Dolphins-Cardinals Preview

Okay, time to move on from the lambasting of Adam Gase’s lack of preparation and the lack of the players’ performance in Baltimore.   You need a thick skin and a short memory in the NFL, and let’s hope the Dolphins have both.

The Arizona Cardinals come to town.   Seemingly for the 13th game in a row, the Dolphins face a team with a Top-5 defense.  I don’t know how this happens each week or why the schedule makers pitted us against such tough defenses this season, but it’s happening again.  The Cardinals’ offense is no slouch either.  They’re a perennial playoff team lately who got off to a slow start, but now they’ve been coming around and beating some decent teams.

They have a lot of momentum coming into a game where the Dolphins just lost all their confidence.   That does not bode well.

The good news is that the Cardinals are stoppable.   Despite the emergence of a few other key players, the Cards’ offense is still the Carson Palmer-to-Larry Fitzgerald show.   Yes, other guys can burn you, but if you take away Palmer’s favorite target, he tends to get into trouble.  Another good thing is that the Cards don’t run the quick slant as a base part of their offense.  Sure, the Ravens and Patriots showed the world the easy blueprint to beat the Dolphins:   run the same slant pattern across the middle all day long.  However, that type of play isn’t a strength of what the Cards do, although if I were them I would perfect that play in practice all week long.

The Dolphins are also hobbled with injuries and the iffy status of key players.   I really wish that Vance Joseph and Gase would change up the linebacking corps.   They need to start Kiko Alonso, Mike Hull, and Zach Vigil.   As I’ve been saying all year, can those guys do any worse than the likes of Jelani Jenkins, Neville Hewitt, and Spencer Paysinger?  Shake things up and let’s see what happens.

As bad as the offense played Sunday, the prior few weeks they were doing better, including putting up 31 against the 49ers.   In some ways, that shows me that Mike Pouncey isn’t missed as much as the media seems to report.     Almost daily, some reporter is asking Adam Gase if Mike Pouncey will play again this year.  Instead, I myself would ask Gase to comment on the outstanding work that Anthony Steen is doing at center.  This seems to happen each year.  Pouncey gets hurt, and a backup fills in adequately, and then somehow Pouncey makes the Pro Bowl.   I do hope he comes back and can help toward a potential playoff push, but I don’t think his absence is killing us.

I don’t get the sense that the Dolphins are looking past the Cardinals and eyeing a prime time game against the Jets the following week.   I think they are focused and realize that they face a tough opponent this week, and I expect them to rebound.   It’s Miami’s only home game in December (thanks, NFL), and they have to take advantage of it.   After the Cardinals, we face another road game on a  short week, just like when we had travel to Cincy on a short week.  Short weeks are hard enough, but to give us two shorts weeks in one season?   Plus BOTH of them on the road?  No respect!

 

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11 Comments

  1. Because our coverage is so bad, this game’s success depends on our ability to push the pocket. If the pass rush can prevent Palmer from taking a solid forward step, the phins may win. If he has a steady pocket for even 40% of the time, we are cooked. Gase must stay balanced and do a better job of adjusting his play calling which maximizes agiainst the defensive sets that the Cards are in. A one-dimensional offense will be crushed. These type of adjustments are Belichickian and Gase has not, yet, shown the capacity for this.

  2. ”  In some ways, that shows me that Mike Pouncey isn’t missed as much as the media seems to report”. Just the opposite is true. We play a team with a good defense and you saw what happened.  I prefer a C that plays every week to a supposed All Pro who plays a few games a year. Trade him (for a 3rd rounder) or cut his lame,overpaid ass. Oh,and don’t let me forget,hand the ball to Ajayi every play. Guaranteed win.

  3. Every game is a must-win now. We lose 1 and we’re out,period. Pats game is a loss this time around.

    1. Author

      I think so too. We’ll be out.
      Although I can see Kansas City totally folding, and Denver’s offense isn’t gonna get the job done. So that means a team like Pittsburgh will take our spot, with either Indy or Tennessee catching up if Denver/KC tank.
      Never underestimate, the favoritism the NFL gives to the Steelers, especially in December and January…

  4. Yep, I agree we are in a must win predicament. Lose one, and we’re done. At the beginning of the season, I thought 8-8 would be a successful season with a new coach on board. I don’t have too many complaints about our team, but, I hope too see improvement each season.

  5. Author

    Very in interesting comments from Vance Joseph today, which further demonstrates that Adam Gase is a long long ways away from being a skilled decisionmaker. Joseph said that the Dolphins expected the Ravens to throw deep balls in their passing game, and that’s why they were caught off guard when the Ravens threw short. But after how many passes do you stop being surprised? Okay, after Flacco completed his first 5 passes, maybe THEN you realize they are throwing short and adjust? After his first 10? 20 completions? 25? 30? 35? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 36 times, shame on Gase and Joseph for having no answers except “We didn’t expect them to throw short passes” No shit !!!

    1. Agreed.He had what,27 completions AT HALFTIME!!! That’s a game for many QBs. Some adjustment huh?

  6. Admin I wanted to point out either your humble enough to avoid the I told you so cliché or you missed it when gase said about last weeks game ” we need to stick with Ajayi” when speaking about his bad play calling. Its not hand him the ball every down its hand him the ball either 1 or 2 of the first 3. And keep doing it even if the drive stalls. This is the #1 defense they don’t crack on the first jab.

    1. Author

      PhinsUp, how come you never join our Sunday chats? 🙂

      1. Sorry I’ve missed the past few. Saturday nights here lately have been festive and kept me into the wee hours of the early morning. Its all I can do to get my butt up at noon and watch the game but Im also recovering from a hangover so I leave the phone on the charger. I’ll try and get in there this sunday. I do really enjoy the chats.

  7. Author

    Ha! I’ve seen Gase say similar things in the past, but I missed it about last week’s game.
    Yes, even when a strong defense stops him once or twice or many times, that doesn’t mean we should give up. I woulda thought Gase learned that part by now! We can’t pass the ball every single damn time we need 2 yards, yet Gase does so.

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