Dolphins must keep the training wheels off of the 2021 offense

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The Miami Dolphins’ performance in Week 3 of the 2021 regular season leaves a lot of questions, particularly on the offensive side of the football. How can a team average less than 3.5 yards per play on offense over 32 minutes of play after being spotted a 14-0 lead? How can WR Jaylen Waddle really average just 4.8 yards per reception on 12 catches?

That production, by the way, is an NFL record. And not in a good way.

How can Miami average 8 yards per carry on their first two possessions and own one of the NFL’s most effective QB sneak runners in football with Jacoby Brissett and decide to come out and pass the football on their own 1-yard line — and not even throw it out of the end zone on a play that ended in a safety?

How is it that the passing offense couldn’t muster up the courage to test the Raiders deep until their lead had dissipated and the Dolphins were forced to try to find bigger plays; only to find out that the Raiders were conceding space and that the speedy big play receivers that Miami targeted to bring into Miami this offseason could, you know, create space for big throws down the field?

Miami’s offense looked like it played scared for much of the game against the Raiders — afraid of a turnover or afraid of making mistakes. But that came at the expense of Miami standing any real chance to try to put the game away instead of letting the Raiders waltz all over the field and take control. Miami’s defense was on the field for 38 minutes against the Raiders — nearly 30 of those minutes came in the first three quarters of play as Miami’s offense conducted a disappearing act worthy of performance on the Vegas strip for two quarters. And the mistakes still came: holding and illegal block penalties negated big plays and Miami did take a significant number of pressures; although nowhere near what they did against Buffalo.

If this team is going to survive the initial storm of (yet another) slow start in September, they’re going to have to take the training wheels off the offense — like they did late in the game when the Raiders effectively forced them to try to push for a big play down the field. They’re going to have to be willing to run Jaylen Waddle in routes that extend beyond 5-yards down the field. They’re going to have to cut loose the vertical throws that they tried late against DeVante Parker and Will Fuller (both of which fell incomplete but both of which could have been argued for pass interference).

What the Dolphins can’t continue to do is clutch their possessions so close to the vest that they don’t even really threaten the opposition.

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