Unfortunately, last week the Dolphins missed on my 5 keys and lost. While they held a chance counting seconds in the 4th, the game ended on the first and only Miami Dolphin turnover of the game. This week, they travel west to face the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are a team that has the talent yet never can seem to put it together. Here are my 5 keys to Miami success.
KEY 5: Wr’s Must Find Zones – The Miami Dolphins WR’s are stuck in a battle to see who is worthy of starting. Unfortunately for Miami fans, they are all trying to determine that. Miami’s receiving corp was missing last week in NY and likely won’t find much daylight this week either as the Cardinals have a slightly better secondary than the Jets. With Adrian Wilson patrolling the safety position along with Antrell Rolle, the Phins will face coverage by Eric Green and Rod Hood. While the Corners are not stellar, Rolle and Wilson are.
Last week the Cards held the 49ers to 183 yards in the air on 20 attempts, conversely the Cardinals held Frank Gore and the 9er rushing attack to 108 yards on 20 attempts.
Start Fasano in your fantasy league…he may be the only one getting balls thrown his way.
KEY 4: Anthony Fasano and David Martin – It is imperative that the Dolphins get both TE’s involved in the passing game early. Using a two TE set will allow the Fins to keep one RB in the backfield and two wide receivers outside. Shifting Fasano out to the slot could also trip up the Cardinals defensive scheme especially if you run him in motion. The point is that if you can use the TE’s to open the middle then the safeties will creep and allow the 20 yard gaps to open up more often. It also will give the team more blocking up front for the running game.
KEY 3: Maintain the run – The Dolphins abandoned the run too early last week which over the last 7 years has become a common practice. Sparano and Henning must commit to the ground and stay with the ground regardless of early failure. Ronnie Brown is one of those running backs that gets better as the game progresses. The offensive line must wear down the AZ defensive front or they will spend more time in the backfield making Pennington duck and cover.
KEY 2: Pennington and the pass rush – The Cardinals posted 4 sacks last week and 3 forced fumbles. They will be teeing off on rookie Jake Long and will try and force Pennington to make very poor decisions under constant pressure. With the right side of the line in flux with the season ending injury to Donald Thomas, the Dolphins would do well to use designed roll-outs that will allow extra time for the WR’s and TE’s to complete their routes. Look for a lot of dump passes and swings to the RB’s out of the backfield.
The offensive line must play tight with little penalties. The Cardinals will blitz most of the game and that will lead to holding penalties. Discipline will be the key.
KEY 1: Stopping Arizona Wide – The Dolphins could follow every one of my first 4 keys and if they fail to stop the tandem of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, it will all be for naught. Kurt Warner is the ageless wonder who is still able to sling it. The 49ers held the Cards to under 180 yards in the air and added 3 sacks so Warner is a must target. The best way to take the two all-pro WR’s out of the game is to take Warner out of the game…mentally. Constant pressure will force the QB to look for quick strikes and he does not have the elusiveness of Brett Favre. On the outside, neither Will Allen or Andre Goodman are good enough to match up man to man with either of the two wide outs so the Phins will likely try and use multiple coverage schemes that will cause Warner to have to sit in the pocket longer. Matt Roth, Joey Porter, Holiday, and Ferguson must disrupt the passing game at it’s source or the game could get out of hand.
The Jets gave a glimpse into Miami’s weaknesses. Routinely exploiting the middle of the field under the LB’s, Jericho Cotchery was often open as was the long ball which proved affective as well. Better coverage will be needed. Read my game predictions on Examiner.com.
For an outside perspective, head over to read Jack Jones assessment from BetFirms.