JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins' coaches and players began training camp with a bold proclamation. The team was not afraid to embrace playoff expectations after putting together a talent-laden roster.
But after two games, it's time to pump the brakes on Miami's bandwagon. The Dolphins suffered a 23-20 loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday and showed many of the same issues that made Miami a mediocre team the previous three seasons.
The Dolphins have a lot of issues early that need to be addressed. Their defense, which included the offseason signing of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, is inconsistent and not nearly as dominant as it should be. Miami allowed second-year quarterback Blake Bortles (273 yards, two touchdowns) to gain a lot of confidence early with big plays, and that fast start helped Jacksonville throughout. The coaching staff isn't getting the most out of the talent it has at its disposal on defense.
Offensively, the Dolphins start slow, can't run the football efficiently and can't protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill. These are all issues we saw over and over in 2014. Not much has changed.
Miami also is playing a dangerous game of starting slow and assuming that its talent is good enough to overcome in the second half. That wasn't the case on Sunday.
"It took us a while to get going on offense," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. "It's been a pattern now and it's two weeks old and needs to change."
The Jaguars are a young, rebuilding team that is not expected to do much this year. The Dolphins are a veteran-laden group with playoff expectations. But for this entire game, it was difficult to tell the difference between the two teams.
After back-to-back games on the road, the Dolphins will finally have their home opener in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo has been a tough matchup for Miami in recent years, going 4-2 in the past six meetings against the Dolphins.
Buffalo is coming off a 40-32 loss to the New England Patriots and will be desperate for a win. The Dolphins can perhaps prove that they're a playoff contender next week, but the early showings haven't been pretty.
Tannehill said he's not losing confidence in his team and teammates after one bad loss.
"We ride together and you die together," Tannehill said. "That's kind of the mentality that we have."