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2015 Dolphins Draft Picks
The Dolphins defense played well enough to win. The defensive line pressured Russell Wilson almost the entire day, getting three sacks and holding the Seahawks ground game to 3.5 yards per carry. Reshad Jones led the defense with 12 tackles and 1 pass defensed. His partner in the deep secondary, Isa Abdul-Quddus, chipped in 8 tackles, 2 passes defensed and an interception. Koa Misi (10 tackles) and Kiko Alonso (11 tackles) both had productive games. Ndamukong Suh (1 sack), Mario Williams (1 sack), Jordan Phillips (0.5 sack) and Jason Jones (0.5) were all part of a ferocious pass rush that kept coming consistently. Cam Wake also looked like his old self, bringing pressure as well. The defense forced two turnovers. The only reason they gave up 352 total yards on offense is because the offense was rarely able to put a drive together to give the defense a rest.
The Dolphins offensive gained 222 total yards and were 3 of 13 on third down. But the most painful part of the game was probably some of the plays left on the field. Of note is a deep ball from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills that would have been a sure 71 yard touchdown. It was a perfectly thrown pass that was dropped by the wide open Stills.
The offensive line did not resemble the unit from the preseason. There were few lanes in the running game and while the line was able to hold up against 3 and 4 man rushes, blitzes typically ended in disaster for the Dolphins. When it was all said and done, the most sacked QB in the NFL the past 4 years added 4 more sacks to his resume, not to mention numerous other pressures.
Tannehill played an ugly game. A lot of it had to do with the offensive line and some bad drops by his receivers. Some of it had to do with playcalling that continues to call for passes thrown behind the line of scrimmage. But with more freedom to change plays at the line, more of a focus will be on Tannehill this season. Tannehill did not throw any interceptions and he did lead the team to a 4th quarter comeback, but this offense needs to put up more points.
Adam Gase's playcalling seemed much like Bill Lazor's. Passes behind the line of scrimmage, very little in the way of misdirection. It seemed like a very bland gameplan. Here's hoping we see more of an open playbook the rest of the year.
The Dolphins were huge underdogs, going against a championship contender in a very hostile environment. The Dolphins hung tough in an ugly game. But, as usual, they failed to make the necessary plays when it mattered most. A defense that played well all day seemed to soften up on the last drive. An offense that left too many plays on the field put the team in that position in the first place. We can call this a "moral victory" if we want, but Dolphins fans are tired of them. We want to see tough wins. A few points separates a culture of losing from a culture of winning. The Dolphins need to turn that corner.
There is no doubt in anyone’s head where the Seattle Seahawks are as a football team. They’re expected by almost everyone to compete for the superbowl. They are that good. They are lead by a bunch of veterans on defense and have the best starting safety tandem in the league, bar none. They also have shutdown corner Richard Sherman. They are a formidable group to say the least and at home, they carry a little bit more for the visiting team than usual. This will be a supreme test of Gase’s new offense. Fair or not, it is like going toe to toe with the defending champ your first time in the ring. Seattle’s a 10.5 point favorite and it stems from the above ingredients: rookie headcoach with a new offense going against the best of the best in the NFL.
Matchups the Dolphins have to win:
Ndomakong Suh has to be licking his chops. Seattles first round pick is going to miss the game and in his place will be a rookie Rees Odhiambo. I’m sure Seattle has a plan for Suh but they can’t run their style of offense if they need to give the rookie help on every play. This bears watching because it should free up the other playmakers on Miami’s DL to make a few plays.
Scheme: You can bet Seattles safeties will be in the box on Sunday especially on early downs. Miami has to throw on early downs and challenge the safeties over the middle. They have the perfect lineup of WRs to do just that. They need to somehow figure out a way to do something they haven’t been able to do in quite some time: make the safeties pay for cheating up.
Running game: Another area Miami has struggled with is the running game. Defensively Seattle is smallish along the line and they rely on quickness and their hammer, Kam Chancellor, at Safety. He is a beast against the run. There is no way any cute stuff to the outside is going to work on this unit. Miami has to win the battles up front and run straight at Seattle. If they mix that in with some misdirection plays and Miami could eke out some success on Sunday. Study Dallas in game 3 of the preseason. Any attempt outside that wasn’t accompanied by a hold was held to a loss. They had success up the middle.
Pressure on Wilson and containing him:
Let’s be honest. Miami isn’t going to stop Wilson. My hope is they’ll pressure him into a few mistakes. He has had some games where he forces throws. Miami’s secondary, although not great, has had its share of turnover success in the preseason. Sort of a bend but don’t break style of defense that is around the ball all the time. They need a few things to go their way here but 2-3 ints would definitely keep them in the game.
Stopping the run: Miami’s Achilles last year was giving up huge chunks of real estate on the ground. It took a lot of pressure off of opposing offenses with short 2nd and 3rd down opportunities. This one area will be a huge factor in this game. Do well here and the game will be close. Don’t and it could get ugly really quick.