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 »This Week in History
Miami Dolphins
INSIDE SLANT

  Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel | Player Wire

  It was only a year ago when the Miami Dolphins lost to winless Tampa Bay, so the team isn't taking the 1-6 Jacksonville Jaguars lightly this week.

"As we all know, Sunday at 1 o'clock it really doesn't matter what your record is," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. "It matters how well you perform and you execute as a football team."

The Dolphins (3-3) are mixed in the areas of performance and execution. They are fourth defensive yards per game allowed (313.7), fourth in rushing yards per game (136.3), 12th in offensive yards per game (359.8) and plus-two in giveaway/takeaway margin. Those are good things.

On the other hand, the Dolphins are 23rd in third-down efficiency.

"That's one area of our football team that we've really got to coach better, play better, execute better all the way around," Philbin said.

They're also last in last in net punting (32.7 yards), their quarterback, despite completing his first 14 passes last week, is 25th in passer rating (87.8), and they're 15th in points allowed per game (23). Those aren't so good.

Still, there's a growing feeling the Dolphins are getting things together.

They've tailor-made the offense to fit quarterback Ryan Tannehill's skills, meaning he doesn't throw deep very often (he's not adept at that) and has more rollouts and read-options plays because he's good at using his legs.

The offensive line and running game have both shown improvement, and the defense has become more of a playmaking unit.

"As the season progresses, you want to see improvement and development out of everybody at all positions," Philbin said. "You want the units to improve. Again, I think that's the encouraging thing about our football team the last few weeks is I think we improved in a lot of different areas."

One of the biggest area's Miami needs improvement is handling prosperity.

Last season the Dolphins not only lost to winless Tampa Bay a week after beating Cincinnati in overtime, they also lost to a below-average Buffalo team a week after a big victory over New England.

Now Miami finds itself coming off a big victory over Chicago.

The Dolphins can't afford to squander the opportunity to get above .500 by losing to an inferior opponent in the Jaguars.

In fact, Philbin has shied away from calling this a trap game. He doesn't want his players viewing Jacksonville as an underdog. Philbin is trying to make his players think this is another NFL game against a team that could beat Miami.

"There's a lot of indications that coach (Gus) Bradley and his staff are doing a great job up there," Philbin said of the Jaguars. "Their team is getting better, there's no doubt about it.

"I haven't really brought up the record. What I talked about was watch the tape. There's enough there on tape that we have to get ready and we have to play well."



SERIES HISTORY: 6th regular-season meeting. Dolphins leads series, 3-2. Miami won the last meeting, 24-3, in 2012. But when you talk about Dolphins-Jaguars it begins and ends with that ugly 62-7 shellacking Jacksonville put on Miami in the January 2000 in the playoffs. Sure, the Dolphins have won the past two regular-season meetings, but the Jaguars always have that playoff memory.


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