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Opposing Player Spotlight: Week 2, New York Jets

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After grinding out a long opening weekend victory, the Dolphins will take on the division rival Jets, and one linebacker in particular could make a big impact.

NFL: New York Jets at Detroit Lions Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins are 1-0! The team held off the Tennessee Titans in a gritty home opener that gave fans some bright spots to be excited about. Now, Miami will travel up the East Coast to take on the New York Jets for week 2.

Each week of the 2018 season, I’ll be highlighting one player on the opposing team that Dolphins fans should be watching out for. This week, that player is New York Jets linebacker Darron Lee.

Fact Check

Position: ILB

Experience: 3rd season

Height/Weight: 6’1”, 232 lbs

Age: 23

College: Ohio State

Stat Review

In 2017, Lee played in 15 games for the Jets and started all of them as one of the team’s inside linebackers in Todd Bowles’ 3-4 defensive scheme. He racked up 94 tackles, three sacks, three passes defended, and two forced fumbles over that span.

In last weekends’ opening game against the Detroit Lions, Lee shined like the star the Jets were hoping he’d become when the team selected him in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Lee accumulated seven tackles, matched his 2017 season total with three passes defended, and recorded two interceptions, the first two of his career. He returned one of those picks for his first defensive score.

Key Matchups

With Lee lining up at inside linebacker alongside former Tennessee Titans standout Avery Williamson, the Dolphins will be looking to test New York’s new-look linebacking unit with both the run and the pass. As expected, Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore will be provide a mix of power and speed in the run game. With fans hoping Drake and Gore continue to build off of last week’s impressive showing, it’s the tight ends in the passing game that should provide some new intrigue.

As our Managing Editor Kevin Nogle pointed out this week, the Dolphins used both A.J. Derby and rookie Mike Gesicki quite a bit against the Titans, with Gesicki being the only tight end to receive a target (he recorded one reception on two targets). Though Derby is a capable pass catcher, it’s Gesicki’s blend of size and athleticism that could give Lee trouble in coverage. We saw from Lee’s performance against Detroit that he’s not one to be looked over when it comes to defending the pass, so his matchup against the uber-talented Gesicki will be one to watch.