Joe Philbin’s football team is 1-0 on the year after defeating the Cleveland Browns, 23-10. As a coach, Philbin can’t help but be pleased that the Dolphins have started their 2013 campaign on the right foot.
“It was a collective effort,” Philbin said in an interview with the Finsiders. “Guys stepped up and we’ve made it a focus for a long time. It was good to see us get three of them.
“I thought our quarterback did a great job on third down. Kind of taking what was there. We put a good plan together, he executed it well.”
Next Sunday, Miami will aim to move 2-0 on the year when they travel to Indianapolis to face off with Andrew Luck and the Colts. Needless to say, it won’t be as easy to come out with a ‘W’ in week two.
In his first year running the Colts’ offense, Luck helped Indianapolis pull off an 11-5 regular season record after having gone 2-14 before his arrival.
“He has that pocket presence that’s hard to coach,” Philbin said of the Colts’ second-year quarterback.
As a rookie, Luck completed 54 percent of his passes for 4,374 yards, 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He also added five touchdowns on the ground.
To put it simply, Luck is blessed with great instincts and awareness.
And in addition to those instincts, he also has a few dangerous weapons at his disposal, including talents like Pro Bowl wide receiver Reggie Wayne and the speedy TY Hilton.
“Reggie Wayne still plays at an incredibly high level,” Philbin said. “They have a very good young player with TY Hilton.”
In order to contain Luck, Philbin said it’s imperative the Dolphins come out displaying discipline in the pass rush lanes. Philbin also pointed to cutting down on allowing explosive passing plays, adding Miami’s defense could have done a better job in that area last week against the Browns.
“They’re going to be formidable, no question,” Philbin said of the Colts’ offensive attack.
If they want to keep pace with Indianapolis’ offense, Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins’ offense will have to build off their second half performance in Cleveland.
The Dolphins scored 17 of their 23 points in the second half against the Browns, including Tannehill’s first touchdown of 2013 when he found Brian Hartline streaking down the sideline.
Miami also converted 8-of-16 third down attempts on the day, another point that Philbin was very pleased with.
However, the running game struggled mightily to pick up anything, only totaling 17 yards on 18 carries between both Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. The offensive line also struggled in pass protection at times, allowing six sacks on the afternoon.
Philbin commented on the ground game woes, stating that the offense will need to be more balanced moving forward.
“On offense, it’s balance,” Philbin said. “We have to have better balance as an offensive unit, that’s first and foremost. I think the second thing is protection of the quarterback on offense.
“We have to give [the Browns] credit. That’s a good run defense, number one. Number two, we have to do a much better job both in the blocking phase and we got to do a better job of breaking tackles and getting yards after contact. We have to do a better job with on the perimeter with our receivers, so it’s certainly a collective effort that we’re going to need to address and improve upon.”
Additionally, there’s also a good chance Tannehill and the offense will have to make clutch plays like they did in week one. Last year, Indianapolis won seven games by four points or less.
“They play well at home, there’s no question about that,” Philbin said. “They’ve found ways to win games last year. They were in a lot of close games a year ago and they found ways to win them and it’s apparent it’s continued so far this year.”
Against the Raiders, Luck engineered another game-winning drive in the final minutes.
With all of the talk surrounding Luck and Indianapolis, Philbin, Tannehill and the rest of the Dolphins have a great opportunity to take a big step forward.
“It’s going to be a good challenge for our guys,” Philbin said.
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