Written by Luis Sung | Twitter: @FLSportDebater
The Dolphins are going to Denver to face an offensive juggernaut in the Denver Broncos, led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, who has incredible weapons like Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Julius Thomas and Wes Welker. Not to mention a young running back in Montee Ball.
Fortunately, the latest reports are saying that both Julius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are not participating in practice after being injured. For Sanders, the injury he sustained even became somewhat of an internet joke as the hit that gave him a concussion against St. Louis prompted someone to go to his Wikipedia page and write that he was actually dead.
Obviously, that's not the case, and Sanders simply hasn't passed the NFL's concussion protocols yet. Julius Thomas is fighting off an ankle injury, and Montee Ball will be out for a few weeks after aggravating a groin injury. However, just because those three weapons are out does not mean the Dolphins are taking the Broncos offense any more lightly than usual. Most of the reason for that is because of Peyton Manning.
“When you’re playing a veteran guy like Peyton Manning, you’ve got to disguise, you can’t show him what we’re running, what defensive call we’ve got going on." said safety Reshad Jones. "You have to play fundamentally sound football, play your technique and do your job. We’re going to count on every man to step up and make plays.”
The very fact that Peyton Manning is the quarterback has the defense making sure they prepare harder than ever, as they have an incredible amount of respect for a man who has dominated the league for nearly two decades with his cerebral play style and pinpoint accuracy.
“He’s a great quarterback obviously, one of the best to ever play, controls the offense and makes all of the throws. It’s like having your offensive coordinator on the field that can actually throw the ball." said cornerback Brent Grimes. “You don’t become one of the best quarterbacks ever if you’re not an accurate quarterback - combined with his knowledge of the game and where everyone is going to be, his accuracy. He’s a great quarterback, very accurate, puts the ball exactly where it needs to be, on time, and does it consistently. That’s why he’s so great.”
Grimes will probably also have the added challenge of covering the Broncos top wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, since other starting cornerback Cortland Finnegan is still nursing an ankle injury, which throws second-year corner Jamar Taylor into the fire.
“He’s big and fast, that’s what he does. He’s big, catches the ball with his hands." said Grimes. "Once he gets the ball, he makes somebody miss, he can score from anywhere.”
The Dolphins may have a slightly easier time of it if Sanders, Thomas and Ball can't go, but they still have a great challenge ahead of them mostly because of a man who is both an offensive coordinator and a quarterback all rolled into one. Peyton Manning.
"Like I said, we’re going to have to play fundamental, sound football." said Reshad Jones. "We have to be on our keys and do our job. It’s going to take every man to do their assignment and make plays.”