After the team’s second shut out of the season, many are left wondering why the offense has struggled so much. With talent from Jay Ajayi, to receivers Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker (when healthy), why can’t this team score?
Following Thursday’s loss, Dolphins head coach Adam Gase was frustrated. He openly trashed his offense, calling them “the worst offense in football”. He continued, “I’m pissed. I’m tired of this. I’m tired of the offense being awful. Guys need to get their heads right. Coaching staff needs to do a better job, because obviously our players not knowing [what to do] is a direct reflection of them”.
The Dolphins are last or almost last in the league in most offensive measurements. They are 32nd in points per game, and total yards per game, 30th in passing yards and 31st in rushing yards. The Dolphins have been held scoreless through at least one half six times. They have been outscored by 60 points, according to Elias Sports Bureau. They also are the only team without a rushing touchdown and now have the longest streak in franchise history without one.
Many believed the problem was starting quarterback Jay Cutler. As of now, Cutler currently has 995 yards, 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. In his one and a half games played, Matt Moore has 364 yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. While Cutler has not looked as bad as Moore did against the Ravens, he as not been much better. Cutler and Moore have flat out missed and overthrown receivers at times, causing incomplete passes and interceptions. At this point, nether quarterback has done well.
The running game has been ineffective on many occasions. The team has a total of 535 rushing yards on the season. Ajayi is the leading rusher with 465. None of the other backs have been effective enough to even have more than 50 yards.
In the receiving corps, there has been effectiveness, but not much. Jarvis Landry is the team’s leading receiver with 398 yards and 3 touchdowns. Stills follows with 313 yards but has 4 touchdowns. Parker has 236 and 1 touchdown, but has missed the last few games with an ankle injury. Tight end Julius Thomas has 168 yards. Drops have been an issue this season, as well as receivers struggling to pick up yards after the catch.
While Gase called out the other coaches for not doing their jobs, he has not been too good at his either. In play calling, he has not been aggressive enough. The number of screen passes called are ridiculous. There are often calls on third and long for short passes that are nowhere near the line to gain. While receivers should be able to break tackles and make defenders miss, they should not have to do this all the time. There are so many short passes, the longest pass has been a 36 yard pass to Kenny Stills. The offensive is averaging 4.1 yards per play.
The reason may be the offensive line. Even before the world learned the now former offensive line coach was allegedly snorting powdered substances in the team facility, the offensive line has struggled. The Dolphins offensive line has not opened up holes for Ajayi like it did last season. Opposing defenses are often in the backfield as soon as the ball is snapped. While Gase blamed the running backs for the lack of yards, the line just has not been good enough. The Dolphins quarterbacks have been sacked 16 times this season, including the injury to Jay Cutler. They have also allowed 39 hits to the quarterbacks. They also have not been good in pass blocking, often not giving the quarterbacks enough time to throw.
The Dolphins have a multitude of problems on offense, it is hard to just choose one. It has been a mix of all of these ailments that has created the perfect storm of mediocrity on offense. Moving forward, the Dolphins have some tough defenses to play, including division opponents New England and Buffalo, as well as AFC West contenders Denver and Kansas City. Next week they face the Oakland Raiders, a defense they can score on. If their offensive woes continue against bad defenses, they will have no luck against the good ones.