Alrighty, let’s take a bit of a break from the fiasco which has happened over the course of the past few weeks involving the Miami Dolphins, their players, their coaches, and just about everyone else we would like to blame. Let’s not forget that while this is all happening, the Miami Dolphins FOOTBALL TEAM has to prepare for their inner-state rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampa has been struggling this season with staying competitive in games, injuries, poor coaching, and, well, anything else you could possibly think of. Make no mistake, though, this 0-8 Bucs squad has a ton of talent. They just cannot seem to put it together.
Miami will be attempting to move past this Incognito-Martin bullshit, and take their anger out on this Tampa Bay team in prime time television.
I know two things about this game that will hold true:
- The players on this Miami team are pissed off.
- Miami is going to put their best effort forward on Monday Night Football to show the football world not only what they’re about, but that they are a team and have a great deal of leadership.
Case in point, Miami’s leaders a pissed off.
Here are my keys to a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
1. Focus, focus, focus. It’s time for this team to focus on the Buccaneers, rather than answering idiotic questions from the members of the media. You have to think that the players are tired of answering these questions, not to mention they feel betrayed by RT Jonathan Martin, and for good reason. They will have to turn their attention towards this Tampa Bay squad whom actually had the Seattle Seahawks beat last week, but pulled a Miami Dolphin-like ending and allowed Seattle to win the game in overtime. This is either going to be the least focused or most focused Miami has been all season long.
2. Miami put together a solid outing against one of the AFC favorites last week defeating the Cincinnati Bengals on a walk-off safety in overtime, 22-20. In that game the offense ran the ball very well gaining 157 yards on the ground. OC Mike Sherman fed RB Lamar Miller the football early, and quite often. This is the recipe Miami must follow to beat up on the Bucs. Tampa allowed 138 yards on the ground against Philadelphia, and 116 to RB Lesean McCoy, whom is very similar to Miller. Miller proved last week that he is Miami’s best offensive weapon. Look for Miller’s workload to see a bit more of an increase this week.
3. Protect QB Ryan Tannehill. I know, the offensive line actually played great last week against that Cincinnati pass rush which had us all were fearing for our lives. Tannehill needs to do his part in this one by not holding onto the football for too long, but the offensive line needs to give Tannehill enough time to find his open targets. The Bucs defense only has 17 sacks on the season, take away 5 of those by LB Lavonte David, which leaves you with 12 on the season and DE Adrian Clayborn leads the way with an anemic 3. Look for Miami to work in T Will Yeatman again this week to give Miami some added help along the offensive line.
4. Shut down the big play on defense. RB Mike James, from THE U, had quite a breakout game against Seattle’s defense racking up 158 yards on 28 carries. WR Vincent Jackson had a slow start to the season but has come on as of late in the absence of WR Mike Williams, with his best game coming against Atlanta catching 10 balls for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns. And TE Tim Wright has shot onto the scene as a dynamic weapon at the tight end position for this team this season. Miami’s defense needs to shutdown these three players. Yeah, just those three. Seriously…what else does Tampa offer on offense? Look for LB Philip Wheeler to rebound after playing poorly for the past…well ever since the Indianapolis game. Match-up to watch in this one will be how Miami chooses to defend Jackson. If CB Dimitri Patterson is good to go, QB Mike Glennon may have to look elsewhere with Patterson, who has 4 interceptions in about 3 and a half games, and CB Brent Grimes alternating in coverage on Jackson.
5. Lastly, play smart football. Do not let your emotions get the best of you. Tampa may try to get into your head by saying something stupid, brush it off and kick their ass between the whistle. The offense needs to take care of the football in this one and perform well in third down situations, which was an area the team has struggled in during recent weeks. Defensively Miami really needs to clamp down on third and long situations and MUST tackle better this week.
This game could get ugly. Miami could come out of the tunnel and absolutely demolish Tampa from the get-go. On the other hand, Miami could play like a bunch of little girls and get their butts handed to them by the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
To be quite honest, I’m rolling with the first scenario here. I think Miami’s players are clearly pissed off about this whole situation and are taking on the mentality of, “Us against the world”, as Omar Kelly put it. Miami is out to make a statement here. No, they are not trying to prove Martin wrong. No they are not trying to prove what Incognito did was right. They’re trying to prove that they have heart and they have an enormous amount of leadership in their locker room.
I usually don’t get too deep into depth in these ones but look for Tannehill to hit WR Mike Wallace deep…a lot. Look for Tannehill to seem like a different quarterback out there. Look for this offensive line to completely shut down Tampa’s pass rush. And look for this defense to be absolutely tenacious.
Miami – 37 Tampa – 17