Sportalk: Anthony Newton
If you talk to any other fan they may tell you that the Dolphins are back to being the old Dolphins. While that is how it looked in Foxborough last Sunday, the Dolphins are still 3-1 and atop the AFC east where the Patriots are trying to climb back into contention, being only a half-game behind the Dolphins. Last game the Dolphins struggled in all three phases of the game. With a couple of untimely calls from the referees, they were stopped before they could even get started. What has to change in order for them to beat the Bengals on Sunday?
First, the run game must show itself in some form or another. For the Dolphins to have Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore in the back field, there is no reason that the Dolphins are averaging 88 yards per game. Frank Gore has 139 yards on 35 carries, while Drake has only 107 yards on 33 carries.
In the Patriots game there was no designed plays for Miami’s big play guys like Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson. These guys can line up on the outside, inside, at running back, or in motion and the defense has to game plan for them. The Patriots saw none of that. It is almost though they played afraid or timid.
Tannehill is averaging 23.5 pass attempts per game which is really harsh when he has the receiving core that Miami is gifted. There is more speed on the field than defenses know what to do with and there are possession guys like Amendola and Parker who can make catches in traffic and pick up firs downs. If the Dolphins do not trust the quarterback and leader of the team, they need to move on. There are numerous plays where Tannehill stays in the pocket which has to change because we know he is more dangerous out of the pockets. There were no designed runs for Tannehill to keep the defense guessing!
The defense has been a bend, but don’t break defense all year. They lost the field position battle and they were on the field almost double the amount of time New England’s defense was on the field. We are top 3 in turnovers forced, and that is the reason we have pulled away in the games. They must scheme more blitz packages to get the ball out of the QB’s hand faster. With the secondary that the Dolphins have, they can play man coverage against most teams.
The injury bug has visited Miami, but that is NFL football. It has to be the next man up mentality! The offense and defensive lines have seen the biggest impacts. Being the offensive mastermind that Gase is, I look for him to scheme plays so that the offensive line plays to their strength. Rashad Jones, Andre Branch, and Davante Parker all returned to practice which is very good news for the Dolphins.
When looking at that Patriots game many people were concerned as they should have been, but Miami is still 3-1 and leading the division. Miami goes to Cincinnati this weekend to try and steal one on the road, and move to 4-1 on the year! As Aaron Rodgers would say Relax!!!