A six-pack of Dolphins notes on a Wednesday night:
▪ The locomotive on the journey to high-octane NFL offense has left the station, and the Dolphins – not surprisingly – have been left behind, still stuck in neutral.
In a league where points and yards are being produced at record rates, while Blake Bortles - yes, Blake Bortles - is throwing for nearly 400 yards, where Ryan Fitzpatrick has had three 400-yard games - the Dolphins are wheezing and coughing and putting up offensive numbers that simply don’t measure up.
The Dolphins have two fewer offensive touchdowns than the league average and rank 28th in the league in points.
They’re averaging 192 passing yards per game (66 below the league average) and 28th in the league.
They’re averaging 96 rushing yards (11 below the league average) and 22nd in the league.
And, oh yes, they’re 30th in total yards, and in the bottom half of the league in nearly every major offensive category.
So where exactly are they above average offensively? They’re 15th and middle of the pack in a couple categories: passing net yards per play and gross punting.
Ryan Tannehill, who is 20st in the NFL in passer rating and 33rd in fourth quarter passing rating, did some self-analysis this week and realized this: “I think I like to lean aggressively and that’s probably what got me in some trouble last week, obviously. I just need to take it back a step, take a deep breath and have a bigger picture mentality in that situation.”
▪ Encouraging to see Raekwon McMillan really rounding into form, 14 months after his serious knee injury. He was Pro Football Focus’ highest-rated linebacker last week.
“My first game back, I was second guessing myself a little bit,” he told me this week. “I told everybody, I’ve got to play better. I came back in and did that. I’m getting better every week. At the end of the year, we’ll look back and say he’s who we thought he was.”
McMillan said he feels joy to see the growth of Jerome Baker, his Dolphins and former Ohio State teammate.
“We have a lot to improve on; but overall, we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Baker said.
▪ A bunch of prominent college coaches have reached out to Minkah Fitzpatrick since the Dolphins drafted him to check on him – Oregon’s Mario Cristobal and Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt (both former Alabama assistants).
And of course, Alabama coach Nick Saban. “He texted, asked how I’m liking it,” Fitzpatrick said. “It means a lot. He knew I would do whatever asked.”
▪ Gase, asked by Chicago reporters Wednesday about the challenges of being a play-caller and a head coach: “There can be days where it’s hard to get into a flow of watching tape. It kind of gets choppy for you sometimes. I think that was probably the hardest thing to get used to. Game day, to me, wasn’t anything that was challenging to me.
“I have a lot of really good coaches on our staff to where the situational stuff was getting brought up really early. Having (Associate Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator) Darren Rizzi on this staff and (Senior Director of Football and Player Development) Joe Vitt and (Director of Football Research and Strategy) Matt Sheldon, all of those things really help me out.”
▪ Chicago writers also asked Gase about the value of offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, who held the same job with the Bears last year.
“ When he came free, it was a no-brainer for me,” Gase said. “It was just something that I felt extremely comfortable doing. I knew exactly how he would kind of fit in with what I wanted to do here this season. I really think he’s an unbelievable quarterbacks coach. For me, he’s great for me on game day and game-planning and things like that. He has a way to kind of get me to calm down a little bit when I get a little too juiced up on game day, to where he can get my mind right and get me settled back down.”
▪ Former FSU receiver Travis Rudolph joined the Dolphins’ practice squad this week and immediately sustained an injury that the Dolphins admitted didn’t look good. He had eight catches for 101 yards for the Giants last season.
Please click here for my post with lots of Heat news and 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. updates on Jimmy Butler, who spoke at length to ESPN Wednesday.
Please click here for what TNT’s Chris Webber and Reggie Miller say the Heat should do about Butler.