The Miami Dolphins look for their first home win of the 2010 season as they welcome the Tennessee Titans to Sun Life Stadium. This is the 32nd all-time meeting between these two franchises and the 9th since the Titans moved from Houston to Tennessee. Last season, the Fins dropped a 27-24 decision in overtime to the Titans in Nashville, but have won two of the last three meetings between the teams.
With a 4-4 record halfway through the season, the Dolphins will look to continue their alternating win-loss pattern that has held since they dropped a Monday night game to the Patriots in Week 4. The Dolphins are trying to bounce back from their 26-10 loss at Baltimore last week, while the Titans, like the Ravens last week, are coming off their bye week.
Keep reading to see what our experts think about this one. Keith Sims will tell you what he wants to see Miami do differently this week; Sam Madison will tell you what the Fins need to do defensively against an explosive Tennessee offense; and John Congemi tells you what he thinks this game means:
This week the Dolphins face another formidable defense in the Tennessee Titans. Of course, there’s been a huge change in the Dolphins offense this week by naming Chad Pennington as the starting quarterback. But aside from the QB change, I would like to see some other changes in the Dolphins.
First, I would like to see the Dolphins go back to running more than passing. Against Baltimore, this team had 34 pass attempts and only 11 rushing attempts between Ronnie and Ricky. Against the Titans, I would like to see more rushes, and I think bringing Pennington in the QB could actually assist with that. I say that because Pennington is a master a reading the opponents safeties and should be able to audible to plays that will have the Dolphins rushing to vulnerable areas in the Titans defensive scheme.
Secondly, I want to see red zone production, which has been the Achilles heel of the Dolphins all season. They have moved the ball effectively between the 20s, ranking in the middle of the pack in the AFC in 1st downs per game (9th out of 16), but they are last in the AFC in scoring at 17.9 pts/gm. We haven’t seen many end zone throws to Brandon Marshall, but with Chad Pennington, you’re confident that the ball placement will be in the right spot which is critical in the red zone as the throwing windows get tighter and tighter. If Pennington isn’t able to connect you know that it’ll be an incompletion and not an interception, sack, or a turnover within the red zone.
Finally, can we please take a shot down the field? I know Chad Pennington is not known for his arm strength but I think you’re going to have to throw the ball up at least once; however you want to do, trick play, whatever because if you don’t vertically stretch the defense they will sit on the short passes from Pennington because they know that his arm strength can be an issue.
Those are my three keys for the Dolphins offense this week: 1) get back to running the effectively 2) improved play in the red zone & 3) take at least one shot down the field.
The Dolphins defense has been giving up some big plays the last couple of weeks. The Tennessee Titans come to town with an explosive offense behind Chris Johnson’s running, Vince Young’s passing and escape ability, which can turn negative play into a touchdown. Of course, it’s looking like Young might not play, but you still have to take time during the week to prepare for him. And oh yeah, I didn’t even mention the fact that they picked up one of the best wideouts ever in football, Randy Moss. Tackling, controlling gaps on the line of scrimmage and creating turnovers against this football team will be the keys for a victory.
The Miami Dolphins are at the half way point of the season and I’m not really sure what kind of football team we have in South Florida. Is it the one that self-destructed in the second half against New England and can’t seem to get over the hurdle of beating a quality opponent, or is it the team that has shown toughness and consistency on the road winning four out of five away from Sun Life Stadium? In my opinion, one thing is certain, this game vs. Tennessee is the most important game of the season! Not just because it’s the next one on the schedule, but because it gives the Dolphin players a chance to prove to themselves that they are a good football team. Beating the Titans at home accomplishes two obstacles that this team needs to overcome: 1) Defeat an opponent that everyone regards as a quality team, and 2) win a game in front of the home fans! The one beautiful thing about regular season football is that you always have next week to prove to yourself as a player that you can be better. The Dolphins must realize that its getting to the point that there’s not too many next week’s left in the season and the urgency of winning starts this week!
So, there you go. Our gameday coverage will begin at 11am with the Tony Sparano Show. You can watch and listen to all gameday coverage on CBS-4, 940-WINZ, BIG 105.9, or Dolphins.com.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.