The Miami Dolphins have lost six straight games, and it doesn’t get any easier with a trip to Buffalo for a meeting with the AFC East-leading Bills up next.
A seventh consecutive loss would match Brian Flores’ longest such streak as a head coach. His first season leading the Dolphins, bare of talent with the 2019 roster, started 0-7.
The season — and the rebuild under Flores and general manager Chris Grier — is in a bad place after defeats to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons the past two weeks, despite quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s return from injury.
As it’s sure to be another week where the volume is raised on Deshaun Watson trade rumors, the Dolphins look to stay on course in preparation for Buffalo (4-2). And Flores still sees fight in his locker room.
“This issue isn’t a desire issue,” Flores said in a Monday web conference with reporters. “This is just a situation right now where we’re not doing enough to pull these games out. We’ll continue to prepare the way we prepare. We always look at different ways to do things, but we need to find different ways to help these guys finish these games out.”
As Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo sent a 36-yard field goal through the Hard Rock Stadium uprights on Sunday afternoon, it marked the Dolphins’ third loss that was sealed by a field goal as time expired — and second in a row.
“It’s a resilient group,” Flores said. “We talked about the margin for error last couple of weeks, really the whole year. We’re really on the wrong side of that. Myriad of reasons why. When it comes down to a field goal at the end, there’s one or two plays that could’ve turned it, could’ve been the difference.
“We understand that. We got to make more plays throughout the game so it doesn’t get to that point. If it is in that situation, like it was yesterday, we’ve got to do more offensively, defensively, in the kicking game to pull it out, which we haven’t been able to do.”
The coach can only do so much to get a point across to professional athletes. Player leaders will be counted on to speak up and push the Dolphins forward down the stretch. The team will have to dig deeper to find that drive as the losses mount.
“As a team, you just got to pick each other up,” cornerback Nik Needham said. “Make sure people don’t get too down or in a hole where it’s just like, ‘Well, does it matter anymore?’ Because every game matters; every week matters, so you don’t want to get people in that mindset. I’ve had experience with that my college career [at Texas-El Paso], so I know stuff can get torn apart and you just want to stay together.
“You got to keep a hard mindset. You got to put extra work in, do extra stuff, try to get more people to keep doing extra work to make that one extra play that will help win the game.”
The Dolphins (1-6) will be seeking sources of motivation, even as the six losses have already matched last year’s total in nine fewer games.
“The guys in that locker room. We’re a team,” said running back Salvon Ahmed. “That’s where you get your motivation from … the guys that we’re with every single day.”
On a mostly young team, some of the few veteran voices can speak up, even if they haven’t been in the Dolphins’ locker room for that long.
Take Austin Reiter, for example. Signed by the Dolphins on Oct. 4 off the New Orleans Saints practice squad, Reiter, 29, can infuse his perspective as a veteran with fresh eyes on what’s going on.
“You don’t want to say too much, and you don’t want to say too little either,” said Reiter, who has been on a winless Cleveland Browns team in 2017 and the Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs in 2019.
“One of the things I kind of harped to some guys is the margin of winning and losing is small, so you just have to trust what you’re doing and you can’t try to do too much and correct too much at a time. Just try to take little bits and pieces away every time, trying to get an advantage.”
With Michael Deiter on injured reserve and Greg Mancz missing Sunday’s action, Reiter stepped in to start at center.
Flores is in for a challenge to snap the losing streak this week, facing a Bills team he hasn’t beaten since becoming Dolphins coach (0-5 vs. Buffalo).
“They got good players,” Flores said. “They got good coaches. They execute well. They play well together. It’s always a tough test, especially going up there.”
Source : https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/10/26/dolphins-look-to-stay-the-course-find-motivation-for-rest-of-season-after-six-straight-losses/928