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 Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight 
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Post Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight
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Five things to watch: Bears at Dolphins
by Tim Graham

The Miami Dolphins are on the ropes. They're down to their third-string quarterback and have been bobbing at or barely above .500 for weeks. They're in third place in the AFC East and appear to be on the fringe of the wild-card chase.

The Dolphins need to win in a bad way Thursday night against the Chicago Bears in Sun Life Stadium. If the Dolphins can pull it out, what a lift it would give them (in addition to 10 days until their next game).

Here are five questions to consider for the Dolphins:

How does Tyler Thigpen respond as Miami's starter? Thigpen will make his 12th career start, but his first in two seasons after Chad Pennington and Chad Henne went down with injuries last week. Thigpen performed well in relief to nail down a victory over the Titans, but prior to this week, he hadn't taken a practice rep since training camp. Thigpen had three days to prepare for the Bears. He's known as an improviser. We'll find out how well he can wing it.

Will a QB change get Brandon Marshall more involved? The Dolphins clearly were unsatisfied with Henne's production and made the switch to Pennington last week to jolt a flat-lining offense. Thigpen can be a change of pace, too. He's more mobile and much more of a risk-taker than Henne. Marshall has been accumulating considerable reception and yardage numbers, but he's still stuck on one touchdown. Marshall's frustrations are becoming increasingly apparent by the game. Perhaps Thigpen will elicit more happiness.

Can the Dolphins' offensive line withstand Jake Long's bad shoulder? The two-time Pro Bowl left tackle has been limited in practice with a shoulder injury from last week's game. Bears right defensive end Julius Peppers is among the NFL's most dangerous pass-rushers. Peppers has just two sacks, but don't be fooled. He often faces double teams, which has helped left defensive end Israel Idonije collect five sacks. If Long needs assistance against Peppers, then there will be bigger cracks elsewhere along the O-line.

How much chaos can Cameron Wake cause for Jay Cutler? The Bears have surrendered a league-high 34 sacks. Wake ranks third with 8.5 sacks, and he'll need to get after Cutler, who's known for making costly mistakes. In three October games, Cutler was sacked 19 times, threw five interceptions and fumbled five times (lost two). The Bears went 0-3, with Cutler missing the other game that month because he was so battered. In two November victories, Cutler has been sacked three times, thrown two interceptions and lost a fumble.

Will the Dolphins' defense and special teams contain Devin Hester? He has been having a quiet season. But he'll be playing in his hometown for the first time and still possesses game-breaking speed at positions the Dolphins have had trouble defending. Their cornerbacks have been known to get blistered here and there, although free-agent signee Al Harris played well in his Dolphins debut last week. The Dolphins also have been prone to special-teams breakdowns. Hester has returned two punts for touchdowns and was reinserted on kickoffs in last week's win over Minnesota, returning one 68 yards. As a receiver, Hester came alive a little with four catches for 38 yards and his second receiving touchdown of the season.


http://espn.go.com/blog/afceast/post/_/ ... t-dolphins

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Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:45 pm
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Post Re: Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight
Dolphins escape the injury bug tonight and go 6-4.

31-16

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Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:08 pm
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Post Re: Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight
Iowafin wrote:
Dolphins escape the injury bug tonight and go 6-4.

31-16

Wow, IOWA making a positive prediction, awesome, albeit a little scary :)
I say 24-13 Fins. The D is going to have to come up big like last week!

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Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:12 pm
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Post Re: Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight
I say watch for the wildcat and Ricky and Ronnie to have a more prominent role with it being such a short week and having a new QB. Chicago has one of the top run stopping defenses in the league, so that should be an interesting matchup to watch. I don't like making predictions, but I like our chances if we have success running the ball.

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Thu Nov 18, 2010 3:58 pm
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Post Re: Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight
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Will a QB change get Brandon Marshall more involved? Marshall's frustrations are becoming increasingly apparent by the game. Perhaps Thigpen will elicit more happiness.


When Thigpen starts to scramble, I hope he is looking Marshall's way.

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Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:13 pm
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Post Re: Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight
Ground game still isn't up to par and the receivers have been a bit inconsistent. I worry about Thigpen taking more risks, even if it does make the game more exciting. This one is a toss up for me.


Thu Nov 18, 2010 4:50 pm
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Post Re: Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight
It would be nice to be able to work out of a two TE set tonight. I am hoping that having a mobile QB will help as well.


Thu Nov 18, 2010 5:20 pm
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Post Re: Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight
27-17 Fins win!


Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:15 pm
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Post Re: Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight
AQNOR wrote:
It would be nice to be able to work out of a two TE set tonight. I am hoping that having a mobile QB will help as well.


Miami finally found an offensive identity this last weekend...spread the ball around in the passing game. I'd hate to see them shy away from that and get stubborn and try to pound the ball away..
Let's go three receiver sets (Davone Bess is better than whoever the 2nd TE is) and throw the ball around...get some screens in there to the backs...

I absolutely loved what I saw last week from this team. Were there drops and mistakes? Yes, but they were moving the ball and they were scoring touchdowns.

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Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:44 pm
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Post Re: Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight
Stick a fork in the Fins....more injuries, no offense and the defense just can't do it all.

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Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:30 am
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Post Re: Dolphins on the ropes - 5 things to watch tonight
Let me revise....23-3 Da Bears. This is horrible.


Fri Nov 19, 2010 12:31 am
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