Talent , Execution , Or Coaching: Titans v.s. Miami 1st Qtr Film Study
Miami can fix anything but a talent deficit
I put out an article about how the Miami Dolphins started to find a successful identity against the Titans as they shifted to a more diverse run scheme, reduced the role of Julius Thomas, and began to shy a way from predominately using 3 Wide sets.
To say I was lambasted by some is an understatement.
So, since I’m not the brightest light on the Christmas Tree according to per head sportsbooks, I’ll continue with my point that talent isn’t the primary issue in a film study of the Titans game.
Now this new look could have just been a product of DeVante Parker being out and Miami could be running inside draws from 3 wides, bubble screens, and stretch runs to the short side all over again this week. I don’t know.
But here’s every play from the 1st Qtr, so you can make your decision on whether Miami’s issues originate from talent, execution, or coaching… or even worse, all of the above.
1st & 10: 3 Wides
Miami sends out 5 receiving options with a quick pass for short yardage. By the time the ball is thrown, no receiver has passed through the huge empty zone in the middle. Doesn’t appear a great play design as the protection was sound.
What’s the advantage of every route attacking the perimeter? Is stacking 3 receivers in 7 yards the best idea?
My Take: Coaching.
2nd & 8: 3 Wides
Miami runs a Wide Zone play to the short side of the field. So far this season, this has been a high percentage loser for the offense. The defense sets up wide and plays press with 2 deep. Laremy Tunsil is beat off the snap by the D-End who harasses the play. Mike Pouncey slams down to help with the DT, which offers a free lane for the LB to come in a make the tackle. The defense set up for what was coming and shut down the play.
Why do they still run this play when it has such a high percentage of failure? Why a stretch to the short side?
BTW: Miami ran this on the first play in the Jets game with the same results.
My Take: Coaching
3rd & 8: 4 Wides
Defense only brings 3 rushers. The inside attack forces Tunsil to have to handle a rusher one-on-one. He fails, and the inside pressure forces an early throw and the play to Parker. Tunsil is supposed to be a talent, so IF this is a talent issue Miami has big issues.
My Take: Tunsil’s Execution
1st & 10: 3 TE’s
A rare ‘Even Steven’ for Miami’s run game. 8 v.s.8 blocking, and the play is run away from Thomas. Fasano makes a key block for a good gain. Offensive Line wins.
BTW: Notice the jab by Anthony Fasano before he goes to the second level.
My Take: OL and especially Fasano’s execution.
2nd & 5: 2TE & 2 Wides
WR screen to Landry against a stacked front and CB in press. Stills can’t make a block. This will reoccur. It’s sort of a difficult assignment as the CB only needs to get outside because help is coming fast inside.
Everyone knows Gase is good for at least two of these a game. Even though they overwhelmingly fail for this reason or an other, he keeps calling them. A good first down play is squandered.
My Take: Coaching by Gase and execution by Stills.
3rd & 6: 3 Wides
Protection is good except for James, who collapses, forcing Cutler to go on the move before he can even set. Ajayi draws middle zone coverage up and frees Landry up for what could have been a big gain. This also shows what occupying the middle zone can do for a play. This is exactly what the 1st down play of the first drive lacked. Again, like Tunsil, is this a lack of talent or execution for James? Your call.
My Take: Execution (or talent ) by James.
1st & 10: 3 Wides (Gray in for Thomas)
Fins run a Stretch Zone run to the wide side. Steen first blocks inside, play side, and then can’t get back outside after the swap with Tunsil to make the block… or this would have been a big gain for Williams. Tough block as this wasn’t designed to go back side… but in a stretch run it’s always a possibility.
My Take: You could say talent or execution of Steen
2nd & 7: 3 Wides (Fasano in for Thomas)
Dolphins run a play fake that causes the LB’s to freeze allowing Stills to break open. Unfortunately, the Titans have found something they like. They attack Tunsil wide again, and he gets beat again. Cutler must dump it off to avoid the sack. This would have been a huge play given the open field and Stills speed.
My Take: It’s talent or execution again by Tunsil.
3rd & 7: 4 Wide & 1 RB
Williams shows why he is an essential player to the Fins. He plays wide and breaks free on a sweet double inside move between him and the WR. Williams catches clean and spins out of a tackle for a big gain. Protection is excellent and a second option is wide open. This play was beautifully designed and should be used in key situations in the future.
My Take: Good coaching and talent by Williams.
1st & 10: 2 Wides & 2 TE’s (Thomas is on the bench)
Gase begins using counter action with the Zone Stretch to attack the back side of the play. This is a very nice wrinkle and should have been used two games ago. The OL does a good job of sealing, and Stills is THE key block. He fails again, and a huge plays turns into a small gain.
BTW: Ajayi’s hard step like that is always a key to a designed counter.
My Take: Execution by Stills, or talent if he can’t block.
2nd & 7: 3 Wides (Thomas is back in)
Gase usually goes conservative on 2nd & 7. Here he attacks and Grant gets two chances to make the grab. Cutler could have brought the pass down a bit, though. James does a nice job peeling off and protecting his QB. Can’t fault the play in any way, other than it would have been nice to nail it. Parker likely would have had the TD.
My Take: Execution on Grant’s part.
3rd & 7: 3 Wides (Thomas still in)
James and Bushrod double team a rusher, and then an inside stunt is picked up by Jermon Bushrod. Bushord is a little late, but if James isn’t again driven deep into the backfield, then it’s a non issue. Stills is about to break open and the 1st is there on a silver platter, but the Tackles let the offense down. James continues to show a weakness to the bull rush.
My Take: Execution or talent on James’ part, depending on your cup of tea.
End of 1st Quarter.