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    • Ask a Fan: Hayden Fox's Week 12 Assessment

      Positives

      * The defensive line controlled the Panthers for most of the day. They got good pressure on Cam Newton. They only came away with two sacks, but they pressured Newton into some bad decisions.
      * Credit has to Kevin Coyle for his defense scheme vs. the Panthers. The way he spied Newton and rushed Dion Jordan more was outstanding. The defense missed in some areas, but they did enough to win the game.
      * Nolan Carroll had a great game. Many people were discussing the fact that he and Ted Ginn were squaring off. Carroll got the most of the battle with 4 PD's and an interception.
      * Olivier Vernon was active. He had sack. He just missed another. He also ran down Newton and stopped him just short of a 1st down.
      * Cam Wake was tough today as was Randy Starks with his initial penetration.
      * Props to the defense after the offense turned the ball over on the first series. They forced the offense to a FG attempt that was blocked.
      * Ryan Tannehill was up against a strong defense. He did well considering. 310 yards, 1 TD and 1 Int. The Cover 2 could have gave him issues, but he looked off of receivers and made some plays. He also created with his legs...he was the team's leading rusher.
      * Mike Wallace. While some plays might have been left on the field, Wallace was pretty much the offense. He had 127 yards on 5 catches and a TD. 25.4 yards per catch.
      * Brian Hartline was solid with his route running. 78 yards on 5 catches.
      * Lamar Miller was solid as a pass receiver today. Turned out to be a good outlet.
      * Overall the pass protection was good. It helped that Carolina's best pass rusher was out, but so was Mike Pouncey and Richie Incognito. They gave up three sacks and one coming at the end of the game. Pleasantly surprised.
      * It was good to see Mike Sherman moving the pocket and allowing some action to develop down field.
      * Dion Jordan got credit for a blocked FG attempt in the 1st quarter.
      * Caleb Sturgis returned to his preseason form on his kickoffs. He boomed them routinely out of the back of the end zone.
      * Punter Brandon Fields was able to keep the Panthers off of a short field.
      * Joe Philbin was outstanding with his challenges today. The challenge stating that Newton was shy of a first down forced a punt. A second half challenge kept a drive alive for the offense in attempt to run out the clock.

      Negatives

      * No points in the 2nd half
      * 7 straight games and no TD's in the 4th quarter
      * FG's in the Red Zone. 0-2 in the red area.
      * The defense did a terrible job finishing the 1st half. They allowed the Panthers to get into FG range and steal 3 points.
      * Right out of the half, Carolina drives for a TD, cutting the lead to 3.
      * The 4 minute drill to try to ice the game ended up failing. Incomplete passes, penalties and bad running led to the Fins having to punt the ball with enough time for the Panthers to come back
      * 4th and 10, Carolina goes for it and Newton hits Steve Smith for a first down. The Panthers drove for the game winning TD later on.
      * Poor tackling on the Mike Tolbert run.
      * Reshad Jones personal foul on Newton on the final drive.
      * Turnover differential was 1 to 1. Not good enough against a team with supposed better talent. For the Fins to win, they must win the TO battle.
      * Ryan Tannehill had a tipped interception on the first drive of the game.
      * RT was inaccurate on balls to Wallace (overthrow) and a loft to Charles Clay over the top of the Panthers D.
      * RT took as sack (on a drive near the end of the 3rd/beginning of 4th) that got the team off schedule. It was a 3 step drop. The ball needed to come out.
      * Mike Wallace dropping a desperation heavy on the next to last play of the game that would have won the game for the Fins.
      * Rishard Matthews was bad today. Albeit he got leveled in the end zone, he did not hold on to perfect pass that would have been a TD. He was not alert on a pass that whizzed by his head in the Red Zone. Tough game for Matthews.
      * Negative runs in the run game. They took the team off of schedule.
      * Miami's top two RB's had a grand total of 16 yards.
      * The offense was 4-16 on 3rd down.
      * Ted Ginn long punt return.
      * Brandon Fields sailed his last punt in the end zone setting up the Panthers at the 20.
      * Terrible clock management by Joe Philbin. I sincerely believe that he though the Panthers were going to settle for 3 and wanted time on offense to win it. All it did was give the Panthers more time, organization and reason to score a TD. Miami ended up having no timeouts with just over 40 seconds remaining. Philbin should have kept his timeouts unless they got in close to the end zone. Perhaps they would have been forced to kick a field goal based on the time of the game if he had let the clock run.
      * I disliked the call of attempting a 52 yarder in the 4th quarter. The kick was not close. I would have gone for it and not yielded the field position. It was very questionable decision and brutal miss.
      * The flag pick up on Luke Kuechly's hit on Matthews at the end of the half was awful. It would have set up a goal to go situation and a possible TD. The Panthers probably do not get a chance to tack on 3 points if the Miami drive was extended. Terrible job by the referees.
      * Fox was very late with replays for the viewer that ended up being changed on the field. Shabby broadcast.

      Overall Assessment

      * The Miami Dolphins under Joe Philbin are mentally weak and lack a killer instinct. Whether it was finishing in the Red Zone, finishing the half, trying to end the game on a 4 minute drill or trying to stop the Panthers from converting a 4th and 10, Miami consistently does not come through. Teams reflect their head coach on the field. Joe Philbin is not getting it done as the HC.
      * What goes on at half time to have the Dolphins come out and be bad for the 2nd half? That is squarely on the coaching staff and the HC.
      * No points in the 2nd half and no TD's in the 4th quarter for 7 straight games. Who is responsible for that?
      * With that said, I was impressed that the team did not seem to be affected by the Ted Wells investigation. The team seemed focused and that is a credit to the staff and players.
      * Even though the defense let up 3 right before the half and the eventual game winning TD late, I cannot blame them for the loss. The offense needed to do just a bit more and could not.
      * I feel for Sam Brenner. He was doing okay and looks like he got hurt bad. Tough break.
      * Danny Watkins was inactive today? What is happening with him?
      * Getting Mike Pouncey back is a must for the month of December
      * Marcus Thigpen is really becoming ineffective as a kick and punt returner.
      * The Panthers got a gutsy win after two huge wins versus the 49ers and Patriots. That was an example of being mentally tough, people.
      * Cam Newton did not have his best stuff today, but found a way to win.
      * Kuechly is one lucky MLB. That was a penalty last week on Monday Night and should have been penalized again on the hit on Matthews.
      * With all of this being said...and I am so frustrated, this game does not mean as much as the next two, starting next week in New York. EVERYTHING Miami wants to accomplish is still ahead of them. With gobs of 5-6 teams kicking around, it is about surviving and advancing. It is about garnering tie breakers versus teams around them. Obviously, a win would have helped the overall record today. However, it does not change the fact that Miami is still in the wild card hunt with the other teams. It is time for the Joe Philbin to give proper direction of this team and for the leaders of the team to start making game altering plays. It is STILL in front of the Dolphins...and it starts next week versus the New York Jets.
      This article was originally published in forum thread: Hayden Fox's Assessment: Week 12 started by Hayden Fox View original post
      Comments 40 Comments
      1. Mudder1310's Avatar
        Mudder1310 -
        I think there are 2 key problems that need to be addressed before this team will make any real strides.

        1). Playcalling is abyssmal. The entire second half the offense called plays to not lose instead of continuing to put pressure on the Panther d. How do you call so many plays that require the ball carrier to break a tackle to move the chains when our guys are terrible at that? At least call plays to hit them moving.

        2). This team is happy to just be in the game and competitive. How is it every game is close? Someone needs to let them know it's ok to roll a team up.

        Both issues are coaching related, specifically Sherman and Philbin with their philosophies.
      1. dabeastdabone's Avatar
        dabeastdabone -
        These days with all the bitching and whining I pretty much just look forward to you assessment after the game, even if I don't agree on all point. I do agree we need a killer instinct but saying needing one and getting one are two different things. Without a competent running game I don't think the Dolphins can rely on a killer instinct strategy, we start to many drives trying to make up for a run for a loss or a run for a yard or two.

        I really have (or maybe had) hopes for Thigpin but someone needs to tell him not to try running it out the endzone with less than a minute left, it just burned off valuable time and lost yards.

        I suppose I should go back and verify but the TD pass to Wallace and the second long pass Tannehill was moving from pressure, he didn't have his feet planted. Given that I'd say those throws were good enough and people have to consider those things. The last past to Wallace he should of caught, good enough throw for that distance.
      1. Hayden Fox's Avatar
        Hayden Fox -
        Quote Originally Posted by dabeastdabone View Post
        These days with all the bitching and whining I pretty much just look forward to you assessment after the game, even if I don't agree on all point. I do agree we need a killer instinct but saying needing one and getting one are two different things. Without a competent running game I don't think the Dolphins can rely on a killer instinct strategy, we start to many drives trying to make up for a run for a loss or a run for a yard or two.

        I really have (or maybe had) hopes for Thigpin but someone needs to tell him not to try running it out the endzone with less than a minute left, it just burned off valuable time and lost yards.

        I suppose I should go back and verify but the TD pass to Wallace and the second long pass Tannehill was moving from pressure, he didn't have his feet planted. Given that I'd say those throws were good enough and people have to consider those things. The last past to Wallace he should of caught, good enough throw for that distance.
        Thank you. I was a negative Nancy today. Unfortunately, I was right with my predictions.
      1. Sirspud's Avatar
        Sirspud -
        I expected most of the write-up to focus on the absolutely egregious error by Philbin to use his timeouts with the other team being the one that needed to work the clock. I'm sure the Carolina Panthers are laughing all the way back to Charlotte that with their biggest enemy being the clock, having only one timeout, we used 3 timeouts that allowed them to have ample time that they needed. Blowing double digit leads seemingly every week should have been enough, but that was a clear sign that this staff is in over their head.

        Philbin is a smart coach, and everything he does is thought through. The players are often doing smart things on the field that show their awareness of the clock. But in this case, Philbin clearly overthought a situation and prepared for a contingency when it wasn't even necessary, and by doing so completely overlooked the primary threat to victory that he left wide open.
      1. Hayden Fox's Avatar
        Hayden Fox -
        Quote Originally Posted by dabeastdabone View Post
        These days with all the bitching and whining I pretty much just look forward to you assessment after the game, even if I don't agree on all point. I do agree we need a killer instinct but saying needing one and getting one are two different things. Without a competent running game I don't think the Dolphins can rely on a killer instinct strategy, we start to many drives trying to make up for a run for a loss or a run for a yard or two.

        I really have (or maybe had) hopes for Thigpin but someone needs to tell him not to try running it out the endzone with less than a minute left, it just burned off valuable time and lost yards.

        I suppose I should go back and verify but the TD pass to Wallace and the second long pass Tannehill was moving from pressure, he didn't have his feet planted. Given that I'd say those throws were good enough and people have to consider those things. The last past to Wallace he should of caught, good enough throw for that distance.
        Thank you. I was a negative Nancy today. Unfortunately, I was right with my predictions.
      1. Hayden Fox's Avatar
        Hayden Fox -
        I am still soiled from today.
      1. Njphinsfan's Avatar
        Njphinsfan -
        Brenner's injury looked bad, but he did return to the game.
      1. Hayden Fox's Avatar
        Hayden Fox -
        Quote Originally Posted by Njphinsfan View Post
        Brenner's injury looked bad, but he did return to the game.
        I did not know that. My mistake.
      1. PerfectFinz72's Avatar
        PerfectFinz72 -
        Great write up as always.

        I just don't see a playoff team. The team looks the part at times but than other times looks awful, particularly on offense. I can't see them flipping a switch and all of sudden playing their best football. Sadly imo I see a split with the jets and at least 2 of 3 losses to the steelers, bills and pats. 6 maybe 7 wins.... clean house.
      1. Awsi Dooger's Avatar
        Awsi Dooger -
        Cam Newton has such a limited arsenal as a passer. That's the frustrating aspect of this loss. He can't alter pace and loft to fit every situation. On the 4th and 10 play it's going to be a mindless 100 mph fastball. You can virtually guarantee that. I mentioned it last night. So when we got to that pivotal play I just wanted tight coverage to force Newton to make his typical instant line drive decision, a ball that can just as easily ricochet off the wall ringing the stadium as manage a first down. So what does Brent Grimes do? He plays 6 yards off Steve Smith and then backs off another 6 yards as the play unfolds, allowing a perfect window for the mindless fastball. I still have a difficult time believing it. It's the most inept 4th down coverage I've seen on a pivotal play since Terrell Buckley allowed Horace Copeland to wander downfield and turn around for a simple first down on 4th and 7 in Wide Right I, the Canes' famous 17-16 win at Tallahassee in 1991.

        Otherwise, Dion Jordan can't be on the field on every down approaching the goal line. I wanted to scream when he was inserted for every play once Carolina reached our 30 yard line on the first possession of the third quarter, when we led 16-6. Olivier Vernon was really battling out there all day, to the point he was praised by the color commentator. Vernon isn't exactly Reggie White against the run but at this point he gives us a significantly greater physical presence than Dion Jordan. Once Jordan was out there on every play on that possession, Carolina pushed us around and walked into the end zone within a few plays. Only one was aimed directly at Jordan, a sweep that gained about 12 yards. But overall we're simply too fragile with him in there. It attains an Oregon or Baylor type feel, like we need a 60 point offense to offset what we are surrendering with twig personnel. Jordan is fine for 3rd down plays but this is the second time we blew a lead partially because we insisted on using him near the goal line on every play. I don't know if Vernon got winded on that drive, or what happened. Carolina was running some hurry up. All of a sudden Jordan was out there on every play and I would have been shocked if we weren't exploited. And once it's 16-13 instead of 16-6 or 16-9, the math and likelihood of victory shifts dramatically.
      1. PCmor's Avatar
        PCmor -
        Quote Originally Posted by J. David Wannyheimer View Post
        Rishard Matthews got rocked by an illegal hit and couldn't hold on to the football. He's a backup. Is that his fault for lacking killer instinct? Is it his fault the coach decided to kick a chip shot FG after the play?

        I don't know, I don't buy this 'killer instinct' thing. I think we played a better football team today and our c oaches called the game not to lose it.
        I agree with you most of the time, but not on your take with the killer instinct. If it was just today, that'd be one thing. But our team finding ways to lose close games over the years has become almost an art form. We build the big lead, we lose at the end or because of an atrocious third quarter. We fall behind early, we come back and take the lead and then the defense loses it at the end. We have extra time off to prepare, we come out flat. We dominate the game, we don't do enough with it and leave the window open for the other team to steal 10 points at the end of each half and win it.

        The injuries, playing young players ... that happens all around the NFL. It happens in college and high school football. Good, tough-minded teams manage to get through that a lot of the time. Other teams don't have what it takes to get it done.

        This team doesn't usually respond well to on-field adversity. It also hasn't responded well to on-field prosperity (3-0 start to the season, 17-3 halftime leads, etc.). And it's happened a lot more than once. As someone said in another topic, losing is a culture, it's a habit, and this organization has it.
      1. ProStyle's Avatar
        ProStyle -
        Another horrible second half, basically did nothing, played completely uninspired. Best play of the half was the hail mary to Wallace.
        Kudos to defense playing amped up all game, being on the sideline with such lethargic offense, and special teams.
      1. Hayden Fox's Avatar
        Hayden Fox -
        If Joe was a difference maker intellectually on Sunday, the Fins would win a few of these games and control the Wild Card.

        Talent is not the issue holding this team back.
      1. John Biello's Avatar
        John Biello -
        joe's empty scrotum is what is holding this team back
      1. insomnia411's Avatar
        insomnia411 -
        Yet another game where they just had to find a way to lose in the most heartbreaking fashion possible. This team is Taking years off of my life.
      1. jeffc12's Avatar
        jeffc12 -
        to me the play of the game hands down was the picked up flag on Keuchly. Even if the Fish still only get a field goal there they would have taken more time off the clock giving Carolina virtually no time to go down the field and kick the field goal. That totally changed the games momentum and you could see it coming out of the 1/2 unfortunately!
      1. pags77's Avatar
        pags77 -
        Have to give credit to Ellerbee and Wheeler today, they were a more physical presence at times. Thought that Carolina's game plan in the first half was weak. How do you not run the ball down the throats of a defense that routinely allows for a 100 yard rusher? They adjusted in the second half, and won another close game. The offensive line is just horrible in all phases of the game this year. The second stringers can't run block worth beans, the "first string" couldn't pass block. The offense can't run screens to save their lives, it really limits the play calling and is reflected in our poor offensive performances. I mean we haven't sniffed a 30 point output in week 12, that is sad.
      1. Hayden Fox's Avatar
        Hayden Fox -
        Quote Originally Posted by pags77 View Post
        Have to give credit to Ellerbee and Wheeler today, they were a more physical presence at times. Thought that Carolina's game plan in the first half was weak. How do you not run the ball down the throats of a defense that routinely allows for a 100 yard rusher? They adjusted in the second half, and won another close game. The offensive line is just horrible in all phases of the game this year. The second stringers can't run block worth beans, the "first string" couldn't pass block. The offense can't run screens to save their lives, it really limits the play calling and is reflected in our poor offensive performances. I mean we haven't sniffed a 30 point output in week 12, that is sad.
        While the Fins have stunk at stopping the run, Matthews from SD was the only 100 yard rusher they have given up this year.
      1. Kencoboy's Avatar
        Kencoboy -
        Excellent post. The bottom line is this: to be a playoff team in the NFL you HAVE to win these kind of games at home. No excuses. Bills, Ravens, and now the Panthers. The lack of a running game absolutely kills any chance that we have to pull out these close ones. Build a lead and watch it all slip away at the end because we throw the ball 99.8% of the time or so it seems. When a team is as predictable as this one is throwing the ball, even the crappy defenses around the league will figure out a way to make plays.
      1. Hayden Fox's Avatar
        Hayden Fox -
        I just watched Kevin Coyle's pressure. I totally forgot this play...the Panthers backed up deep. Newton threw to his right. Phillip Wheeler makes an athletic play and bats the ball down. However, behind him is Nolan Carroll that would have picked the ball off and probably brought it in for six. So frustrating.