I have to admit, it’s tough to be a fan. Last week’s derailment really disappointed me, truly upset me, made me realize that every time I buy in to what our team is doing I should take a step back, take a breath, and make sure I don’t fall for the hype. No sugarcoating here, I absolutely thought we were past this type of performance with a solid Head Coach in Brian Flores. 35-0 beatdown against a division rival who embarrassed you to the point that it was the subject of discussion for months after the game in which we were undressed in Buffalo 56-26, with a win necessary to make the playoffs. This was supposed to be sweet revenge, a 1:00PM game in the sweltering heat of Miami against the bullies from Buffalo. Yes, Tua was injured early, but for all the anti-Tua talk on this blog, the big armed 6’4 235 Brissett, all the Tua detractors hero, failed to put a single point on the board. I know there are at least 2 guys here who probably smiled when Tua went down and expected Brissett to take this offense to new heights, certainly higher than 6 feet. Before the excuses come pouring in about how Brissett had only second team snaps in practice (The very same excuses that didn’t apply for Tua), don’t bother. Brissett will get a better chance this week now that he is the starter and will receive the starter snaps in practice.
On the bright side, it’s just week 3 in a 17 week season. Perspective is important. I’m going to hope we got our worst game of the season out of our system, I can only hope we have. Let me say this quick before I forget. I don’t give a rats ass what some of you think of TE Mike Gesicki, it’s absurd to me that this guy has only 9 targets so far and 3 receptions. I’m going to laugh at all you Gesicki haters if/when he ends up on another NFL team and has an 80-100 catch season with 10+ TD’s and over 1000 yards receiving. It’s gonna happen, but why it won’t happen in Miami is baffling to me. Get this guy involved in this offense, feature him dammit, like every other team with a TE like him does! Who cares what his salary might end up at, you drafted him, he’s on the team, U-S-E him! Sure, we have Parker, Waddle, Wilson, Gaskin and others but Gesicki at this moment is probably your best and most dangerous receiver, until Waddle learns the ropes.
OK, like Jen Psaki, I’m going to circle back to the essence of the first paragraph. This week’s game is so much more important to the Miami Dolphins than the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders seem to have finally embraced their QB Derek Carr and he is thriving, and it’s not just the 2 games to start this season, in which Carr has over 800 yards passing along with 4 TD’s and just 1 INT. It started last season and it appears that Gruden has found and realized that he can be successful with Derek Carr. Last week’s loss to the Bills was a bitchslap of mammoth proportions. It was reminiscent of the many massacres we’ve taken at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, like the 40-0 bludgeoning in 2017, or the 59-10 slaughter in 2019. This was close to those to me because we’re not supposed to be that team anymore. Find me a game in the last 10 years where the Baltimore Ravens got embarrassed like we did last week, you won’t find it. Well coached, well prepared teams simply don’t do that. So this week, with a full week of 1st team snaps, Brissett needs to do a lot more than the 169 yards and no TD’s on 40 pass attempts. Maybe 10-15 of the pass attempts this week need to find #88. Establish the run game and get that O-line some confidence and momentum. Nothing gets the O-line going like opening holes and pushing guys around. It also tires out the defense. Impose your will on the defense and set the tone that we’re no pushover, and make it that last week was merely a hiccup rather than business as usual.
At the very least, we need to be very competitive this week. There’s such a shitstorm swirling around this team right now, we made a mistake drafting Tua, our O-line which has been abysmal , of which we have spent a 2020 1st RD pick (#18, Austin Jackson), a 2021 2nd RD pick (#42 Liam Eichenberg), a 2019 3rd RD pick (#78 Michael Deiter), a 2021 2nd RD pick (#39 Robert Hunt), and finally Jesse Davis, the seasoned vet who no one seems to be able to unseat despite his mediocre play and ability and non-celebrated draft status, Davis was undrafted. Lots of draft capital there, little results. Of course it takes time sometimes, they have to jell, and we’ll all speculate that it’s because we keep moving guys around and not letting them settle in at one position. I don’t buy it. Most, if not all of these guys have done exactly that, played multiple positions during their high school and college careers. We have to find the right 5, the best 5, and then we’ll find out where each guy plays best. It’s probably harder to move from LG or LT to RT because the mechanics are completely opposite, but if you’re on the left side, it shouldn’t be impossible to move from LT to LG or vice versa. We’ll find out if we have talent there or not and I honestly prefer we do that, give these guys an opportunity to succeed rather than go to safe options like veteran Greg Mancz or Greg Little. No offense to Jesse Davis but I’d rather see Eichenberg at RT, or possibly Robert Hunt. Davis isn’t the future, he’s not even the “now”. He’s adequate at best.
There’s no excuses about the depth we have at the skill positions. I like our WR’s, we just need to get them the ball. Same goes for our TE’s. Get them the damn ball. Gaskin is fine, despite the fact that I wanted to draft Najee Harris or Jovonte Williams, Myles Gaskin is not our problem. He can be the solution if we get him enough touches. Brissett has a full, even Fuller complement of weapons at his disposal. It looks like Will Fuller will be playing this Sunday, even after the ominous feeling that he was done for the season. DeVante Parker is healthy, Jaylen Waddle is showing his potential already, and Preston Wilson is healthy, and of course, the aforementioned TE Mike Gesicki is just itching for some targets. Brissett showed he can handle the rush, and he’ll probably be seeing more of the same against the Raiders defense with Maxx Crosby, Solomon Thomas, Yannick Ngakoue, Carl Nassib and others. The Raiders have 2 good safeties in Jonathan Abram and rookie Trevon Moehrig. LB Denzel Perryman leads the team in tackles. Solid defensive group overall but not elite by any measure. Let’s hope we don’t make them look any different.
On offense, Derek Carr is lighting it up and Jon Gruden features the TE early and often. Waller already has 26 targets, roughly 3X more than Gesicki. Hunter Renfrow and good ole Kenyan Drake have been busy too. Drake will be starting at RB as Josh Jacobs is injured and likely OUT. Drake would love nothing but to have a day against his former team. I don’t know what to expect but I can tell you what I’d love to see. I’d love to see the offense come out and pick the Raiders apart. I want a good measure of Gaskin in the run and pass game and slowly move the ball down the field and use up some clock, get that defense on its heels. Then culminate that drive with a TD and set the tone. Then on defense I’d like our defense to flex its muscles some. Get AVG, Phillips, Ogbah all in Carr’s face and bring him down a couple of time early on. We need to dictate the pace this game, not play back on our heels and play from behind. We’re not well suited for that, so we need to jump on them early and stay there. I can only hope . . .