Ah, how nice is it to ponder our team in Week #9 of an NFL season and not only be in contention for a playoff spot and the division crown, but to do so with a top rated defense and a promising young QB? C’mon, think about that and let it sink in. Forget about Tua throwing for only 102 yards, but think about this defense just 7 games into rebuild YEAR ONE and our defense, yes, the Miami Dolphins defense has given up the least points per game at 18.6 PPG. Incredible! I know some of you are worried about Tua but let it go man. NO matter who we drafted at QB you’d be feeling and thinking we made a mistake. If we took Herbert (who is playing well and looks good) you’d be thinking we screwed up. If we traded up and got Joe Burrow we’d be saying we mortgaged the future and gave up too much. If we waited to select Jordan Love we’d be saying we half-assed and should have gone all in on one of the upper echelon QB’s. Forget about that, we have Tua, and he’s got the talent to be great for us. Let it happen, and enjoy it!
Speaking of that defense, oh that defense. What a clinic they put on against the 5-2 LA Rams. Maybe Garoppolo wasn’t 100% but Goff was and that’s twice within a few weeks that we have flummoxed two NFC QB’s. Goff was pressured and harassed and hit all day long. Dolphins D forced 4 turnovers in all, 2 INT’s and 2 forced fumbles and recoveries, one for a TD on the strip sack of Goff by DE Emmanuel Ogbah (pictured above) and the TD return by LB Andrew Van Ginkel (also pictured above). Opportunistic they were, but there are some concerns. The Rams ran 90 offensive plays and had the ball for 36 and half minutes. 61 pass attempts and and 39 rush attempts. I comprehend that the score is all that matters at the end of the day, but I think we all understand this can’t happen week after week. The guys were exhausted, I saw several Dolphins barely able to get back to the LOS and get set in the 4th quarter, so this can’t continue. We need to get off the field sometimes, and the run defense is a concern. Teams look at film and find weaknesses and if the score is close enough, they will try and exploit our weak rushing defense.
The Arizona Cardinals are also 5-2, like the Rams were last week. They are coming off their BYE week and will be well rested and ready to go. We may catch a bit of a break because it appears as if Kenyan Drake may miss thye game which leaves the rushing in the capable hands of Chase Edmonds. The problem is, #29 doesn’t scare me as much as #1 on the opposing team does. We had tons of trouble with Cam Newton and the RPO but to be fair, that was game #1. This defense has come a long way since then. Still, Kyler Murray is a dangerous man when he’s running with the football, and in my opinion, much like Cam Newton, he scares me more running than passing. We have to be disciplined and we have to play better against that type of attack. We guessed wrong too often with Cam and the RPO, I hope we can do better with Murray. I’m also worried about sending too much pressure and having him find a hole to run upfield so we have to be cognizant of that as well. Oh yeah, and the Cards have DeAndre Hopkins, Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella. The Cards are top 10 in points scored (8th at 29 PPG) and in points allowed (9th at 20.9) and have a +57 point differential. The Dolphins are 11th in PPG at 26.9PPG and as previously mentioned, #1 in points allowed (I like saying that!) at 18.6PPG, with a +58 point differential. Good news for Miami, rookie LT Austin Jackson has returned to practice. In his stead, veteran Jesse Davis has performed admirably.
The Dolphins offense will be somewhat of a mess due to the fact that their leading rusher Myles Gaskin is OUT and 3 week IR and it looks likely that backup Matt Breida (hamstring) may also be out or limited. That leaves only Jordan Howard (break in case of emergency), Patrick Laird and Savon Ahmed. I haven’t seen an injury report regarding FB Chandler Cox yet, and there’s always a chance both Malcolm Perry and Lynn Bowden get some touches in the backfield. We’re going to have to see more of Tua in this game, and I hope he’s up for the task. I know he has the talent and the confidence so let’s see some more of him please. I was perfectly fine with how things played out last week, there was no need to put any burden on Tua, the defense and ST’s like the wonderful 88 yard return for a TD last week, along with the Van Ginkel fumble recovery for a TD, but that won’t happen every week, and with the run game being at a huge deficit, it may be Tua time this week. Will #88 ever be a big part of the gameplan? I surely hope so, like Sonny said in “A Bronx Tale”, “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever” Let’s make the right choice and get #88 the damn football!