Miami Dolphins

Pride on the line in Miami Dolphins’ final two games

<cutline_leadin>Holiday cheer: </cutline_leadin>Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his wife, Lauren, do crafts with students at the Dolphins Holiday Toy Event in Davie on Monday.
<cutline_leadin>Holiday cheer: </cutline_leadin>Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his wife, Lauren, do crafts with students at the Dolphins Holiday Toy Event in Davie on Monday. Courtesy of Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins couldn’t win a home game against the New York Jets last December with a playoff berth on the line. So how will they muster the motivation to win two home games (against the Minnesota Vikings and Jets), with their playoff hopes realistically — though not yet mathematically — dashed?

“Pride,” Mike Wallace said. “We get paid to do this. No matter what the record is, you’ve got to play every game like you’re playing to win the Super Bowl.”

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said the staff already has begun preparations for the Vikings and “the players need to see that from us. When they walk through the door [Tuesday], they are going to [get] our greatest effort to get them ready to get a W.”

LINEBACKER WOES

With Koa Misi and Jelani Jenkins sidelined, Miami’s depleted linebacker unit was shredded in pass coverage Sunday.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady completed 4 of 5 passes for 55 yards against Jason Trusnik (who also had an interception off a deflection), 3 for 3 for 62 yards against Phillip Wheeler and 2 for 2 for 19 yards against Kelvin Sheppard. Also, safety Jimmy Wilson allowed all four passes thrown against him to be caught for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski beat Trusnik, Wheeler and Wilson for big plays in the second half. So why didn’t defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle use Dion Jordan more in coverage against Gronkowski, considering Jordan’s success in that matchup in the past?

Jordan played just 18 of Miami’s 65 defensive snaps and was assigned to Gronkowski four or five times, Coyle said.

Coyle said that Gronkowski did much of his damage on early downs, and Coyle felt more comfortable playing his linebackers (and not Jordan) on those early downs.

▪ Lazor, on why he ran the ball (unsuccessfully) on a third-and-6 on Miami’s first possession and on a third-and-3 early in the second half:

“We felt great about them, about the opportunity to get first downs from them, and obviously both failed,” he said. “… Runs that you think are going to convert third downs into first downs … it is critical to use them and so we are looking for them all the time.”

▪ Cornerback Jamar Taylor, who had missed the previous two games with a shoulder injury, was active for the game, but Coyle suggested he did not play because of a coaching decision.

▪ The Dolphins waived tight end Gator Hoskins and promoted tight end Gerell Robinson from their practice squad.

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