Armando Salguero

Miami Dolphins trying to go last to first and it’s not good; plus Cutler, Moore notes

Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase has been unable to instill enough discipline in his team to avoid penalties.
Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase has been unable to instill enough discipline in his team to avoid penalties. adiaz@miamiherald.com

The news first: Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase said starting quarterback Jay Cutler remains in the NFL concussion protocol, and so his availability for Sunday’s game at the New England Patriots is uncertain.

Matt Moore would start if Cutler is unable to, but Gase said he has no reason to say Cutler is not his quarterback if he’s healthy.

“Jay’s done everything I’ve asked him to do and so there’s no reason to say he’s not,” Gase said.

So if healthy, Cutler apparently remains Gase’s guy.

Gase had no update on the status of right guard Jermon Bushrod.

Now consider this:

Don Shula was a prideful coach and he delighted in having the only team ever to go through an NFL season undefeated. But he also loved the fact that his team, in 1972 and many times during his long career, was the league’s least penalized team.

Not among the least penalized.

The least penalized.

Today’s Miami Dolphins could learn something from Shula and his teams.

The Miami Dolphins today are the second-most penalized team in the NFL with 84 total penalties accounting for 635 yards. The Dolphins are 10 penalties behind the Seattle Seahawks for the crown as the most penalized team, but the Dolphins still have a chance of being No. 1 at something — particularly if we see more performances like the one delivered Sunday.

The Dolphins on Sunday had 17 penalties for 123 yards. It was easily the highest total by Miami all season, although we saw the Dolphins deliver two previous games in which they collected 11 penalties.

“The total number is getting ridiculous,” Gase said Monday. “It has to start in practice and if we do it right in practice, that gives us an opportunity to do it right in the game, but it’s very fixable. All these things are very fixable. And it’s just about making sure we do it right in practice and carry it over to Sunday.”

So why so many penalties?

Why so much lack of discipline?

The penalty party on Sunday was uncommon, but that doesn’t make it any more acceptable. Let’s recount these penalties — yes, all 17 of them:

The Dolphins offense had 12 penalties against the Buccaneers. The dirty dozen.

Most of these fell on the offensive line. Jermon Bushrod, matched against elite defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, had a nightmare day.

Bushrod had a false start (5 yards) in the first quarter, a holding call (10 yards) in the second quarter, a false start (5 yards) in the third quarter.

Left tackle Laremy Tunsil was called for holding (10 yards) in the second quarter, and followed that up with a false start (5 yards) that forced the end of the first half in a clock run off, and added a false start (5 yards) in the third quarter.

Left guard Ted Larsen had a face mask penalty (5 yards, half the distance to the goal) in the second quarter.

Backup right tackle Sam Young, playing the position because starter Jesse Davis moved to right guard when Bushrod was injured, picked up a false start (5 yards) in the third quarter.

Center Mike Pouncey was called for a false start (5 yards) in the third quarter.

“It’s correctable,” Gase said. “It was disappointing that it increased when we kind of made the [quarterback] change at halftime. We got a little out of sorts as far as what was going on with the cadence, which can be easily, easily corrected.

“We try to have all the quarterbacks use the same cadence as Jay does. But each guy can have a different rhythm and that can throw a couple of things off. I never seen it to the extent I saw it yesterday.”

Running back Damien Williams followed up his 69-yard run during the first drive with a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on a first-quarter interception.

Receiver Kenny Stills was flagged for holding (10 yards) in the third quarter.

And tight end Anthony Fasano cost himself and his team a touchdown when he was called for offensive pass interference (10 yards) in the third quarter.

The Dolphins defense had two penalties. One of the penalties was called on Kiko Alonso for unnecessary roughness when he hit a sliding Ryan Fitzpatrick. The other defensive penalty, admittedly questionable if you watch the tape, came against Ndamukong Suh for defensive holding.

The Miami special teams had three penalties. Rashawn Scott was called for holding (10 yards) on a kickoff return; Alterraun Verner was called for holding (10 yards) on a punt return; and Michael Thomas was called for holding (10 yards) on a punt return.

Again, these penalties cost the Dolphins points in that Thomas’ penalty moved the Dolphins back after a Jarvis Landry punt return. That return gave the Dolphins the ball at the Bucs’ 33-yard line. That’s easy field goal range.

The penalty put the team out of field goal range at the Tampa Bay 43-yard line and the offense failed to get a first down on four plays — including three runs on second-and-one, third-and-one and fourth-and-one.

So that’s 10 total points from the penalties.

The Dolphins lost by, you guessed it, 10 points.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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