Dolphins must have a run first mentality


None of this season at 3-4 makes sense for most Dolphins fans.  While the early part of the season seemed like the sky was falling, this season is shaping up to being one that fans, pundits, and beat writers can latch onto.

The Dolphins have done a complete 180 and it didn’t take until week 16 to figure it out.

Gone are the sudden and snap judgments of Ryan Tannehill and his poor play.

The Dolphins are playing smash mouth football which by definition starts by winning the one on one battles on both sides of the ball and running the football for large gains.

The defense rests and gains momentum to fly around the ball in the second half, which bodes well at home when northern teams are maladjusted to the heat and humidity.

Speaking of gains, Jay Ajayi is becoming a household name with his barrage of body blows as he runs for two yards before he even gets touched.

All of it, though, comes down to the line that Tannenbaum and others have built.

When it started with Mike Pouncey being drafted by Jeff Ireland, he was placed on this Dolphins team to compete right away and serve as an anchor and leader for the Dolphins.

The younger Pouncey back then played with fire .

This elder Pouncey  now serves as a mentor to the young Laremy Tunsil who fell in the draft only for the Dolphins to select him.

In hindsight, most teams that passed on him are feeling the full brunt of his flexibility and versatility, but most of all, his strength.

Like a ballet dancer, the Dolphins scheme is carefully choreographed and timed just perfectly by Offensive Coordinator Clyde Christensen who with the full support of head coach Adam Gase, has Tunsil playing left guard and making him look like a natural guard pulling and helping Jay Ajayi get downhill and hitting linebackers and safeties at the second level.

There is no “I” in team, but Ajayi is carrying the Dolphins to a winning streak that with the right formula, could continue given the ease of the schedule.

The Dolphins right now must be run first and pass second.

Facing the Jets this week, while head coach Adam Gase has kept the game plan close to the vest, think about this, the Jets are number one versus the run and nearly dead last versus the pass.

What will the Dolphins do this week to put them in the best position to beat the Jets?

First, the Dolphins must run the ball to keep Ryan Tannehill, their quarterback upright and give him a clean pocket for play action passes.  Tannehill under center is proving more comfortable and efficient than Tannehill as a shotgun passer.

Next, a healthy dose of Tunsil and company going zone blocking to the weak side of the d-line would push the Jets line back a bit and make that point of contact abrupt and strong.

The urgency for the Dolphins is now.  The must win game is every week.

The Dolphins need to run first and shouldn’t have to apologize later.


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