It’s week two in the weirdest NFL season of my life, but it’s another divisional opponent for the Miami Dolphins. Miami opened last week on the road against those darn Patriots, and well, we know what happened. The Dolphins got pwned left and right by Cam Newton’s, entirely out of character, ability to run the ball himself. This week, the Dolphins play the Bills who are led by Josh Allen, who you could say is a younger, more conservative dressing Cam Newton. I think a stone-cold lock is that Josh Allen will not be dressed up like any comedic characters from the 90s when entering Hard Rock stadium. Time will tell.
That being said, I don’t think I’m breaking any news when I say that the Dolphins, under no circumstances, can have a repeat performance of how they handled a running quarterback. I don’t care if they run engage 8 every play. They can’t do what they did last week against the Patriots this week against the Bills. If they do, it will be a repeat performance. Fortunately, I don’t think it’s as much as a personnel issue as it is a scheme issue. Yep, this means that I feel that Brian Flores has to do better. Last week it looked like Flores, and the defense never heard of this Cam Newton guy or how he liked playing football. The Dolphins were caught entirely off guard by Newton and the read option. It was a reverse Wildcat game.
This isn’t to say that the actual guys on defense are blameless, far from it. There were tons of times where the edge wasn’t being set, and guys weren’t doing their job. To many times defensive ends and backers didn’t know who had what responsibility on read option. I’m not going to tell you it’s easy. I’m saying that if you don’t do your job(I know it’s cliche, but it’s true), then you’re going to look like a fool, again.
You can say a lot about Josh Allen. You can say that he’s inaccurate, he fumbles too much, that he’s incorrect and that if you put him in 3rd and 7+ that he becomes just another guy. True on all counts. But sadly, you can also say that he owns the Dolphins since joining the Bills in 2018. Here’s some fuel for you to get extra mad. Hopefully, the Dolphins have also been told of this;
Josh Allen plays the Dolphins this Sunday.— Kevin Massare (@KevinMassare) September 17, 2020
Here is a reminder of his stats against Miami:
913 yards, 10 TDs, 3 INT, 61% comp, 102.8 QBR, 318 yards rushing, and 3 more TDs
Allen has had his way with us. I don’t care how much you love the Dolphins like Kurt Angle says, “Oh it’s true.” But this is a new season, and those games don’t matter on Sunday. What matters is the Dolphin’s plan in dealing with him. Last week against a terrible Jets team, Allen threw for his first 300-yard game, in a league where the bottom half of the league quarterbacks fall out of bed and throw for 300 yards in his career. He also had two TDs. Allen also ran the ball 14 times for 57 yards and ran in for a score. This is where the Dolphins have to let him know, early, that today ain’t yo day. Make him a quarterback that has to rely on decision making and accuracy. Put Josh Allen in positions where he’s asked to do more stuff like this;
Josh Allen misses John Brown wide open in the endzone pic.twitter.com/krA8LoBBch— Jason DiRienzo (@allpurposescout) September 13, 2020
You have to expect the Bills to challenge the Dolphin’s defense a bit more than the Patriots did. Stephon Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley, and Dawson Knox are no slouches. Since Allen isn’t a drop back passer, theatricality and deception will be his ally meaning play-action will be his chief weapon to get his receivers the ball. Baker, Van Noy, Roberts if healthy, and Van Ginkel need to be on high alert and not obtain, so, sucked in on fakes.
This also means that Howard, who was limited in practice yesterday, Byron Jones, Iggy, and everyone else in the secondary need to bring their A-game. I see no reason why they can’t handle these guys.
The offensive side of the ball needs to drastically improve as well. Yes, the players need to do better, especially the skills guys, but the coaches need to use their thinking caps slightly and draw up a better attack than last week. One of the ways to do is that to use motion. I like using motion because it allows you to be the puppet master and control what the defense does. It also lets you design ways to get particular players the ball right where they should. Here’s how much motion Miami used last week;
Not a bunch of motion. I’m not saying that I want the Dolphin’s offense to be all five wide with guys moving all over the place, but I’d rather not have an offense from the 1930s. This was mine and many folk’s fear of bringing in Chan Gailey. That the offense was going to be predictable, straight forward with not many wrinkles other than Gailey himself. For example, when Chandler Cox is in the game, does anyone in the world think the Dolphins are passing? No, they don’t. Perhaps, if they start once in a while, throwing to Cox out in the flat, that will make the defense think twice about stacking the box. Something like that, strangely, would be innovative for this offense.
Fitzpatrick knows he has to play better. He better or this, vaunted Bills’ defense will feast on him. The offensive line had a very nice day against New England, but like the Dolphin’s secondary, the offensive line will be given much more to handle than last week. The ball will have to be out of Fitz’s hand early and hopefully to a receiver that gets more separation than they did last week. I can’t tell you if Parker is going to play or not. It’s his lifelong hamstring injury that he has, so who knows. If he does, he won’t be 100%. That means that Preston Williams, Mike Gesicki, Ford, and Grant need to step up. It would also be nice if the Dolphins can run a successful screen to the backs—just a thought since every other team can do it.
The curious choice to have Myles Gaskin lead the way in carries over free agent Jordan Howard and acquired through trade Matt Breida is precisely that, curious. I’d love to tell you that you’ll see more Howard and Breida. But I’m starting to get the smell of something Belichickian where when everyone has a guy or two penciled in for X amount of snaps and touches, even though you gave up assets and paid decent money for them, that this outfit will go with the guy no one thought of because the coaches saw something in practice or believe that guy “gives the best chance to win.” Just something to keep checking on.
The Dolphins got a Friday gift in the form of some outstanding players for the Bills already being ruled out for Sunday.
I wrote earlier this week that it’s dumb to have the sky is falling approach to this season. You should read it here. It’s was only week one and like the truth, this season will have twists and turns. In a month if the Dolphins still look bad and have that same old Dolphins stench, go right ahead and say “well, maybe next year.” We’re not there yet.
That doesn’t mean I love the Dolphins this week. They could show up in their home opener, which will have 13,000 or so fans in attendance and look like a completely different team. The running game can get going and Josh Allen could look like the Josh Allen we often see when he’s not playing the Dolphins. But, I think the Dolphins get a bit manhandled again and Allen will run free as if we never thought he could do that. I hope that doesn’t happen, but it’s what I’m going with.
Dolphins 10 Bills 26
Be joyful that we got to week two of the season and that we get to watch football all weekend. Football all weekend coupled with the US Open makes this weekend a fantastic weekend to sit around, avoid doing things you don’t want to do, and sit on the couch. May this weekend be everything you think it can be. Fins Up
By the Way- If Josh Allen shows up to Miami dressed up as Roger Rabbit, I’m going to lose it.