What the Dolphins do well, and what they don't.

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  • One of my good friends is a Phins fan, and I have watched them a bunch this year so I will know what I am talking about with him. I feel like I have a pretty good feel for what the Dolphins do. I don't do breakdowns like this all the time, I usually don't watch the teams we are going to play as much as I have watched the Dolphins. And in division, the rest of you probbly watch our rivals just as much as I do. I am not an X and O guru, or a scheme nerd, so take all this for what it is worth. Which ain't much.

    I will start by saying that the Dolphins remind me a lot of the 2010 Hawks in both philosophy and struggles. Yeah, there are obvious differences, like 4-3 and 3-4 scheme, but the philosophy is the same.
    The Dolphins have a better run defense than we do, statistically. 3.6 yards per attempt against them, vs the 4.3 ours is giving up. Those numbers are no joke, the teams Miami have faced have been committed to the run mostly because Miami's passing game doesn't put pressure on opposing coordinators to abandon the run. Paul Soliai clogs the middle effectively, and their linebackers do a good job of cleaning up. They run a 3-4 technically, but line up in 4 man front looks quite a bit. They have struggled just a bit more with really quick running backs, just like we have. Maybe there is a big play there for Washington?

    Like most 3-4 D's, they try to disguise where the pressure is coming from, and do it effectively. Their pressure schemes are mostly around using speed to beat the tackles, they struggle to collapse the pocket up the middle consistently without blitzing. Look for our tackles to get beat with the speed rush a time or two. Which leads to...

    They struggle with mobile quarterbacks running on them. The hell bent for leather attack of their defensive ends leaves them vulnerable to guys like Wilson leaking out of the pocket and running for good gains. Locker gashed them early with some scrambles.

    Miami's corner's are big. More than any other team, they are built like ours. They have the only other 6-4 corner in the league, Sean Smith, and he is turning into a reputable press corner. The other corner went on IR two weeks ago, and his backup is 6-1, 205, and likes to play physical press as well. Miami's press is effective, they are the 6th best team in the league at opposing quarterbacks completion percentage. But...

    They are a very gashable team. 6th best at causing incompletions, and 6th worst in passing yards given up. Their safeties and linebackers have proven to be weak up the middle, and with their proclivity to provide a comfortable pocket to quarterbacks, and their desire to stop the run above all else, they have given up a lot of big plays. Russell Wilson, play action, and the deep ball should feature big in the game.

    Another way Miami reminds me of the Hawks of the last couple of years, they switched to the Zone Blocking system on offense this year and they are struggling with it. Yet, they will not give up on the run unless forced by the score to do so. They are only getting 3.6 yards per run, tied for last in the league, but still stick with it. They have to, their play action game depends on it. They do not have a great receiver corps, but it isn't bad either. Brian Hartline is a precise route runner who plays faster than he looks, and is the favorite target of Tannehill. Davone Bess could give our nickel corner fits. They don't target the tight end that much, Fasano only has 26 catches, but they do look his way in the red zone. And they like to target their running backs. They are much more likely to try and run the ball in the red zone, though.

    Their pass blocking is very suspect. The top pick, Long, from a few years back, has quick enough feet to stop any DE, but his a chronic shoulder injury that has left him vulnerable to power rushers. Their guards and center are the real weakness, though. I look for Mebane to have a good day getting into the pocket. If Seattle's pass rush decides to get on the plane to Miami, Tannehill is going to have a very bad day. I don't see Seattle sending many blitzers unless the four man front struggles to provide pressure.

    Tannehill is not a good scrambler. He looks like TJ when things break down, and is more likely to run into pressure than to make a team pay. It's kinda weird, his athleticism is very good. But his ability to make that second and third read is simply not there yet, so look for our press coverage to be more than usual in usage. Our ability to take away the dump off pass is going to be more important than our ability to maintain man coverage for 5 seconds in this game.

    Special teams is a wash statistically. Miami is a mirror of us on both punt and kick coverage. Our field goal kicker is better, slightly.

    The pressure to win this game will be squarely on Seattle's offense. First goal, no turnovers. Second goal, take advantage of that secondary down the middle. It isn't likely that we will run the ball easily on them, and their linebackers are pretty good in short area coverage. It doesn't look like Lynch will have a great day, but as long as we can keep Wilson off the ground, the Phins defense looks custom built for a quarterback like ours to have a big day. Miami's offense simply does not present enough match up problems to think our defense is going to have a bad day. Crowd noise should not be an issue, orange seats will dominate your TV, so if there was ever a road game the Hawks should win, this is it.
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    Scottemojo
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  • Yeah the Dolphins have a pretty decent defense, and even though Philbin is about as milktoast as you can get as a head coach, he's a very good details coach.........which means his teams are well prepared.

    Barring the usual suspects that derail the Hawks on the road like turnovers and dumb penalties, this is a game the Hawks should win going away in the 2nd half. But if the Hawks offense can't get it going, look for another 4th quarter road nail biter.
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  • Sgt. Largent wrote:Yeah the Dolphins have a pretty decent defense, and even though Philbin is about as milktoast as you can get as a head coach, he's a very good details coach.........which means his teams are well prepared.

    Barring the usual suspects that derail the Hawks on the road like turnovers and dumb penalties, this is a game the Hawks should win going away in the 2nd half. But if the Hawks offense can't get it going, look for another 4th quarter road nail biter.


    I sure hope not. I'm hoping that RW will have his "breakout road game" this week. I think the defense getting some turnovers will be huge. If we can get a turnover or two in the first half I think we can build a decent lead into halftime at which point we'll give it to Lynch to close out the game.

    I'm thinking 24-10... It's 14-10 at halftime, the offense get's a FG in the 3rd quarter to make it 17-10, and the offense scored in the 4th quarter to put the game away. I would like to see a signiture beatdown-- similar to what the 49ers have been able to do. But that would be asking too much.
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  • jlwaters1 wrote:I sure hope not. I'm hoping that RW will have his "breakout road game" this week.


    Like the OP said, if there's a road friendly stadium in the NFL, Miami's it..........so this is Wilson's chance.

    Let's just hope Pete thinks that as well and doesn't handcuff Russell with a conservative game plan like other road games this year. We want the Hawks Offense from the Lions game, and not the Hawks offense from the Rams game.
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  • Thanks, Scotte. This aligns with the maybe 7 quarters of football I've seen the Dolphins play this season.

    I hate to rely on big plays to win, but it sounds like that's how you beat this team. What does Pete call them? Explosive plays? Splash plays? I can't recall.

    At any rate, Russell Wilson has proven to be great at taking shots down the field. It's nice to see. It's been a long time since we had a QB that could make those plays regularly (that wasn't 40+ years old).
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  • Very nice write up, thank you. :th2thumbs:

    I'd still like to see us concentrate on the running game in anticipation of playing the other top run defenses. Hopefully we get up early so we can do just that.
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  • Found this in the latest power rankings where Seattle is #9 and Miami is #23

    "Miami's wideouts struggle mightily to get any separation. I found myself feeling bad for both Ryan Tannehill and Dolphins fans everywhere. For all who follow the little mammal with a helmet ( don't change the logo!), there must be a certain sense of dread when this team falls behind by two scores, like it did in Buffalo. This is not an offense that takes shots down the field, nor is it built to come from behind."

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000098244/article/nfl-power-rankings-week-12-49ers-rise-chiefs-hit-the-cellar
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  • Way to break it down Mr. Mojo.

    I am very concerned about Mr. Reggie Bush in this game. We have some chinks in the armor when it comes to our run D. If they pound him at us I think he could pop a few.

    I am with you on Lynch struggling in this game. Mr. Wilson is going to have to be the guy we think he can be for us to win this one. It is time for him to squash this "we can win on the road" crap. Look for Zack Miller and Doug Baldwin to step up as well. Without their production we will struggle moving the ball consistently.
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  • Scottemojo wrote:One of my good friends is a Phins fan, and I have watched them a bunch this year so I will know what I am talking about with him. I feel like I have a pretty good feel for what the Dolphins do. I don't do breakdowns like this all the time, I usually don't watch the teams we are going to play as much as I have watched the Dolphins. And in division, the rest of you probbly watch our rivals just as much as I do. I am not an X and O guru, or a scheme nerd, so take all this for what it is worth. Which ain't much.


    I disagree that your take ain't worth much -- that was a fantastic Job there Scott! :th2thumbs: Though what you wrote is a far different form (and obviously far shorter :P ) ... you basically confirmed everything that I wrote about in my Preview Piece. The one point of contention that I would have would be your take on the Dolphins Center (Mike Pouncey) who Pro Football Focus [fantastic site BTW for those who haven't discovered it yet] argues is having a Pro Bowl season. Other than that though, I'd have to say you're spot on. After all the research that I did ... that is exactly what I walked away with WHO this Dolphins team is as well.

    One thing I would add to that -- the coaching staff has got to let Russell Wilson take some shots down the field. Against this defense (as you mentioned) Marshawn Lynch conceivably could struggle, so it will be incumbent upon Wilson IMO to carry the load (and the numbers say shots down field are there to be made). In the Dolphins last meeting with the Jets in Week 8 (in which the Dolphins won 30-9) ... the Dolphins defense was able to tee off on Mark Sanchez by sending extra defenders on the blitz, as Sanchez and the Jets demonstrated quite clearly that they basically had no deep threats. So, the Hawks have got to take shots down the field to back these guys off ... otherwise, they'll be looking to load up the box and tee off against the Hawks as well. And as I said, the numbers say there are plays to be made downfield because this secondary has struggled of late.
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  • Good info. Thanks.

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  • Hawkscanner wrote:
    Scottemojo wrote:One of my good friends is a Phins fan, and I have watched them a bunch this year so I will know what I am talking about with him. I feel like I have a pretty good feel for what the Dolphins do. I don't do breakdowns like this all the time, I usually don't watch the teams we are going to play as much as I have watched the Dolphins. And in division, the rest of you probbly watch our rivals just as much as I do. I am not an X and O guru, or a scheme nerd, so take all this for what it is worth. Which ain't much.


    I disagree that your take ain't worth much -- that was a fantastic Job there Scott! :th2thumbs: Though what you wrote is a far different form (and obviously far shorter :P ) ... you basically confirmed everything that I wrote about in my Preview Piece. The one point of contention that I would have would be your take on the Dolphins Center (Mike Pouncey) who Pro Football Focus [fantastic site BTW for those who haven't discovered it yet] argues is having a Pro Bowl season. Other than that though, I'd have to say you're spot on. After all the research that I did ... that is exactly what I walked away with WHO this Dolphins team is as well.

    One thing I would add to that -- the coaching staff has got to let Russell Wilson take some shots down the field. Against this defense (as you mentioned) Marshawn Lynch conceivably could struggle, so it will be incumbent upon Wilson IMO to carry the load (and the numbers say shots down field are there to be made). In the Dolphins last meeting with the Jets in Week 8 (in which the Dolphins won 30-9) ... the Dolphins defense was able to tee off on Mark Sanchez by sending extra defenders on the blitz, as Sanchez and the Jets demonstrated quite clearly that they basically had no deep threats. So, the Hawks have got to take shots down the field to back these guys off ... otherwise, they'll be looking to load up the box and tee off against the Hawks as well. And as I said, the numbers say there are plays to be made downfield because this secondary has struggled of late.

    I watched Pouncy with a critical eye, and I don't see it. He is a decent pass blocker with quick feet, not stout at the point of attack as a rush blocker, and I think he will struggle with a power player like Mebane, though he may do well against a quicks player like Jason Jones. I also think he struggles with providing the correct double team, but that could be the two guards next to him being really bad. His bad snap problem from when his career started is gone, though.
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  • Scottemojo wrote:
    Hawkscanner wrote:
    Scottemojo wrote:One of my good friends is a Phins fan, and I have watched them a bunch this year so I will know what I am talking about with him. I feel like I have a pretty good feel for what the Dolphins do. I don't do breakdowns like this all the time, I usually don't watch the teams we are going to play as much as I have watched the Dolphins. And in division, the rest of you probbly watch our rivals just as much as I do. I am not an X and O guru, or a scheme nerd, so take all this for what it is worth. Which ain't much.


    I disagree that your take ain't worth much -- that was a fantastic Job there Scott! :th2thumbs: Though what you wrote is a far different form (and obviously far shorter :P ) ... you basically confirmed everything that I wrote about in my Preview Piece. The one point of contention that I would have would be your take on the Dolphins Center (Mike Pouncey) who Pro Football Focus [fantastic site BTW for those who haven't discovered it yet] argues is having a Pro Bowl season. Other than that though, I'd have to say you're spot on. After all the research that I did ... that is exactly what I walked away with WHO this Dolphins team is as well.

    One thing I would add to that -- the coaching staff has got to let Russell Wilson take some shots down the field. Against this defense (as you mentioned) Marshawn Lynch conceivably could struggle, so it will be incumbent upon Wilson IMO to carry the load (and the numbers say shots down field are there to be made). In the Dolphins last meeting with the Jets in Week 8 (in which the Dolphins won 30-9) ... the Dolphins defense was able to tee off on Mark Sanchez by sending extra defenders on the blitz, as Sanchez and the Jets demonstrated quite clearly that they basically had no deep threats. So, the Hawks have got to take shots down the field to back these guys off ... otherwise, they'll be looking to load up the box and tee off against the Hawks as well. And as I said, the numbers say there are plays to be made downfield because this secondary has struggled of late.

    I watched Pouncy with a critical eye, and I don't see it. He is a decent pass blocker with quick feet, not stout at the point of attack as a rush blocker, and I think he will struggle with a power player like Mebane, though he may do well against a quicks player like Jason Jones. I also think he struggles with providing the correct double team, but that could be the two guards next to him being really bad. His bad snap problem from when his career started is gone, though.


    I sure hope YOU'RE the one who's right on that one. I could be wrong, but I suspect a lot of struggles that you see with double teams are more of the result of the guards. At LG for example ... that would be our old buddy there (and former Ram) Richie Incognito. Now there's a guy who absolutely, positively has the wrong last name because he is anything but Incognito on the field. He is easily among the worst guards in football. He is among the league leaders in flags ... and should be good for at least 1 Personal Foul or Unnecessary Roughness penalty in this game, I'd say.
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  • Tech beat me to it, but it sounds like we really need to work play action with Miller and Baldwin.

    I'd also love to see a ton of 2 TE sets with Miller and McCoy, and work the run and pass out of the same formation. Maybe even an uptempo pace to throw them off and keep them in base defense packages.
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