DOLPHINS 23, JETS 3

Armando Salguero: Grading Miami Dolphins vs. Jets

 

asalguero@MiamiHerald.com

Quarterback

If Ryan Tannehill can be this good the rest of this season, the Dolphins will have something. No, he didn’t complete any deep attempts. He missed on one to Brian Hartline. But he was more than efficient in completing the slants and screens. He moved some in the pocket and was sacked only once for three yards. Tannehill also spread the football around, which of course, keeps all his receivers happy. GRADE: A.

Receivers/tight ends

Brian Hartline turned a simple slant into a 31-yard touchdown because he broke two tackles and ran away from Ed Reed playing deep safety. Mike Wallace also showed his great speed on an otherwise routine screen that he took to the house for 28 yards. Simply, the Dolphins were faster than the Jets. Charles Clay was similarly quicker than the linebackers the Jets asked to cover him. The one negative was Wallace not swatting away a pass that was up in the air, which Antonio Cromartie simply caught uncontested. GRADE: B.

Running backs

No Daniel Thomas. No problem. Lamar Miller got 22 carries and, although he averaged only 3.3 yards per rush, he showed ability to break tackles or run away from the first defender. Mike Gillislee got much of his work late in the game when the outcome was already determined. Marcus Thigpen also took a couple of routine carries. GRADE: C.

Offensive line

The Dolphins passed it 43 times and gave up only one sack. Solid work. The work of center Mike Pouncey, back for the first time in two games, was key because he called the right schemes against a confusing front. Nate Garner continues to play well enough that the absence of Richie Incognito is not felt, while tackles Tyson Clabo and Bryant McKinnie have turned the Jonathan Martin loss into a non-factor from a football perspective. GRADE: B.

Defensive line

Olivier Vernon had a career game with 10 tackles and 2.5 sacks. He also had three hurries. The interior line continues to allow breakout runs coming out of the pile or via the cutback. That has to be addressed if the Dolphins are to beat teams like Pittsburgh or New England in the coming weeks. GRADE: B.

Linebackers

Phillip Wheeler had a fine game for the second consecutive week. He had eight tackles, had half a sack and didn’t miss tackles. Dannell Ellerbe had great coverage on the tight end and that put him in position for his interception. No, he didn’t collect a ton of tackles but the turnover is more valuable. Koa Misi also had a sack. GRADE: A.

Secondary

The Jets found rookie Will Davis right away when he came into the game in place of Nolan Carroll. Luckily for the Dolphins, Carroll returned. He had four tackles and played good coverage. Brent Grimes similarly was outstanding in coverage. He had an interception. Santonio Holmes, playing limited snaps, was zero factor in the game. Chris Clemons needs to make that interception on the ball thrown right at him at the goal line. GRADE: B.

Special teams

Caleb Sturgis is officially inconsistent. He missed on a kick wide right. He connected on three others. Seventy-five percent is not very good. Marcus Thigpen was very courageous on one returning, electing to run it out from four yards deep and turning in a 50-yard return. His punt returning continues to be unimpressive. There were a lot of big holes in the Miami kickoff coverage team. GRADE: C-minus.

Coaching

Mike Sherman called the run and didn’t abandon it even when it wasn’t producing chunk yardage. That’s good! Where’s that been? The decision to go on fourth-and-goal from the one was fine. The decision to call a fade on the play was terrible. GRADE: B.

Overall

Any victory over the hated Jets is a big victory. GRADE: A

Read more Armando Salguero stories from the Miami Herald

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