Week 10 of the 2015 NFL season sees the Miami Dolphins on the road for the third straight week, with the team looking to avoid a second three-game losing streak this year. Miami will visit the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday afternoon, hoping to find the style of play that led to two blow-out wins earlier this season, rather than the team that has been blown out four times this year. This morning, we take a look at three things to watch which may determine whether the Dolphins are flying back to South Florida with a "W" or an "L."
The Dolphins have been lackluster the last two weeks, not bringing the fire and passion they had in Weeks 6 and 7. Dan Campbell, after being named the interim head coach, had the team playing with an aggression that was never present under Joe Philbin. That has to return this week - and for the rest of the year - if the Dolphins are going to beat the odds and turn around the season. Miami has to come out attacking, both on offense and defense, if they are going to beat the Eagles. Miami has eight games to play and being aggressive is the only way they stand a chance at making an impact on the rest of the league.
The Dolphins have an odd habit of completely abandoning the running game, looking to quarterback Ryan Tannehill to throw the ball on every down. With no threat of a handoff, opposing defenses are free to tee off on Tannehill snap after snap. Meanwhile, Lamar Miller and rookie Jay Ajayi are stuck picking up a few carries (though Miller has become more and more involved in the passing attack). Miami needs to get back to running the ball, and staying committed to the run, in order to ease the pressure on Tannehill, and to get the team into 3rd and short situations, rather than repeated 3rd and longs.
The Dolphins have to figure out how to generate pressure on the quarterback without Cameron Wake, who is out for the year with an Achilles tear. They were able to get close to Tyrod Taylor a few times last week, but did not complete the sack, either because Taylor somehow slipped away or because the refs wanted Ndamukong Suh to be more aggressive. Sam Bradford is not a mobile quarterback, so the team does not have to worry as much about him slipping through a hole and picking up large chunks of yardage. Instead, they need to concentrate on finding a way to get through the offensive line and get Bradford uncomfortable. If they can do that, the secondary should be able to get their hands on the ball.