Dolphins fall to middle of the pack

MIAMI -- How good are the 2013 Miami Dolphins?

Your guess is as good as anyone’s.

The Dolphins enter the bye week limping following Sunday’s 26-23 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Two weeks ago, the Dolphins were 3-0 and there was discussion of whether they could be among the upper-echelon teams.

But two losses in six days have quickly brought Miami crashing down to earth. The Dolphins (3-2) at this stage are simply a middle-of-the-pack team. They’re not bad. They’re not great.

“It doesn’t feel good; it doesn’t feel good at all,” Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi said of back-to-back losses. “This bye week would have been nice going in 4-1. But we have to get better at certain things.”

The Dolphins are back in line with the NFL’s large and inconsistent middle class. That is major part of what's made the league so popular. You just don’t know what to expect from at least half of the teams, including the Dolphins, on a given week. Miami enters the bye week certainly with more questions than answers.

The defense hasn’t lived up to expectations and is banged-up with injuries. The Dolphins aren’t getting enough stops and allowed the New Orleans Saints and Ravens to combine for 64 points the past two games.

On offense, the pass protection has been horrible and is perhaps the Dolphins’ biggest weakness. Miami has allowed 24 sacks in five games, including six against the Ravens on Sunday.

“There’s a lot of ballgames left to play and time to turn it around,” Dolphins left tackle Jonathan Martin said. “But it is a concerning trend so far. So it’s definitely something we need to get corrected now.”

Dolphins second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill is keeping Miami’s offense afloat. He continues to play well despite poor blocking and little help from the running game.

Miami rushed for just 22 yards on 11 carries. But Tannehill threw for 307 yards and a touchdown. He also nearly led the Dolphins to a game-tying drive in the final minute, but rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis missed a 57-yard field goal.

In the preseason, a 3-2 start would have been considered solid for Miami. The Dolphins had a brutal schedule to start the season, but losing two in a row gives the impression that Miami is sputtering.

“We have to make up some things and get better at some things, but I think we’ll be alright,” Misi said.

"Alright” is a good way to describe the Dolphins. They’re certainly not elite but they're not bad, either.

Currently, Miami is just alright after five games.