By: Jorge Hinojosa
Jorge’s weekly preview: #ets, round 2.
I don’t know about you but after last week’s loss I’m excited and eager to see how our Dolphins bounce back. As Jason Sarney and Carter Melrose have pointed out in different podcasts (listen to them if you haven’t already!), it’s easy to be excited for your team to play when they’re on a hot streak. But I for one, am really curious, excited, and eager to see how they bounce back after the loss to Denver.
In paper, facing the winless #-E-T-S (yeah, no way am I writing their name in this column), seems like the perfect opportunity. But the green team from NYC is in fact playing a lot better, will have Darnold back and are probably eager to save their season by beating the Dolphins this week. That just makes it all much more exciting to see how Tua and the offense, Van Noy and the defense, Coaches Gailey and Boyer bounce back after the humbling loss at Denver last week.
Now without further ado, let’s get to it:
When? 1:00 pm ET at MetLife Stadium
How did we get here?
The Dolphins come into this game playing what can be described as the worst game of the season. Denver had the perfect game plan on both offense and defense and were able steal one from the Dolphins. The big headline of course was Coach Flores’s decision to bench Tua in the 4th quarter (You can listen on why I agree with the call, here: https://t.co/LyizSX1uwE?amp=1 ) and go with Ryan Fitzpatrick. The #-ET-S come into this game after another loss, this time at the hands of Justin Herbert and the Chargers.
When the guys from NYC have the ball.
Look, I’m not sure at all of what weapon we should be concerned about? Their best player is by far rookie tackle Mekhi Becton who is as good as advertised but he can’t catch the ball or run with the ball. Therefore, we must highlight time-beating veteran Frank Gore. One of the most respected players in the league and who at 37 years young leads the team with 447 yards. (For comparison, the Dolphins leading rusher, Myles Gaskin has 347 yards).
The Dolphins run defense was exposed (yet again) v. the Broncos. I know and understand this defense is built to play with a lead, but they need to find a way to shut down opposing running games or at least slow them down enough. If the #E-T-S are forced to pass, even with Darnold back, the Dolphins defense should be able to tee off on him and force him to re-live his quite of “Seeing ghosts out there”.
The Dolphins amoeba defense will have to adapt after the Broncos did a pretty good job stopping it last game and expect to see Wilkins have a big return from his 2-week stay on the Covid list. AVG should continue his dominant form and don’t be surprised to see Howard go on another pick-streak with a second interception in as many weeks.
When the Dolphins have the ball:
Raise your hand if you were among those calling Tua a bust after last week, questioning why we picked him and asking for him to be benched. OK, now use that hand you raise to slap yourself. Tua is a great, fantastic, incredible QB prospect. That is beyond debate. He is also just 4 games into his career a year after suffering a career-threatening injury. During that time, he has yet to have a pick counted against him (I will admit, he has been lucky in that regard), has led the Dolphins to victories over 2 NFC West teams and against rookie-phenom Justin Herbert and lead a 4th quarter comeback against one of those NFC West in Arizona. So far, he’s been as advertised.
Last week, was unfortunately a perfect storm against him. No running game, a fantastic game-plan by the Broncos that were forcing him to throw 50/50 balls (Something he has often stated he is not used to doing), hit him a bunch of times, sacking him 6 and forced Coach Flores to Bench him. Now, I am excited to see him play a full game against the team he had his debut against and make a statement. Now that statement doesn’t need to be 300+ yards or 2+ TD’s, it just needs to show that he learned from last week, improved from one week to the next and that this is his team and his offense.
Coach Gailey is also in need of making a statement showing last week was a blip in the radar and that the improvement we had seen during the streak was no accident. Trust your young QB, trust your weapons, don’t be afraid of them making mistakes, let them play. All in all, I’m excited to see the Dolphins bounce back. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Callaway have a much bigger role in the offense and we might even see Lynn Bowden’s return to the active roster this week. On the offensive line look for Jackson to have a much better game and for Hunt to play a lot more given Kindley’s injury that will likely force Jesse Davis (back from the COVID List) to play guard.
What to expect?
I do not predict another shutout, nor do I predict a cakewalk. I do expect the Dolphins to prove, consistently that they are the better team, I expect them to force the # E-T-S to throw early and tee off on Darnold, and definitely await to see how the offensive playbook will open up after a poor showing at Denver. Dolphins 28 - #-E-T-S 10
Please welcome Jorge Hinojosa to the PhinManiacs team! Please follow him on Twitter @FranciscoHinoPe