The Dolphins head to Tampa looking to pick up their second win of the season and snap a three-game losing streak. Under Brian Flores, the Dolphins have shown an ability to improve as the season progressed. The Dolphins started 1-3 in 2020 before finishing the season 10-6 and won five of their final nine games during the 2019 season.
The key to a turnaround for Miami, Flores says, is consistency in all areas.
But first, the Friday injury report:
"That's something that offensively, defensively and in the kicking game, as a team we're not playing consistently enough," Flores said. "Specific to defense, it really boils down to fundamentals, communicating consistently, tackling consistently, setting the edge. Those things that have started one way, we've just got to maintain our focus, concentration and continue to play well in whatever phase it is, especially if we get off to a good start."
The players were asked this week about the key to turning around a 1-3 start like they did last season:
Jerome Baker: "I'm not going to say it was a key or that it was a certain thing that happened. I think it's one of those things where we have guys that want to make the play, they want to make the interception, they want to make the tackle. But in this defense, that's truly not what it is. It's about doing your job. If that's setting the edge, if that's filling the block, if that's taking on double-teams, whatever it is. If that's knowing your leverage on a third down coverage, I think that's the thing that we just need to focus on what our individual task is. It will work out for us. And that goes for pretty much the whole team – offense, defense and special teams. If we just do our job, the plays are going to come to us and the games will start going our way. I think that's the main thing. That's the sauce. It sounds simple, but that truly is the recipe for it."
Durham Smythe: "Yeah, I think so, to a degree. Every year the team is new and it's a different team. At the same time, I think last year, what happened was we were doing the same things but things started to click. Once they did, we went on a little bit of a run and being on a team that did something like that, we know it's possible. It comes back to what I said originally, if we can be more on top of things and more consistent, things will start to click and hopefully we can go on a little bit of a run."
Austin Jackson: "Last year was a long time ago. A big thing for us turning it around, really I think we just kind of settled down a little bit. We became a little more focus-oriented on the little things and what we do. You've got 11 people on the field trying to get one goal. But if all 11 pieces aren't lined up how they should be, it makes it harder. So I think just as a unit, we come together. Then also individually, we all focus more. I think that's what is going to be the focus to some Ws."
Nik Needham: "I think that was a coming together game. I think the games last year when we lost were just like this year, beating ourselves. It's not like the team just outplayed us. We have too many little, minor mistakes that end up having a big impact on the game. Just focusing on deleting those this week and going out there and competing and see who's the better team. I think that will help us out."
Mike Gesicki: "It's tough to say, comparing this year to last year. All I know is we have an opportunity to go play Tampa Bay. They are a very good football team. We have to continue to stack good days together. Today we had one. It's easy to go out there after a loss and have a good Wednesday. You've got to stack more. You've got to go Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Saturday night leading into Sunday and then go out and execute on Sunday. That's the most important one. Right now, we have an opportunity and we've just got to continue to stack good days on each other."
Sam Eguavoen: "Honestly, we're not even looking at last year because every year is so different. You may still have the same core guys from last year but anything can happen. Divisions change, play-calling changes, there are a lot of changes. Just as a team, player-wise, we just can't get rattled and what we did last year, this is what we did because it may not work with this team's chemistry. Everything is different. Like 'Flo' (Head Coach Brian Flores) says, we just have to take it one day at a time, one meeting at a time and just keep working. That's really the only answer to this. As long as we just keep working."
Coach Flores: "Last year was last year. This year is this year. Different team. A whole different set of circumstances from last year to this year. I just try to live in the moment and just try to improve, get better and do everything I can do personally to help this team improve and get the results we're looking for. That's what I'm trying to do here."