A six-pack of Tuesday Dolphins and media notes:
• If you didn’t know the Dolphins were above .500 (7-5) and the Arizona Cardinals were under (5-6-1), you would never know looking at statistics.
Arizona is ninth in the league in total offense. Miami is 25th.
Arizona is second in the league in total defense. The Dolphins are 25th.
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Arizona is 11th-best at stopping the run and third-best at stopping the pass. The Dolphins are 30th and 11th.
Arizona has outscored teams by 25. Miami has been outscored by 23.
In the other words, the Cardinals are the best sub-.500 team that Miami could possibly face.
Carson Palmer has fallen off this season (85.5 passer rating to rank 23rd, four spots behind Ryan Tannehill), but he was terrific Sunday against Washington (30-46, 300 yards) and threw a perfect deep ball to JJ Nelson for a touchdown to seal the game.
Miami also must contend with Arizona running back David Johnson, one of only two players in NFL history to top 100 yards from scrimmage in each of the first 12 games of a season.
He has 1055 yards rushing (4.4 average) and 704 yards receiving on 64 catches (11.0 average).
Watching Johnson catch passes out of the backfield, while matched up with Dolphins linebackers, could be frightful for Miami.
Working in the Dolphins’ favor: Arizona must fly cross-country for what’s essentially a 10 a.m. Pacific Time game (1 p.m. Eastern). Also, the Cardinals are 1-4 on the road, with losses to Buffalo, Carolina, Minnesota and Atlanta and a win at San Francisco.
• Oddly, Miami is now 0-5 when Jarvis Landry has 10 or more catches in a game in his career and 1-7 when he has 90 or more receiving yards. Yes, Landry is likely to catch more balls when Miami is trailing and has to throw a lot. Still, those stats are somewhat surprising.
• It’s frustrating to see Tannehill repeatedly throw very short passes on third and long – well short of the marker – and the approach generally isn’t working.
Consider: On 3rd and 8 or longer, the Dolphins have gotten the first down on only 8 of 45 pass attempts, that 17.8 percent ranking Tannehill third-worst in the league, ahead of only Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles and Minnesota’s Sam Bradford. Play-calling and poor blocking are major factors in that.
We can understand why Adam Gase calls a lot of short passes on third and long: Tannehill can release the ball quickly and avoid pass-rushers, and perhaps the receiver can scamper for big yardage against a defense not expecting a screen.
But it hasn’t worked as well as anybody would like.
• According to makenflplayoffs.com, the Dolphins’ odds of qualifying for postseason have dropped to 28 percent.
• ABC and ESPN have changed the talent so often on their NBA pre-game shows that they’re at the point of recycling announcers they’re already used.
Magic Johnson and Pardon The Interruption co-host Michael Wilbon, both of whom, had earlier stints on NBA Countdown, have been brought back to the show. They will join Sage Steele in ABC’s studio for its February/March/April Saturday night package.
ABC hasn’t announced who will join Steele and Jalen Rose on Sunday editions of Countdown. The network would love to add Kobe Bryant, but he has given no indication that he’s interested in broadcasting.
• Another disappointing local Dolphins rating Sunday: a 12.6 for the Baltimore game… The NFL shifted Tampa Bay-Dallas to prime time on Dec. 18 and moved Pittsburgh-Cincinnati from prime time to 1 p.m.
I posted four Dolphins stories Monday with lots of nuggets. Please click here for those. And please follow me on Twitter for quick links (@flasportsbuzz).