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Opposing Player Spotlight: Week 7, Detroit Lions

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The Dolphins are coming off of a roller coaster win that saw the team’s defense play two very different halves. How will that defense handle Detroit’s aerial attack?

New York Rangers v Detroit Red Wings Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins pulled through in a wild victory over the NFC North leading Bears last weekend. The team’s offense finally started rolling behind backup quarterback Brock Osweiler and speedy pass catcher Albert Wilson, both of whom made big plays when it mattered most.

The Dolphins defense, however, started hot in the first half, allowing zero points before nearly collapsing over the final two quarters. The secondary allowed wide receiver Taylor Gabriel to get behind them far too often, and jitterbug Tarik Cohen made the linebacking corps look like they were running through Jell-o. Will the Dolphins be able to stop an equally capable NFC North passing attack and their impressive young deep threat?

Each week of the 2018 season, I’m highlighting one player on the opposing team that Dolphins fans should be watching out for. This week, that player is Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay.

Fact Check

Position: WR

Experience: 2nd season

Age: 24

Height/Weight: 6’4”, 213 lbs

College: Northern Illonois

Stat Review

Now midway through his second season in the NFL, Golladay has exploded onto the scene in Detroit. Despite the Lions having a duo of very capable receivers in Marvin Jones Jr. and Golden Tate, Golladay’s talent and big play flare has demanded a large share in an offense quarterbacked by franchise passer Matthew Stafford. After playing just 11 games (five starts) in his rookie campaign, Golladay has started all five games for the Lions this season, and he’ll no doubt retain his big role moving forward.

Through those first five games, Golladay has recorded 27 receptions, 428 receiving yards (three yards behind team leader Tate), and three touchdowns. He’s also averaging a robust 15.9 yards per catch, showing that he is a dangerous weapon down the field.

Key Matchups

The Miami defense has taken some hits so far this season in the form of injuries. In the secondary, the most impactful of those has been Bobby McCain’s knee injury which has kept him out for multiple games. With McCain out, backup Torry McTyer has been the primary fill-in on the perimeter, and though McTyer has clear talent and potential, he let Gabriel beat him on multiple deep shots last week.

McCain is questionable to rejoin the lineup this Sunday, and if he’s fully healthy, his return would be a huge boost for Miami’s defense. With Minkah Fitzpatrick manning the slot, it will be up to the Dolphins boundary corners to handle Golladay and Jones, both of whom have the speed and size to make plays downfield.

Whenever Miami’s top corner, Xavien Howard, is covering Jones, it will be up to either McCain or McTyer to stifle Golladay, and either one will certainly have their hands full. Given how dynamic and talented Detroit’s wideouts are, the Dolphins will surely dedicate some safety help towards defending the pass as well, so count on seeing plenty of Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald helping out in coverage.