Dolphins coach Brian Flores indicated the team will move forward with its new offensive line group and hopes to see continued improvement.
That group had Austin Jackson at left tackle, Jesse Davis at left guard (after beginning the season at right tackle), Michael Deiter at center, Rob Hunt at right guard and Liam Eichenberg at right tackle.
“I thought Austin did some good things; some things he could do better,” Flores said when asked if Jackson will continue as the unquestioned starter at left tackle. “He’s a hard working kid.
“[The five starting offensive linemen] did some good things yesterday; some things we can do better. Communication was good. Spurts of good execution. It’s a group we can move forward with.”
Per Pro Football Focus, Jackson and Hunt each permitted six quarterback pressures; Davis and Eichenberg permitted four apiece.
The website said Deiter graded out best among the team’s offensive lineman and Eichenberg graded out worst.
All five starters played all 83 of the Dolphins’ offensive snaps.
Pro Football Focus said “the unit was remarkably effective at opening and maintaining holes for rushers, with the team averaging two rushing yards before contact. In pass protection, the group allowed 25 total pressures, including two that were converted into sacks.”
Meanwhile, Flores was asked if the coaches are not utilizing players in the right manner.
“That’s how I feel about the situation right now,” he said. “We have to put our [players] in better position to have success. That starts with me. We’ve got to prepare them better and play more consistently.”
Flores addressed other issues:
▪ Flores said “we were able” to “get the run game going” but “not consistently enough” on Sunday.
▪ On Tua Tagovailoa, who will miss at least two more games with fractured ribs: “Tua is getting better each day. He wanted to support his teammates. That’s why he made the trip. He’s getting better every day.”
▪ On the fact most of the Dolphins’ passers were shorter throws on Sunday, Flores was asked whether that becomes inefficient. He said it is not inefficient if a team can move the ball against a defense trying to keep everything in front of it, as the Raiders did Sunday.
“There were other opportunities we could have pushed the ball a little bit,” Flores said. “Every week you’re trying to create explosive plays. Once you’re in the game, you’ve got to take what they give you. We had a couple opportunities. We got the ball downfield. Didn’t make as many as we needed to. We’ll always look to try to create more.”
▪ Flores indicated the Dolphins felt strongly about going for the game-tying field goal in overtime as opposed to going for it on fourth-and-2 from the Raiders’ 32 yard line.
Jason Sanders made the 50-yard field goal to tie the score, but the Raiders won it on a field goal on their next possession.
Kicking the field goal gave “ourselves an opportunity to extend the game and give the defense a chance to get the ball back,” he said.
▪ Flores said receiver Will Fuller — in his Dolphins debut — “looked good. Wish we had got him a few more opportunities. Got some blocks in the run game. Good to get him out there.”
▪ Flores said in terms of stopping the run, “we’ve done a good job in spurts. We’ve had some issues where everyone is trying to make a play and help the team win. It’s genuine, it’s sincere, but we had a couple guys get out of their gaps trying to make a play and it was to our demise.”
Here’s how the Dolphins distributed playing time on Sunday:
▪ Running back: Salvon Ahmed, who led the Dolphins in yards per carry average last season (4.3), has become an afterthought. He played just five offensive snaps on Sunday, compared with 43 for Myles Gaskin and 34 for Malcolm Brown.
▪ Receiver: Jaylen Waddle played 73 of Miami’s 83 offensive snaps. DeVante Parker played 64, Fuller played 51, Mack Hollins 24 and Jakeem Grant 2.
▪ Tight end: Mike Gesicki logged 55 snaps, compared with 34 for Durham Smythe, 28 for Adam Shaheen and two for rookie Hunter Long. Tight end/H-back Cethan Carter did not play a snap on offense.
▪ Linebacker: Jerome Baker was the only Dolphins player to log all 83 defensive snaps. Jaelan Phillips played 49 defensive snaps after playing a combined 40 in the first two games. Elandon Roberts played 47 snaps, Andrew Van Ginkel 34, Brennan Scarlett 18, Sam Eguavoen five and Duke Riley one.
▪ Defensive line: Emmanuel Ogbah played 63 defensive snaps, Christian Wilkins 58, John Jenkins 47, Zach Sieler 42 and Adam Butler 41.
▪ Safety: The Dolphins continued splitting snaps among four players, but Eric Rowe went from playing the least of the four against Buffalo to the most of the four against Las Vegas. Rowe logged 65 defensive snaps, compared with 42 for Jevon Holland, 41 for Jason McCourty and 36 for Brandon Jones. Clayton Fejedelem played one defensive snap.
▪ Cornerback: Nik Needham played 57 snaps to Justin Coleman’s 25, but Coleman struggled in those snaps. Xavien Howard played 80, Byron Jones 77. Noah Igbinoghene was active but did not play a defensive snap.