Keys To The Dolphin's Bye Week: The Offensive Line
By Drew Cathey
Through the first 5 games of the Miami Dolphin's season Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 24 times. Those sacks have resulted in a loss of 148 total yards. For a team that is 3-2 this is uncharacteristically high. Going into the bye week this is one problem that the coaching staff must be looking to solve. Ryan Tannehill must be protected in order of the Dolphins to move the chains and put points on the board. The lack of the run game isn't helping matters, so if this problem isn't solved things might get ugly moving later into the season.
It's hard to tell by just watching the games whether or not it's just the actual lineman themselves that just can't block or maybe it is the coache's play calling that is the cause for such a high number of sacks. If you they find a way to break it down and find the actual reason for these sacks then we might have a solution for the problem at hand.
If it's the fact that the lineman just can't flat out block the people in front of them then the best bet for the Dolphins is to get Tannehill out from behind them. This means that there needs to be more plays called where he rolls out and gets outside of the pocket. Through the first five games we haven't really seen much of this and with all the drop back passes being called it has called for the lineman to give him ample amount of time to get the ball out, but if you roll Tannehill out of the pocket it doesn't make the lineman have to hold their blocks for so long and may create problems for the defense having to worry about Tannehill having a run/pass option coming out of the pocket.
Going along with that, with the possibility that the Dolphin's offensive line just might not be that good, it might not be a bad idea to call some desinged quarterback runs going forward. With Tannehill being one dementional through the first five games, it hasn't really given defenses a problem of game planning because all they really had to worry about was the run game from the running backs and then the pass game as well. If they throw in a couple designed quarterback runs then it might make for a different defensive schemed where they have to ease up their pass rush in order to compensate for a running Tannehill which will make it alot easier on the offensive line.
As with anything it might not necessarily be the players, hence the offensive line, that are really the problem. There is the possibility that the coaching staff could just be calling the wrong plays at the wrong times. The one thing that seems wrong with the Dolphin's coaching staff is the fact that their play calling doesn't seem to be very creative. The plays seem very predictable, especially on third down situations where when it seems like they should pass and that's exactly what they do.
So, what do the coaches need to do? They need to change things up. On third down situations where it seems as though there should be a pass called, maybe they should call a draw or a quick screen. This uses the defensive pass rush against itself because as soon as they fly up the field someone can be slipping behind them as a reciever or a running back can find a crease from a hand off and find some open room at the second level.
The same thing goes for first down situations. Maybe instead of lining up and running on first down, it might be a good time to call a play action pass every once in a while or throw a quick rocket screen pass to one of the speedy recievers. This just keeps the defense off balance and doesn't allow the offense to be so one dementional.
So, it's hard to necessarily pin point exactly what the problem has been and why Tannehill has been sacked so many times. Maybe it is a little bit of both. The fact of the matter is that it needs to be solved. What it really comes down to is the play calling and how the coaching staff runs the offense. Plays must be called to bring out the player's best potential and if that doesn'thappen then they can't play at the highest level possible and win football games like they need to.