The Dolphins’ two best players, Ryan Tannehill and Ndamukong Suh, were far from their best in Week 1.
And they know it.
“Poor,” was Suh’s assessment of his performance.
Added Tannenhill: “Obviously, I wasn’t happy with how I played.”
Both said they need to do better.
History suggests they will.
Suh, who had just two tackles in his Dolphins debut, went without a sack or even a quarterback hit. He hasn’t gone back-to-back games without a sack or hit since the 2013 season.
Tannehill completed fewer than 65 percent of his passes and had less than 230 passing yards against the Redskins. The last time that happened was Week 7 in Jacksonville last season.
The following week, Tannehill completed 24 of 34 passes for 288 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions — his highest-rated passing game as a pro.
“Love it; love it,” Joe Philbin said, when asked about his two stars’ level of irritation. “Absolutely love it. I want to do a better job coaching. I want to get to get the team ready to play better, myself. What’s that old saying, ‘Dissatisfaction is the basis of all progress.’”
If that’s true, Suh should show great progress this coming weekend.
The Redskins ran all over the Dolphins in the first half Sunday, and during a break in the action, CBS camera crews caught Suh in a spirited conversation with Philbin. On Wednesday, Philbin chose to keep the subject matter private.
“All just part of the communication,” Philbin said. “We were in a game, we were communicating. I thought it was good. It was good communication on his part, and it was very positive.”
While Philbin said Suh “did a good job,” defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle Monday said that the highest-paid defensive player in league history “can play better and I think he knows that.”
Coyle believed that Suh was a little too amped up at the game’s start; Suh on Wednesday disagreed with the characterization.
“I just didn’t do exactly what I wanted to do, but it’s over with,” Suh said. “I’m moving forward to Jacksonville.”
The same goes for Tannehill. After a near-flawless preseason, the freshly minted $96 million man had a game that was not nearly as effective as his statistics suggest.
He threw two passes that should have been intercepted; both were dropped.
And he was as inaccurate as he has been in some time. He missed two gimme touchdowns — one to tight end Dion Sims that resulted in a Sims concussion; the other to Kenny Stills on a broken play.
“The one to Dion, that was a big opportunity,” Tannehill said. “We were coming off a turnover by the defense, a great interception by [Brent] Grimes, that’s the one play from the game that I really look at my play and I say that’s the one that made a huge impact on the game. I should’ve hit that.”
The good news for Tannehill: he’s shrugged off slow starts in each of his first three seasons. It took him four games last season to find his rhythm.
The Dolphins hope it doesn’t take that long this time around. But it might. Their opponent this week, the Jaguars, allowed just 168 passing yards in their Week 1 loss to Carolina.
“You’re always looking for improvement,” Tannehill said. “Especially early in the season, I think you see the most marked improvement. The first real game that we played, first full game that the starters have played, and there are definitely things we have to improve upon and are looking to improve upon quickly.”