Another week. another Miami Dolphins loss. This one hurts as they become the first team in 21 games to lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The last time Jacksonville won a game was Week 1 of the 2020 season. That streak ended as a last-second field goal sailed through the uprights and the Dolphins headed home from London with oh so many questions that need to be answered.
Miami has clearly fallen well short of their preseason expectations and now have to just try to salvage the season. Things are quickly spiraling out of control, with the spotlight clearly focused on head coach Brian Flores and no clearly answers coming any time soon. The next few weeks will determine if the Dolphins are heading toward yet another rebuild or will they claw their way out of the basement and turn things around this year?
Admittedly, we missed last week with our snap counts post. As we have done every during the 2021 season (other than Week 5), we take a look today at the Dolphins through the snaps played by each player against the Jaguars. Below you will find charts for the offensive and defensive snap counts, along with the each player’s season total. Finally, some thoughts of each position group close out each side of the ball.
Tua Tagovailoa returned to the lineup on Sunday and clearly had an impact on the rhythm of the game. The Dolphins offense opened up more fluid and more attacking than we had seen over the past few weeks. He played all but one snap, with Jacoby Brissett entering the game in a short-yardage situation to run a quarterback sneak that was really a 25-yard pass. Reid Sinnett was inactive for the game after not appearing in the last three weeks while serving as the primary backup to Brissett.
At running back, Myles Gaskin and Malcolm Brown evenly split playing time at 25 snaps each, with both players on the field for 36 percent of the game. Salvon Ahmed was on the field 27 percent of the time. The play that will be discussed the most for the running backs is the Miami 4th-and-1 play with 1:49 remaining in the game at their own 46-yard line. The Dolphins lined up in the shotgun, handing Brown the ball and expecting him to run straight up the middle of the conversion. He was stopped for no gain and the Dolphins turned over the ball on downs, giving the Jaguars 1:42 to move into field goal range – which they obviously did. From a snap-count perspective, Gaskin and Brown splitting playing time evenly – and both players recorded five carries – and Ahmed getting close to their play-time, is either a case of the coaches not trusting one runner to get into a rhythm, or a case of no runner being able to get hot. Either way, something needs to be adjusted here to get someone established as the lead rusher and let them control the playing time.
Tight end was an interesting position. Mike Gesicki is regaining his position as a major portion of the passing game, especially in a game without many of the top receivers for the Dolphins, but he fell to second in snaps played among tight ends. Gesicki was on the field for 49 snaps (70 percent), while Durham Smythe was on the field for 58 snaps (83 percent). Obviously, the two players were on the field together a lot on Sunday, and this could be a case of making sure Smythe was in to assist the offensive line in protecting Tagovailoa in his return from broken ribs. Hunter Long played nine snaps while Cethan Carter appeared in four plays. Adam Shaheen, who is the third tight end in the group normally, was inactive with a knee injury.
The wide receivers saw the biggest shakeup on offense this week as Will Fuller remains on injured reserve and DeVante Parker and Preston Williams were inactive due to injuries; add in the trade of Jakeem Grant to the Chicago Bears and suddenly a deep position is extremely thin. Mack Hollins, who had 63 total snaps on offense in Weeks 1 through 5 led the way with 68 snaps on Sunday, good for 97 percent of the available playing time on offense. Jaylen Waddle was just behind him with 65 snaps played. Albert Wilson, who seemed to be in line for an increased share of the playing time, really started at about his season average, playing 23 snaps, while Isaiah Ford, elevated from the practice squad, appeared in five plays. Kirk Merritt was also elevated from the practice squad for the contest, but did not play.
The offensive line seems to finally be stabilizing with Liam Eichenberg at left tackle, Austin Jackson at left guard, Greg Mancz at center, Robert Hunt at right guard, and Jesse Davis at right tackle. All five players played all 70 available snaps during the game. Robert Jones and Austin Reiter were both active but did not play while Solomon Kindley only appeared in special teams plays. Michael Deiter has completed the required three weeks on the injured reserve list, though it is unclear how serious his injury was and if he will be able to return at any point this season. If he is able to return, Deiter could either reclaim his starting role at center, or potentially move to right guard and push Hunt out to right tackle, moving Davis into a swing-tackle type of role. The Dolphins could also look to move Davis inside and Hunt outside if they feel the need to adjust something on Tagovailoa’s blindside.
On the defensive line, Christian Wilkins was on the field for 70 percent of the snaps, playing exactly 46 plays for the second week in a row – not to mention his one offensive snap last week. Emmanuel Ogbah was just a few snaps back at 41 played, while Raekwon Davis manned the middle of the line for 36 plays, 55 percent of the game. Zach Sieler made 29 appearances on the field, while Adam Butler was out there for 26 snaps. John Jenkins was only in the game for seven snaps.
Jerome Baker continues to lead the way for linebackers, missing one snap on the day. Miami has to get him back to playing his attacking style rather than trying to rely on him as a coverage linebacker as much, letting him rush the passer and create chaos more than chasing after running backs or tight ends. Jaelan Phillips has clearly established himself as the number two linebacker on the roster now, having played 57 snaps in Week 5 then 54 this past weekend. Andrew Van Ginkel appeared in 47 plays on Sunday, followed by Elandon Roberts at 31, Sam Eguavoen at 15, Brennan Scarlett with 8, and Duke Riley making a one snap cameo.
Cornerback was rough for the Dolphins on Sunday, with both Xavien Howard and Byron Jones inactive due to injury. The team only played three players from the position group, with Justin Coleman and Noah Igbinoghene on the field for all 66 snaps. Nik Needham played 41 snaps, or 62 percent of the game. Trill Williams was active for the first time this year, but did not play, while Elijah Campbell continues to only see action on special teams.
The safeties obviously covered down on the cornerbacks some, but it is worth watching as Jason McCourty and Eric Rowe are seeing their playing time drastically reduced. McCourty played 70 snaps in Week 4, then just 27 last week and 14 this week. Rowe went from 61 snaps in Week 4, to 22 in Week 5 and 19 in Week 6. It has coincided with an increase for Jevon Holland, who played all 66 snaps this week, and Brandon Jones, who was on the field 48 snaps or 73 percent of the available snaps.