Another season, another final regular season game the Miami Dolphins need to win in order to be in playoff contention. There are plenty of bad breaks that explain why they're in this situation, but does anyone care to hear them? The bottom line is the Dolphins need this win and they’re sending out their seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson to lead the offense.
Is this an ideal situation? Absolutely not, but there is a path forward to win this game. McDaniel was hired for his deep understanding of NFL offenses and his ability to put up points. If you want to show the fan base and front office how invaluable you are to this franchise, now is a great time to do it.
McDaniel has come under fire for some decisions he’s made during his rookie head coaching campaign, but if they pull out this win and make it into the playoffs a lot of that will be forgiven. Let’s take a look at where the Dolphins can take advantage of this Jets defense.
Ground the Jets
This is a defense that has made a pretty historic turnaround and it’s all built off their prowess at corner. Make no mistake, this is one of the best coverage units in the NFL. Miami’s two best offensive players may be wide receivers, but they need to find a different way to attack this Jets defense.
McDaniel has been quick to get away from the running game in the past, but this is the week he can’t do that. Line up in heavy formations and pound the football. No one cares if the game is exciting at this point, we just need a win. If you drop back 30 or 40 times this week with Skylar Thompson at quarterback, you are all but guaranteeing game-changing turnovers.
Luckily for us we have a wonderful template for how to attack this defense. The Seahawks took care of business quite easily against the New York Jets last week and had success on offense. Let’s see how they strategized around these Jets corners.
Here is the Seahawks opening drive against the Jets last week. This is exactly how the Dolphins need to attack this Jets defense today. Run the ball and utilize your tight ends. Give me a 2023 Gesicki game. #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/vArC8pnXhk— George Forder (@GeorgeForder3) January 8, 2023
This opening drive is very indicative of how the Seahawks played offense the entire afternoon. We have two runs to open the game and then they target their tight end Colby Parkinson for the touchdown. 198 of their 346 (57%) total yards came on the ground. Geno Smith attempted 28 passes and 17 (60%) of them went to tight ends or running backs while 81% of Geno Smith’s passing yards came from these targets.
This is a team with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but their leading receivers on the afternoon were DeeJay Dallas and Noah Fant. What does this mean for the Dolphins offense and Mike McDaniel? Well, this is one week where it may be alright that Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle aren’t the focal point on the offense. Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., Durham Smythe, and most of all Mike Gesicki need a turn this week.
A Path to Victory
Teams have tried testing these Jets corners all season and have struggled to find success. If the Dolphins had Tua Tagovailoa at quarterback today maybe they could try to match strength against strength, but they don’t. The Dolphins need to turn this into a physical game early and pick their shots in the passing game. The Jets have one of the best corner tandems in the NFL, but their linebackers and safeties are average in coverage.
Get Quincy Williams, CJ Mosely, or Jordan Whitehead isolated and take advantage. Mike Gesicki may have disappeared from this offense, but he is still one of the best receiving tight ends in the league. They paid him over $10 million dollars this season, so why not get your moneys worth this afternoon?