer questions every other Wednesday throughout the season.
Before we move on to New England, before we start mentioning the “B” word – Brady – with some regularity, before we start evaluating matchups and statistical trends and how a football team can lose three games in a row and still expect to beat the best team in the division on the road, we take one final look at Buffalo.
So much to discuss. So many things to evaluate. So many lasting impressions.
• As down as you are right now over the loss to the Bills, keep in mind that 3-3 isn’t the end of the world as we know it and that the same ingredients that were evident during a 3-0 start haven’t disappeared from this team. You don’t win at Indy – not THIS Indy – with smokescreens. As quickly as the Dolphins have lost it, they can still get it back. Perspective: There are 16 teams with a worse record than the Dolphins. Granted, it doesn’t heal the disappointment of three straight losses, but it is important to consider.
• I keep coming back to how close the Dolphins were to winning this Buffalo game and how, in many ways, they deserved to win. But then you remember that they fell behind 14-0 and that they turned the ball over three times and you realize that it wasn’t just all about the sack and turnover in the final minutes because the Dolphins never really did enough all day long to reach a comfort zone.
• There is no doubt that after six games the most alarming issue on this team is the offensive line. Somehow, adjustments must be made to buy Ryan Tannehill additional time. I look for more three-step drops, more rollouts and more running back and tight end help in the blocking schemes. It’s too early to know how much of an impact the addition of Bryant McKinnie will have on the overall picture. But the more alternatives the better.
• Yes, Tyson Clabo was beaten badly on the game-deciding sack. Yes, he is struggling in general. A personal note: It would be so much easier to criticize Clabo if he were arrogant and evasive. But this is a class human being, who holds himself publicly accountable for every mistake he makes and who is sincere and kind and will shake your hand like he really means it. You hate to see one of the real good guys take a hit like this, but that’s the nature of this cold, hard business.
• The good and the bad of Ryan Tannehill. The bad were clearly those two interceptions: The first one was a terrible read, a throw that should not have been made. The second one was just a bad throw. It almost looked like the ball slipped from his hands, but it didn’t. Tannehill can’t continue to grow if he continues to make those types of mistakes. The good: Tannehill showed resiliency in bouncing back from those two picks with three touchdown passes. I especially liked the first touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson. Tannehill showed excellent pocket presence by scrambling to his right before finding Gibson. We need to see more plays like that one.
• Speaking of seeing more of, I’d like to see more of Marcus Thigpen in this offense. Right now he basically just returns kicks, but this is a multi-dimensional player who has unique skills. I think he can help this team both running and catching. Don’t forget this is a player who scored touchdowns a record five different ways in one Canadian Football League season.
• Nice to see cornerback Dimitri Patterson back on the field after a prolonged injury absence. With his quickness and big-play ability, he is definitely a defensive upgrade.
• It is clear to me that Cameron Wake is still not 100 percent healthy. The explosiveness we saw early in the season, before he went down with a sprained knee, is still missing. The Dolphins need him to be a difference-maker. Let’s hope it happens quickly.
• With all the talk about Mike Wallace being the big offseason acquisition at receiver, it was easy to overlook Gibson. Clearly a keeper, Gibson is playing well – two touchdown catches against Buffalo – and is currently second behind only Brian Hartline in receptions.
• You think about so many plays long after the game ends. How about rookie Don Jones getting flagged for an illegal touch on a Brandon Fields punt? The play cost the Dolphins about 40 yards in hidden yardage and put the Bills in position to score their first offensive touchdown.
• Rookie Dion Jordan shows me a little bit more every game. Against the Bills, I saw how quickly he can get to the quarterback if a blocking assignment is missed. I mean, you blink and he’s there. Good stuff.
And so we move on. The real challenge now is having a short memory or as Richie Incognito put it, “to quickly turn the page.” What happened against the Bills is now yesterday’s news. You can’t let it linger. Certainly not with the Patriots, fresh off a loss to the Jets, waiting in New England.
The Dolphins have reached a crossroads of sorts in their season. How they respond this week in general and this Sunday in particular will tell us a lot about the upside of this football team.
On Wednesday, AC in the AM provides a glimpse of what it’s like inside the locker room at the training complex.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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