Dolphins Gameplan: Defense must dominate

Double Larry Fitzgerald

That’s right, double Larry Fitzgerald.  We saw last week that Sean Smith is vulnerable to double moves by wide receivers. You can bet your house that Fitzgerald saw that too.  The Dolphins might be thin at cornerback this weekend, but they cannot allow Fitzgerald to beat them.  Richard Marshall didn’t practice on Thursday because of his back injury and Nolan Carroll was limited because of an Achilles injury.

Arizona ranks #29 in passing offense.  Outside of Fitzgerald, their other weapons won’t scare the Dolphins.  This is why it’s important for the Dolphins to take Fitzgerald out of the game.  If I were Kevin Coyle (I’m not, I have a lot more hair), I’d double team Fitz early and often.  The Dolphins run defense should be able to shut down the Cardinals, who rank 27th in the NFL, averaging just 81 yards per game and 2.8 yards per carry.  I’m confident the big guys up front can handle the rushing attack, so the Dolphins would be wise to load up with whatever defensive backs they can find to shut down the passing game.

Truthfully, the Dolphins defense will need to dominate this game for the Dolphins to have a chance.  The Cardinals offense ranks #31 in the NFL.  However, their defense often gives them favorable field position, which leads to points.  The Dolphins should be able to stop the run, but they’ll need to sure up the secondary and apply pressure to Kevin Kolb if they hope to win.

Win on Special Teams

It’s obvious Dan Carpenter had a forgettable day last week against the Jets.  He missed 2 field goals, 1 of which would have won the game.  Carpenter can start to make up for those misses by making his kicks in Arizona.  The roof will probably be closed, so there are no excuses for misses.  The Dolphins coverage teams must also continue to play well.  Although the Cardinals rank #26 in kick returns and #19 in punt returns, they have Patrick Peterson, who’s as dangerous as they come.

The Dolphins re-signed Jonathan Amaya this week, a special teams favorite of Darren Rizzi (ST Coach).  The Dolphins must avoid giving up the big play on special teams.  The Dolphins returners rank #10 on kickoffs and #4 on punts.  Special teams is often overlooked, but it’s important for the Dolphins who will be looking for any advantage they can get in this game.

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