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Omar Kelly: Dolphins need offense to get into a rhythm to find team's identity

By Omar Kelly, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Football

There is a certain rhythm that goes with an effective and efficient offense in football.

It is like a sophisticated Bachata, were a couple's hips are aligned to the beat of Latin music, or a popular line dance where everyone knows the predetermined moves and does them in unison to Country music.

Right now, heading into the third game of the season, after having less than two months to install a new offense, the Miami Dolphins appear to be off beat and stumbling all over themselves.

The Dolphins currently have no rhythm. Feet are getting stepped on figuratively, and as a result that side of the ball isn't playing fast.

Because of the truncated offseason the Dolphins haven't mastered the ins and outs of the plays and concepts Chan Gailey's installing enough for the playmakers to play fast, and until they do this team will continue to struggle establishing an offensive identity.

What Dolphins coach Brian Flores' team is trying to do is master a simple two step and find its groove, which hasn't been easy because the coaches are still learning about the capability of the team's weaponry and the players are still digesting the playbook.

But Gailey does seems convinced he's got all the pieces he needs to deliver something better than the NFL's 22nd best offense, which is where the Dolphins rank heading into Thursday night's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

While plenty remains unsettled, the Dolphins do have a vision for what Miami's offense should resemble.

"It's supposed to be an offense that changes every week, an offense that tailors to our strengths," said quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has the benefit of serving as a starter for three teams Gailey has been a play-caller for, going back to their time together with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.

But Fitzpatrick does warn that expecting Miami's offense to look like Gailey's teams in Buffalo, which featured scatbacks as the offenses primary weapons, and his squads in New York, where receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker feasted, producing the NFL's 10th-best offense, are unrealistic.

From Fitzpatrick's viewpoint, part of the charm about Gailey is his ability to help the offense adapt, making the game plan, and its execution look different from week to week.

And from opponent to opponent.

"When I was in New York with Chan, you could look at the stats of the tight ends and how many catches they had but I don't think any of them had 100 yards, ever in a season. We've got different skill sets and different guys here that we want to try to get involved," Fitzpatrick said, referring to tight end Mike Gesicki, who delivered a career-best eight-catch, 130-yard performance in Sunday's 31-28 loss to the Bills.

"Whether it's the big guys on the outside, whether it's our quick guys on the inside - Isaiah Ford had a great game last week - or continuing to get the running backs more involved. I just think as we (get) going here, he's going to continue to figure out what's going to make us a good offense, a dynamic offense, and we'll keep feeding those parts."

 

A good offense has a balance of run and pass plays blending in together, making it difficult for opponents to predict what's coming. Miami's play-action game has been lacking because there isn't much balance.

A good offense features a steady diet of check-down plays that deliver yards after the catch, and possesses the threat of the big play that produces chunk yardage. The Dolphins have delivered neither in their first two games.

Problem is getting it takes an offensive line that has chemistry to open up running lanes, and give the quarterback time to operate. The Dolphins aren't there yet.

It also has healthy playmakers who regularly win matchups with defenders, and the Dolphins have a couple that are nursing nagging injuries.

Like every other team in the NFL this season, the Dolphins haven't had much time for on-field teaching and installation time, which means the offense hasn't had time to get things in sync.

Patience is required before we view Gailey's tenure as offensive coordinator a bust.

How much patience? Maybe until midseason.

And what will it look like when this offense finally clicks?

Gailey's best guess is fluid.

"There is only one football. Nobody ever gets it enough. That's just the way it happens in this game," Gailey said. "When you have good receivers, you have a good tight end, you have good running backs, everybody cannot touch it as much as they would like to touch it or as much as anybody would like for them to touch it. You have to do what the defense allows you to do."

Or better yet, dance to the beat of the tune your opponent is playing.

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