With week two in the books, the Miami Dolphins are 0-2. For most teams in the league, this is a borderline catastrophe. From the point of view of some Dolphins fans, it is for Miami as well. Let’s sit down and review how the team performed against the Buffalo Bills, and see what the future holds.
On the offensive
After week one’s ugly performance, attributed mostly to Ryan Fitzpatrick and a mostly absent DeVante Parker, Miami rebounded well. Mike Gesicki is playing like the standout tight end many expected, including an absurdly acrobatic, one-handed catch in the third quarter and a go-ahead touchdown grab in the fourth. The running game showed some improvement, with a teamwide 4.5 yards per carry. Preston Williams was… difficult to watch. He had a number of tough drops, including at least one touchdown that could have made the difference in the final score.
Overall, we’re seeing a team that is playing to find one-on-one matchups and beat them athletically. Williams, Gesicki, and Parker are doing that in the passing game. Most of Fitzpatrick’s interceptions from last week came in attempting similar passes, but with Parker out of the game. Matt Breida and surprise lead rusher Myles Gaskin both attempted to do so in the rushing game, with mixed results. Problems remain with the offensive line, as seen in the running game (99 yards total for the team on the day), but overall the offense was mediocre-to-good. Which is a vast improvement from last year.
Read predictions for future Miami Dolphins games here
It’s impossible to overstate the importance that Byron Jones seems to hold for Miami. The Dolphins week two defensive performance fell off a cliff when Jones left early in the game, with rookie Noah Igbinoghene getting absolutely run over by Stefon Diggs. The question as to why Igbinoghene was filling in on covering the star wideout instead of second CB Xavien Howard goes unanswered, though his struggle with covering John Brown may be a hint. The difficulties Miami faced in defending the pass defined this game, ultimately proving to be their undoing. The Dolphins also only had two sacks and two hits on Josh Allen in this game, giving him plenty of time to pass his way to 417 yards and a 147 QB rating on the day.
The Dolphins pass defense, and specifically their secondary, was touted as the core of the team moving forward. While much had been added on both sides of the ball, the identity of the team was a stout secondary that could beat teams up in man-to-man coverage. That identity was badly damaged in week two. While Cam Newton was held to a sub-200 yard performance in week one, that seems to be as much by gameplan as anything else, and the Patriots wide receivers are lackluster. If Miami’s secondary cannot step up to the plate and deliver against a quality passing attack, then the defensive identity is in serious danger.
For the Dolphins it’s a short week, as they face the Jaguars in Jacksonville on Thursday night. Originally, the prediction for that game was a potentially winnable game on a short field trip. Considering the highly efficient play of Gardner Minshew, this is a much tougher ask.
The Jaguars, thought to be a team in transition, have beaten the Colts, and were incredibly competitive with a playoff-caliber Titans team. If Miami cannot pull this game out as a win, they go on to almost certain losses against Seattle and San Francisco, staring down the barrel of an 0-5 start.
Fans should bear in mind that this year is still part of the rebuild. There is still (ostensibly) a plan in place. They should also remember that this is an incredibly young team, with young, promising talent. But they’re raw. And we should all come to terms with the idea that this year may not be the big step forward that we hoped.