Lazor takes blame for Dolphins' poor pass attack

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) passes under pressure from Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
Bill Wippert

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor believes the problems with the Miami Dolphins' passing attack can be quickly fixed, in part because he knows who to blame: himself.

Spotty protection, dropped passes and Ryan Tannehill's indecision and inaccuracy have all been issues in the first two games. The same problems plagued Miami last year, but first-year coordinator Lazor was quick to hold himself accountable Monday.

He noted the Dolphins (1-1) are averaging only 5.2 yards per pass attempt, which ranks next to last in the NFL. In Sunday's 29-10 loss at Buffalo, their 53 pass plays netted only 210 yards.

''There's no doubt the blame rests 100 percent on me,'' Lazor said. ''That rests on the coordinator, and getting everyone to do it the right way. You can count the number of throws you think are errant, the number of drops, the protection issues. They're all true. In the end that's on the coordinator.''

Jump-starting the offense Sunday against Kansas City will be especially difficult in the absence of running back Knowshon Moreno, who expected to be sidelined for at least a month with a left elbow injury. Moreno led the NFL in rushing in Week 1 and was injured early in Sunday's game.

''It hurts because No. 1, he's a productive player and has proven that,'' Lazor said. ''No. 2, anyone who watches the game can see the emotion Knowshon plays with. There's no doubt losing him at the point we did in the game hurt, but that's the NFL. It really doesn't change who we are. It changes the fact Knowshon isn't there, but he'll be back.''

To shore up depth at running back, the Dolphins re-signed Daniel Thomas, who played for them in 2011-13 but was released last month. The Dolphins are averaging 4.6 yards per rush - almost as much as when they try to throw.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has yet to show signs of progress in his third NFL season, and remains maddeningly inconsistent. Tannehill took four sacks Sunday, holding the ball too long on occasion and raising memories of 2013, when he led the NFL with a franchise record 58 sacks.

When he threw, Tannehill's accuracy was again an issue, especially on long passes. He underthrew Mike Wallace and has missed him open deep four times in two games.

''Our passing game is not at the level it needs to be,'' coach Joe Philbin said. ''Those are the facts. It's a unit issue. It's not one player that is really causing all of the problems with the passing game.''

There were other factors in the Dolphins' third consecutive loss to Buffalo. They muffed a punt, gave up a blocked punt and allowed a touchdown on a kickoff return. Big plays also hurt the defense.

''When you play approximately a 60-play game, you can't have 55 solid plays and five that don't go the way you plan,'' defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. ''We gave up some explosive plays, which concerns me. We've got to get that fixed.''

By contrast, the longest gain when Miami threw was only 18 yards.

Lazor warned of an underperforming passing attack even after the Dolphins beat New England 33-20 in their opener.

''I wasn't lying to you, was I?'' he said Monday with a rueful smile. ''I told you.''

When asked how quickly the problems can be fixed, Lazor said, ''Tomorrow.'' He said he must simply demand more from his players in practice.

''I'm very discouraged about the job I've done in the passing game,'' he said. ''But I'm very encouraged about where we're headed.''

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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