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Author Topic: Thoughts after the Chiefs playoff loss.  (Read 1267 times)
Dave Gray
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« on: January 14, 2024, 12:10:35 pm »

Ooooh boy....

I am trying to be level headed about this and I probably am going to have to take a little break from Dolphins chatter outside of very controlled situations.  ...just looking on Reddit last night and they're all ready to burn down the stadium.  I want to look at our shortcomings, but also to be fair and not just one-game, one-December, even one-season reactionary.  I was even irritated with the people I watched the game with, as things were already jumping to "Is Tua the guy?" in the 3rd quarter and I just can't watch a game like that.

It's a little hard to look at this game and tell what was wrong, because I don't know how much the cold had to do with limitations on the offense.  The ball looked dead.  It often looked like we were throwing a wet towel.  Mahomes did better that Tua, but the ball just wasn't coming out crisp.  I can't tell how much of it was yips, how much of it was just cold hands, and how much had to do with the air in the ball, but passes and kicks looked deflated.  As for Tua, I don't know how you work out the money, and it's frustrating that he didn't look good, but on the whole, he played through every game of the season and led the league in passing.  If you told me that going into this year, I would have not believed it to be possible.  Tua is a good QB and if we can work out a contract that doesn't make us dismantle the team, I'll be very happy to grow with him.  I don't think it's all that helpful to immediately be comparing him to other players, since we don't have those other players.  But we had the league leading passer - that's kind of a pyrrhic victory, but there's a lot to be happy about there.

I don't know if it's McDaniel's play-calling or if we don't have the personnel or what it is, but we do not have a short-yardage package.  My initial feeling when we run a WR screen 5 yards behind the line of scrimmage when need 1 yard -- I want them to throw that play out of the playbook.  ...but I really don't.  I know that cutesy motion and getting our fast guys the ball with space to make moves has done well for us, and that's fine.  But you need a different run package with personnel appropriate when it's 3rd and 2.  Teams get that yard lots of different looks: tush push, traditional QB sneak, spread offense with a mobile QB, I-formation with a big blocker, fullback bruiser (with we used to do with Lousaka Polite).  You can get there lots of ways.  But when we are throwing WR screens out of the shotgun on short-yardage, that's not enough.  I think part of that is that we don't want to put extra hits on Tua (fair) and that he isn't the guy you want in the pile.  And if that's the case, you need some big dudes to get you 2 yards when both sides of the ball know which play is coming.

In short, we need to be able to change our identity when things are not-ideal or you just need to get a yard.  You can't be the circus motion and high-flying team all the time, especially when the defense knows you just need the 1 yard.

There are excuses and there are reasons and I'm not sure what to say about injuries.  Fangio deserves a ton of credit for fielding a functioning defense with the injuries we've had.  Not only was the number of players hurt, either out for the season, or that had missed many games just very high (it was), but it was which players.  It's not like we just had depth issues (we did) but the guys that we lost weren't just backups -- they were bread and butter players that recorded lots of sacks and tackles and stops.  You have to be good, but being healthy is more important.  I've not seen as injured a team in my life.  Honestly, it's amazing we even got this far.  And because of that, it was hard, too, for the offense and defense to play off each other.  The defense bent, but often didn't break, but it still allowed for KC to have long sustained drives and our offense would come on a sputter.  There wasn't really a chance to have a turnover to flip the momentum or a 3 and out to give the offense a groove.  The only way we were even able to compete in this game was to throw 2 extra blitzers in and then hope that Mahomes couldn't find the open guy or that the ball would come out flat.  Sometimes it worked, but if we just rushed our 4, there was nothing doing.

I like guys like Duke Riley and Kader Kahou as parts of a larger team, but it's not really fair to ask these guys to come out and be the star player on a unit.  Kahou was picked apart all night against the chiefs.  Riley was picked apart in previous weeks and didn't tackle well in space.  But these are backup guys that really aren't going to come out and win games for you and that's where we are, because everyone else in on the bench.

We didn't deal with adversity very well.  When things didn't go well and we really needed to move the ball, we couldn't do it.  We were able to pile on when things were working, but when they weren't, both offensively and defensively, I don't think we did well enough in modifying our approach and getting guys out of a rut.

Our punting and return game was not the cause of our losses, but have been mediocre.  They didn't swing a game for us and I felt that we got outpunted most of the year with hidden yardage.
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bsmooth
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2024, 03:42:21 pm »

We are soft on offense. We had enough weapons yesterday that our QB should have led then offense to more than seven points.
Tua's performance has gone downhill for the last few.weeks. He went from MVP candidate to being legitimately being questioned about his ability to led a team to a championship,  and rightly so. He does not look like he will be a great QB in the league.
Also, it may be time to wonder if McDaniels is truly a legitimate head coach who can mold a team to win championships. He is an offensive genius, but so was Don Coryell.
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Denver2
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2024, 09:10:58 pm »

Short yardage has to change we either pick up a bruiser RB or a better FB.


We need a big physical receiver or TE too
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masterfins
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2024, 11:07:57 pm »

The last couple games Tua has had that deer in the headlights look when it came to tough teams, late in the game, when he had to make plays.  I hope he learns from this season and improves.  Furthermore, Tua's talk of "communication" being the problem really infuriates me, that's been a problem all season with getting to the line timely.  Wasted timeouts and delay of game penalties throughout the season because of not breaking the huddle early enough.  I don't know who's fault that is, Tua or McDaniel, but that's basic stuff.
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Pappy13
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2024, 12:25:33 am »

There are lots of different ways to build a team. McDaniel chose speed over size and strength and it worked great in the beginning of the year especially against weaker opponents, but when you choose speed over size and strength the season is a long one and guys started to wear down and break down towards the end of the year and with the opponents getting better, things started to unravel especially on the offensive side of the ball.

I'll give Fangio a lot of credit for holding the defense together missing as many pieces as they were. They weren't great, but they were good enough if the offense would have maintained the pace they were on early in the season. I'll give McDaniel a lot of credit too for figuring out how to use all that speed when everyone was healthy and we were going up against weaker defenses. His job for next year is how to maintain most of that but also figure out a way to add some size and strength for the stretch run. My advice would be to spend some money/draft picks on the offensive line and get some bigger, stronger and better guys. Some of the guys we started the season with should be the backups to the starters. He doesn't need to replace the whole line, but he does need to upgrade a few positions.

Tua is not the problem. He's not the solution either. He's one of 22 guys. He has his limitations. McDaniels did a good job of masking those limitations early on, not so much later on but some upgrades on the offensive line I think would help a lot. Maybe a TE that can both block and run after the catch as well? Smythe did his best but again he should be the backup or 2nd TE in the game, not the main guy. Someone who can be the first option on a play rather than the last option on the play. Build an offense that can run the ball on 3rd and short and eliminate all these throws behind the line of scrimmage that work well on 1st and 2nd down when defenders are playing off the ball, but don't work on 3rd and short. I think I saw the Dolphins were 0-10 on 3rd down in their last 2 games? That's a killer and that's not all on the QB, but the QB is a part of that problem. He can also be a part of the solution, now McDaniels just needs to figure that piece out.

I actually feel better about the end of the year this year than last year. There were a lot of good wins this year and several very tough losses near the end of it. Keep all those good wins and turn a couple of those tough losses into hard fought wins and you're there. I honestly felt like we were closer to a playoff caliber team this year than we have been in a very long time. I'll take that. The end of the season was disappointing, but there were large stretches of the season that were very encouraging as well. It's just gonna take longer than we would like.

I don't put too much stock into the whole notion that we only beat bad teams. First off, not every team we beat was bad, some were just mediocre and we beat them soundly. Nothing wrong with that, that doesn't need to change. We do have to figure out a way to beat the good teams more often now, that's the next step.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2024, 08:36:50 am by Pappy13 » Logged

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Dolfanalyst
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2024, 10:17:34 am »

Tua in weeks 1 through 13 of the regular season:  3rd-best QB in the league statistically of the 37 QBs with at least 150 pass attempts.

Tua in weeks 14 through 18 of the regular season and the wildcard:  17th-best QB in the league statistically of the 23 QBs with at least 150 pass attempts.
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CF DolFan
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2024, 11:18:30 am »

Offensive line still sucks. If Tua doesn't hit his first read he is getting pressure. We also can't run unless we have the threat of a passing game. Our offense is too soft and it starts with the guys in the trenches. We should be able to get a yard or two even if they know we are running but we can't with any consistency so we throw screens.  Tua and company needs to step it up but our oline needs to get more physical. Our coach shouldn't have be exceptionally creative on every single play.
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Dolfanalyst
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2024, 11:23:31 am »

Offensive line still sucks. If Tua doesn't hit his first read he is getting pressure. We also can't run unless we have the threat of a passing game. Our offense is too soft and it starts with the guys in the trenches. We should be able to get a yard or two even if they know we are running but we can't with any consistency so we throw screens.  Tua and company needs to step it up but our oline needs to get more physical. Our coach shouldn't have be exceptionally creative on every single play.

That is normal in the NFL.  Pressure arrives on average 2.5 seconds after the snap.
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Dolfanalyst
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2024, 11:23:46 am »

https://twitter.com/GhostOfAdamGase/status/1746926864650605037?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1746926864650605037%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=
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Spider-Dan
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2024, 04:41:48 am »

As upset as we might be with the outcome of this season, imagine if the Dolphins had the year that the Cowboys and Eagles just had.
There are collapses, and then there are HISTORIC COLLAPSES OF LEGEND.
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Dave Gray
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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2024, 11:34:47 am »

I said after the Cowboys loss that they did a lot for us to remove the media narrative.  The Eagles was just icing on the cake.

I also go to these subreddits.  Every team wants to fire their QB and their coach. 
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masterfins
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2024, 02:09:03 pm »

Offensive line still sucks. If Tua doesn't hit his first read he is getting pressure. We also can't run unless we have the threat of a passing game. Our offense is too soft and it starts with the guys in the trenches. We should be able to get a yard or two even if they know we are running but we can't with any consistency so we throw screens.  Tua and company needs to step it up but our oline needs to get more physical. Our coach shouldn't have be exceptionally creative on every single play.

I thought the O-line did a fantastic job, in spite of all the injuries.  I didn't see Tua running for his life every play, like in some prior seasons.  Sure there can be upgrades, I'd love to see them draft an All Pro Center to solidify the line.
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masterfins
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2024, 02:13:11 pm »



Tua is not the problem. He's not the solution either. He's one of 22 guys. He has his limitations. McDaniels did a good job of masking those limitations early on, not so much later on but some upgrades on the offensive line I think would help a lot. Maybe a TE that can both block and run after the catch as well? Smythe did his best but again he should be the backup or 2nd TE in the game, not the main guy. Someone who can be the first option on a play rather than the last option on the play. Build an offense that can run the ball on 3rd and short and eliminate all these throws behind the line of scrimmage that work well on 1st and 2nd down when defenders are playing off the ball, but don't work on 3rd and short. I think I saw the Dolphins were 0-10 on 3rd down in their last 2 games? That's a killer and that's not all on the QB, but the QB is a part of that problem. He can also be a part of the solution, now McDaniels just needs to figure that piece out.



I agree with you, but that's not in McDaniels game plan.  We had that tight end, his name was Mike Geisecki; his targets plummeted his last year here and then he was let go.  McDaniels didn't want to use the tight end position as a receiver.  So unless he changes his philosophy then it's a moot point.
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Dave Gray
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2024, 02:15:07 pm »

I liked Smythe a lot and thought he was a better fit here than Gesicki.  Smythe would run in the seam and was effective, but was a good blocker.

I think a bigger issue is o-line that can control the run game in short yardage.  I really do think that would do a lot to open things up.  Once teams figured out that we have to run WR screens out of shotgun on short yardage, we were cooked.  It kills drives.
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« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2024, 04:05:35 pm »

I liked Smythe a lot and thought he was a better fit here than Gesicki.  Smythe would run in the seam and was effective, but was a good blocker.

I think a bigger issue is o-line that can control the run game in short yardage.  I really do think that would do a lot to open things up.  Once teams figured out that we have to run WR screens out of shotgun on short yardage, we were cooked.  It kills drives.
Weather and aggressive CBs took out our passing game. It was a game we needed to be able to run it between the tackles and like many times ... we just couldn't do it. Until we get that fixed we will have similar results to this year. We have to be able to run even when they know it is coming. Maybe we can sign Derrick Henry for just that? hahaha
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