Miami Dolphins

Offense’s slow starts are starting to irk the Dolphins; We’re working on it, Tannehill says

Ryan Tannehill, gesturing toward the bench during Sunday’s loss in New England, said of the team’s offense, ‘We need to move the ball early, get points on the board and give our defense a break. We’re working to get it fixed.’
Ryan Tannehill, gesturing toward the bench during Sunday’s loss in New England, said of the team’s offense, ‘We need to move the ball early, get points on the board and give our defense a break. We’re working to get it fixed.’ adiaz@miamiherald.com

How do you describe the Dolphins offense in the first half of games this season? Anemic and abysmal come to mind.

The Dolphins scored just three points before intermission against both Seattle and New England.

Of their 13 first-half possessions, the Dolphins have run five or fewer plays (including punts) in 10 of them.

They managed only three first downs and 111 yards in the first half against Seattle.

They had seven first-half possessions against New England and had only 29 yards in the first five of them before finishing the half with 149 yards thanks to a long late drive.

“We need to move the ball early, get points on the board and give our defense a break,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “We’re working to get it fixed.”

Tannehill insists “no drastic changes need to be made. Details need to be fixed.”

The Dolphins tried huddling in the first half Sunday before having more success with a no-huddle offense in the second half. But they struggled without huddling for much of the game against Seattle.

But coach Adam Gase apparently doesn’t blame Tannehill. Asked by Cleveland reporters on Wednesday whether he needs to step up his game, Gase said:

“He has really been, probably, one of our most consistent guys that we have,” Gase said. “I don’t know how much more he can really step up considering that he’s doing everything right now that we need him to do. It’s just that we need every guy to pull their weight.”

THIS AND THAT

▪ One of the oddities Sunday was defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh not being in the game for three plays on New England’s clock-consuming late drive.

“He goes through the entire game and almost every play gets double-teamed,” Gase said. “If he comes out of the game, it’s never for long. We have to keep figuring out what’s the right rotation.”

Defensive tackle Chris Jones said he was told to go into the game, along with Julius Warmsley, during that Patriots possession but wasn’t given a reason.

The Patriots gained 54 yards and consumed 5:02 off the clock before missing a field goal.

Asked about being on the bench during part of that drive, Suh said: “I feel like I’m in there most every opportunity that I can.”

Defensive end Cameron Wake, who declined to talk to reporters Wednesday, also wasn’t on the field during that drive. Wake played 16 of 80 defensive snaps Sunday; Gase said 35 to 45 is ideal.

▪ Running back Isaiah Pead, who averaged 6.6 yards in the preseason, is still waiting for his chance. He was a healthy scratch against New England and has been inactive each of the first two weeks.

He said he’s fully healthy after a hamstring injury late in preseason.

“Of course not playing is frustrating,” Pead said. “I feel I can make a play and give a spark.”

▪ Cornerback Jamar Taylor, traded by the Dolphins to Cleveland in April, is starting for Cleveland and has eight tackles in two games.

Among 102 qualifying cornerbacks, Pro Football Focus rates Taylor 84th through two weeks. The Dolphins’ Xavien Howard is 63rd and Byron Maxwell 76th.

The Dolphins and Browns swapped seventh-round picks as part of the Taylor trade.

▪ Running back Arian Foster (hamstring), linebacker Jelani Jenkins (knee) and center Mike Pouncey (hip) didn’t practice.

▪ Gase said linebacker Donald Butler, signed last week, is up to speed and ready to play on defense.

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