Dolphins safety Bobby McCain watched from the sidelines as his team gave up nearly 400 yards of offense to the Chargers.
McCain, who had been limited in practice the week leading up to the game, was inactive against the Chargers with a hamstring and shoulder injury, but he said after Wednesday’s practice that he’s ready to go and “feeling well” ahead of Sunday’s game against the 0-5 Redskins.
“I saw some good things, saw some bad things as well,” McCain said of what he took away from Miami’s 30-10 loss to the Chargers. “Defensively, we gotta be better at tackling. And just as a team, we gotta bring more energy. We gotta make plays. And that’s understandable when you’re 0-4 and everything. But still, you got a job to do, so we gotta bring more energy, and we’ll bring that.”
The Dolphins are last in the NFL in both red zone offense and defense. In just six trips inside the 20, Miami has one touchdown and has allowed 15 red-zone touchdowns.
And it ranks 31st in third-down efficiency (26 percent) and last in getting off the field on third down, allowing its opponents a new set of downs 57.8 percent of the time.
McCain said if either side of the ball could find success in those areas, it could possibly spark a trickle-down effect.
“That would be big,” he said. “Defensively, we haven’t been turning the ball over like we should have, and we’ll definitely put an emphasis on that this week. But offensively, scoring touchdowns will help.
“Defensively, getting stops. We gotta get off the field on third down, man. And that’s what’s really hurting us. Because if you don’t get off the field on third down, that keeps the drives going. That keeps the possessions longer. It keeps your big boys up front more tired, and you’re in the back and you’re just chasing everybody all over the place.”
While McCain pointed to tackling as one of the issues he’s noticed with the defense, coach Brian Flores said the team needs to get better in its disguises and in communication as Miami has looked lost at times on defense.
Though the Dolphins are allowing 40.8 points per game, each of their first four opponents (Baltimore, New England, Dallas and the Chargers) was a playoff team last year, and all have top-15 offenses.
Miami will face a much different opponent in the Redskins, who average 281 (28th) yards per game.
McCain considers them dangerous, though, adding that he doesn’t take any NFL team lightly and that Washington will have extra motivation after the firing of head coach Jay Gruden on Monday.
“They’ve got good players, man. It’s the NFL,” he said. “So, I could care less what a team’s record is. I know they got good players because it’s the national football league. And you wouldn’t be in the National Football League if you weren’t any good. And my rookie year, my coach, coach [Joe] Philbin was fired, and we went on like a four-game win streak right after that.
“So, they’re gonna be fired up. They’re gonna be refreshed, and they’re gonna feel like it’s brand new for them. But we just gotta come in, put the fire out and try to get a win.”