The Miami Dolphins have a game Monday night. Bet you didn’t know that did you? Of course you do know that Miami enters the game with an 8 game losing streak. You probably also know that during the Tony Sparano era, the Dolphins have never lost to the New York Jets in New York. A win this week will do two things, raise the confidence of the Miami Dolphins and shatter the confidence of the Jets. In other words, we can win twice here.
The tricky part is actually putting together an all around game from all three sides of the game. Special teams, defense, and offense. Most eyes will be on the first game start in Miami for free agent QB Matt Moore. Moore started last year with the Carolina Panthers who finished dead last in the NFL with one victory. Of course in this early 2011 season, the Dolphins would love to have that victory this week.
Lingering questions on Miami’s defense has provided little in terms of game play. This week may be the cure that the Dolphins need. Mark Sanchez is erratic even with a trophy case of wide receivers that include Santonio Holmes. It’s their offensive line play that is suspect, just like Miami’s. Of course it doesn’t help that the team relies on Shonne Green to carry the ball. LaDainian Tomlinson is an after thought and the Jets no longer have Brad Smith to run a successful wild cat package.
The Dolphins will ask Jason Taylor this week to provide some insight into how Rex Ryan prepares his team. He won’t be able to help the team game plan as much as simply providing some direction into how Ryan approaches these types of games.
The Jets themselves have their backs against a wall. Losers of three straight, a loss to Miami would almost assuredly crash their season. According to Marc Greenberg of TheJetPress, the Jets need to find a way to turn it around now or risk letting the season get out of hand. While he didn’t say this is a must win game, he did stress it’s pretty close during an interview last Wednesday on Finsradio.net.
On the other side of the ball Daniel Thomas is questionable and it appears that Lex Hilliard stands to enter the proving grounds if Thomas can’t go. The Dolphins have yet to find an effective use for Reggie Bush so the ground and pound attack of Hilliard against a defense that is struggling against the run could provide Hilliard a chance to shine. Of course it would be nice to see what Daniel Thomas could do. In two games this year he appeared to be a solid running back but durability is becoming a major concern. If he misses this game he will have missed three of the five.
Brandon Marshall has guaranteed a more intense showing this week in New York and even stated he may just get ejected. While the Dolphins don’t need him to go that far, they do need him to step up and play like a team player instead of a “me” guy. Matt Moore needs to realize that there are other options on the field and that forcing the ball to Marshall isn’t always the smartest option. It’s imperative for the Dolphins to get Anthony Fasano into the game plan instead of using him as a blocker week in and out.
The reality for this team is that every week provides and opportunity to get better or simply win. This isn’t a bad football team, it’s a team that is playing bad football. Coaching or something else, whatever it is, needs to get fixed, other wise we will be talking about this again next week going into the Denver game.