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Dan Jamroz, PhinfeverWeek 3 is approaching and your Miami Dolphins are 2-0. The Oakland Raiders travel to South Florida for a 1 PM game with Miami is a 3 point favorite and a 43.5 O/U.

My initial thought is beware of the trap. Last week I questioned whether the Jets were too cocky coming into the game and it appeared they were. Sloppy play and turnovers doomed them. Is Miami able to keep themselves disciplined or are they riding a little too high after this fast start?

Oakland seems to be suffering from the offseason tinkering of Jon Gruden. He brought in a lot of older veterans that he trusts, but I'm not sure the team is 100% behind him. Derek Carr is still a good QB who has his ups and downs. He basically threw away Oakland's first game with a 3 interception meltdown in the 2nd half but bounced back nicely last week in a tight divisional road loss. If Oakland wins it will be because he is carving up Miami's secondary. His weapons...well 5 years ago they would have had a top shelf unit. Marshawn Lynch, Jordy Nelson, Jared Cook and Doug Martin have all had nice careers but are either on or approaching the Back 9. Amari Cooper can still be good but has underwhelmed to this point. I expect Oakland to run hard at Miami with Lynch and Martin to set up some play action for Carr. He'll look to expose the LBs who still struggle in coverage.

The good news is that Oakland's defense, now without Khalil Mack after the insane trade, really struggles against the run. They currently rank 31st in yards allowed including 5.7 YPC. This shouldn't be hard for Head Coach Adam Gase - RUN THE BALL! Last week he kept the Jets off balance by deploying Kenyan Drake, Frank Gore and QB Ryan Tannehill with a nice dose of runs. Tannehill literally started and ended the game with big runs that set the tone. Between the three of them and perhaps some trickery with Albert Wilson I would hope Gase calls for 30 carries.

The passing game should see the return of Devante Parker and I hope that adds a new wrinkle to the offense. Teams are using press coverage to disrupt Miami's smaller receivers and we've yet to see Mike Gesicki play the big target. While he may not be the favorite target, we did some chemistry developing between Tannehill and Parker back in 2016 before the knee injury. Tannehill was willing to throw jump balls to Parker and the youngster responded with some nice catches. I'd love to see a little of that via play action deep throws this Sunday.

Miami's defense has been an absolute breath of fresh air by stopping the run and forcing game changing turnovers. Last week was a nice little complimentary display of that when the offense turned two turnovers into scores. If the front seven, whether in base package or with TJ McDonald manning the box in nickel, can contain Oakland's running game they have a nice chance of making David Carr throw interceptions. He will definitely get pressure from the rotation of Robert Quinn, Cameron Wake, Andre Branch, Charles Harris and William Hayes. We saw Sam Darnold slice up the secondary a bit last week so hope that Carr doesn't do the same.

I think Gase has this team grounded and they will avoid the trap. I don't foresee an offensive explosion, but they probably do enough to get the win. I am worried that David Carr may go off due to pent up rage over his team's performance and Gruden's public commentary. As for now I'm predicting Miami wins in similar fashion to the first time games.

Miami 24
Oakland 17

GO PHINS!

Phinfever Watermark

The Good

The Dolphins defense checked off a lot of boxes today:

 

  1. Allowed 42 yards rushing
  2. Allowed 12 points scored
  3. Allowed 3 of 10 third down conversions
  4. Forced three turnovers
  5. Sacked the opposing QB three times

The defense has been an early season surprise and already have four intercepted passes. As mentioned on last week's blog, the Dolphins only intercepted 9 passes the entire 2017 season.

The running game was effective again, gaining 135 yards and scoring 1 TD. But it was not the Gore/Drake show today as Ryan Tannehill was second on the team in rushing yards with 44, while Drake led the team with 53 yards and 1 TD. Frank Gore only had 22 yards, but did move into fourth place on the all-time rushing list.

Matt Haack had a ridiculous day, averaging 49.2 yards per punt and putting 5 of his 6 punts inside the 20. Pinning the Jets rookie QB, Sam Darnell, 5 times inside his own 20 played a huge role in the Dolphins defensive effectiveness.

 

The Bad

Ryan Tannehill was sacked four times, although not all of it came down to protection issues. At times, he held the ball too long instead of getting rid of it.

 

The Ugly

Statistically, Tannehill had a clean passing game,completing 74% of his passes for 168 yards and 2 TDs. But he did look a bit lost at times in the pocket. As mentioned before, he did get sacked a few times and some were his fault. He also had two fumbles. One was lost but Tannehill was bailed out on the next play by Xavien Howard's terrific interception in the endzone.

 

Overall

The Dolphins are off to a good start. The defense is off to a great start and the offense is delivering in spurts. A more consistent offense, especially in the form of a passing game, could be huge for this team. But for the time being, they are playing hard and making plays when they have to. It's still early but the early signs are promising and there is potential for improvement.

Next week, the Dolphins face the Raiders, a team that has started off 0-2 under Jon Gruden. Derek Carr has had a rough start, but we know he can play better. Hopefully the Dolphins don't let him do that.

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