Every day in the NFL won’t be great. And Miami Dolphins rookie guard Michael Deiter is learning that the hard way.
The Dolphins have been outscored 81-0 just in the second half of their first four games, though they found a way to be relatively competitive through two quarters against the Cowboys and the Chargers. They trailed by less than five points at the half of both games, but Deiter said those two-quarter performances are not enough to avoid an 0-16 season.
“It’s positive that we’ve had good halves, but it’s not positive that we haven’t had good games,” he said, “which is what you need … We need to make sure we can do it for four quarters.
“And that can’t keep being the theme this year, is ‘We did it for two. That was cool.’ ... It’s gotta be four quarters or else you’re not gonna win a game.”
Using this week’s bye as a period of reflection, Deiter said he’ll take a step back, do some self-scouting and evaluate what Miami’s 0-4 season has taught him.
“I’ve just learned that as an O-Line, the guys around me, we’re here to work,” he said. “It’s not always perfect. There’s been a couple days where it’s been bad. And then there’s days where it’s better, and every week we’ve gotten a little bit better.”
Miami’s offensive line, which ranks among the league’s worst in run and pass blocking, hasn’t appeared to establish any sort of rhythm. It has featured a different starting five three times this season and was ranked above only the Rams’ offensive line after Week 4, according to PFF.
But Deiter, who’s started each game at left guard, said that the flow will come as they get more reps in with quarterback Josh Rosen.
“The more that a guy is in there, you’re more comfortable,” he said. “We all get together, and it’s the same with the five O-linemen. I would say there’s a rhythm coming, and there’s a comfort level there.”
As the Dolphins look ahead to their Week 6 opponent, a Washington Redskins team that averages just 296.2 points per game, Deiter made it clear that he knows he needs to get better.
The 23-year-old has been up and down in his first four NFL appearances, though he’s had to adjust for the myriad of injuries Miami’s O-Line has faced. That included playing 52 snaps at left tackle in place of the injured Jesse Davis against the Cowboys and their Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Quinn, who recorded three tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack against the Dolphins’ rookie.
But Deiter said it’s not just him that needs to adjust his focus.
“It’s all the guys, that we have to right mindset,” he said, “to just come in ... and know that where we started wasn’t very good, and we need to get better and better until it is good.”
Despite not yet reaping the full benefits from their 2019 third-round pick, Miami’s coaching staff is confident in his potential.
Offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo said that they’re comfortable playing Deiter at multiple positions because of the experience he has, having started 54 games (24 at left guard, 16 at center, 14 at left tackle) in college at Wisconsin.
“I think he’s got a bright future,” DeGuglielmo said. “He’s gonna continue to work. One thing that Deiter has, he’s got an incredible field savvy because he’s played a lot of games. So he can see some things. Now, he still has some of those rookie tendencies...the thing about being a rookie and having some talent is he’ll make the adjustments.”