There are several matchups that are not exactly working in the favor of the Miami Dolphins when it comes to facing off against the Baltimore Ravens. They have a strong offensive line, a good quarterback and two very good wide receivers who can make plays when called upon. One of their strongest units, however, is the defensive line. With edge-rushers like Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, there's always danger to watch out for.
The Dolphins did manage to grab a little bit of a break though, as it was revealed that the Ravens starting defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has been suspended for four games for his use of - as he admits - Adderall, which is a drug mainly used to increase focus and awareness. Despite Ngata's suspension, however, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is not convinced the Ravens approach to the game will change.
“I’m sure they’re going to play their defense. They’re going to line up, they have their defensive game plan." said Philbin. "They have good defensive coaches. They have good defensive players. We’ll have to adjust to whatever changes they may make."
There probably will be some minor changes due to the fact that Ngata is out; he's currently rated as the Ravens second-best defensive player behind only Terrell Suggs, and that is something that cannot be so easily replaced. But again, Philbin doesn't see that as a huge factor.
“Baltimore is an excellent football team. I’m sure they’re going to have 46 guys ready to go. The defensive line is deep and well coached." Philbin said. "So I’m sure they’re going to have somebody in there. They’ve got good players, they’ve got good depth, they roll guys through.”
That next man up is most likely going to be rookie defensive tackle out of Florida State Timmy Jernigan. In his limited snaps, he has performed well, accumulating two sacks and seven tackles. Is he on Ngata's level? Not at all, but he is definitely someone the Dolphins will not be taking lightly. As Coach Philbin has already stated, the Ravens are a very good football team, and depth on the defensive line is not something they will be overly concerned with.
The last possibility would have been the possible shock of losing Ngata and what the news might have done to the Ravens psyche. Losing a star player like that can be demoralizing for any team, but Philbin once again dismisses the idea and reminds us that the Ravens are a good football team who will show up more than ready to compete.
"Again, I think the big thing is, a lot of things can happen in between your last game and when you kick off your next game. Nothing should surprise us, that have been involved in football for a long time." he says. "They’re a well-coached team, they have good players. I’m sure they’ll be ready to go."
We all know that the Ravens losing Ngata will in fact make somewhat of an impact, but it's a good thing that Philbin has the team acting as if the decline in defensive tackle play won't be significant, because it will mean that the team is prepared for whatever might come their way. It's going to take supreme effort on both sides of the football for the Dolphins to emerge victorious on Sunday.
"We have to worry about us and what we’re going to do and how we’re going to play on Sunday.”
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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