By David Dwork

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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins have played three games off the team’s 16-game schedule.

There is a good three months remaining in the NFL’s regular season.

The Dolphins began last season with a poor 1-4 record before turning things around and making the playoffs.

These are all things that the team is keeping in mind following a pair of poor efforts against the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints.

“If we do our job, if we do what we’re supposed to do, we’ll be fine,” said Dolphins coach Adam Gase. “If we keep throwing crap out there and not doing what we’re supposed to do, then it’s going to be what it’s been the last two weeks. We can absolutely clean this up very simply by doing what we’re supposed to do.”

Gase was speaking mostly about Miami’s offense, which has been limited to just one scoring drive over the past two games.

“I thought the defense played really well,” he said. “I mean they kept us in the game as long as they could. Offensively, we have to do what we’re coached to do.”

Even without Gase’s criticism, players on offense know that they have to be better.

It helps that they have last season’s dreadful start to use as motivation, knowing that it’s not too late to turn things around.

“I think it gives us that sense of there’s no need to panic,” said receiver Kenny Stills. “We understand that the schemes that we’re running in the run game take a little bit of time for guys to get on the same page. We know that we have players. We know we have talent. We know we have great coaching. We’ve just got to get back to the basics, fundamentals of things and execute the game plan every week and we’ll get back on the right track.”

It’s difficult to pin down one area of the offense that has struggled more than others but Gase has been quick to defend quarterback Jay Cutler when the finger pointing begins.

“If we protect him and give him a second to throw the ball, we’ll be alright,” Gase said. “If he’s going to get hit from start to finish, I don’t care who you put back there. We need to do a better job of protecting him, being where we’re supposed to be.”

The offensive line has certainly not played the way many expected, which is surprising considering there are three first round picks anchoring the unit.

Last season Gase cut three offensive lineman during the same week, two of which had been starters all sseason, after Miami fell to 1-4 following consecutive embarrassing losses to Cincinnati and Tennessee.

This time around there aren’t any obvious options for drastic changes but Gase says it’s more of an execution issue than it is with personnel.

“Some of it is the defense does a good job and they win some one-on-one matchups. Some of it is we don’t get the ball out soon enough. Some of it is we didn’t run the right route. It’s something different every time,” Gase said of the offensive line. “We can easily get this cleaned up if we get more guys doing exactly what they’re supposed to do play in and play out, and we’ll have more success. When we have all these leaks in the dam and we keep trying to plug all these holes, that’s when you’re going to get in trouble. If guys come out and do what they’re supposed to do, we’ll be fine.”

Miami will (finally) play its first game at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday when they host the Tennessee Titans.


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