DAVIE, Fla. — The Miami Dolphins’ first loss of the season makes their deficiencies look a lot more glaring.
Pass protection is poor. Turnovers are a problem for Ryan Tannehill. He’s struggling to mesh with $60 million receiver Mike Wallace. The ground game tends to disappear. The defense turns soft on third down. And the secondary is shaky, especially when it comes to covering tight ends.
Those issues were evident in earlier games, and they became insurmountable Monday, when the Dolphins lost to the Saints 38-17. The defeat dropped them one game behind unbeaten New England in the AFC East standings, and Miami (3-1) must regroup quickly to play Baltimore (2-2) on Sunday.
“You never want to lose like that, but we’ve just got to move on to the next game,” cornerback Brent Grimes said Tuesday. “The good thing about the NFL is there are plenty of games. We’ve got a game coming up against the world champs, so we can go out and put some good work on the field and get a win.”
Frazier vague on QB s : In Eden Prairie, Minn., Vikings coach Leslie Frazier says he wants to see how Christian Ponder’s injured ribs progress through the bye week before he makes a decision on a starting quarterback.
Frazier spoke Tuesday, two days after backup Matt Cassel helped engineer the Vikings’ first win.
Cassel completed 16 of 25 passes for 248 yards with two touchdowns in a 34-27 victory over the Steelers in London on Sunday. Frazier said it’s hard to make a decision until they know if Ponder will be healthy enough to play against Carolina on Oct. 13.
Whitner fined $21,000: San Francisco strong safety Donte Whitner learned Tuesday he was being fined $21,000 for his hit on St. Louis Rams’ wide receiver Chris Givens in the end zone with just under six minutes to play in Thursday’s 35-11 victory.
Whitner said he would appeal the stiff penalty and has made up T-shirts with “#LegalHitner” on the front that he will sell to drum up support.
Whitner appeared to turn his shoulder into Givens in a successful attempt to knock the ball loose. He was called for unnecessary roughness.
Around the league
Titans QB Jake Locker will miss a “few weeks” with a sprained hip, coach Mike Munchak said. Exactly how many games Locker misses depends on how quickly he recovers. ... With C.J. Spiller’s left ankle still sore and Fred Jackson set to play with a brace on his left knee, the Bills’ third-string running back Tashard Choice said he’s ready in reserve.
Choice is preparing for the possibility of getting additional playing time Thursday night, when the Bills (2-2) travel to face Cleveland (2-2).
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