Dolphins

Fins Head Into Off-Season Full Of Questions

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(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If the 2013 Miami Dolphins could be summed up in just a few words it would likely be, consistently inconsistent.

The Dolphins defense didn’t come to play each week. The Fins’ running game was non-existent most weeks. And when Miami tried to throw the football, quarterback Ryan Tannehill was often running for his life behind a patchwork at best offensive line.

Still, Miami was just two wins away from a guaranteed spot in the playoffs. At one point on Sunday, the Fins were just a couple of quarters away from the team’s first playoff berth since 2008. But as the team reached for the brass ring, it fell flat on its face.

In the final two games of the season, Miami scored a total of seven points. In those two games, Miami threw for 293 yards and ran the ball for a total of 106 yards, while turning the ball over five times in the two games.

After putting up solid numbers for most of the season, Tannehill was abysmal in the must-win games. He completed 30-67 passes for 286 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. He posted a quarterback rating of 43.9 against two bad teams in Buffalo and the Jets.

Perhaps it’s not a surprise that Tannehill struggled down the stretch as he was sacked an NFL-leading 58 times in 2013. No other quarterback was sacked 50 times in 2013. Tannehill’s sacks numbers were an all-time record for the Dolphins franchise.

Tannehill’s three interception debacle against the Jets brought his second season to a close with final numbers of 335-588 (60.4 completion percentage) for 3,913 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions and posted a quarterback rating of 81.7.

By themselves those numbers are good enough to get most teams into the playoffs. But Tannehill rapidly lost confidence in offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, which could have explained a lot of the passing problems in the final two games.

Tannehill flashed plenty of potential, but the Dolphins’ inconsistency ruined any chance for Miami to make progress in year two under head coach Joe Philbin.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is reportedly ready to make major changes to the organization, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald. The question is where can Ross make changes that will be meaningful?

Most fans would prefer that Ross fire general manager Jeff Ireland after the debacle of the last few seasons in Miami. Ireland has the franchise mired in mediocrity and has not shown a propensity for bringing in the right players or coaches to push the team forward.

Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman is likely out, regardless of what happens to Ireland. Sherman appeared overmatched throughout much of 2013 and will likely take the fall for the offenses woes.

But, that will also put Tannehill in a new offense for the first time since he was a freshman at Texas A&M University.

Head coach Joe Philbin is likely safe, despite the on and off-the-field problems the Dolphins have dealt with in the last two years.

Finally, the team still awaits the final report from the Ted Wells investigation and the likely very public fallout from that report. It may be delayed until February as the league will not want any distractions from the playoffs and Super Bowl.

The Dolphins were painfully close to sneaking into the playoffs, instead a long off-season of questions is on deck for a franchise that’s not shown a propensity to give good answers.

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