The Miami Dolphins will start Skylar Thompson on Sunday in the season finale with a playoff spot potentially on the line. They can’t rely on Thompson.
Thompson is to raw to take the field and throw for 300 or 400 yards. He isn’t going to throw four touchdowns and it would be surprising if he exits the game without at least one interception or strip sack fumble. Sorry, but it is true. Nothing against Thompson but the Dolphins have been down this road before.
For the Dolphins, winning on Sunday will be determined not by Thompson but by Mike McDaniel’s play calls and the defenses ability to stop the Jets and get pressure on Joe Flacco.
Miami has to run the ball. And if they fail early to establish the run, they need to keep running the ball. Mike McDaniel can’t be afraid to punt the ball and he can’t be so overzealous to attempt a 4th and 1 on his own side of the field. He has to be smarter than he has been much of the last five weeks.
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle need to be the decoys. The Jets will try and take them out of the game plan and they likely will. This is where McDaniel can shine or not.
McDaniel’s best play this weekend might just be the tight end screen. Using Mike Gesicki off the edge on flair and flat routes can pick up chunk yards. It will force the Jets linebacker to play up and soften the middle of the field.
The rushing attack has to work for Miami. With it, Thompson can play dump-pass football and work the 4-6 yard slants. If the Dolphins attempt to go deep too often, Thompson is going to face a lot of pressure in his face, consistently.
This is a winnable game for the Dolphins but it will come down to which team makes the fewer mistakes. The Jets offense is not good. They lack a solid rushing attack and Joe Flacco is less than serviceable. Miami’s defense, even with a depleted secondary should be able to keep the offense in the game.
The problems for Miami will be on offense where the line will be a cut and paste with Terron Armstead likely out. The running game has been a problem and Miami’s one-trick Tyreek Hill game plan is being caught on. McDaniel has to be creative in order to put his team in position to win.
Thompson needs to be game manager on Sunday, not a game-winner. He needs to be smart with the football and not try and force the ball to make plays. Miami is horrible on third down and I doubt that changes on Sunday.
Miami’s biggest goal to win this game may very well be to play the field position game and hope the Jets make enough offensive mistakes to put the Dolphins in position to win.