DAVIE (CBSMiami/AP) — A day after an excruciating loss, the head coach of the Miami Dolphins wanted to calm things down.READ MORE: COVID uptick being felt across South Florida as CDC recommends taking added precautions
Stoic by nature but anxious to lighten the mood, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin tried to joke Monday about the mood of fans following a loss to lowly Jacksonville.
“I haven’t heard them screaming for me,” he said. “I hope they’re not screaming for my head or anything.”
But Philbin knows he began the season with shaky security, and for a team that hasn’t finished above .500 since he became coach in 2012, Sunday seemed like more of the same.
The Dolphins started slowly and unraveled down the stretch. They couldn’t run the ball and failed to muster a pass rush despite the addition of All-Pro newcomer Ndamukong Suh, who was a non-factor for the second game in a row.
The Dolphins began the season believing they were poised to become the best team in the AFC East. Now they can’t even say they’re the best team on Florida’s East Coast.
“We know we’ve got to do better,” center Mike Pouncey said. “But it’s only the second week of the season. No one is panicking.”
Injuries might make it more difficult to rebound as the Dolphins (1-1) prepare to face division rival Buffalo (1-1) at home Sunday.
Left tackle Branden Albert, nursing a right hamstring injury and still not fully recovered from left knee surgery last year, limped out of the locker room Monday. Running back Lamar Miller had his right ankle heavily taped as he passed through. Both watched Sunday’s finish from the sideline, as did tight end Jordan Cameron (groin) and defensive end Cameron Wake (hamstring).
“It hurts, especially at the end of games when you could help the team,” Cameron said. “But it’s next man up. We’ll be fine.”
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was limping after the loss with a sore right ankle following a succession of hits. Among those injured, Albert’s availability for the Bills game appears the most questionable.READ MORE: Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign off on housing money
Suh has been healthy but unproductive, with no sacks or tackles for a loss in consecutive games. That never happened to him last year with the Detroit Lions.
Suh has only two solo tackles since signing a $114 million contract that made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. But Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle defended his play.
“I don’t think it’s underachieving,” Coyle said. “As a defense we’ve got high expectations, and I would want to keep the evaluation of where we’re going to be until we see things go down the road a little bit. We’ve got 14 more opportunities.”
Philbin was more annoyed about the Dolphins’ 13 penalties, the most they’ve had since 2005, for 112 yards.
“Unacceptable. Way too many,” he said. “We had eight penalties in the fourth quarter. Eight. That’s not a good reflection on me.”
Most costly was a late hit by defensive end Olivier Vernon that set up the Jaguars’ winning field goal in the final minute. Philbin replayed a video of the foul at a team meeting Monday.
“I told our owner when I applied for the job that we were going to have a disciplined team,” Philbin said. “For the most part we have been. But that is not a good illustration of that.”
Penalties are a new problem for Philbin’s Dolphins, but many of the others are painfully familiar.
“We’ve got to make some corrections quickly,” he said. He wasn’t joking.
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