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Philbin on pass protection: “It’s a big concern”

Miami Dolphins v New Orleans Saints

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 30: Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins is sacked by Junior Galette #93 of the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 30, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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It was hard to tell last night if the loudest sound was the Dolphins falling back to Earth, or Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill going down again.

Tannehill was dropped for four sacks by the Saints, which actually lowered his average per game. But he’s still on pace to be sacked 72 times this season, which would be a new franchise record.

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin noted the situation (trailing big, had to pass), but admitted there’s reason for worry.

It’s a big concern,” Philbin said, via the Palm Beach Post. “We got down by 25 points I believe. In the first half they really hadn’t hit Ryan at all. We had a very good running game, we were protecting the quarterback, we were throwing the ball relatively well, we had good balance. Then when we got down 35-10, that’s when the onslaught began. Eighteen sacks (in four games), that’s 4 1/2 a game. Too many.”

Tannehill has showed impressive poise this year, but left tackle Jonathan Martin has not displayed the same kind of progress in his second year, moving from right tackle to left.

The Dolphins took financial deep breath when deciding to let Jake Long walk in free agency, thinking last year’s second-rounder could hold up well at a much lower cost. And while Martin’s not the only culprit, the Dolphins line has to improve, and quickly, if Tannehill’s going to be well enough to build on his own momentum.