Amid the concerns about protecting the quarterback, there has been some criticism of Ryan Tannehill for his lack of willingness to run out of the pocket and gain first downs on his own.
The coaching staff and Tannehill himself have said that the offensive line isn’t solely to blame for the Tannehill’s league-high 14 sacks. But coach Joe Philbin spoke Saturday about Tannehill’s nature to hold on to the ball, but said he doesn’t necessarily need to run more.
“You’d rather have a guy who’s comfortable standing in there and then speeding it up as opposed to a guy who’s always running out of there, always seeing ghosts,” Philbin said.
Two metrics devised by Football Outsiders list Tannehill as one of the four worst running quarterbacks in the league, and Philbin said the staff is working with Tannehill on gaining first downs in specific situations. Philbin described it as part of any quarterback’s development process.
But he reiterated his preference for Tannehill’s poise.
“It’s better to have a guy willing to sit in there and function while some stuff’s compressing around him as opposed to, ‘I thought I felt something. I’ve got to get out of here,’ ” Philbin said.
Miami’s rookies and second-year players will be playing in their first Monday Night Football game. And although the team’s sophomores did play on a Thursday night last year, they have never dealt with a long week.
Despite the MNF inexperience of the Dolphins, Philbin thinks that the preseason schedule, which consisted entirely of night games, ensures that young players won’t be affected by having their routines disrupted.
Despite traveling to a city known for rich and full-flavored fare, many Dolphins players will not be chowing down on the fried oyster po’ boys and crawfish etouffee for which New Orleans is famous.
“I think I’m going bland,” guard Richie Incognito said. “I don’t want an upset stomach the night before the game. I wish I could dig in, but I can’t.”
Center Mike Pouncey also said he would pass on the Cajun fare, despite eating jambalaya frequently as a child. Pouncey said he probably will choose a steak instead.
Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe will be returning to the Superdome for the first time since Baltimore’s Super Bowl victory in February, which featured a blackout for more than 30 minutes.
Ellerbe said he hopes the lights stay on this time.
Defensive end Derrick Shelby said he has pleasant memories of the Superdome. The last time he played there was Utah’s win in the 2009 Sugar Bowl over Alabama. Linebacker Koa Misi also was a part of that Utes team.