Dolphins struggling to solve turnover problem

Joe Philbin’s mistake-correcting with the Miami Dolphins is
taking longer than he would like.

The coach was unhappy that the Dolphins committed two costly
turnovers in their exhibition opener. They returned to the practice
field Tuesday, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw four
interceptions.

The Dolphins were minus-10 in turnover differential last season
and have made improvement there a priority.

”We have to get that cleaned up,” offensive coordinator Mike
Sherman said. ”I’m sure people are tired of hearing it. I’m tired
of saying it.”

Philbin said route running, protection and Tannehill’s accuracy
were all factors in the practice picks. In Sunday’s 24-20 loss to
Dallas, Tannehill took the blame for a lost fumble on the first
play, and backup quarterback Matt Moore threw an interception that
was tipped and returned for a touchdown.

The game was sloppy, as exhibition openers tend to be, with
blocking, tackling and execution at the skill positions all an
issue for the Dolphins.

They play at Jacksonville on Friday night. With the season
opener a month away, what is Philbin’s main concern?

”Everything,” he said. ”Our entire team. We’re still in
training camp and have a ton of stuff to work on. There’s nothing
we don’t need work on. That’s not uncommon this time of year. I’m
not panicked about it. But I’m concerned about every single
thing.”

The first-team offense, minus two starting receivers, played
only 10 plays against Dallas and didn’t cross midfield. Tannehill
went 2 for 5 for 11 yards.

Two days later, the unit again looked ragged.

”I’m frustrated by today,” said Tannehill, a second-year pro.
”It wasn’t a good day. I made several mistakes. But on the whole
I’m definitely moving in the right direction.”

Receiver Brian Hartline (left calf) returned to practice, but
receiver Mike Wallace (groin) remained sidelined. Wallace joined
the Dolphins in March, when he signed a $60 million, five-year
contract, and Tannehill said his return to the field will make a
difference.

”Mike got paid a lot of money,” Tannehill said. ”Once we get
him on the field and have our whole unit, I’m looking forward to
that.”

But Wallace can’t stretch the field without good pass
protection, and the offensive line looked shaky against the
Cowboys, as it has for much of training camp. New left tackle
Jonathan Martin was beaten on a pass rush, and rookie backup Dallas
Thomas struggled.

Martin, a second-year pro, has moved from the right side to
replace departed Pro Bowl tackle Jake Long.

”Any left tackle in this league in their second year is a work
in progress,” Sherman said. ”It’s a premier position. I’m pleased
with Jonathan’s progress. Does he have a ways to go? Yeah. But I
expected that going in. He’ll be a fine left tackle in this league,
if not a really good one.”

One bright spot has been 5-foot-10 slot receiver Chad Bumphis,
an undrafted rookie. He made five catches against Dallas for 85
yards, although he had one drop, and appears to be a strong
contender for a roster spot as a backup.

”He’s not the fastest guy in the world, and not the biggest
guy, and maybe that’s why he ended up an undrafted free agent,”
Sherman said. ”But I do think he’s talented. He understands how to
play that slot receiver, which is not an easy position. You have to
be nifty and crafty. He appears to be that.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org