AFC East: Miami Dolphins

DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (3-3) held their first practice of the week Tuesday in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6).

Here are some notes and observations from Miami’s practice:
  • Joseph
    Jordan
    Former No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan returned to practice Tuesday. Following a six-game suspension, this was the first time Jordan put on a Dolphins uniform since the final preseason game Aug. 29. Jordan worked with the defensive line and on special teams in the early portion of practice open to the media. Miami’s coaching staff said they must see where Jordan is physically before determining his role.
  • Dolphins backup safety Jimmy Wilson did not practice in the portion open to the media. Wilson missed his first game of the season last week with a hamstring injury. Backup safety Michael Thomas replaced Wilson in the nickel.
  • Miami Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes practiced Tuesday, which is good news considering he did not finish Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

The Film Don’t Lie: Dolphins

October, 21, 2014
Oct 21
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A weekly look at what the Miami Dolphins must fix:

This is a difficult week to nitpick the Dolphins (3-3) following a complete, four-quarter performance in a 27-14 victory over the Chicago Bears. However, the Dolphins did allow a season-high four sacks on quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and that is a concern heading into Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The good news for Miami is it’s easy to identify the issue. Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff was a one-man wrecking machine. Ratliff had his way with Miami’s center (Samson Satele) and guards (Daryn Colledge and Mike Pouncey) on his way to a career-high 3.5 sacks. The Dolphins had communication issues up front and must do a better job of picking up stunts moving forward. Opponents have been stunting Miami's offensive line the past few weeks with mixed results. But overall the pass protection for the Dolphins has been much improved compared to last season, when they allowed a franchise-record 58 quarterback sacks.

The Jaguars (1-6) finally got their first victory last week against the Cleveland Browns. Jacksonville will enter this game with a little momentum and feeling good about itself. If the Dolphins allow the Jaguars to disrupt and get hits on Tannehill, Jacksonville has another shot to pull off an upset.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (3-3) are getting another key addition to their roster this week. Former 2013 No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan completed his six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancement and substance abuse policies. He became eligible to return on Monday, although a roster move isn't expected until later in the week.

Joseph
Jordan
Per NFL rules, Miami's coaches haven’t seen or heard from Jordan since he began his suspension on Aug. 29, one day after the Dolphins' preseason finale against the St. Louis Rams. Almost seven weeks have gone by, and the Dolphins will finally see Jordan back in practice on Tuesday.

“We’re going to have to get him on the field and start working him and see where he's at,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. “It will be great to have him back. But we have to take it one day at a time.”

Jordan’s role on the team remains uncertain. He was slotted to be the No. 3 defensive end at the start of training camp behind starters Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon. But Jordan fell behind on the depth chart after the suspension and a lot has changed since.

Miami’s current No. 3 defensive end, Derrick Shelby, is third on the Dolphins with three sacks this season. Rookies such as Chris McCain and Terrence Fede have also flashed and earned playing time. Defensive end is arguably the deepest area of Miami's roster, which will make it tough for Jordan to immediately find a significant role.

The most important aspect of Jordan getting back on the field quickly is his health, which is unknown. But Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle is confident Jordan did the right things during his suspension.

“I envision that he will be in good shape,” Coyle said Monday. “He’s the type of athlete that can run all day. We’ve never had issues with him being out of shape. So I hope he comes back and he’s ready to go.”

Coyle, in some ways, is getting a new toy on defense near the midpoint of the season. Jordan is one of Miami’s best pure athletes, although he hasn't come close to reaching his potential in two seasons.

The Dolphins had high hopes for Jordan in 2014, but the suspension to start the year stunted his growth. Miami still has 10 games remaining and could use as much talent as possible to make a push for the playoffs in the second half of the season.

“If you have good players you find ways to utilize them,” Coyle said of Jordan. “He's certainly a talented guy.”
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CHICAGO -- So this is what Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill looks like at his absolute best.

Miami's 27-14 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday finally showed what a consistent, dominant Tannehill looks like under center. Better yet for the Dolphins, it happened over four full quarters -- not the usual one good half or quarter Tannehill has provided this season.

How locked in was the third-year quarterback? On his second touchdown pass of the day, the Bears took away his first and second options. So Tannehill went to his third progression -- which he rarely does successfully -- to complete a 10-yard touchdown to Mike Wallace.

Wallace said after the game that the Dolphins (3-3) couldn't even hit that play in practice. But with Tannehill in the zone, they made it look easy when it mattered most, giving Miami a lead it never relinquished.

"I was the last read on the play," Wallace said. "On that play in practice, I've been working that [route] probably since I was in Pittsburgh and never got the ball, not one time, on that play. That was the first time.

[+] EnlargeRyan Tannehill
AP Photo/Charles Rex ArbogastQB Ryan Tannehill capitalized on short passes to lift the Dolphins over Chicago in Week 7.
"You could fall asleep on that play, but you gotta stay focused. Honestly, I got that same play on Tuesday or Wednesday in practice and he threw it. We didn't connect on it, and I told him I will be better on it the next time. Tonight was our next time, and we were better."

There have been games when Tannehill was good, but never the best player on the field. That changed in Chicago. Afterward, backup quarterback Matt Moore got a chuckle out of Tannehill by telling him, "You inspire me."

Tannehill's day started with 14 straight completions, and he finished with 277 yards and two touchdown passes. He posted a career-high 123.6 passer rating and didn't have his first incompletion until 54 seconds left in the first half.

First-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is getting a better grasp of his quarterback's capabilities. The Dolphins used a well-devised game plan that highlighted Tannehill's strengths: throwing short and intermediate passes. His longest completion was for 26 yards to backup tight end Dion Sims. Tannehill also used his athleticism by rolling out of the pocket on passing plays, rushing for 48 yards on six carries.

Dolphins tight end Charles Clay said Tannehill's confidence was at an all-time high, especially after getting hot early.

"It's hard to pinpoint, but it was just something about him," said Clay, who had four receptions and caught Tannehill's first touchdown pass. "It gave me confidence, and I'm sure it gave everybody else in the huddle confidence."

Tannehill said he has never completed 14 straight passes to start a game at any level. He did complete 14 straight between the second and third quarters this season against the Oakland Raiders, but this performance was from the start and more dominant.

On this day, if you were open, Tannehill easily identified it and made the right decisions. He completed 78.1 percent of his passes, and eight Dolphins players had at least two receptions.

"Everyone was getting open," Tannehill said. "It's fun to be able to spread the ball around like that."

Was this a one-game performance or a potential career turning point? That remains to be seen.

One of the biggest critiques of Tannehill is he rarely strings together strong games in back-to-back weeks. This season alone he has struggled from half to half. That is one of the major reasons Tannehill is just 18-20 as a starter and still trying to prove he is Miami's long-term solution.

But Sunday's lights-out performance at least provided a one-game snapshot that Tannehill is capable of dominating a game. He has good athleticism and can make most of the throws needed to thrive in the NFL, with the exception of a consistent deep ball.

After six games, it's clear the Dolphins will go only as far as Tannehill takes them this season.

"We're definitely playoff-caliber, and if he's playing like [Sunday], we could be Super Bowl-caliber, honestly," Wallace said. "But we got to put in the work every day. We know it's not going to just come to us. We have to keep grinding and stay focused."
CHICAGO -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Miami Dolphins' 27-14 win over the Chicago Bears:

Wallace
Wallace
On the rebound: The Dolphins felt vindicated after their bounce-back performance Sunday evening. Many questioned if Miami would bounce back from last week's deflating, last-second loss to the Green Bay Packers. But the Dolphins put forth one of their most impressive games on both sides of the football, proving they have the talent to play with most teams. Now, the Dolphins must work on their consistency. "People just last week were telling us we were trash," receiver Mike Wallace said. "So we've got to keep our head up and stay focused, no matter good or bad."

Win for the little guys: Much was made of the size difference this week between Bears receivers Brandon Marshall (6-foot-4) and Alshon Jeffery (6-3) against Miami cornerbacks Brent Grimes (5-10) and Cortland Finnegan (5-10). But the corners won this matchup. Marshall and Jeffery combined for just eight receptions for 57 yards. Finnegan and Grimes were physical and covered well for most of the game. "You guys made a story of it," Finnegan said afterward. "But Brent said it earlier; we go against receivers who always are bigger than us. It's just one of those things."

Tannehill's wheels: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is running the ball more and it's paying dividends. Head coach Joe Philbin praised Tannehill's wheels after the quarterback rushed for 48 yards on six carries. Tannehill made a long run of 30 yards that gave the Dolphins a lot of momentum. He now has a 30-yard run and a 40-yard run in back-to-back weeks. "He's done a very consistent job in it," Philbin said. "I think it's repetition, repetition, repetition. It paid off today a couple times."

Rapid Reaction: Miami Dolphins

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
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CHICAGO -- A few thoughts on the Miami Dolphins' 27-14 win Sunday over the Chicago Bears.

What it means: The Dolphins continue their roller-coaster ride by picking up a key road victory and improving to 3-3. This was a complete performance on both sides of the ball. Miami cashed in on three red zone touchdowns and forced three turnovers on defense, bouncing back from a last-second loss in Week 6 to the Green Bay Packers. The Dolphins, who have yet to win two in a row, will try to work on their consistency.

Stock watch: Dolphins fans have been clamoring about the lack of fast starts. Miami finally got it going early by jumping out to a much-needed 14-0 halftime lead on the road. The offense moved the chains and had early touchdown catches by tight end Charles Clay and receiver Mike Wallace. The defense also picked off quarterback Jay Cutler and held the Bears scoreless in the first half. The second half wasn't as clean. The Dolphins allowed two touchdowns defensively and had a field goal blocked. However, Miami was good enough in the first half that it didn't matter.

Jones, Shelby make impact: The Dolphins received key contributions from two players who were recently suspended. Miami starting safety Reshad Jones had his best performance of the season in his second game back. He recorded seven tackles and a second-quarter interception to set up a Miami touchdown. Sunday also marked the first game back for Derrick Shelby, who missed one game after being arrested at a nightclub. He registered an early sack off the bench.

Game ball: Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill gets his second game ball of the season. Tannehill was locked in and threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns. He had a 123.6 passer rating. Tannehill produced a near-perfect first half by completing his first 14 passes. His first incompletion happened with 54 seconds left in the second quarter.

What's next: The Dolphins will continue their stretch away from Miami with another road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6). The Dolphins will play four of their next six games on the road.

Miami Dolphins inactives

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
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CHICAGO -- Here are the Miami Dolphins (2-3) players you won’t see in Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears (3-3):
The most interesting scratch is veteran receiver Brandon Gibson, who practiced all week and was listed “probable” with a hamstring injury. But rookie Jarvis Landry had a strong game against the Green Bay Packers and will get a lot of snaps.
The Miami Dolphins (2-3) will play the Chicago Bears (3-3) Sunday in a big game for both teams.

Here is the final injury report for Miami:

Doubtful: S Jimmy Wilson (hamstring)

Questionable: C Samson Satele (hamstring)

Probable: LT Branden Albert (elbow), RB Lamar Miller (knee), QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle), CB Cortland Finnegan (neck), WR Brandon Gibson (hamstring), WR Brian Hartline (finger), LB Koa Misi (ankle), G Shelley Smith (knee), G Dallas Thomas (shoulder), LB Philip Wheeler (shoulder, thumb),

Analysis: The Dolphins are going into this game relatively healthy. Wilson is the only player not expected to play in Chicago. He has missed practice all week with a hamstring injury and will leave a void as the nickel cornerback. Young corners Will Davis and/or Jamar Taylor must step up in sub packages and could see more reps this week when the Bears use three-receiver sets. Satele will be a game-time decision, but the Dolphins have options. If Satele can’t go, Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey will go back to his natural spot after playing guard last week in his first game back. I always thought Pouncey should play center anyway, where he is most comfortable. Minor injuries to Miller, Tannehill and Albert will not impact their playing status. All three will play.
DAVIE, Fla. -- A case can be made that the biggest optimist in the Miami Dolphins' locker room is starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Through the ups and downs, wins and losses, Tannehill’s mentality has remained consistently positive in his belief in himself and the team.

The Dolphins (2-3) have lost three of their past four games. But Tannehill senses a turnaround as Miami prepares to play the Chicago Bears (3-3) Sunday at Soldier Field.

Tannehill
“Guys are hungry to make plays, hungry to get better,” Tannehill said. “Just make the plays that are there and be crisp. We have the talent. We have every piece that we need to put this puzzle together. Now it’s just a matter of doing it.”

The Dolphins have enough good players to compete with most teams. But inconsistencies have plagued the team.

Tannehill has been inconsistent as well. He’s thrown for 1,146 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions and has an 81.5 passer rating.

Just three weeks ago, Tannehill was in a tough spot. He got off to a mediocre start to the season in his first three games and Miami head coach Joe Philbin was noncommittal when asked if Tannehill would remain the starter leading up to the team’s Week 4 game against the Oakland Raiders.

Tannehill answered against Oakland with his best game of the season. He also had some good moments last week against the Packers, a game in which he threw two touchdowns in the second half and two interceptions in the first half.

The Dolphins aren’t quite in must-win territory Sunday against Chicago. But time is running low on Miami. The Dolphins must string together wins now if they want to remain in the playoff hunt in the AFC.

“There’s definitely an urgency,” Tannehill said. “Do I think we thought to go out and not play with urgency? No, but I think there’s definitely an intensity that it’s being brought to the practice field. I think some of the best practices we’ve had this year were the past two days, Tuesday and [Wednesday]. There’s an intensity on the practice field.”
DAVIE, Fla. -- Smallish Miami Dolphins cornerback Cortland Finnegan has figured out a solution for defending big Chicago Bears receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

Finnegan
“Unless we sign (NBA player) Luol Deng, (who) just signed with the Heat...” Finnegan joked. “We’re 5-10. So we’ve just got to deal with that. That’s really all I’ve got for you. I don’t know if much changes other than that. I’m 5-10, so is Brent. So we’ll figure it out.”

Expect size to be an issue for the Dolphins’ secondary Sunday against the Bears. Miami starting cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Finnegan are both 5-foot-10, while Marshall is 6-4 and Jeffery is 6-3. Rest assured Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is looking forward to throwing high passes Sunday and taking advantage of Chicago’s size advantage, especially in the red zone. Both Chicago starting receivers surpassed 100 yards receiving in last week’s win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins had trouble last week defending the size of Green Bay Packers receiver Jordy Nelson, who is 6-3. Nelson had nine receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown in Miami’s 27-24 loss.

Grimes
Grimes
Still, Marshall is not overlooking the Dolphins' cornerbacks.

“There is no mismatch out there,” said Marshall, who played two years in Miami from 2010-2011. “This is probably going to be the best secondary that we face all year. Grimes is a technician. He’s super-duper focused. I don’t understand how this guy wasn’t drafted. I don’t understand how the Falcons let him go. ... We all know about Cortland. He’s hyper-competitive and he makes plays on the ball.”

Grimes and Finnegan didn’t have their best games last week against Green Bay. Nelson beat Grimes several times, including the touchdown catch, while Finnegan struggled with tackling.

Miami needs a pair of standout performances from its starting cornerbacks against Marshall and Jeffery in order to stall Chicago's offense and pull off the road upset.

“It’s the 24-hour rule,” Finnegan said of bouncing back. “I think the Chicago Bears don’t give a rip what happened against the Green Bay Packers. So we’ve got to go out there and give them our best.”
DAVIE, Fla. -- Five-time Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall provided a candid analysis of his tenure with the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday. He put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons but those Dolphins teams were a combined 13-19 (.406 win percentage) in 2010 and 2011.

Marshall
“On the football field I think we were a quarterback away from having a [good] team,” Marshall said bluntly on a conference call with the Miami media. “I think our defense were studs. Offensively, maybe we were missing a piece on the O-line. But Davone Bess, Brian Hartline, myself, Reggie Bush, I really thought we had a young group of guys that really could have done some special things if we came together. Unfortunately, we didn’t have that opportunity.”

Marshall’s statement was an immediate flashback to the Tony Sparano era. Marshall, who plays the Dolphins Sunday, had some rocky times on and off the field in Miami and didn’t get along with former teammate and quarterback Chad Henne.

Clearly, Marshall hasn't forgotten about Henne flaming out in Miami, despite both players moving on to other teams. Henne is now a backup quarterback with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But Marshall is clearly a happier person now that he's moved on to Chicago. (“I love Chicago,” Marshall said.) He’s playing with a talented quarterback in Jay Cutler. The pair grew together with the Denver Broncos and reunited in Chicago. Marshall’s numbers got even better with Cutler. He’s caught at least 100 passes his first two seasons with the Bears.

Even with an inconsistent Henne and a few other quarterbacks, Marshall had 167 receptions, 2,228 yards and nine touchdowns with the Dolphins. Marshall also made the Pro Bowl with Miami in 2011.

So why did the Dolphins trade Marshall to the Bears for two third-round picks before the 2012 season?

“That was a long time ago,” said Miami coach Joe Philbin, who traded Marshall upon his arrival. “We just felt like, at that point where we were as a program and organizationally, an opportunity came and that was the decision we came to.”

The conventional line of thinking is Marshall’s strong and outspoken personality led to his trade, especially in Philbin’s first year where he needed to establish his program.

Marshall was asked Wednesday if he was surprised by the trade?

“Um, was I surprised?” Marshall said after a long pause and sigh. “I was surprised but I was happy at the same time once Jeff Ireland told me where I was going. I thought it was best for me and my family.”

The Bears clearly got the best of the trade. Chicago is reaping the rewards of a more mature Marshall, who credits his two up-and-down years in Miami as part of what made him the receiver he is today.

“For me, I learned so much in Miami. I grew so much,” Marshall said. “I wish we could have made it work, but we didn’t.”
DAVIE, Fla. – Miami Dolphins defensive end Derrick Shelby was back at his usual spot in the locker room on Tuesday. For more than a week, it was questionable if Shelby would be allowed to return to the team.

But Shelby is preparing with the Dolphins (2-3) as they get ready for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears (3-3). He will rejoin the team's rotation at defensive end as a backup to starters Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon.

Shelby
“It was a great relief,” Shelby said in the locker room. “When you’re at home, you got a lot of time to think about things. When you’re here at least you’re staying busy. You don’t have to think about many things outside of your control.”

According to Fort Lauderdale police, Shelby is accused of groping women at a nightclub and refusing to leave the establishment when asked. He also was tased by police. The Dolphins immediately suspended Shelby without pay but reinstated him this week following the completion of their process.

Shelby would not elaborate on the exact details of what happened because the case remains “an ongoing legal matter.” Shelby wouldn’t say if he believed it was fair to suspend him without all the details being released.

“I mean, it is what it is. I can’t look at it that way,” Shelby said, “I messed up and we have our rules here. That’s what it is.”

Shelby, who is third on the team with two sacks this season, is focused on moving forward.

“When you mess up, you know you messed up,” Shelby said. “You just got to roll with it. I mean, I’m not perfect. Have you made a mistake before? All right. You just roll with it.”

The Film Don't Lie: Dolphins

October, 14, 2014
Oct 14
11:00
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A weekly look at what the Miami Dolphins must fix:

The Dolphins (2-3) blew a fourth-quarter lead to the Green Bay Packers in one of the toughest losses in recent memory for Miami. But Sunday's biggest issue was not the players on the field. Facing the most scrutiny in Miami this week is the coaching staff, which made some curious decisions that cost the team down the stretch.

Coach Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle were the biggest culprits. Philbin's conservative run call on third down and questionable defensive timeout on fourth down to allow the Packers to regroup didn't work. Likewise, Coyle put his worst coverage linebacker -- Philip Wheeler -- on an island in single coverage against Green Bay tight end Andrew Quarless, who caught the game-winning touchdown with three seconds remaining. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was 4-of-5 passing to his right side on the final drive. Wheeler was on the right on Green Bay's final offensive play.

Wheeler said after the game that he's only taking partial blame and that the coaching staff also failed. Coyle admitted on Monday he put Wheeler "in a bad spot."

So, how do you fix bad coaching? There are no easy answers.

Unlike players, you cannot sub in the backup head coach or backup defensive coordinator in the next game. Miami's coaching staff simply must do better next week against the Chicago Bears (3-3).

Game management, particularly right before halftime and at the end of games, has been a recurring issue for Philbin. It remains to be seen if this is something that will eventually click or just something Philbin doesn't have a strong grasp of after two-plus seasons.

Philbin is 17-20 as Dolphin coach. Philbin must turn it around quickly -- and stop costing his team games -- in order to prove he's the long-term solution in Miami.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The day after the Miami Dolphins blew a fourth-quarter lead in a 27-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers, much of the heat was on Miami’s coaching staff.

Philbin
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin had a chance to study the tape and accepted blame for the loss. He had several questionable decisions that didn’t work, and that led to one of the toughest losses for Miami in several seasons.

“I have to do a better job, first and foremost,” Philbin said. “I’m the head coach. We had a lead with four minutes to go. Like I said often, you win as a team and you lose as a team. We could have done better in all three phases, coaching as well.”

Philbin stepped to the podium willing to discuss any questionable call. The bad thing was there were several to discuss from one game, which is a bad sign.

Among the questionable coaching decisions were conservative play calling late in the fourth quarter. Philbin admitted he “got a little queasy” and overruled offensive coordinator Bill Lazor by calling a run play on third-and-9. Philbin also called a fourth-down timeout on defense and allowed Green Bay a chance to regroup, just to name a few.

“Obviously that’s what I get paid to do,” Philbin said of his in-game decisions. “Some of them, I wished they worked out better.”

There will be a lot of second-guessing and outside distractions for the Dolphins after this kind of tough loss. Miami will have five of its next seven games on the road, including this Sunday’s contest at the Chicago Bears.

The Dolphins will have to refocus for this tough stretch in order to keep it together.

“Hopefully as a staff, as a team, players, everyone, what matters most is what we do and say in this building and on this practice field and trust each other,” Lazor said. “That’s my goal.”

Miami Dolphins Stock Watch

October, 13, 2014
Oct 13
12:00
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The Miami Dolphins fell to 2-3 on the season with a 27-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Here is a look at whose stock is rising and falling in Miami:

Falling

Philbin
1. Joe Philbin, head coach: Miami was held back again due to poor coaching decisions. So a lot rests on Philbin’s shoulders. The Dolphins’ head coach seemed unsure late in the fourth quarter if he wanted to aggressively try to win the game or conservatively play not to lose. Miami oddly did something in between and opened the door for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to work his magic with 10 points in the final 4:09. Miami’s timeout on fourth-and-10 also gave the Packers a chance to regroup. Too often Philbin struggles with game management before the half and at the end of games. It’s not easy to do, but Philbin is paid a lot of money to make these decisions. He mismanaged the game on Sunday.

2. Kevin Coyle, defensive coordinator: The Dolphins' defense played hard for four quarters, and they held a Packers' offense that was averaging 40 points per game the past two weeks to just 20 points until the final touchdown with three seconds remaining. But Coyle was outcoached down the stretch in the game's crucial moments. The Packers got the mismatch they wanted with tight end Andrew Quarless outside and one-on-one with Philip Wheeler, who is Miami's worst coverage linebacker. The Dolphins also seemed caught off guard by Rodgers' fake spike, as well, which goes back to preparation.

3. Philip Wheeler, linebacker: Wheeler did not play a lot of snaps. He only had one tackle in limited playing time. But it was the play he didn't make that cost Miami. Wheeler had poor coverage against Quarless during a 4-yard touchdown pass with three seconds remaining. After the game, Wheeler admitted he didn't make the play but also blamed Coyle for bad coaching. According to Wheeler, Rodgers knew the defense was in man-to-man. But Wheeler deserves some blame for not making a play.

Rising

Landry
1. Jarvis Landry, wide receiver: Miami’s rookie second-round pick made the most of his opportunity to play the slot full-time. With veteran Brandon Gibson sidelined with a hamstring injury, Landry led the Dolphins with six receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 54-yard return in the first quarter that set up an early field goal. Landry made a strong case for more playing time, even when Gibson returns.

2. Olivier Vernon, defensive end: Vernon had a season-high seven tackles and 1.5 sacks. He also held up well against the run by protecting the edge, which is an area Vernon continues to make strides. The Packers averaged just 3.6 yards per carry. Vernon has now had a sack in three of Miami's five games this season.

3. Cameron Wake, defensive end: It was a strong game for Miami's defensive line, which clearly had an advantage over Green Bay’s offensive line on paper. That played out as Wake also gave the Packers trouble. He finished with three tackles and 1.5 sacks on Rodgers. Wake also was credited for three quarterbacks hits in one of his best games so far this season.

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