Preview: Miami Dolphins Defense vs New York Jets Offense

By Craig Ballard

The AFC East portion of the 2012 Miami Dolphins schedule kicks-off on Sunday as the New York Jets come to Florida. This article is a preview of the Dolphins defense vs the Jets offense (Preview of the Dolphins offense vs the Jets defense is HERE).

This game is a return to Miami for new Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano. This offers us clues right off the bat as to what we can look for/expect this week. Can teams run vs the 2012 Dolphins? Unlikely. Should teams try to commit to the run vs the 2012 Dolphins? Unlikely. Will Sparano heed that and not try to commit to the run? Also unlikely. Whether it is the wildcat with Tim Tebow, or more traditional runs with running back Shonn Greene, we can expect the J-E-T-S JETS-JETS-JETS to run the football (at least try).

Game 1 W vs the Buffalo Bills saw Greene get 27 carries for 94 yards and a TD, but just a 3.5 yards per carry average. Game 2 L at Pittsburgh Steelers saw Greene get just 11 carries, and Bilal Powell get 9. The Jets yards per carry is just 3.6. Not a ton of success, but Sparano wants to run the ball (as does Rex Ryan…Personally I hate the strategy of ground-and-pound when your RB is Shonn Greene). Tebow had a nice 22 yard run vs the Steelers, but outside of that he has a mere 5 carries for a measly 11 yards.

Craig’s Key has to be the Dolphins front-7 vs the Jets offensive-line. We can expect the trenches to get ugly as the Jets want to be physical with their running game, plus the o-line has been fairly good at keeping quarterback Mark Sanchez upright in 2012 (Bills players are closer to Sanchez now than they were week 1, and the Steelers managed just a pair of sacks vs this o-line). The o-line was not as good vs the 3-4 Steelers D, but they were excellent vs the 4-3 Bills base-D (Miami uses a 4-3 base-D).

The Jets passing game has been a tale of 2 extremes. Week 1 home-opener they were wow (Sanchez 266 yards plus 3 TDs vs 1 INT) but week 2 road-opener was u-g-l-y (Sanchez 10 for 27 for 129 and 1 TD). Sanchez has a good QB rating of 95.0, but his play has been hot-and-cold. In particular the combo of Sanchez to Santonio Holmes has struggled. Holmes has been thrown to 19 times, but just 7 of those were successful. 2nd year wide receiver Jeremy Kerley and rookie Stephen Hill have been the best WRs for the Jets. They have a combined 11 catches on 16 targets, and each are averaging 18 yards per catch.

Craig’s Key will be the Dolphins safeties vs the Jets deep passes. Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons will need to provide over-the-top support for the cornerbacks, plus keep an eye on the tight ends over the middle too. So far in 2012 TE Dustin Keller is battling a hamstring issue and is listed as questionable this week. He has a history of big plays, and TDs vs the ‘Phins. In his place the Jets have turned to Jeff Cumberland and recently claimed (off waivers) Konrad Reuland. These 2 are more effective as run-blockers than as legit pass options. The ‘Phins are near the bottom when it comes to allowing plays over 20 yards and we look right at the safeties to improve that.

Traditionally Sanchez’s Jets struggle vs Miami. 2-4 record in Sanchez-era.

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