Top 5 Questions: Dolphins vs. Saints

Last weeks game left many with more questions than answers

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September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler (6) passes the football against the New York Jets during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
September 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler (6) passes the football against the New York Jets during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Can Adam Gase Improve His Play Calling?

The gameplan against the Jets couldn’t have been more predictable; establish the run early and often, work in play-action and take shots down the field when the defense allowed it. While this formula has worked for Miami in the past, it became evident early on that the Jets prioritized stopping the run and were successful doing so.

Instead of switching strategies and utilizing Jarvis Landry in the short passing game, Gase stuck with his vanilla play-calling. By doing so the offense failed to find a rhythm until the team trailed 20-0 in the fourth quarter with the game decided.

For the ‘Fins to stand a chance Sunday against the Saints in London, Gase will need to be more creative and move away from his conservative play-calling style.

Will the Dolphins Secondary Continue To Struggle?

Through two weeks the ‘Fins have arguably the worst secondary in the league. Not only do they fail the eye test, but according to Pro Football Focus, analytically our secondary measures miserably across the board. Out of a possible score of 100, they rank as follows: Xavien Howard (40.8), Nate Allen (42.2), Reshad Jones (63.9), Byron Maxwell (39.2). Nickel corner Bobby McCain (78.4) is the outlier.

Needless to say the secondary will be facing much stiffer competition against Drew Brees and the Saints vaunted passing attack this weekend. Hopefully Brees hits a few too many pubs Saturday night, or the secondary takes last week’s performance personally and proves that they are better than they have been these first two weeks.

After A Weak Performance, Will The Jay Train Get Back On Track?

Part of it can be attributed to predictable play calling, but there’s no excusing the poor performance by the offensive line last week. After gashing the Chargers for 122 yards on 28 carries, Jay Ajayi was held to a lackluster 16 yards on 11 carries against a Jets team ranked 30th against the rush.

As documented previously, our secondary has a tough task ahead of them. To ease their burden the Jay Train needs to get back on track in his hometown on Sunday. Ideally, the Dolphins would find it advantageous to control the pace of the game and allow the secondary plenty of time to rest.

Will Jay Cutler Show A Better Command Of The Offense?

It was hard to watch at times. Multiple false starts on drives, players out of position and consistently missing open receivers had Dolphins fans reminiscing on the good ole days of boring, but consistent, Ryan Tannehill.

Coming into the season a large portion of the team’s success relied on Cutler’s ability to take over the reins of the offense. He did so adeptly against the Bolts, leading the team on a fourth quarter comeback that began to instill confidence in the fanbase. Instead of building upon that performance, Cutler and the offense took a major step back in Week 3. This game, and the season, depend on the offense performing more like they did in Week 2.

Who Will Step Up And Provide A Spark?

You could feel it. Everyone sat around, waiting for someone else to make a big play that would swing momentum in Miami’s direction. It never happened. Yes, our offensive line and secondary looked atrocious, but the lack on enthusiasm was the most disheartening takeaway. It looked, and felt, like the Dolphins were just going through the motions.

Above all else the team needs to play with more energy and urgency this weekend. If they come out flat the Saints have the offensive firepower to jump out to a big lead fast, something the Dolphins aren’t built to overcome. The energy level in the first quarter will show us everything we need to know about Miami’s chances of winning.

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