The season finally begins for the Miami Dolphins! No need to explain why, we all know about Hurricane Irma, and what she did to FLA, and pertaining to football, what she did to the Dolphins and the schedule. So here comes GAME 1, and we’re already in LA, as the Dolphins traveled out a few days ago to get out away from Irma, and now start practicing for their 1st game of the season.
The Chargers gave the Broncos a good fight on MNF, coming all the way down to the last few seconds of the game, when Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo lined up for a game tying 44 yard FG, which the Broncos blocked in order to preserve the victory. The Broncos stuck to the ground game against the Chargers, with a combination of C.J. Anderson and former Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles. Denver rushed a total of 36 times, Anderson 20, Charles 10 and QB Trevor Semian 6, for a grand total of 140 yards, and QB Trevor Semian had the only rushing TD for DEN.
Although the Chargers didn’t run that much against the Broncos, if they have success against our front 7, I think they will continue to pound the ball on us with a combination of RB Melvin Gordon and Brandon Oliver. The Chargers only ran 22 times against DEN, but Rivers had success through the air, throwing 3 TD’s and completing 22 of 33 attempts for 192 yards. Of course being down 24-7 in the 3rd quarter changes your gameplan, so even if they wanted to run, they needed to throw to catch up.
The Dolphins O-line will be tested against these Chargers. The Chargers front 7 is stocked with talent. 2nd year DE Joey Bosa brings the heat from the Left side (Like Cam Wake), and DT’s Corey Liuget and Brandon Mebane are stout interior defenders along with another good pass rusher, DE Melvin Ingram. Ingram also moves to OLB, and that versatility makes him worth that much more. Dolphins need to know where Ingram is all the time.
The Dolphins will be starting 2nd year OL Laremy Tunsil at LT, with veteran Anthony Steen next to him at LG. All Pro Mike Pouncey will start at C, with veteran RG Jermon Bushrod next to him. RT Ja’Wuan James is the other bookend. This line will have it’s hands full with the Chargers D-line, especially Bosa, who will be a serious challenge to start the season for Ja’Wuan James.
The Dolphins have to get the J-Train rolling, and keep it rolling. We all have visions of Jay Cutler throwing rainbows all over the field to Parker, Stills and Grant, because he can, but if the Dolphins are going to be successful in 2017, the J-train will once again be the key. Cutler will challenge defenses deep, and that’s great, but let’s keep that in check, and let the J-train tire out the defense, give us the edge in T.O.P, and keep the defense rested. We know Ajayi gets tons of yards after contact, but it would be great if that contact wasn’t 2 yards in the backfield, and maybe 5 yards upfield. I expect this offense will never be built for Jay Cutler to do too much, but rather just enough. Some games we’ll have to lean on him, but that won’t be the plan going in.
With Devante Parker, Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry, Jakeem Grant, Leonte Carroo, Julius Thomas and Kenyan Drake, there is a plethora of targets for Cutler. He’s got to feel good about that. That being said, let’s hope Cutler doesn’t need to throw the ball 30 times or more. I’d like to see us run the ball 25-30 times, and Cutler have 25 or less pass attempts. Of course the game may dictate otherwise, but that would be ideal in my mind.
On defense, I expect to see a smattering of Rey Maualuga. I think he’ll be out there to start, but there will be plenty of substitutions, with Hull seeing plenty (read majority) of the playing time. Timmons and Alonso will be in the nickel, and probably Alonso in the dime. Can’t wait to see #20 (Reshad Jones) back patrolling the secondary, and I’m also curious to see who starts opposite Xavien Howard at CB. I think we’ll see both Maxwell and Verner, but I think we’d be better served with Maxwell on the perimeter and Verner inside. As for the “battle” on the D-line, it looks like the Dolphins took the safe route, and will have Jordan Phillips line up next to Suh, but Godchaux will see time as well, especially if Phillips isn’t perceived to be giving max effort. That’s something to keep an eye on.
So, Game 1 of 16 in a row starts Sunday at 4:05PM in Los Angeles for our Miami Dolphins. I know I’m amped up, I would imagine you are too.
GO DOLPHINS! Zero in!