Xavien Howard sat at his locker Sunday after the Dolphins misplaced to Minnesota, 24-16, and frustratingly rattled off the phrases he’s been taught his complete athletic life. Accidents aren’t an excuse for dropping. All people has accidents. No person cares you probably have accidents. It’s the subsequent man up. Howard, the Dolphins All Professional cornerback, went by way of the whole record of sayings.
Guard Robert Hunt mentioned the identical issues. So did linebacker Jaelan Phillips, and even coach Mike McDaniel.
However sooner or later it’s not true for the Dolphins or some other crew. In some unspecified time in the future, and maybe at this level proper now, the accidents do make a distinction, and the personnel losses attributable to these accidents go away a mark. No crew has an infinite quantity of depth.
In some unspecified time in the future you want good well being otherwise you gained’t win. That’s the NFL fact.
The Dolphins try to battle by way of that NFL fact. They’re attempting to persuade themselves they’ve sufficient, they will discover a approach.
“We will’t hold utilizing that excuse that everyone is injured,” Howard mentioned. “Folks don’t give a [expletive].”
He’s proper, after all.
However the Dolphins, who’ve now misplaced three consecutive video games after beginning 3-0, are on the finish of the road in terms of depth.
You possibly can’t count on to thrive once you go three consecutive video games the place the quarterback who begins the sport doesn’t end it attributable to damage, you don’t have your beginning offensive tackles, and also you don’t have a beginning cornerback.
Worse, the Dolphins misplaced a number of key gamers to accidents throughout Sunday’s sport together with rookie beginning quarterback Skylar Thompson (proper thumb), cornerbacks Nik Needham (Achilles) and Keion Crossen (knee), and linebacker Trey Flowers (foot).
You don’t need to make excuses, however you additionally don’t need to ignore actuality.
Take a look at the important thing numbers.
The Dolphins, who had been minus-3 in turnovers Sunday towards Minnesota (5-1) with two interceptions and a misplaced fumble, at the moment are minus-5 in turnover margin for the season. They had been plus-2 after three weeks. They’re minus-7 the previous three weeks.
“The No. 1 indicator in wins and losses has been, and without end will likely be, turnovers,” McDaniel mentioned.
The Dolphins had 10 penalties for 97 yards towards Minnesota. Final week they’d 11 penalties for 102 yards towards the New York Jets. That’s 21 penalties for 199 yards the previous two weeks.
Move safety is missing.
Dolphins quarterbacks had been sacked six instances Sunday and absorbed 13 hits. Final week they had been sacked twice and absorbed 16 hits. That’s eight sacks and 29 quarterback hits the previous two weeks.
And particular groups errors, some the results of accidents, have been coming in abundance the previous few weeks. It’s not essentially the missed or blocked subject aim makes an attempt or additional factors, however moderately the lengthy kickoff and punt returns.
Once you play numerous backups, dangerous issues usually occur.
However not all the time.
The Dolphins protection type of did its factor. The protection held the Vikings to 234 yards, pressured 10 punts, recorded three sacks, seven quarterback hits and 5 passes defended. They pressured three-and-outs on Minnesota’s first 4 possessions. However they didn’t produce a turnover for the third consecutive sport, maybe one other signal of enjoying a number of backups.
“Despite the fact that we get three-and-outs and [expletive] like that, it ain’t sufficient,” Howard mentioned. “And we see that now. I don’t need individuals to go on the market chasing performs however, [expletive], we’ve bought to get higher.”
It’s robust when groups should grudgingly acknowledge they’ve exhausted the subsequent males within the “next-man-up” philosophy.
However that’s the place we’re at with the Dolphins. Few NFL rosters can take this type of attrition.
On prime of all the things else, penalties are creeping up and affecting technique.
Penalties, or the massive quantity of penalties, pressured McDaniel to attempt to rating on the Dolphins’ last possession of the primary half. They bought the ball at their very own 11-yard line with 28 seconds remaining, trailing, 7-3. They suffered an interception two performs later and Minnesota kicked a 34-yard subject aim to take a 10-3 halftime lead.
McDaniel mentioned the massive variety of penalties pressured him to attempt for the factors.
“It feels on the sector once you’re getting a slew of penalties, it feels prefer it’s out of your management,” he mentioned.
The penalties aren’t doubtless a product of the personnel losses attributable to damage. However they’re one other factor going improper and inflicting stress.
Almost definitely time is the most important issue within the Dolphins getting again on the profitable monitor. Time, theoretically, will carry good well being. Till then, the Dolphins will proceed to attempt to persuade themselves they’ve sufficient to win. The Dolphins, in different phrases, will proceed to battle towards the NFL actuality that accidents do trigger losses.
“It’s positively irritating,” Phillips mentioned of the seemingly infinite line of accidents the Dolphins have sustained up to now three weeks. “But it surely doesn’t shake our confidence. Our eyes are on subsequent week already.”