With Raiders Down 3 Corners… Fins “O” Must Attack Secondary
Though the Fins have less rushing talent now, the remaining backs are more versatile
No Ifs, Ands, or Buts, the Miami Dolphins must attack the secondary tomorrow against the Oakland Raiders.
Oakland is down to 3 corners (TJ Carrie, Sean Smith, and Dexter McDonald) due injury. Miami on the other hand has a mostly healthy stable of talented Wides and RB’s with pass blocking and catching skills. While they need to be judicious and run the rock, they must press their advantage on the Raiders weakness to secure a win.
Going over the Bills v.s. Raiders game, one thing stood out: Bills Receivers were open, Raiders LB’s play a lot of over technique and were late, and the Safeties play it safe with predominantly 2 High Coverage. You can’t count on them to play this same look this week for sure, especially if Adam Gase continues to call predicable 1st Down runs and pass plays short of 10 yards.
But something tells me we’ll be witnessing a far different scheme from Miami than what we have witnessed previously this season. And given Oakland’s short comings in DB’s, it’s likely their defense against Buffalo will be similar.
The many insets below are all from the 1st Half (maybe 1 or 2 weren’t, sometimes my organization slips up a bit). But even if I missed a couple, there were certainly more plays of poor pass coverage that I could have added from the 1st half alone, for sure.
The Fins must attack the Defenses weakness for a change
This advantage of receivers over CBs will be mitigated a bit because rookie S Obi Melifonwu is making his pro debut, S Karl Joseph is excellent, and Reggie Nelson played very well against the Bills.
Without a doubt, Oakland has a crew of capable Safeties that will spell corner throughout the game.
But fielding only 3 Cb’s isn’t ever a good spot to be in, especially when facing a quote, unquote ‘talented Wideout group’.
This will be a huge opportunity for Landry and Co. to prove they are who we thought they were.
I’m without a doubt putting some of Jimmy’s money down with the pay per head services that the Fins Wides produce in a big way.
Looking over the Oakland Cb’s that are still standing:
McDonald (as per PFF, “his passer rating of 117.4 when targeting him, which is 11th highest among 109 qualified corners”) went down against the Bills for a stretch, so Oakland could very well be caught in a pinch where they have only 2 CB’s. If he is in, he’ll mostly square off against Kenny Stills.
I like that match up.
Smith will likely face off against DeVante Parker. If Parker can stay healthy, he should have an excellent opportunity as Smith has struggled a lot this season: ( as per PFF, “Smith has allowed a passer rating of 139.6 when targeted this year, the second worst in the league only to his teammate David Amerson. Smith is also allowing 1.60 yards yards per coverage snap, which is 98th out of 109 qualified corners”).
I like that match up too.
Fins have a chance to prove they aren’t dead
Then there is Jarvis Landry, who will be returning to the slot. T.J. Carrie, a fourth-year player who has been raising his game lately in coverage, will be his shadow in 3 Wides. But in the slot Landry is special. I expect Landry to be diametrically opposite of what he showed against the Ravens.
Landry has to be thinking cha-ching for 2018, so put me down for 3 out of 3 in favor of Miami.
Kool Aid in da’ house. Yeah, boyyyyy!
Last, and maybe least, are the Raiders LBs. While they do well on pursuit and shutting down perimeter runs, they struggle with Inside Zones and coverage from what I saw. The fact that they are giving up 120 yards a game rushing might be a hint that they need to sure it up in the run game in a big way.
But it’s their soft coverage skills that must have Gase’s attention.
Whether it’s a lack of skill or because they were over compensating for a wounded CB group, either way their play last week spells good news for Miami.
I hope I’m reading it right.
This is where Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake will have the chance to step up, grab the hammer and ring the bell. I like the odds of both of them against the Raiders soft under belly. Again, this will take Gase calling plays that attack the middle. So far this season he has shied away from attacking the middle at the 5 yard mark.
He’d better not be shy this week.
Given Ajayi’s exile, this offensive performance will be extra scrutinized
Of course, we can’t have a discussion about Dolphins offense without talking about the Offensive Line. Miami will get Ted Larsen back, but he’ll likely be a back up, and Jesse Davis will probably start for 1 more week.
But really, the key to this week is the wings with Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James.
For fans terrified of Khalil Mack, remember that both Tackles handled a far more dangerous situation with the Chargers Bosa and Ingram and performed suburb. Now given their ups and downs this season so far, a repeat of excellent play is far, far from guaranteed. Tunsil has struggled with speed and James with power. Mack is the real deal and can produce both speed and power. But there’s history that they could very well end up limiting Mack, if not neutralizing him.
As always, I must emphasis the ever present caveat, the proof is in the pudding… and isn’t that the name of the game for the Dolphins this week?! Go Fins!!!