2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Slumping Dolphins again headed in wrong direction

By STEVEN WINE - AP Sports Writer
    2012-12-10 15:34

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - From the start of his first year as coach of the Miami Dolphins, Joe Philbin stressed the need for steady improvement. Instead, a late-season tailspin has the team headed yet again in the wrong direction - toward a long offseason.

The Dolphins (5-8) have lost five of their past six games, ensuring that for a fourth consecutive year they'll finish .500 or worse. Going into its game against Jacksonville (2-11), Miami is virtually assured of missing the playoffs for the 10th time in 11 years.

Following a 27-13 loss Sunday at San Francisco, Philbin attributed the skid not to a lack of talent but to a ``lack of playmaking'' at critical times.

``It's correctable,'' he said Monday. ``There were some plays there to be made on both sides of the ball that we didn't do. There were some opportunities we didn't capitalize on.''

For the second straight week, the Dolphins remained in contention against a division leader until the final minutes. But against both the 49ers and New England Patriots, fourth-quarter rallies came up short.

Feeble offense and a takeaway drought have doomed the Dolphins in recent weeks. The offense has totaled three touchdowns in the past four defeats, and the defense has forced only one turnover in the past six games.

Getting better from week to week has been a Philbin mantra, but the Dolphins aren't doing it. They rank fourth worst in the NFL in yards, and are tied for fifth worst in points at 18.5 per game, with productivity declining of late.

``I don't know exactly what the answer is,'' rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. ``But we have to make the plays that are there. You can't win in this league scoring as few points as we are. It's frustrating.''

Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman concurred.

``I would agree with what Ryan said,'' Sherman said. ``I would probably say `expletive frustrating.' We feel like we're close, but not close enough.''

At San Francisco, as has been the case in several games, the Dolphins played their worst at crunch time. On their final possession, trailing by a touchdown, Tannehill went 0 for 5.

Facing one of the NFL's best defenses, Tannehill did throw for a score - his eight touchdown passes rank 30th. But he averaged only 4.5 yards per attempt, and reinforced a budding reputation for failing to deliver late.

``He played better in the first half,'' Philbin said. ``At the end of the game, where statistically he didn't perform as well as he would have liked, there were a lot of factors that contributed to that. It wasn't just him. There wasn't as much separation in the route-running. It wasn't like there were wide-open guys he was flat-out missing.''

The absence of a deep threat remains Miami's glaring weakness. Top receivers Brian Hartline and Davone Bess have combined to make 123 catches, but they've totaled only two touchdowns.

A lack of defensive playmakers has hurt, too. With 12 takeaways this year, the Dolphins are on pace to set a franchise record for fewest in a season.

No linebacker has an interception. While opponents have fumbled 17 times, Miami has just three recoveries, which is tied for last in the league. And the problem's getting worse: Over the past six games, the Dolphins have just one takeaway.

``That's not good,'' defensive end Cameron Wake said. ``You look at every statistic we have in football, and that's the one that determines your success.''

Wake might be the only Miami player to make the Pro Bowl. He notched three sacks against the 49ers, increasing his season total to 14, which matches a career high.

But he's on the verge of his fourth losing season in four years with Miami.

``I would give away every sack I got for a winning record and opportunities that we are not capitalizing on,'' he said. ``It is hard to contribute with that kind of stuff when we are stinking it up.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

LaMichael JamesSep 18 11:32p

The Miami Dolphins have expressed interest in free-agent RB LaMichael James (49ers) and it is believed that he has some interest in the team. James is expected to take [ More ]

Knowshon MorenoSep 18 11:32p

Miami Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno (elbow) has been telling teammates that he hopes to return after the team's Week 5 bye.

Eric DeckerSep 18 11:14p

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan wants WR Eric Decker (hamstring) to test his injured hamstring in the coming days. The team would like to see him participate in practice Saturday, Sept. 20.

Dez BryantSep 18 11:12p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (shoulder) said his injured shoulder is sore but fully expects to play in Week 3. Bryant said his shoulder will not affect his performance or style of play.

Devin HesterSep 18 10:12p

Atlanta Falcons WR Devin Hester left the game early Week 3 because of cramps and is considered questionable to return.

Harry DouglasSep 18 10:12p

Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas (foot) suffered a foot injury in Week 3 and is considered questionable to return.

Josh McCownSep 18 10:12p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) suffered a right thumb injury in Week 3, and is considered questionable to return.

Harry DouglasSep 18 10:02p

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas (undisclosed) was helped off the field after suffering an undisclosed injury during the team's Week 3 game.

Robert WoodsSep 18 09:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Robert Woods (ankle) would not be able to play in Week 3 at this point because of his injury, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Justin SmithSep 18 09:32p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe), OT Anthony Davis (hamstring), C Marcus Martin (knee) and TE Vance McDonald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. RB [ More ]

John AbrahamSep 18 09:02p

Arizona Cardinals LB John Abraham (concussion), TE Rob Housler (hip), LB Alex Okafor (thigh), DE Frostee Rucker (calf) and P Dave Zastudil (groin) did not participate in practice Thursday, [ More ]

Scott WellsSep 18 08:42p

St. Louis Rams CB Trumaine Johnson (knee), C Barrett Jones (back), TE Cory Harkey (knee), CB Brandon McGee (foot) and OG Rodger Saffold (illness) did not participate in practice [ More ]

Shaun HillSep 18 08:22p

St. Louis Rams QB Austin Davis or QB Shaun Hill (thigh) could come down to a game-time decision in Week 3 against the Dallas Cowboys, according to head coach Jeff Fisher.

Zach MillerSep 18 08:22p

Seattle Seahawks LB Bruce Irvin (rib), TE Zach Miller (ankle), LB Mike Morgan (hip) and CB Tharold Simon (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. RB Christine [ More ]

Kedric GolstonSep 18 08:12p

Washington Redskins DE Kedric Golston (groin), LB Akeem Jordan (knee) and CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. OG Kory Lichtensteiger (groin) and PK [ More ]

Adrian PetersonSep 18 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's case for child abuse could take six to 18 months to go to trial, according to a source. Peterson is on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list and is out indefinitely.

Johnny ManzielSep 18 07:42p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel's playing time is decided during the game, according to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan said using Manziel makes the defense have to think more [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictSep 18 07:42p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion) looks unlikely to play in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans after leaving each of the first two games of the year with [ More ]

Shane VereenSep 18 07:22p

New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen (shoulder) was limited in practice for the second straight day Thursday, Sept. 18.

A. Seferian-JenkinsSep 18 07:12p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, RB Doug Martin, DL Gerald McCoy, OT Kevin Pamphile, CB Kip Edwards, LB Mason Foster, OG Rishaw Johnson inactive for Week 3.

Jerome SimpsonSep 18 07:02p

The Minnesota Vikings have released WR Jerome Simpson Thursday, Sept. 18.

Roddy WhiteSep 18 07:02p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White (hamstring) is inactive for Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday, Sept. 18.

Doug MartinSep 18 07:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (knee) is officially inactive Thursday, Sept. 18.

C. WhitehurstSep 18 07:02p

Tennessee Titans CB Jason McCourty (groin) and LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. QB Charlie Whitehurst (finger) participated fully.

Cliff MatthewsSep 18 07:02p

The Atlanta Falcons have declared DL Cliff Matthews, C James Stone, CB Javier Arenas, WR Roddy White, OT Ryan Schraeder, QB Sean Renfree, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 3.

Brett KeiselSep 18 06:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers OG Ramon Foster (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. RB Dri Archer (ankle) was limited. WR Martavis Bryant (shoulder), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury related), DT Steve [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinSep 18 06:42p

New Orleans Saints S Marcus Ball (hamstring), LB David Hawthorne (ankle) and FB Erik Lorig (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. C Jonathan Goodwin (elbow), LB Kyle Knox [ More ]

Xavier RhodesSep 18 06:42p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. LB Chad Greenway (hand, rib), OT Phil Loadholt (ankle) and LB Brandon Watts (knee) were limited. LB [ More ]

Alfonzo DennardSep 18 06:42p

New England Patriots DE Michael Buchanan (ankle), LB Jamie Collins (thigh), OG Dan Connolly (knee), CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder), S Don Jones (hamstring), DT Sealver Siliga (hand) and C [ More ]

Charles RogersSep 18 06:42p

Oakland Raiders LB Sio Moore (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. CB Chimdi Chekwa (knee), OT Matt McCants (knee), LB Nick Roach (concussion), CB Charles Rogers (knee) and [ More ]

Ryan CladySep 18 06:32p

Denver Broncos LB Lerentee McCray (knee) and LB Danny Trevathan (knee) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. OG Ben Garland (ankle) was limited, while DT Marvin Austin (non-injury), S [ More ]

Tony RomoSep 18 06:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) returned to a full practice Thursday, Sept. 18, after skipping practice Wednesday, Sept. 17, with tightness in his back.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group