The Miami Dolphins have had a difficult start to their 2021 season and need to get things going when they play in London, England this Sunday.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London plays host to another NFL regular season fixture when the Miami Dolphins take on the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday, with both teams desperate to overcome early struggles this season.
The Jaguars are the designated home side for the game and are seeking their first victory under Urban Meyer, currently sporting an 0-5 record, while the Dolphins themselves head to the United Kingdom capital with a disappointing 1-4 record after an opening day victory over the New England Patriots.
The game in London presents Brian Flores’ team with an opportunity to refocus and get their season back on track while playing in a fresh environment, with an electric atmosphere anticipated in front of the 60,000+ expected British fans – with both teams having strong followings across the pond.
It appears as if the Dolphins will have QB1, Tua Tagovailoa, back under center when the game kicks off, seeing the second-year passer relieve Jacoby Brissett of his interim starting role and reinvigorating a depleted offence that desperately needs something different.
The passing game has struggled with the Dolphins’ current offensive line, so Tagovailoa will need to play an agile game and have acute awareness of pocket collapses to give him more time to make throws and avoid suffering another hit that could side-line him once again.
But Tagovailoa can’t bear the weight of expectations if he is not given support when running the offensive system in London, with the team’s noticeable lack of attempts for running back Myles Gaskin needing to be addressed.
Gaskin averaged just over 14 rushes per game during the 2020 season, while through five games (and just three starts) he has been given roughly seven on average – half the amount, which has impacted the team’s ability to move the chains and get the ball downfield.
He has averaged 4.91 yards per carry, so it is extremely questionable as to why he has not been given more responsibility while the team has greatly struggled to put up points – highlighted by being blanked entirely by divisional rivals the Buffalo Bills.
Gaskin’s efforts in the passing game against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, showed he can be used as a dual threat back and give the Dolphins the flexibility to air it out as well as grind down opposing defences on the ground – as long as the team actually give him the opportunity.
Playing in front of fans in the UK could be the ideal time to bring out every possible weapon, with the crowd hoping to see a memorable game after the team failed to register a single point the last time they travelled across the Atlantic – a 20-0 game against the New Orleans Saints back in 2017.
The Dolphins don’t only need to impress the fans in the UK, but getting a win will help allay fears that the 2021 season is already falling away from Flores’ men, who were on the verge of making the playoffs in 2020 with a 10-6 record.
With an additional game this time around, the Dolphins could still make a charge forward to aim for the playoffs, but things need to turn around quickly and doing it in London seems to be a great time to.