Dolphins Gameplan: Set the tone early by playing physical

Double Reggie Wayne

Do you know who the leading wide receiver in the NFL is?  It’s 33 year old, about to be 34 year old, Reggie Wayne.  Wayne has caught 54 balls for 757 yards and leads the NFL in receiving.  The Dolphins must not let Reggie Wayne beat them.  He’s a crafty veteran and I’m sure Sean Smith will be covering him for most of the game.  However, the Dolphins should look to double him when possible.  The Colts next best receiver is Donnie Avery who has caught 29 balls for 345 yards.  That’s about 1/2 the production of Reggie Wayne.  In his last 2 games Wayne has caught 21 balls for 300 yards.  He must be stopped in the way the Dolphins stopped Larry Fitzgerald and AJ Green.

Let’s get physical

The Dolphins did a great job last week of quieting the hostile Jets crowd, early in the game.  The Dolphins took their opening possession and turned it into points.  Before the Jets knew what hit them, they were down 17-0 and the crowd turned on them, booing the offense and chanting for Tebow.  The Colts fans won’t be as fickle, but it is important for the Dolphins to set the tone early.  The Dolphins run defense must remain stout and force the Colts into obvious passing situations.

For the Dolphins to win the battle in the trenches on offense and defense, they will need to get physical….Cue Jane Fonda!  That means Paul Soliai and Randy Starks getting a good push up the middle on defense….The means Richie Incognito, Mike Pouncey and the rest of the Dolphins O-line getting nasty and pushing the Colts backwards in the running game.  The Dolphins ran the ball a lot against the Jets, but they didn’t run very effectively.  The Dolphins must find a way to open up running lanes for Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas, like they did in the first few weeks of the season….and that all starts by playing physical football.

Efficiency at QB

If Ryan Tannehill didn’t get hurt last week, we would have had a week’s worth of buildup to Luck vs. Tannehill.  While we have had some of that talk, it’s been tempered by the fact that Tannehill is practicing on a limited basis.  In fact, we learned yesterday that he had his knee drained before and after Dolphins practice yesterday.  If Tannehill can go, he probably won’t be 100%, which begs the question as to whether he should be playing if he’s not 100%.  I’ll leave that up to the coaches discretion.  None of us have seen all of the practice repetitions to know if Tannehill is healthy or not.  The Dolphins could be making his injury seem worse than it is to gain a competitive advantage.  They could also already know that Tannehill won’t be able to play, but are making the Colts prepare for him and Matt Moore.

Whoever ends up playing quarterback will need to be efficient with the football.  That means making smart decisions and not forcing anything.  The Colts home crowd can be very loud and disruptive to an offense.  The Colts are 3-1 at home and recently beat the Packers in Indianapolis, so they are legit.  The Dolphins must limit the false starts and penalties that would put them in too many obvious passing situations.  Whether it’s Tannehill or Moore, the Dolphins need to protect the football and convert on third downs to keep the chains moving.

Overall, I think this game will be a close one.  The Colts have a number of injuries, but may be welcoming back Richard Mathis.  With Mathis and Freeney, the pressure will be on Jake Long and Jonathan Martin to keep whomever the Dolphins quarterback is, clean.  The Dolphins must establish their running game early, which will open up some lanes in the passing game and allow for some big plays on the Colts suspect corners.  We’ll have our official prediction for the game on Sunday morning in our Pitiful Picks post.

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