DOLPHINS FLYING HIGH
Week 11 Game Preview
This week the Dolphins are travelling to Colorado to take on the Broncos, leaving the warmth of Miami for the cold of Denver, the weather shouldn’t be too much of an issue, the question is, will the men at Mile High give the team any problems. The Broncos are 3-6, which is a realistic record for a team that has some good talent to build around, but they aren’t there yet. One of the players that may be holding them back is QB Drew Lock, he has been up and down all season, when he gets hot he can change a game, just ask the Chargers. In typical Los Angeles fashion, they screamed out to a big lead only to see Lock ignite a spirited come back in the fourth quarter, snatching victory on the very last play of the game.
The good thing is he doesn’t get hot that often, last week against the Raiders he was dire, throwing four interceptions and one touchdown, resulting in a passer rating of 37.3. He also had rough outings against the Chiefs and Patriots. They beat the Patriots, but it wasn’t because of Lock, it was more the fact that Cam Newton was malfunctioning. We would expect the Dolphins secondary to get at least one interception as the second year QB hasn’t faced a defense like Miami’s this season, Brian Flores is bound to have a few wrinkles worked into the pass coverage to get the best out of his secondary.
Expect the defense to bring the house and pressure Lock more than normal, we should see a couple of sacks as Lock is more of a pocket passer, he only runs when he is in fear of his life. If he does get time to throw the ball, he has a number of capable pass catchers that he spreads the ball around too. Rookie Jerry Jeudy is the deep threat and leads the team in yardage, Tim Patrick is a good WR2 and has had a couple of 100+ yard days and tight end Noah Fant has the most receptions, but only just. In reality though, none of them should give the Miami secondary a sleepless night and it isn’t as though they need to be too concerned with the running backs slipping out of the backfield because Melvin Gordan and Phillip Lindsay are averaging 10 receiving yards a game, and that is combined.
The biggest pressure for the defense is going to be against the Broncos running game as Gordon and Lindsay form a good running combo. Gordon gets the bulk of the carries and is the workhorse, Lindsay is the shifty, change of pace guy who could prove to be a handful with his elusiveness. If you want to be really critical the one area that Miami needs to improve on is stopping the run. The one by-product of max pressure is that it opens you up to the running game which is why they are down the bottom of the league in YPC. Not that it is a major worry though, everybody is singing their praises about how good this defense is and nobody has come out and said “what about the run D though” not one.
On the other side of the ball Tua will be starting his fourth game, it will be interesting to see his progression from last week where he was solid, not spectacular. We need to keep reminding ourselves that he has only started a handful of games, the expectations have been sky high because of his college pedigree but let’s just savour the fact that the game isn’t too big for him. He has currently got a QB rating of 104.8, no interceptions and five touchdowns on the back of his QB coach being unavailable for the last two games and a changing cast of wide receivers. Will he have a tough time against the Broncos secondary, possibly not, there secondary is middle of the pack in all of the main stats. The one thing, or should we say two players that may disrupt that are Bradley Chubb and Malik Reed who have 10.5 sacks between them and will be looking to bring pressure to throw Tua off his game.
The hope is the splash that rookie Salvon Ahmed made last week wasn’t a drop in the ocean, more of a ripple, turning into a wave as the season progresses. Matt Breida is back this week to help bolster the attack and it may be that he gets the start, it will however be intriguing if Ahmed is given the nod. The bigger question is, what happens when Myles Gaskin returns from injury. Will Ahmed see this week as a perfect opportunity to add to his resume and make the decision extremely hard for coach Flores when Gaskin returns shortly. If he has the desire to want to be the starter then the Broncos are a good team to be up against as they are only marginally better than Miami. It should be a good game that sees the Dolphins climb the power rankings after all is said and done.