1. Washington did a good job running away from Ndamukong Suh and double-teaming him, which resulted in a lot of inside rushing yards last week. What's the strategy if/when that happens again with the Jaguars on Sunday?
It's a great question, and, unfortunately, I am not sure there is an answer yet. Teams have always double-teamed Suh and cut him, so it is a little surprising that he was unable to adjust much in this game. It's probably a big reason why Suh has said he did not play well against Washington and why he will be looking to make sure the same thing does not happen this week. That said, I fully expect the Jaguars to do exactly the same thing, until Suh prove it is not a problem.
The Dolphins' linebackers have to step up and take off some of the pressure on Suh. As Dolphins fans, I think we all got caught up in the idea of all the freedom and assistance Suh would bring to the linebackers and defensive line, and we forgot to realize, they all need to be helping Suh as well. If the linebackers can hit the right gaps, and flow toward the play correctly, Jacksonville will have to find a way to get a blocker on them, which could leave Suh in one-on-one sitiuations, and those he should dominate.
All that said, I am not sure the Dolphins are going to be able to do that. Freeing up Suh (and Cameron Wake next to him) is abosolutely vital to the Dolphins' defensive success. They just have not yet shown they can do that.
2. Are the Dolphins using Jarvis Landry correctly? If not, how does he need to be utilized?
Get the ball into his hands. That's about the best way to use him. He is not the fastest player on the field, but he sure does make people miss and he just does not stop.
I think he eventually becomes (or already is) a Wes Welker type of player. Someone who is at home in the slot for those short, slant route types of passes, but can be used on the outside on deeper routes too. I absolutely love Landry and think he will be a big part of the offense for a good long time.
My guess is he breaks the team's record for receptions in a season (90) this year, and so far, nothing has made me second guess that.
3. What are Miami's thoughts on the Dolphins this year? Do people there believe this is a 10-win team that can make the playoffs? Do they think it's still a year or two away from contending? Or do they believe the AFC East is just too tough a division to make any ground?
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Both? Dolphins fans have been so beaten down by this team over the past decade, it is hard to believe somethign good is coming. This team has the talent and the ability to get to 10 games, and there has been a lot of hype about that this offseason, especially with the Suh signing. It just also feels like we are all waiting for the other shoe to drop, and something go wrong to once again see this team land at the 8-8 record.
Clawing out a win last week against the Redskins, a game a lot of us expected to be a blowout, did not add much confidence to the fanbase. I still think this is an AFC playoff team, challenging New England for the division by likely landing a Wildcard spot.
4. Is there a player on either side of the ball for the Dolphins that you say, "If we don't stop him, we're in trouble"?
Suh and Wake are the obvious answers on defense, but watch out for Reshad Jones. The Dolphins' safety is all over the field, and leads the NFL (okay, after one week) in tackles. He plays in the box, he drops into coverage, he tackles, he blitzes, he does everything. I think the feeling around Miami is that Jones should land in the Pro Bowl for the first time this year. He's an incredible player that no one seems to know.
On offense, I do not know if there is someone to fit that. Lamar Miller has a chance, but the Dolphins like to stop him themselves, only giving him around 15 carries a game. Landry is a possibility, but Miami also has Greg Jennings, Kenny Stills, DeVante Parker, and Rishard Matthews that can pick up the slack if Landry is slowed, as well as Jordan Cameron, who led the team in receiving yards last week, from the tight end spot. Maybe the best answer is Ryan Tannehill? If he plays like he did in the preseason, and not like he did early against Washington, he could cause trouble for Jacksonville.
The problem with the offense right now is, there are a lot of ifs, shoulds, and coulds to answer this question.
5. What's your prediction for Sunday? Dolphins start out 2-0? Jaguars recover and get the win?
I think Miami gets this win, carrying on to 2-0 on the year and getting ready for their first division battle with the Buffalo Bills next weekend. That said, I do not think this will be an easy game. It could get away from Jacksonville if Blake Bortles is not careful with the ball, especially if Jones is free to ballhawk from his safety position. Miami has to prove the can stop the run, which is where I think Jacksonville will try to live, at least early on Sunday, so that could be the difference. Last year, the score was Miami 27, Jaguars 13 in Jacksonville.
I'll probably go somewhere around 24-14 Dolphins this year, with Miami adding a late score on a turnover to stretch the lead out some.