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Chargers at Dolphins: 5 top storylines for Miami

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Miami Dolphins v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday in a Week 4 contest. Can the Dolphins get their first win of the year? Can they at least look more like a team capable of competing? Can they end the discussion of being the worst team ever in the league?

Miami is going to need stronger performances from some of their key players this week - and they are going to need points. Here is our Week 4 what to watch for Miami.

Josh Rosen, quarterback

The Josh Rosen era in Miami started off with the Dolphins looking like they could hang with the Dallas Cowboys...for a half. The second half, Dallas took it to the Dolphins and Miami continued to be shutout in second halves this year. The Dolphins need Rosen to take another step forward this week, and they need him to lead the offense in the second half to some points.

Rosen was only 18-for-39 for 200 yards last week, so he did not light up the stat line, but there were several drops and the offense just looked more fluid with him at the helm than it did in the first two weeks with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Miami needs more from Rosen and, now as the second-year quarterback settles in as the starter, hopefully they start to see it this week.

Xavien Howard, cornerback

Howard looked lost at times last week. He did not seem to be putting in the effort and he was beaten repeatedly. A Pro Bowl cornerback, Howard should be giving Miami more than what they saw in Dallas. Howard told the media after the game - a game in which he did not get to finish after being ejected for shoving a Cowboys player in the face - that he “didn’t have my best game.” He has to bounce back now as the Dolphins will likely have Howard follow Keenan Allen all day, so he will be tested again. Can he put last week behind him?

Kalen Ballage, running back

The Dolphins need to find a running game, so Kenyan Drake could also be listed here, but Ballage has been non-existent so far this year. He has started two games, appearing in all three, with 17 rushes for 22 yards and 3 receptions for 29 yards. The coaches really seem to like Ballage, but he has not yet shown up in the games. Miami needs him to be the player the coaches think he can be, and they need it now.

Touchdowns

So far this year, Miami has touchdowns from Preston Williams on a six yard pass from Fitzpatrick and...oh, wait, no, that is the only touchdown the team has. Heading into Week 4, Miami has one touchdown. That is sad and something they have to fix. They had a coule of chances in last week’s game, with drops and a fumble killing those drives. The Dolphins have proven, in giving up 133 while only scoring 16 in three games that touchdowns are a necessity. They have to start scoring them, and they are going to need it starting this week.

Offensive line

Danny Isidora is on injured reserve, so Miami will once again be changing their starting offensive line. A group that is already struggling keeps having new players inserted as injuries ravage the group. Can they find the chemistry they need to perform as a unit? Will they be able to find running space for Drake and Ballage? Can they keep Rosen from having to run for his life on every pass play?