Not only does the Dolphins’ performance make their own fans’ blood boil, but it apparently has the same effect on network analysts.
Both NBC’s Rodney Harrison and ESPN commentator and former Eagles/Redskins pro personnel director Louis Riddick are appalled by what they’ve seen.
Harrison couldn’t believe what he witnessed watching Ndamukong Suh and Byron Maxwell against Tennessee last week.
“They have two high-priced defensive players that have been extremely disappointing,” Harrison said.
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Speaking over astounding video clips of Suh not running hard during the Titans game and Maxwell offering indifferent pass coverage on a Titans touchdown, Harrison said: “You give a guy [Suh] a $100 million contract. You expect better effort out of him. He needs to hustle. No sense of urgency here. Maxwell, no big deal, no sense of urgency; just let the receiver catch the ball.”
Riddick, after a short Dolphins rant on Twitter last week, told me by phone that “it’s a total rebuild that needs to happen down there. They’re obviously in need of upgrades at many positions, starting with the offensive line. There’s no one you say is a cornerstone piece on that team. This team is mind boggling to me – one of the great franchises in the league that has been irrelevant for a long time. They are nowhere close to being where they need to be if they want to be talked about in January.
“They have to rip this down, pull this down to the ground. The question is do you have people in place to do that? Adam Gase has only been there for a year, but everyone needs to be evaluated and that product on the field is nowhere close to being good enough. You can’t have stuff in the NFL where a player falls in the shower and can’t play. You can’t function that way.”
Riddick was just getting started: “Not re-signing Lamar Miller was a huge mistake. Some of their running backs can’t stay healthy, some don’t have skill. Why not keep Miller?
“You can’t get a feel for Ryan Tannehill when he’s getting his head knocked in, when you can’t field a competitive offensive line.
“You can’t have the kind of performances they had last week with the left side of the line. What Dallas Thomas and Billy Turner did was unacceptable. They were woefully underprepared. That’s not NFL caliber football.
“They don’t have a line than can move people off the ball or keep him protected. They have no bell cow back where you can hand the ball to him 25 times a guy.
“Defensively, they get gashed, don’t have a pass rush worth a damn because they can’t stop the run. The Titans had people open all over the place because their cornerbacks aren’t good enough.
“This defensive line is disappointing to say the least ---no gap control, not running to the football. What is Mario Williams doing down there? You have linebackers playing soft on the second level.
“Getting Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso hasn’t done anything. Maxwell is one of the most disappointing players I’ve seen, one of the most amazing falls from grace I’ve seen. I would never guess that would happen, how he has regressed. He looks like a guy who’s disinterested, plays lazy, plays slow, doesn’t want to tackle. It looks like, ‘I got my money, whatever.’”
What’s more, Riddick said: “It looks like people are flat out quitting, not playing very hard. Somebody is going to have to answer for it.”
I asked Riddick why he sounds so passionate discussing this.
“When it comes to some of these teams and some of the way they flop around out there and put out inept performances, it’s frustrating and annoying to watch, seeing the league recycle the same names who haven’t proven they can build [expletive],” he said.
“There are people who deserve opportunities to build teams and organizations that owners would never consider, because they wouldn’t even know what to consider.
“With the Dolphins, there is a lot of blame to go around. It’s frustrating because there are no excuses in the NFL. The league is built for everyone to have a shot. To have such a long sustained mediocrity, you have deep rooted issues.
“If I am Stephen Ross trying to figure out why we look like crap, I am asking the question, ‘How can we look like this? What the hell is going on?’ And then make the decision about whether we have right people. Right now, they’re not even competitive. Gase said they’re inept on offense – to get the ball run on you like that, with the money they have invested on the defensive line, it’s gross. Someone has to be help accountable.”
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