Anatomy of an AFC East Win 2015
by son of a son of a shula
If the 2015 season is going to be a success for our beloved Miami Dolphins then feasting on Division opponents will be key to a playoff run. Playing solid, focused football on both sides of the ball, avoiding turnovers and playing excellent Special Teams will be the reason for success in this upcoming season. Winning the three home games will be imperative despite one of those being in London. Avoiding late season collapses is paramount and quite obvious or we face a brutal offseason. Stealing wins in close games on the road would be ideal and keeping the hammer down when we get a lead should become the new norm for Philbin’s Phins.
Led by newly acquired and dominant Ndamakong Suh we must stop the run. Not stop the run for a quarter or for a couple of series – no – we must become a team that is almost impossible to run on. Teams in the AFC East all want to establish the running game control the clock and beat you with a very tough Defense. We have to beat teams to the punch. With Suh, Mitchell and Phillips we have three big tough bodies that will be the catalyst for the ’15 Dolphin’s Defense to be a top squad. We’ll be solid up the middle so it will be up to the Linebackers and secondary to contain outside rushers and not let someone beat them around the edge. Getting a solid push up front will be key to setting up blitzes, disguising coverages and feasting on turnovers. Putting Smith and Cassell in throwing situations is what we want to do. Allow our front to pressure them into bad throws, sacks and of course picks. Forcing Brady to throw can be somewhat of a gamble but if he is hurried (and using properly inflated balls) and on the move then advantage D.
Sure it sounds good when you say it fast – stop the run and pin your ears back and rush the passer, who doesn’t try to do that. Imposing your will and proper game planning will bring about those scenarios. The other factor is the score board, that’s where our offense can make life a lot easier for the Defense so let’s take a look.
I don’t want to cloud this objective with stats. Stats don’t tell the whole story. Yes scoring went up significantly last year as a whole but there were plenty of times when our offense failed to get even a single first down, move the ball enough to flip field position or run out the clock for a win. It has to change. The defenses in the AFC East want to do what we want to do, they want to take away the run, force you to throw it and pressure the pocket. Why is that different against the Dolphins than the rest of the division? One word – Running Quarterback. Tannehill can set us apart with his running ability, he can do just enough to keep the defense guessing while he makes plays outside the pocket both running and throwing the ball.
Now in year two of the Lazor offense and with what appears to be a much higher skilled level of playmakers the time to strike is now. Our offensive line needs to keep Tannehill clean but also allow Miller and company lanes to run the ball. I think it will be important to score quickly against our division opponents to limit what they want to do. We need a more productive passing game in terms of getting the ball down field, and the guys were brought in to do just that. Gone are the days of catch and drop, it doesn’t get you anywhere. Becoming a quick strike explosive Offense will get us leads to play with and allow us the ability to get back into games if we find ourselves trailing.
It’s very simple here. Spiller can’t run free on us, Landry can’t fumble punt returns, Sturgis can’t miss FG attempts. Having Fields avoid a slump like the one he endured last season will help. Causing turnovers on Special Teams is ideal, fumbles, blocked kicks but not allowing long returns is just as important. Play solid Special Teams and good things will happen.
Playing with a lead because of an explosive passing game and having a consistent running game to eat clock and preserve leads are the keys to AFC East domination. The other key factor, and yes I agree the elephant in the room, is going to be keeping this team playing at a high level for all 16 games. It goes without saying that another long December will be Philbin’s doom. The reshaping of the roster going into this year will have a lot to do with that not happening again. Suh on Defense should easily change the culture there. Gone is the ever tiring Starks, the joking and disappearing Odrick and the feeling of hopelessness as the opponent runs at will all the way to Christmas. Staying healthier this year than last will help as well. On offense we have legit playmaker’s who by all accounts appear to be team first guys, sorry no diva’s needed here. Jennings the vet, Parker the acrobat, Stills the burner and Landry the persistent force. Trust that the Oline will gel and improve under Benton in his second year is all we can do right now, there are enough good players to make that unit solid if not even formidable. Yes I said formidable.
Don’t coach scared Joe, trust in your players and impose your will. New England’s run must end –Now is the time.
Anatomy – no I’m not mad at you