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Dolphins, QB Ryan Tannehill feeling too much heat

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill is getting plenty of heat from the outside for the team’s 1-4 start. However, the company line within the Dolphins is there's too much heat on Tannehill, and that pass protection is the biggest issue currently facing the offense.

Tannehill is hopeful that pass-protection issues will be corrected heading into Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1). Last week, Tannehill was sacked a season-high six times and was hit seven additional times by Tennessee Titans defenders.

Tannehill dropped back to pass 24 times and was sacked or hit on 13 (54 percent) of those occasions.

“It’s tough whenever you don’t really have a chance to start your progression,” Tannehill said. “If you do and [can’t] get to No. 2, there’s no chance of that. It makes it tough on everyone. The receivers have to be able to get open quickly, and I think several of them were on third-down situations.

“It’s tough to get to get to the open guy if you don’t have time. But part of that is on me to be able to move in the pocket and get to the open guy.”

The Dolphins cut three offensive linemen on Tuesday: Dallas Thomas, Billy Turner and Jamil Douglas. All three were former draft picks, making a clear statement to remaining players.

“We know the message,” Dolphins starting guard Jermon Bushrod said. “If they don’t feel like we’re getting it done, they’ll find somebody else. That’s always the message every single day.”

Tannehill admits that he must also do his part, which involves getting better at feeling the pocket, eluding the rush and not committing turnovers. On Wednesday, Tannehill spent time with head coach Adam Gase during the media portion of practice working on pocket-presence drills.

The problems are everywhere for Miami’s offense. The group is ranked No. 29 in total yards (303.8), No. 28 in scoring (17.6 points) and No. 31 in third-down conversions (28.6 percent). This doesn't bode well going against a high-powered Steelers offense that is ranked No. 5 in the NFL.

“Obviously we’re nowhere near where we thought we were going to be,” Tannehill said. “But the reality is that’s our reality. So we only have one real option, and that’s the keep working and find a way to win games.”