Written by Matthew Cannata at 2:45 PM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The San Diego Chargers are coming to Miami with a 5-3 record, good enough for second place in a tough AFC West Division that features the likes of the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.The Miami Dolphins are 4-3 and are no slouches either though and Sunday's game is gearing up to be an AFC showdown. Joe Philbin talked about how the Dolphins would work to prepare for the game.
“We just have to improve. We have to keep the focus on ourselves. There’s things we did well in the game, believe it or not, yesterday. We’ll look at those. There are things we will have to correct from yesterday. The real theme is improving. Sunday will be the halfway point in terms of games played. We should be able to have worked through some of these kinks that all teams work through. The production really has to start increasing. We are playing an excellent football team.”
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle went into a little more detail and talked about Phillip Rivers and how the defense would work to contain him and limit the amount of damage he has the potential to do.
"He’s throwing for touchdowns and he’s not turning the ball over. He’s a veteran guy, he’s seen everything. He’s tough to confuse. He’s got good weapons across the board both at the receiver position, running backs, and the tight end we know is the all-time leading receiver for the Chargers. He poses a great challenge. The good news is that we’ve played him last year. I think our guys have matched up against a lot of their guys. We know that game came down to the final play of the game and this game is probably going to be similar in a lot of ways. You’ve got two very evenly matched teams that need to win and I think it’s going to be a great competitive game. We have to keep pressure on him. We’re going to have to keep pressure on him and do a great job in the back end not giving up any deep throws.”
Another player the Dolphins will need to worry about is Antonio Gates, who after many had deemed him near the end of his career, has turned the tables and has proven to still be one of the better tight ends in the league.
“Like a lot of the great tight ends, they’re going to find ways to get him the football. He’s such a good athlete. He can beat you running vertically down the field, but he’s best when he’s maneuvering on more of those shallow option routes, rub routes they try to get him the ball underneath where he can mismatch on a linebacker or a safety. We’re going to have to try to keep changing things up against him because you can’t just sit in one thing and allow (Philip) Rivers to see it and or their receivers to see it," Coyle said.
"The other thing you’ve got to know about these guys is their running backs, although their numbers rushing aren’t as good as they were a year ago, they catch a lot of balls. Scary thing is when you watch this number 43 (Branden Oliver), he reminds you a lot of the old 43 (Darren Sproles) that they had for many years. He’s a dynamic player, he’s boosted their running game here in the last few weeks. If you total up all of the catches of their running backs, they are as high as any receiver they have. They only play with one back most of the time, my point is, that corps of running backs, I think (Keenan) Allen may have 43 catches, add up all of the running backs, they are probably right there at 43 or 45. They are a big time option for them as well.”
The Dolphins definitely will have their hands full but the fact that their defensive line can pressure the quarterback on their own should help as everyone else will be able to sit back in coverage and worry about their own particular assignment.