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John Clayton explains why Jason Verrett has been so successful this year in San Diego.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The word of the week for the Miami Dolphins' offense is "frustration."

Miami's offensive players have not been happy all week following a 27-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Miami's defense (14 points) scored more than its offense (13 points).

But even a victory hasn't calmed nerves. Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace isn't happy. Dolphins offensive linemen aren't happy. Even the usually calm Ryan Tannehill isn't his jovial self.

"The whole offense is frustrated with the way that we played,” Tannehill said. "We didn't go out and play well at all, especially the first half. We didn't do anything well and you can't expect to play like that every week. So it's got to be better.”

It remains to be seen if frustration will be a good thing for Tannehill and Miami's offense. The group knows it must come together and play better Sunday against the San Diego Chargers (5-3) in an important game for both teams. San Diego has the NFL's 10th-rated offense. The Dolphins are ranked 23rd in total offense.

Miami's offense has scored more than 30 points twice this season and may need another big performance Sunday.

"It's tough when you play good and then you come out and have a first half like we did in Jacksonville,” Tannehill admitted. "I see the good things this offense can do and the good things that we can do as a team. I'm not letting a bad half of football or a bad game deter us from our goal.”

The Dolphins have been prone to slow starts. They have been outscored 30-20 in the first quarter and often had to play from behind. This is another major issue Miami is trying to fix.

"The only way I know how to do it is you come out here, you give the players a good plan, you do your best to put them in a position to be successful,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said. "You come out here and you prepare as hard as you possibly can on the practice field, in the meeting room. You go out there on the field as a team together. ... It's a joint effort. We have to do a better job, too. I have to do a better job. I'm confident we will."
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ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando delivers stats to help you make a pick for San Diego at Miami.

Miami Dolphins practice report

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
1:30
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DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (4-3) had their final practice of the week in preparation for Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers (5-3).

Here are some thoughts on Thursday’s session:
  • Miami head coach Joe Philbin was not at practice Thursday because of a family matter. The Dolphins’ practice was run by Miami offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.
  • Dolphins starting guard Daryn Colledge (migraines) also was not present during the portion of practice open to the media. This is the third consecutive practice Colledge missed this week. Chances appear to be slim that Colledge plays Sunday against the Chargers. Miami is preparing backups Dallas Thomas and Nate Garner to fill in for Colledge.
  • Miami backup tight end Dion Sims (toe) is still wearing a boot and did not participate in the portion of practice available to the media Thursday. Sims’ status for Sunday’s game also is in doubt. Rookie Gator Hoskins is expected to take over the No. 2 tight-end role for Sims.
  • Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino watched practice again on Thursday. Marino has spent time this season tutoring Miami’s quarterbacks behind the scenes.
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John Clayton reveals why Miami WR Mike Wallace is so frustrated.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Thursday from around the Web:
  • Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald writes Dan Marino is spending time to tutor Dolphins quarterbacks.
Morning take: Marino is a great resource for Miami’s quarterbacks who should be used. How often do you have a Hall of Fame quarterback in the building to share his knowledge?
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post writes Dolphins rookie Jarvis Landry wins AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October.
Morning take: Landry leads the NFL in kickoff return yardage and has a knack for making big plays on special teams. The future is bright for the rookie second-round pick.
  • Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel interviews Dolphins linebacker Jason Trusnik.
Morning take: Trusnik has been a valuable reserve, part-time starter and special-teamer for Miami this season. Trusnik has done everything asked of him by the coaching staff.
  • Andy Cohen from the Dolphins' team site writes November will be a big month for Miami's defense.
Morning take: Miami’s defense will face Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford and Peyton Manning next month. That is a tall task for any defense.
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The San Diego Chargers (5-3) will travel to face the Miami Dolphins (4-3) in an important game with early playoff implications. Both teams could be fighting for a wild card in the AFC, which would make owning the head-to-head tiebreaker important.

Who will prevail in this matchup? ESPN Chargers reporter Eric D. Williams and ESPN Dolphins reporter James Walker discuss:

Walker: Miami has won two in a row and San Diego has lost two in a row, so momentum may be a factor in this matchup. Where are the Chargers in terms of confidence and ending their losing streak?

Williams: The Chargers are a veteran-led group that understands the ebb and flow of an NFL season, so confidence will not be an issue traveling on the road to face the Dolphins. Two of San Diego's three losses have come on the road, against teams that have one loss apiece (Denver and Arizona). San Diego's other loss was a three-point setback to AFC West rival Kansas City at home.

The Chargers don't make a lot of mistakes and generally force opponents to beat them. Coach Mike McCoy is meticulous in his game-day preparation and his staff is skilled in making in-game adjustments. I expect San Diego will be ready for whatever the Dolphins plan to do scheme-wise on both sides of the ball.

The Dolphins are doing a nice job of running, ranked No. 6 by averaging 138 rushing yards per game. How has new coordinator Bill Lazor turned things around on offense?

Walker: Most people expected Lazor to come in and quickly fix the passing game, but he has made his biggest contribution with the running game. Miami's ground game has been consistent, whether it was Knowshon Moreno early, Lamar Miller lately or even quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who has three runs of 30 yards or more in the past three games. Lazor has done a good job of spreading out defenses and calling run plays at the right time. His read-option with Tannehill and Miller has been a huge success. Miami's passing game still needs work, but there is progress.

West Coast teams often don't look the same in Miami; San Diego hasn't won here since the 1981 season. How are the Chargers combating that and will the 10-day layoff help?

Williams: Although West Coast teams traditionally struggle in early games traveling east, the Chargers have been relatively successful of late, posting a 7-5 record in 10 a.m. PT games since 2012. The extra days off have given this banged-up team a chance to get some players healthy, and with Philip Rivers controlling the offense, the Chargers are competitive more times than not. One of the keys for San Diego will be the possible return of running back Ryan Mathews. Out for the past six games with an MCL sprain, the Fresno State product could help provide some much-needed balance to San Diego's offense if healthy and cleared to play on Sunday.

After starting 1-2, the Dolphins have won three of their past four games to get back into the AFC playoff race. What has been the difference?

Walker: Part of it is the schedule. The Dolphins cannot hide from that fact. All three of Miami's victories during this stretch have been against the struggling Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7), Oakland Raiders (0-7) and Chicago Bears (3-5). Those are bad teams the Dolphins must beat if they want to be considered playoff contenders, and to their credit they took care of business.

The Dolphins are 1-3 against teams with winning records. That is why this game against San Diego is such a good measuring stick of where the Dolphins stand. Miami's next four opponents have a combined record of 22-9 (.709 winning percentage), so we are going to find out quickly whether the Dolphins are contenders or pretenders.

San Diego was banged up before its previous game against the Broncos. Where are the Chargers injury-wise heading into Sunday's game?

Williams: The Chargers should be in a better place health-wise. Four weeks ago against Jacksonville, the Chargers barely had enough healthy bodies to fill 46 spots on the active roster. Along with Mathews, cornerback Brandon Flowers and running back Donald Brown are possibilities to return from concussions. Pass rushers Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) and Cordarro Law (ankle) also should have a chance to make it back on the field on Sunday. Offensive linemen D.J. Fluker (ankle) and Rich Ohrnberger (back) have been playing with injuries, so the extra time should work in their favor as well.

The Dolphins are No. 3 in passing defense, holding teams to just 212 passing yards a game. How does the front seven set the tone?

Walker: Miami's front four are the strength of the entire team. The Dolphins have waves of good players, starting with defensive ends Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon and defensive tackles Jared Odrick, Earl Mitchell and Randy Starks. Miami also is getting contributions off the bench from Derrick Shelby, Chris McCain and Dion Jordan, who recorded a couple of tackles in his first game off suspension. This group sets the tone for the defense. The Dolphins' linebackers have been inconsistent with the exception of Jelani Jenkins, who leads Miami in tackles (53) by a wide margin.

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The NFL Live crew make their picks for San Diego at Miami.
SportsNation

What will Miami's record be in the next four games?

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    5%
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    29%
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    48%
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    15%
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    3%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,205)

The Miami Dolphins (4-3) remain in the thick of the playoff hunt at the midpoint of the season. But a tough November schedule will truly determine if Miami is a contender or pretender in the AFC.

Miami plays four straight teams will winning records in the San Diego Chargers (5-3), at the Detroit Lions (6-2), Buffalo Bills (5-3) and at the Denver Broncos (6-1). The Dolphins’ next four opponents have a winning percentage of .709.

How many of these games will the Dolphins win? Miami must at least break even to remain in the playoff hunt heading into December. Last season, the Dolphins positioned themselves for the postseason berth in the final two weeks but lost both games to the Bills and New York Jets.

Using our SportsNation poll, vote on Miami's record over the next four games. You can share your thoughts in the comment section below or send a message via Twitter @JamesWalkerNFL.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (4-3) held their second practice of the week on Wednesday in preparation for the San Diego Chargers (5-3).

Here are some notes and observations from Miami’s session:
  • The Dolphins were without starting left guard Daryn Colledge and tight end Dion Sims for the second straight practice during the portion open to the media. Colledge suffered migraines in last week's win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Colledge told the Miami media Tuesday he's aiming to play Sunday but it’s evident he has yet to be medically cleared to practice.
  • Miami starting middle linebacker Koa Misi (ankle) and backup safety Jimmy Wilson (hamstring) practiced for the second straight day, which is a good sign for both players. Miami's defense was without Misi and Wilson against the Jaguars.
  • Dolphins safety Louis Delmas earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors Wednesday for his stellar performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Delmas intercepted Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles and returned it 81 yards for a touchdown. Delmas also recovered a fumble and recorded two tackles in Miami’s win.
SAN DIEGO – When the San Diego Chargers travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins, quarterback Philip Rivers will face one of the most effective blitzing defenses in the NFL.

It should prove to be an interesting matchup because Rivers has been one of the most effective quarterbacks in the NFL when facing the blitz.

Rivers
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Dolphins are sending a blitz (five or more rushers) on 35.5 percent of opponents’ dropbacks this season, which is the ninth-highest percentage in the league.

Miami’s defense has allowed a Total QBR of 9.5 when blitzing this season, which is the lowest in the NFL.

However, according to ESPN Stats & Information, Rivers has a Total QBR of 95.6 against the blitz this season, the highest in the NFL. Rivers has nine touchdowns against the blitz, which is tied with Matt Ryan for the most in the league.

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin will have to decide whether to blitz or play coverage against Rivers.

“That’s a great question,” Philbin said. “That’s the dilemma we’ve been sitting around in South Florida trying to figure out the best way to handle it. I think when you play a quarterback as good as Philip Rivers, it really gets down to playing good, fundamental defense.

“You know he’s going to complete some passes. You’re going to have to tackle really, really well. You’re going to have to be very disciplined in your rush lanes. Not that he’s the world’s greatest scrambler, but he’s so aware in the pocket that any weakness that you present to him, he’ll take advantage of it. So I don’t know if there’s one sure way.

“It just goes back to playing fundamentally good, solid defense. We’re going to have tight coverage. We’re going to have to have good pass rush lanes. And some guys are going to have to win some one-on-ones.”
DAVIE, Fla. -- It was a foreign feeling last Sunday for Miami Dolphins guard Daryn Colledge.

Colledge
The nine-year veteran, who has started every game since the 2008 season, pulled himself in the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars after allowing two quarterback sacks in the first quarter. Colledge's head wasn't feeling right and it showed in his play.

"I stupidly and selfishly thought that I could play through it," Colledge said in the locker room this week. "I tried to fight through it and in the process got my quarterback sacked twice. It really set the offense back and I apologize to those guys."

The Dolphins described Colledge's issue as migraines. Colledge, probably at the advice of the team, wouldn't exactly clarify his head symptoms. "Obviously, there's dirty words [like concussion] out there that nobody wants to use," Colledge explained.

However, Colledge must go through the proper protocols this week to be cleared by team doctors. He missed Tuesday's practice but said it's his intention to start his eighth straight game for the Dolphins (4-3) on Sunday when they host the San Diego Chargers (5-3) in a big game for both teams.

If Colledge cannot play, backup guards Nate Garner or Dallas Thomas would fill in against a quality San Diego defense that is ranked 10th in the NFL in yards allowed per game and fourth in points per game (18.6).

"I plan on trying to get back and be the guy that's ready to go for San Diego if I feel like I can play at the level I did the first six games," Colledge said. "If I don't feel like I can do it 100 percent, somebody else will have to step up and do the job. Obviously this game is hard enough to play when you're 100 percent, 75 percent we've shown is not going to get it done."

Dolphins must establish home-field edge

October, 29, 2014
Oct 29
10:00
AM ET
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ESPN Dolphins reporter James Walker says Miami needs to maximize home-field advantage during crucial second-half games in South Florida, starting with Sunday's matchup against the Chargers.
Here are the most interesting Miami Dolphins stories Wednesday from around the Web:
  • Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald writes receiver Mike Wallace is frustrated by the offense.
Morning take: Wallace is bothered by the offense's inconsistency. There are a lot of Dolphins fans who feel the same.
  • Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post writes defensive end Dion Jordan is pleased with his debut.
Morning take: Jordan had two tackles and a quarterback pressure. He played well for a player who missed the first six games of the season.
  • Alain Poupart of the Dolphins team site writes numbers don’t tell the full story for defensive tackle Earl Mitchell.
Morning take: Mitchell is an effort player who has done well with his assignments. It’s his job to collapse the pocket and stuff the run.
  • Dolphins rookie returner Jarvis Landry talks to the Sun Sentinel about returning kicks.
Morning take: Landry picked up the slack and is doing a tremendous job on kickoffs. He leads the NFL with more than 31 yards per return.
The Miami Dolphins (4-3) finally won two games in a row for the first time this season following a 27-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. But beating lowly Jacksonville (1-7) – even in its home stadium – did nothing for Miami in this week’s ESPN.com Power Rankings.

Miami stayed put at No. 18 for the second straight week. ESPN.com’s expert panel remains in wait-and-see mode with the Dolphins following a non-descript win over Jacksonville where the Miami defense (14 points) scored more than its offense (13).

The Dolphins have been inconsistent through the first seven games. But we will find out very soon if Miami is truly a playoff contender. The Dolphins’ next four opponents have a combined record of 22-9 (.709 win percentage).

Miami will begin its tough November schedule Sunday at home against the San Diego Chargers (5-3). Both teams could be vying for a wild-card spot in the AFC.

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