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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins at Jets Week Two Preview

Travis Wingfield

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Who: Dolphins (1-0) at Jets (1-0)
When: September 16, 1:00 East
Where: MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford, NJ
Weather: 81 degrees, 69% humidity, 7 MPH wind
Vegas Slant: Jets -3

Jets Off-Season Changes

In-depth look at the Dolphins ground-game plan against the Jets

Dolphins at Jets

In most cases it’s difficult to match a football fan’s week-one jubilation. After all, the return of football can ignite a flame in the fan of even the worst team in the league. Just ask a Bills fan; do you think they’re excited for the next four months?

For the Dolphins and Jets, a pair of underdog victories revs this throwback rivalry up to 9000 RPMs – even if it’s just for one week.

The Jets are coming off the most impressive week-one showing in sometime – maybe in the franchise’s history. MetLife Stadium is going to be raucous as they welcome in the next chosen golden boy.

Outlasting the Titans in a Miami Marathon, the Dolphins have bucked expectations in their own right. Whichever team emerges from this game victorious is going to earn a Monday morning headline. Two afterthoughts battling for the right to remain unbeaten heading into the third tilt of the NFL season, this game serves as something of a narrative shifter.

The Jets’ Scheme:

Defense:
Todd Bowles is known for devising aggressive defensive schemes that vary pressure looks up front. Typically, the Jets will deploy an odd-front that is almost inordinately blitz-heavy. However, the Jets threw a curveball at Matthew Stafford in the Monday night shakedown in Mo-Town.

Often rushing three and dropping eight, the Jets robbed Stafford (jumping out of a particular zone assignment and into the passing lanes – typically in the hook zone) and “got” him to the tune of four interceptions.

I have to think Bowles will go back to hair-on-fire plan facing Ryan Tannehill and this Dolphins offense. It’ll be imperative for Tannehill to get his communication signals out to the rest of the offense early in the play-clock to force the Jets defense to show where the overload pressure is coming from.

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Whatever Tannehill sees pre-snap is likely to be entirely different than what the Jets will show post-snap. Perhaps the best way to mitigate this attack is a heavy dose of the run-game and passes to the backs.

Offense:
Make no mistake about it, the Jets want to run the football, no matter how well the rookie passer plays. Jeremy Bates’ unit features west-coast principles with an emphasis on the zone-blocking scheme.

Monday’s game plan was tight-end-centric. Operating primarily in 12 and 13-personnel, New York had three tight ends play at least 29 snaps. The fourth tight end, Jordan Leggett, had 15 reps as well.

Bates will try to make things simple for Sam Darnold by running on early downs and creating third and manageable situations. The Jets utilized play-pass the same number of times Miami did in week-one (11) and only four offenses ran play action more.

Creating two-way goes and isolation routes for slot-receiver Quincy Enunwa is the security blanket for the young quarterback.

The Players:

Defense:
Jamal Adams is an absolute problem and his presence will be accounted for on every snap. He plays in the box, in two-deep and even man-up in the slot – he’s the linchpin of that impressive defense. In the same manner as Reshad Jones, he can shut down the strong-side C-gap in the running game and make the Dolphins outside zone obsolete.

The secondary as a whole is relatively loaded. Trumaine Johnson is a second-tier shutdown corner and Mo Claiborne has had a career revival in New York. They will have to stick to the shifty Dolphins wide outs all game as the Jets look to blitz, blitz, and blitz some more.

Backup safety (filling in for Marcus Maye) Doug Middleton could be the rabbit the Dolphins hunt in their game plan.

Leonard Williams is the next man to key. He’s a devastating player in both aspects of the game. Miami would be wise to jump the back in front of the quarterback and protect the interior pressure Williams is likely to create.

Off the edge, there isn’t a lot to write home about. Brandon Copeland and Henry Anderson had nice opening-day showings, but they run into a superior group of linemen that can erase them right out of the game.

The odd front means outside-backers will come down and blitz off the edge. The issue for New York is the lack of a pass rusher that can win one-on-ones. Undrafted free-agent Frankie Luvu played half the snaps on Monday as the primary edge-rusher alongside Jordan Jenkins.

If Miami can’t handle those two, they have far greater problems than just beating the Jets.

Avery Williamson is a trusted, cerebral middle linebacker that conducts Bowles defense. Fellow inside-backer, Darron Lee, had the game of his life on Monday night. Still, Miami should go directly at him in the passing game.

Lastly, the player Miami will most definitely attack all game is slot corner Buster Skrine. There isn’t a player in this Dolphins wide receiver group that can’t beat him consistently. Last year it was Kenny Stills (to the tune of a pair of scores and more than 130 yards).

Offense:
It starts with the backs in Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell. Fortunately for Miami, the Jets off-tackle outside-zone will have problems stretching the wide-9 alignment of the Dolphins defense. The key will be the bend (cut-back lane) and how well the Jets climb to the second level to erase Kiko Alonso and Raekwon McMillan.

That’s where James Carpenter, Spencer Long and Brian Winters become so crucial. The interior of the Jets line against these Miami linebackers will dictate the pace of the game. If they can latch on and create positive running yardage, stay on the field, and prevent Miami from running upwards of 70 offensive plays, the Jets will win.

Darnold’s arsenal of pass catchers is reliable, yet unremarkable. Robbie Anderson is capable of getting deep on any defense and Enunwa looks to be back to his 2016 form when he carved up secondary’s after the catch.

The Dolphins corners are better than the Jets receivers – especially at those two spots. Minkah Fitzpatrick and Xavien Howard will put up far more resistance than the Lions did.

Then there’s the quarterback. Darnold is a menace to get to the ground, but he is extremely loose with the football. If Miami can rattle Darnold, he’ll give them turnover opportunities and Miami must take advantage.

He’s advanced mentally for a rookie. He processes and very little bothers him. He will struggle with his accuracy at times due to inconsistent mechanics. Expect Miami to send a lot of pressure his way and attempt to lock down the Jets receivers with its talented secondary.

The Medical:

The Concerns:

Defensively, Jamal Adams and Leonard Williams’ ability to wreck a game is the primary concern. If Miami can have success in the run-game, and utilize plenty of dummy action (jet-sweep, split-zone to complement inside/outside-zone) that could neutralize Adams. Otherwise, he’s free to roam around and cause problems for the Dolphins rhythm passing attack.

By whatever means necessary, the Dolphins have to get Williams blocked. He’s the only front-seven defender capable of taking this game over.

Miami needs these three things to go in their favor:

Jet-Killer Cam Wake strikes again. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

1.) Cameron Wake beats up on Brandon Shell – He’s done it plenty of times before (3.5 sacks in the two contests last year). Pushing Darnold off of his spot and shutting down his escape routes are synonymous with a Dolphins win.

2.) Stretching the Jets defense vertically – We saw what Miami’s speed can do to a defense in the Tennessee game. The ball will come out hot for much of this game to counteract the Jets’ blitz packages. Getting behind the defense will force the Jets to reconsider the entire game plan.

3.) No special teams’ gaffes – Normally a staple of Dolphins teams, Darren Rizzi consistently has his boys coached up. That wasn’t the case against the Titans. Miami needs to A.) Make every field goal and PAT, B.) Prevent big returns, and C.) Flip the field in the punting game. In what figures to be a close game, special teams will likely sway the outcome.

The Opportunities:

Miami’s 21-personnel package, along with Albert Wilson in formation, puts three players on the field that can impact the game by catching the football out of the backfield. Displacing the middle of the field with drive concepts, and sneaking backs in on choice routes or arrow routes can result in some big plays.

Expect Kenyan Drake to get plenty of targets as a pass catcher.

The Projected Result:

Bringing it full circle, it’ll be interesting to see how this Jets team responds to its impressive showing Monday. Overconfidence can either lead to let-down or inspire hope even further. The Dolphins need to start fast, take the crowd out of the game and dictate the pace.

If Miami plays the game on their terms, they’ll win – if not, they won’t.

Dolphins 20
Jets 19

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins vs. Raiders Week Three Preview

Travis Wingfield

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Who: Dolphins (2-0) vs. Raiders (0-2)
When: September 23, 1:00 East
Where: Hard Rock Stadium – Miami Gardens, FL
Weather: 88 degrees, 73% humidity, 60% precipitation
Vegas Slant: Dolphins -3

Raiders Off-Season Changes

Dolphins vs. Raiders

Favored for the first time in three outings, the Miami Dolphins return home to the building where, under Adam Gase, the organization is bordering on elite. Since Gase’s hire in 2016, the Dolphins are 11-5, riding a six-game winning-streak with Ryan Tannehill under-center, and average nearly four touchdowns per game at Hard Rock Stadium.

Beating the Titans was a commencement that this team wasn’t the pushover many projected it to be. Throttling the Jets to the tune of a 20-point halftime lead, Miami asserted itself into the discussion of potential playoff outfits.

Now the expectation is that the Dolphins will hit the showers on Sunday with an unblemished record through three games. Winning as an underdog can be attributed to the emotional influence of the game but, winning as favorites, that’s a different ballgame.

The Patriots are on-deck. Miami are in a perfect situation to set-up a Late-September statement game – a potential changing of the guard game, perhaps.

But first, the Raiders.

The Raiders’ Scheme

Offense:

Oakland have been a team of two halves under second-time Head Coach, Jon Gruden. Obliterated in the second half against a loaded Rams team, on national T.V. no less, the Raiders had an opportunity to right the ship with a 12-point halftime lead at divisional rival Denver.

Gruden’s play-script has yielded positive results. A healthy mix of 11 and 12-personnel focuses the offense around Amari Cooper and Jared Cook. Everything Oakland does offensively revolves around the running game. Establishing Marshawn Lynch and the zone running game early is the precursor for the play-action, bootleg layers’ concepts that we’ve seen regularly with Miami.

For a team that wanted to throw things back to 1998 (and they did, no roster is older than this veteran-laden group assembled in Oakland), Gruden’s offense sure struggles to convert third-and-short. On 10 attempts from five yards and in, the Raiders are moving the sticks just 40% of the time.

That issue, compounded by a lack of ingenuity once the game becomes about adjustments, are why the Raiders are starring an 0-3 start square in the face. Mixing plenty of variety early in the game (bunch 12-personnel followed up by an empty formation down in the red zone) kept the Broncos and Rams defenses guessing.

While the yardage ranks show success, the Raiders have the fifth-lowest scoring offense in the National Football League.

Defense:

Coordinator Paul Guenther believes in three things: Blitzing, blitzing and, you guessed it, blitzing. Though it didn’t start that way this season, Gruden has specifically stated he would prefer that Oakland brought heat more often.

The Raider defense increased the blitz-package last week and, as the pass rush continues to struggle in the post-Khalil Mack era, that trend likely continues this week.

A-Gap pressure has been a favorite for Guenther. He’s a disciple of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, who’s defense is predicated on showing pressure down up the gun-barrel.

On the back-end, Oakland will mix-up zone and man-coverage. Because of a lack of pressure from the Raiders’ lackluster four-man front, the Dolphins could take Guenther’s defense to task in two ways:

– Throwing the football to the backs
– Setting up the quick screen game early and often

The Players:

Offense:

Derek Carr has regressed back to the norm after an anomaly in 2016. His propensity to succumb to heavy pressure and poor decision making has resulted in a rough start for the fifth-year pro.

Carr’s passer rating under pressure is 33.1 – 32nd in the NFL. Miami had Sam Darnold under constant duress Sunday at the Meadowlands.

Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Donald Penn and Kolton Miller have surrendered eight pressures among the pair – keeping them each outside of the top 50 tackles in the league when it comes to pass blocking efficiency.

The interior of that offensive line is where the Raiders’ strength is supposed to lie – only it isn’t any better than the perimeter. Gabe Jackson and Kelechi Osemele have allowed a combined nine pressures.

Neither Raiders’ tackle is a top-50 graded run blocker and the guards check in at 42nd and 24th respectively. Marshawn Lynch’s elusive rating is 35th among NFL backs.

Miami has three wide outs with an average yards-per-route-ran over 2.0 – Oakland has one (Martavis Bryant on just four targets). Jordy Nelson’s diminishing speed has made him a shell of his former-self and Amari Cooper still hasn’t recaptured the magic of his rookie season.

Jared Cook, however, is fifth among all tight ends with 3.82 YPPR.

Defense:

Miami have gashed teams on the ground through two games and that trend could continue in week-three. The Raiders interior defensive line is inexperienced and without much production. Jonathan Hankins arrives to reinforce a front that is allowing 5.7 yards-per-carry – worst in football.

The edge rushers might offer even less. The most efficient pass rusher through two games is Frostee Rucker. His pass-rush-productivity ranks 77th in the league.

Gareon Conley and Rashaan Melvin are off to solid starts on the perimeter of the Raider defense. Leon Hall, Oakland’s nickel corner has allowed 75 yards on just nine pass targets – Miami will make the grizzled-vet a target on Sunday.

Linebacker play isn’t any better. The collective group has just six run-stops and each of the three are allowing passer ratings over 100 in coverage.

Oakland cut Obi Melifonwu in order to keep Reggie Nelson on the field and the returns have not been great. His passer rating allowed is 150.7 (just 7.6 points shy of a perfect rating).

The Medical:

Raiders

(Pos) Player Injury Wednesday
CB Leon Hall Illness Limited
DT P.J. Hall Ankle DNP
WR Dwayne Harris Foot Full
C Rodney Hudson Ankle Limited
G Gabe Jackson Pectoral Limited
RB Marshawn Lynch Shoulder Limited
T Brandon Parker Ankle DNP

 

Dolphins

(Pos) Player Injury Wednesday
WR Danny Amendola Non-Injury DNP
LS John Denney Shoulder Limited
RB Kenyan Drake Abdomen Full
DE Williams Hayes Finger Full
S Reshad Jones Shoulder DNP
WR Devante Parker Knee Full
DT Jordan Phillips Knee Limited
QB Ryan Tannehill Knee/Ankle Full

The Concerns:

There’s an easy answer to this one and it would be ultra-contrarian to go away from said obvious conclusion. Jared Cook caused a multitude of problems for the Miami in last year’s meeting, and he’s off to a similar start this season.

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland’s ability to stretch him both vertically and horizontally doesn’t bode well for the Miami linebackers. Raekwon McMillan is struggling immensely in this area and Kiko Alonso has been problematic in this department in his own right.

Tackling and poor angles have been a bit of an issue on the back-end. It’s a team effort to get Marshawn Lynch to the ground – if he has success, the Raiders’ offense will have success.

Miami needs these three things to go in their favor:

1.) Contain Oakland’s first down offense – Oakland’s tackle play has been suspect. With a wave of edge rusher’s ready to capitalize, if Oakland can’t find success on early downs, it won’t fare any better on the money down.

2.) Unleash the passing game – A balanced attack has been the prescription so far with early double-digit leads. The same could happen against these Raiders, but Miami has advantages all over the field in regards to the passing offense v. Oakland’s pass defense. Expect Oakland to commit to stopping the run, meaning the aerial show begins at 1 ‘o’ clock eastern standard time.

3.) Shut down Amari Cooper OR Jared Cook – Miami will pick its poison here, but if they can blank one of these two and make the Raiders passing game one-dimensional, the Dolphins can start robbing Derek Carr and force the mistake-prone quarterback into turnovers.

The Opportunities:

Frankly, they’re everywhere. Miami’s edge rush against Oakland’s substandard tackle play, the young interior defensive line of Oakland against Miami’s ever-evolving ground-game, the perimeter match-ups, Miami ought to be able to draw their weapon-of-choice from a hat and attack accordingly.

The Projected Result:

An angry Adam Gase is a dangerous Adam Gase. The absurd rumblings around his quarterback are sure to ignite a fire and create a run-up-the-score mentality in the snarky third-year coach. This game could very well be all gas and no breaks with plenty of scoring opportunities schemed into the passing game down in the red zone.

Coming east in the early-game window has proven difficult for this Raiders team. Sure, change has been rampant since The Visor regained control of the operation, but that doesn’t make the challenge of an out-of-whack body clock any easier.

In 2017 Oakland was 1-3 playing in the eastern time zone. Three of those games were in primetime and the Raiders were collectively outscored in the four games 104-61. The lone early-window game was a 34-14 loss at the Buffalo Bills.

The Raiders are about to find out how much resiliency they have under Gruden. The loss in Denver was devastating and will either foster a hungry, desperate team, or send the lads in the opposite direction with no hope in sight.

With the Dolphins tempo-based-attack, playing back at home in the brutal South Florida conditions, not many aspects of this game favor the road team.

Dolphins 41
Raiders 20

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@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Week 3: Miami Dolphins Power Rankings Round Up

Gabe Hauari

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How did Miami’s 20-12 win over the Jets in Week 2 affect their position in the eyes of the major national media outlets? Let’s take a look:

ESPN

Last Week: 24

This week: 16

NFL.com

Last week: 23

This week: 17

Bleacher Report

Last week: 28

This week: 21

CBS Sports

Last week: 17

This week: 12

Sports Illustrated

Last week: 19

This week: 15

As you can see, there’s a pretty wide range of opinions on this Dolphins team. Bleacher Report continues to remain mum on Miami, saying “Undefeated or no, we’re still not ready to call the Dolphins contenders. Or even call them good.”

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports ranked the Dolphins No. 12, and said: “They are off to a 2-0 start and have a winnable game at home against Oakland. Adam Gase has this team playing good football.”

If the Dolphins get to 3-0 by beating the Oakland Raiders at home this Sunday, they may start to get some more national recognition as a team who could contend for a playoff spot.

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Miami Dolphins

5 potential landing spots should Miami trade Devante Parker

Kadeem Simmonds

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Following Miami’s 20-12 win over the Jets on Sunday, Devante Parker was upset he didn’t see the field, claiming he was fit and ready to go.

The reaction to the quote was mixed, some fans were pleased Parker wanted in on the action while others felt he was overshadowing the victory and making it all about himself.

We saw this with Jay Ajayi, complaining he didn’t see enough off the ball after the Dolphins won games and the last thing Adam Gase wants is another player putting his personal needs above the team’s.

Parker has failed to live up the hype when he was drafted 14th overall in 2015.

Yet to get a contract extension, it may be time for #11 to move on.

The team are not short at receiver with Albert Wilson, Kenny Stills, Danny Amendola and Jakeem Grant all proving to be Gase’s guys.

Parker doesn’t fit in to what Gase is trying to build in Miami and instead of letting him hit free agency when the time comes, it may be worth trading him to a WR needy franchise.

Below are five teams who could be interested in Parker should he be available:

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Ajayi texts Parker.

“Hey, I agree Coach Gase doesn’t know what he’s doing.

“He didn’t give me enough touches when I was in Miami and I left to win a Super Bowl. JOIN ME!”

On a serious note, this is a move which we could actually see happen.

The SB champs are short at receiver due to a few injuries.

While they have Alshon Jeffrey to return, Mike Wallace may not see the field again this season and Mack Hollins is on IR.

Carson Wentz returns this Sunday and giving him a new shiny toy to play with in Parker could be the perfect welcome back gift.

Eagles Twitter want it to happen and know the franchise have a good relationship with the Dolphins after acquiring Ajayi for what seems to be a steal.

Can Howie Roseman do it again?

 

Cleveland Browns

Landry texts Parker.

“Hey, I agree Coach Gase doesn’t know what he’s doing.

“He gave me loads of touches when I was in Miami and I left to lose with the Browns. JOIN ME!”

The Browns’ receiver core is shrinking.

Corey Coleman? Gone.

Josh Gordon? Gone.

For Thursday Night Football against the Jets, their current depth chart at WR reads:

1. Jarvis Landry

2. Rashard Higgins

3. Derrick Willies

1. Antonio Callaway

2. Damion Ratley

3. Rod Streater.

If Cleveland are serious about actually winning a game of football, giving Tyrod Taylor/Baker Mayfield some actual weapons could be a start.

Should Miami work out a deal, better than the one they got for Landry, they could be looking at a pretty decent draft pick in 2019.

Cleveland has the cap room to offer him a long-term deal and Parker gets moved to a team looking to rebuild for the future.

 

Dallas Cowboys

The win against the Giants on Sunday Night Football didn’t mask the fact that Dak Prescott has a lack of good options to throw to.

The team has seven WRs after adding Brice Butler to give the receiver room some much-needed height but still lack an X-factor player on the perimeter.

Jason Garrett must be worried about the amount of snaps Tavon Austin and Cole Beasley are seeing and Parker can potentially bring to this team what they lost in Dez Bryant over the summer.

It would mean getting rid of two or three WRs but given the list of names on the Cowboys depth chart, that shouldn’t be too hard to make room for a former first round pick.

 

Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson needs help.

First and foremost, he needs an offensive line.

But he also has no-one to throw to.

Pete Carroll’s days seem to be numbered and he may not last the entire season given their start and the changes in Seattle the past 18 months.

But should he need a quick fix to try and save his job, Parker could help alleviate the pressure on Wilson while also taking some of the attention Doug Baldwin is shown by opponents.

Should trade talks take place, instead of going for a draft pick, Miami’s front office should see if Seattle would send Earl Thomas the other way.

Yes Miami has T.J. McDonald but would you turn down the opportunity to partner Reshad Jones with ETIII?

One can dream.

 

Arizona Cardinals

Like Seattle, this team needs all the help it can get.

Badly.

Larry Fitzgerald cannot keep single-handedly saving this franchise.

Christian Kirk looks a nice pick up but if they want to give Josh Rosen the best chance to succeed when he does step in for Sam Bradford, he needs more weapons.

Parker can immediately step in and be productive in a team which failed to get past the half-way line until the final drive of the game against the LA Rams and were shut out.

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