This week will be game #2 for the 2012 Miami Dolphins as they play their home opener vs the Oakland Raiders. In this article we will take a look at the Dolphins offense vs the Raiders defense (Dolphins defense vs Raiders offense preview is HERE)
Many people will want to start with Ryan Tannehill. His debut game left a lot to be desired (article on Tannehill’s Dolphins debut vs previous Dolphins QB debuts since Dan Marino is HERE). I would think that offensive coordinator Mike Sherman would want to establish Reggie Bush in this game (and if he is healthy, Daniel Thomas too). Things went haywire for the ‘Phins in their 30-10 loss to the Houston Texans, and that forced the play-calling to turn to mostly passing. Despite a fantastic yard per carry of 4.9 Bush was limited to only 14 carries. The best way to help Tannehill is to be able to establish Bush.
Easier said than done. The Raiders looked bad in their opener, but the run-defense was excellent. Craig’s Key will be Bush needs 20 touches minimum (I would actually like to see 25 touches minimum…Including some screens and draws…Also need to see the run set up the play-action pass). The ‘Phins offensive line will have their hands full trying to open running lanes vs Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour on the Oakland defensive line, and linebackers Miles Burris and Rolando McClain are good linebackers to worry about too.
All due respect to the Raiders defensive players, but they are a significant step backwards from the daunting Texans defense that dominated the Dolphins last week. The Raiders secondary used to have names like Charles Woodson and Nnamdi Asomugha. Now Shawntae Spencer, Ronald Bartell, and Pat Lee are the guys at cornerback. Underwhelming group who is without a shutdown player. Again we look to the o-line to set the tone. Keep the pass-rushers off of Tannehill (and out of his face) and the rookie QB should have several chances to make plays in the passing game this week.
Speaking of making plays, I am looking for Brian Hartline and Davone Bess to set the tone for the short and medium passes (likely Anthony Fasano too), but we need to see a home-run ball to Anthony Armstrong. The entire preseason, plus Texans game, the ‘Phins just threw short/predictable routes. The defenses are on to it. The lineman are getting their hands up quickly to bat the pass away, and defensive-backs are noticing too and just sitting on short routes where they have a chance to make a play on the ball. Problematic.
We are likely to see Jake Long vs Matt Shaughnessy. This is a Craig’s Key match-up. Shaughnessy is a quick and athletic defensive end who is a scary player on Tannehill’s blind side. A key here is to have Long beat him one-on-one. The Raiders d-line excels when Shaughnessy demands double-teams which allows guys like Kelly and Seymour to power their way into the backfield.
The Miami offense in week 1 was bad, but this week we see an opportunity for production from this unit.
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