Week 10 brings the Washington Redskins (3-5) traveling south to face the Miami Dolphins (1-7) at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins found a way to put it all together last week to gain it’s first victory at Kansas City and have a little bit of momentum moving into this weekend. The Redskins don’t strike fear into anyone, but I believe this is a game that the Dolphins need to worry more about themselves than the Redskins. Here are my keys to victory on Sunday:
1) Continue To Pressure The Pocket – The one thing that the Miami defense did last week that we haven’t seen on a consistent basis is pressuring the opposing quarterback. The Dolphins defense turned up the heat on Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, sacking him five times, and making him elude pressure on a consistent basis. The good thing for Miami is that it just wasn’t one person or one position that created all of the disturbance in the backfield. We witnessed defensive ends (Jared Odrick), linebackers (Kevin Burnett), and defensive backs (Tyrone Culver) all contribute to disrupting the timing and rhythm of the offense. Redskins quarterbacks have been sacked 24 times his season, and Sunday’s starter John Beck is the same type of target defensive coordinator Mike Nolan faced in the Dolphins victory last week. The Redskins receiving corp doesn’t strike fear into any secondary, so I would look for Miami to confuse Beck and make him hold the football. That pressure should play directly into the Dolphins favor again this week.
2) O-Line Needs To Dominate – It’s no secret that last week’s performance by quarterback Matt Moore, the AFC Offensive Player of the Week, was his best of 2011. A big part of his success was the play making ability of guys like wide receiver Brandon Marshall (eight receptions for 106 yards) and running back Reggie Bush (13 carries for 92 yards, 142 total yards), but the big fellas up front made it all happen. They provided plenty of pass protection for Moore to scan the field, and not take the punishment of the last two weeks, and Bush had the vision and space he needs to excel in this offense. Washington’s youth in the defensive front seven will provide a challenge this week in rookie Ryan Kerrigan and third year player Brain Orakpo. Kerrigan has three sacks on the season and consistently pressures the pocket registering 16 quarterback pressures on the year. Orakpo has established himself as a force off of the edge, earning Pro Bowl berths in this first two years, and has a team leading five and a half sacks this season. The Dolphins offensive tackles Jake Long and Marc Colombo must play a clean, error-free contest against two high motor players, and the return last week of Richie Incognito to the left guard spot helped tremendously in the running game.
3) Repeat Performance– Sometimes it’s hard to duplicate a clean, efficient effort for a 1-7 football team, but that’s what it will take for Miami to defeat the Washington Redskins on Sunday at Sun Life Stadium. You can say that the Redskins aren’t a dominate team offensively, and there defense has shown promise, but to win at the NFL level, you must execute and win at least two of the three phases (offense, defense, and special teams) or you will get beat! The Dolphin players have emphasised turning the page on last week’s win and focusing directly towards this week. I believe that’s a good thing but remember this, the Dolphins must play desperate again on defense, must control the line of scrimmage and score points when the plays present themselves to get there second win of the season.
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.