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