<
>

Obstacles appear insurmountable for injured, inconsistent Dolphins

play
Dolphins need to focus on health (1:03)

ESPN Dolphins reporter Cameron Wolfe says Miami's bye week plans should center around getting healthy and fixing its anemic offense. (1:03)

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Cameron Wake couldn't help but chuckle a little bit when thinking about where the Miami Dolphins stand, at 5-5 headed into their bye week.

All their woes popped up again Sunday in a 31-12 blowout loss to the Packers -- an anemic offense, porous run defense, third-down and red-zone struggles and a lengthy injury list. None have been easy to fix, and the injuries alone are threatening to ruin their season.

"The biggest thing in the NFL is staying healthy, as you can very vividly see," Wake said. "If we can do that part, the rest will be easy."

The problem is the Dolphins haven't been healthy -- or consistent in any phase of football. They're still in the thick of a weak AFC wild-card race, but it's hard to see the Dolphins making any noise down the stretch, given their current issues.

The Dolphins were handcuffed going into the game after ruling out three starting offensive linemen (Laremy Tunsil, Ja'Wuan James, Ted Larsen) with injuries, and they allowed six sacks mainly because the Packers' pass-rushers got to pin their ears back in the fourth quarter.

Brock Osweiler didn't play well for the third consecutive game, and it seems like an untimely turnover is always imminent with him at the helm. Osweiler went 23-of-37 for 213 yards and an interception. They went 0-of-3 in the red zone and now have scored a TD on just 40 percent of their red-zone drives, tied for the lowest efficiency in the NFL.

Miami hasn't scored an offensive touchdown since the third quarter of their Oct. 25 loss at Houston.

"I'm the only guy on the team that touches the ball every play on offense and I need to find ways to get better and score touchdowns," Osweiler said. "This whole organization deserves better."

But this isn't just an Osweiler issue. Dating to last season, Miami hasn't scored a first-drive offensive touchdown in 20 games. They haven't scored a first-drive offensive point in 13 games. They are the only team in the NFL that has not scored any points on their opening drives this season.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase will need to be honest with himself on why that has been the case under his watch.

The bye week comes not a moment too soon for the Dolphins, who are simply running out of bodies. And they hope it can offer some reprieve. But these aren't just the minor nicks and bruises -- the Dolphins have placed nine players on season-ending injured reserve.

Of the nine -- Daniel Kilgore, Josh Sitton, Albert Wilson, Luke Falk, MarQueis Gray, Cordrea Tankersley, William Hayes, Chase Allen, Vincent Taylor -- six were starters or significant contributors.

It has yet to be seen whether Jakeem Grant, who suffered a non-contact foot injury and had to be carted off the field Sunday, or DeVante Parker, who had a sling to support his shoulder injury after the game, will join that list.

That doesn't even include their starting quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, who has missed the past five games with a shoulder injury. It's no guarantee he will return Nov. 25 at Indianapolis despite his and the team's optimistic hopes.

"The unfortunate truth is nobody cares. The fans don't care. The media doesn't care. And most importantly, your opponent doesn't care," Wake said. "Whoever is in the game, the expectation is for you to get the job done. That's kind of the end of the story. How you feel about it is kind of irrelevant."

Wake is right. Every NFL team has injuries. Occasionally teams get a pass because of it, such as the 49ers without Jimmy Garoppolo. But the Dolphins shouldn't get that pass because their issues go beyond just injuries.

"This is the National Football League. They say that nobody ever makes it out of this game healthy 100 percent," defensive end Robert Quinn said. "We just have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot."

Wake added: "You are what your record says you are. We have some work to do."

Miami will use this bye week to self-scout, get healthy and figure out how to fix their struggling offense. If Tannehill's not back soon -- and even if he is -- the damage might already been done.