Duke Johnson has been quite a find for the Dolphins. 117 yards on the ground and a touchdown. The Dolphins running game was very productive gaining 195 yards on the ground (38 of these gained by Tua).
Xavien Howard ends the season with a bang, picking off a Mac Jones pass for a touchdown.
The offensive line was so bad in pass protection, that on obvious passing downs there was almost no hope that the offense would be able to convert.
The passing game started off well, but once Bellicheck figured out how to stop the short, quick passes, it went downhill. Obviously this is mostly a byproduct of the Dolphins offensive line being unable to consistently pass protect. It was clear on obvious passing plays (for example, plays with empty backfield) that the Dolphins offensive line would not be able to hold up. Conversely, you often (not always) saw Mac Jones get enough time to throw on obvious passing situations once the Patriots figured out how to counter the Dolphins pressure.
Two winning seasons in a row, but two season where we miss the playoffs. It is clear to me that the highest priority on this team is the offensive line. It doesn't have to be an elite offensive line, just an effective one. This offensive line is ranked 32nd in pass protection and 31st in run blocking (surprising there is one worse than the Dolphins at run blocking). Four out of the five players are replaceable. At one point in the season, the top three worst players in pressures allowed were Dolphins offensive linemen (Eich, Jackson, Davis). I'm not sure if that is still the case, but I am sure those guys are still near the top of the list.
If the Dolphins could field even an average offensive line, I believe the entire offense would be significantly more productive. The lack of pass protection severely limits the Dolphins passing game. Everything is based on RPO and short quick passes. At some point, to win a game, an offense must be able to run pro pass sets in obvious passing situations. The offensive line must be able to afford the quarterback a clean pocket from which to throw to in order to convert obvious passing third downs. The offensive line must open holes for running backs in obvious running situations as well. The RPO affords an effective but limited option to mask offensive line deficiencies. At the end of the day, a team needs to be able to block to win.
Unfortunately, all of the chatter points to the Dolphins going after a quarterback facing a significant number of sexual assault allegations (Deshaun Watson). As a back-up plan, there are rumors that they could go after a 34-year old stat-padder (Kirk Cousins). Instead of effectively addressing an issue that has plagued the Dolphins for over a decade, they will most likely throw money and picks at a high risk player that might not even suit up. I hope that turns out not to be the case. I would rather see Tua get an opportunity with better surrounding talent and draft competition for him.
Until next season....