The Miami Dolphins beat the Cleveland Browns to open the season, following the victory the local media took more time pointing out the teams flaws and inner turmoil then a week 1 victory. In week two the team stayed on the road and completed a solid victory against a good Indianapolis Colts team. The local media gave the Phins a break and called it a good win. Nationally however the media seemed more intent on pointing out the things Indy did wrong as opposed to what Miami did right.
This week they host the 1-1 Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons are banged up. RB Steven Jackson won’t start, the team lost their starting LT, a LB, and two other defenders. Add to that the injury struggles with Roddy White and the Falcons are a team that is hurting. Albeit a very good team. A win against the Falcons may be the first real step into the national media respect category. Right now that golden child image belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs. The media darlings are 3-0 under new HC Andy Reid.
Miami has yet to get the same attention.
The Dolphins likely are none to concerned about what the media thinks. They are thinking what is it going to take win. Atlanta will not be easy despite the injuries and missing players. Matt Ryan is emerging as a top QB in the league while Julio Jones is making weekly cases for himself being the best WR. The Dolphins will also face a killer TE in Tony Gonzalez.
Gonzalez is off to a slow start but against Miami, a team who gives up more yards to the TE than any other, Gonzalez should find ample opportunity to make plays. With Julio Jones on the outside the Dolphins will face a nightmare coverage situation against the Falcons. Doubling up Jones will free up Gonzalez to man-on-man coverage with a LB. Roddy White will see M-2-M on the outside as well. If the Dolphins opt to blitz often another player will be in single coverage. The Dolphins will be without Dimitri Patterson this week.
More important than winning over the media is winning over the fans. A 3-0 start may not net the Phins much respect nationally but locally fans will begin to take notice. A win could fill the stadium two weeks from Sunday when the Phins return home to host the Baltimore Ravens.