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Week 6: Dolphins at da Bears
The 1-0 Miami Dolphins travel to Buffalo to take on the 1-0 Bills in a AFC East battle. Miami is coming off a 33-20 win over the New England Patriots in Miami in a game in which the Dolphins out scored the Patriots 23-0 in the 2nd half. Buffalo is coming off an impressive 23-20 overtime win in Chicago over the Bears. The game is a 1:00 kickoff on CBS.
Buffalo comes into the game lead by 2nd year QB E.J Manuel out of Florida State. He has some nice weapons to work with in RB's Fred Jackson and C.J Spiller, and the Bills will want to come out and establish the run game to help take pressure off of Manuel. Rookie WR Sammy Watkins is part of a wide receiver corp that features Robert Woods and Mike Williams, while Scott Chandler is the featue tight ends for the Bills.
Defensively, the strength of the Buffalo Bills and the unit that dominated a poor Miami offensive line in 2013 is the defensive front, featuring DE Mario Williams, DT's Kyle Williams and Marcel Darius. They lead a solid defense that lost a key piece to this unit during the pre-season in Kiko Alonso. Former Patriot MLB Brandon Spikes leads the LB corp while CB's Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore lead the secondary.
The Dolphins offensively are lead by 3rd year QB Ryan Tannehill and feature a revamped running game lead by offseason signing RB Knowshon Moreno and Lamar Miller. The Dolphins also have a totally rebuilt offensive line and will feature WR's Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and TE Charles Clay.
Defensively, the Dolphins are lead by DE Cameron Wake and feature DE Vernon Olivier opposite Wake along with DT's Randy Starks, Jared Odrick and new Dolphin Earl Mitchell. The linebacker corps for Miami has been decimated by injuries, as the lost OLB Darnelle Ellerbe for the season and will be without Koa Misi for this game, as he hurt his ankle in the New England game. There some talk that Phillip Wheeler could play in this game, but that is in serious doubt as well. Jason Trusnik, Jelani Jenkins, Jonathan Freeny and undrafted free agent Chris McCain came in and did an admirable job filling in for the starters, and some will make the case that the linebacker play improved. The secondary features safety Louis Delmas and CB's Courtland Finnegan and Brent Grimes.
Keys for this game for the Dolphins offensively begins upfront in the trenches. The offensive line for the Dolphins struggled mightly in 2013, and no unit gave them more problems that the Bills front four. If this new, revamped offensivle line can continue to play well today against the Bills, the Dolphins can have success offensively. QB Ryan Tannehill had some issues with accuracy in the 1st half, but picked up his accuracy in the 2nd half, and he has to continue to improve from that standpoint. Miami will want to establish the run game and have balance.
Defensively, once again, the Dolphins will want to make the Bills one dimensional and put the game in 2nd year QB Manuel's hands. The Dolphins can't let Fred Jackson and C.J Spiller get off in the run game. If they do, then it opens up the offense for the Bills and takes pressure off a young QB that has not shown yet that he can win games passing the ball. The linebackers will be a big key in this game.
Miami can get off to not only a 2-0 start overall, but a 2-0 start in the division. They face a team that pretty much cost them a spot in the playoffs in 2013, and swept the Dolphins in 2013. I belive the Dolphins gain a bit of revenge today in Buffalo.
Let's GO Miami.
KNOWSHON MORENO IS A BEAST
Sure, it was just one game, but what we saw in the Patriots game and in his preseason game is that Knowshon Moreno is going to be a monster for the Dolphins this season.
Entering 2014, just about every NFL Analyst ballyhooed Bill Belichick's defense as being the best that he's had in many years and expected big things. What we witnessed was Moreno running over Patriot defenders very reminiscent of the 2002 version of Ricky Williams that averaged 4.8 ypc.
Not only did Moreno run for 134 yards at a 5.6 ypc clip, but you could see the impact that he was making on his teammates. Mike Wallace started to invite contact trying to pound for extra yards after the catch, and you could see Lamar Miller turn up his game in the second half running harder than we've ever seen him run before.
The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reported that Moreno's teammates were also fired up by his sideline behavior as he worked the crowd.
Want to amuse Dolphins players? Just ask them about Knowshon Moreno’s strange behavior during games. (Hey, whatever works.)
Let Ryan Tannehill explain it: “When it’s a TV timeout and we’re all sitting in the huddle talking with each other and he’s five yards away, flexing and looking into the crowd, it’s different,” Tannehill said today. “I’ve never been around anyone that does that. It’s kind of fun. I look at him and I’m like, ‘Guys, do you see this guy?’ They’re like, ‘Yeah, he’s out there.’ He’s kind of off on his own, talking to himself, staring off into the crowd, but he’s intense. He’s focused on what he has to do, he runs hard and I love it. I love being in the huddle with him.”
If he continues to play this hard you have to understand why Moreno never seems to last a full season in the NFL. He just plays too darn physical, and you can't take that away from him. He is who he is, and we fans love it!
DION JORDON COULD BE REINSTATED
Jordan could be immediately reinstated once the new drug policy is approved by the NFLPA and the NFL. Something does need to be done as players are looking for an edge to play better but there are so many rules in place that it is easy to fail a drug test. I will be interested to see what the rule will be for amphetamines as the use of Adderol will give a player a 4 week unpaid vacation. While Adderol is needed for ADHD, players are using it to enhance their play by helping them focus better and react faster to plays. That's where it gets complicated.
So, let's hope that both Dion Jordan and Rashad Jones can be reinstated. I still have high hopes for Jordan despite his lackluster effect during the perseason. He has worked hard off the field, so, that should translate on the field.
PHILILP WHEELER, WHERE DID YOU GO?
After former GM Jeff Ireland signed Phillip Wheeler to that big contract last year, a lot was expected of him. After seeing Wheeler out of position much of last year, over-pursuing, whiffing on tackles ... what was Ireland thinking? Well, Pro Football Focus ranked him as the #1 pass rushing outside linebacker that they've ever ranked in their system and also rated him as having the 6th best game ever in their system. I think you can see what Ireland was thinking that he would provide: containment on the outside and an excellent blitzer on passing downs.
6. Philip Wheeler, 2012 – WK 3, PIT @ OAK: +7.2
Pass Rush: +0.8, Coverage: +5.9, Run Defense: +0.4, Penalties: +0.1
Rising from mere obscurity to a starring role on his team’s defense. That’s what happened to Wheeler in 2012 as he made a name for himself in Raider Nation. He made a series of big plays in coverage ranging from forcing fumbles, to a pass defense, and some tackles for short gains that eliminated any doubts about his ability to be an every down player.
With him being active for tomorrow's Bills game, I would expect to see him used in providing pressure in passing downs. Keep in mind that he looked good in the preseason at this role. Everything was back to 2013.
"Who was that masked man" digging into his bag of tricks and showing that he does have some imagination? I've been critical of Coyle's lack of imagination since last year, so, I have to give him an attaboy for opening up a can of imagination last week in the 2nd half. Some of it came out of necessity as he was without his 3 starting linebackers, but a lot of what you saw was that he was willing to coach up the young talent on the roster and come up with a plan of attack with the players that he has. That is something we did not see much of last year, and I think he feels the heat as does Head Coach Joe Philben.
Coaches can learn, and Coyle has finally taken the step from a new DC to a legit DC who can think outside the box and not do what he learned as an assistant. I am sure he would disagree with me, but we all saw the difference while we talked in our chat room last Sunday. I would encourage you to join us every game if you are not at the game because we give you places where you can stream it and some of the guys have good insight.
I CANNOT DEFEND RYAN TANNEHILL
I've been a staunch supporter of Ryan Tannehill since we drafted him, but I cannot defend his play last Sunday. He had a lot of time to throw the ball, but his passes were off the mark. Perhaps it was first game jitters. I did like his poise in the pocket as Lazer has worked hard on getting his mechanics corrected, but I need to see the accuracy that he has shown us the past two years on the short and medium throws. I do not understand why he cannot get a deep pass to Mike Wallace, but that needs to happen more than we see it failing.
I like Ryan Tannehill, but if I start feeling anxious when he drops back to pass then it means that I do not have confidence in him. I do expect him to improve this year as we saw Nick Foles do last year. This really is the year where the Dolphins will decide if he is indeed the future and worthy of a large longterm contract.
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