The Miami Dolphins will kickoff against the Indianapolis Colts at 1pm ET today in a game in South Florida's Sun Life Stadium. For a team like the Dolphins, a team where "struggle" might be an understatement for how this season has gone, there are a lot of changes and rebuilding on the horizon. What does the team need to do this weekend, however, to get a jump on that rebuilding and build some momentum, for the offseason? A win over the Colts could be a catalyst that at least gives the Dolphins back some pride. Below, you will find the three things to watch for if Miami is to win today.
Give Lamar Miller the ball
This one is pretty straight forward, or so you would think. Run the ball. Then, run it some more. And, finally, run some more. It should not surprise anyone. It should not be anything fancy. Just have Ryan Tannehill take the snap, turn, and hand the ball to Miller. Let the Dolphins' running back pick up 4.9 yards per carry all day. At some point, the offense will be able to set up the Colts' defense with the play action pass and Tannehill will probably have a better day when defenses has to respect the running game, and not just tee off on the Miami quarterback every single play.
Pressure Matt Hasselbeck....and give Lamar Miller the ball
Hasselbeck is not a mobile quarterback on his best day. He is hurt right now, with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano describing him as "beat up from the feet up," Miami needs to put pressure on Hasselbeck and force him to make quick decisions. Receiver T.Y. Hilton is already frustrated with the short passing game that the Colts use, especially with Hasselbeck under center, and the Dolphins need to continue to force them into that kind of offense. Miami's secondary is having issues this year, especially as injuries continue to mount, and the pass rush could alleviate some of those struggles. Add in Hasselbeck's lack of mobility, and the Dolphins have all the reasons in the world to try to find a way to free up Ndamukong Suh, Olivier Vernon, Derrick Shelby, and Jordan Phillips. th
Protect Ryan Tannehill....and give Lamar Miller the ball
Tannehill is the most sacked quarterback in the league since coming into the NFL in 2012. Some of that is his fault, as he does not feel the pressure or moves into the pass rush instead of stepping up in the pocket, but the vast majority is that fact that Miami cannot put a capable - and healthy - offensive line together. One current Pro Bowl offensive lineman at center, one former Pro Bowl offensive lineman at left tackle, and a promising offensive lineman at right tackle, and still the offensive line struggles. Now, the team could be looking at an offensive line that features a player with one career appearance at left tackle, a still developing left guard, a rookie at center, a still developing right guard, and a struggling veteran at right tackle. If they cannot figure out how to piece together an offensive line that can actually protect Tannehill - as well as open running lanes for Miller - this will be a very long game for the offense.