This Sunday the Miami Dolphins(5-7) travel east to Candlestick Park to face off against the San Francisco 49ers(8-3-1). Both the Dolphins and the 49ers are coming off a loss against a division rival. The 49ers have had a good season and are playoff bound while the Dolphins have still exceeded expectations, but weren’t able to do enough to make the playoffs.
San Francisco has had a QB controversy the past few weeks between veteran Alex Smith and second year QB Colin Kaepernick. Smith was injured by a concussion and was forced to sit out a week, which allowed Kaepernick to get his first NFL start. He performed well after his first NFL start, so Head Coach Jim Harbaugh kept with the hot hand of Kaepernick even after Smith was cleared to play. Many believe that Harbaugh is making a big mistake by separating the locker room and risking the chance of causing friction within the 49ers organization.
This weeks match up will be against two young QB’s in Dolphins Rookie, Ryan Tannehill, and Sophmore(rookie starter), Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick has more weapons on his offense then what Tannehill has with having TE Vernon Davis and RB Frank Gore. Tannehill has RB Reggie Bush, and depending on the day, WR Brian Hartline and WR Davone Bess.
This week, my top 5 individual expectations actually has some positives in it based on what I saw last Sunday. Here are my top 5 individual expectations for this weeks match up against the 49ers:
1. Dolphins Offensive Line- The 49ers pass rush is very impressive this season. The Dolphins Offensive line hasn’t been as of late. LT Jake Long was injured last week against the New England Patriots and was unable to finish the game. The Dolphins Offensive Line must protect Tannehill to give him time to throw the ball otherwise this could turn into a blow out. How well will the O-Line be able to protect Tannehill from a stout 49ers pass rush?
2. Ryan Tannehill (Quarterback)- Ryan Tannehill didn’t have his best performance last week. He was either short or long on too many critical pass attempts. Tannehill had 13 completions on 29 pass attempts last week which gave him 186 yards passing and no TD’s. He did however get a rushing TD and had 19 yards on 5 carries rushing. If he would have made some of his easier passes last week, then the outcome very well may have been different. I don’t think he will make the same mistakes as long as the Offensive Line can do a better job of protecting him. I will be watching to see if he will get the time to throw and can he take advantage of his opportunities?
3. Davone Bess (Wide Receiver)- Davone Bess had a poor performance last week after having a big day in the win against the Seattle Seahawks. Bess dropped balls, which he rarely ever does, and had some communication problems with Ryan Tannehill. Will he get these problems fixed and help out Tannehill?
4. Dolphins Run Defense- The Dolphins Run Defense has to perform this Sunday. All season the 49ers have lived on the running game let by Frank Gore. If Miami can put a stop to Gore and put the ball in the young Kaepernick’s hand’s then they have a strong possibility to win this game. I’ll be watching for the Defensive Line to have a big day.
5. Reshad Jones(Strong Safety)- Reshad Jones had a big day last week with getting an interception on Tom Brady and a sack. It seemed like on every defensive play, you could find Jones there. Every week he seems to be improving and becoming one of the more reliable players in the Dolphins Secondary after having a rough career. I’ll be watching to see if he can keep improving and put a stop to Kaepernick.
Those are my top 5 for this weeks match up against the 49ers. Do you have a top 5 expectations list?