Week 5 pre-game thoughts: Dolphins vs Chargers
Posted on: October 3, 2008 4:21 pm
I have to start off with the fact that 4 of the 6 Sportsline “experts” picked the Dolphins to win and I don’t like it. If it gives the Dolphins confidence then that’s cool(because regardless of what they say, they pay attention). I just don’t want the Dolphins or anyone else thinking that the win over the Patriots was anything more than one win. It’s nice that a victory of that magnitude may help give the team some confidence but as soon as a team starts thinking they’ve arrived then they stop striving to improve which is what I desire for the Dolphins. What I can say about the Dolphin’s win is that it has invigorated me as a fan and given me some hope that they can win some games and improve for the future. I really wish they could have played last week vice having the bye to see if they could build on the win and use the emotion from the win constructively. Hopefully, they’ve used the bye to strengthen their base offense because gimmicks like the Wildcat offense are nice and sometimes very effective but you win playoff games by being good consistently on offense and defense. In the grand scheme of things, that’s all that counts. Winning Playoff games. That’s what keeps a coaches job. Something that may surprise you and gives some Dolphin’s fans hope for the “upset special” is how bad the Chargers defense has been (at least statistically). They’re 28<sup>th</sup> in total defense and scoring defense and dead last in passing defense. They’re 13<sup>th</sup> against the run which should be Miami’s strength on a weekly basis. That #13 ranking was with Jamal Williams who is a mountain of a man and a heck of a run stopper. He didn’t practice thursday and is questionable for the game. It’s going to be interesting with 2 weeks to prepare how Sparano prepares for this defense. He attacked the Patriots aging linebackers with the run and it worked. It worked because he has one of the best pairs or tailbacks in the league. Do the Dolphins have the tools to attack this secondary? Do the Chargers have the weapons on defense to rush the passer? Merriman is gone and now his backup may miss this game. The third string guy did get a sack last week but I’d like to think our line is a little better than the Raiders. The Raiders built a 15 point lead on the Chargers last week and couldn’t hold it. The Dolphins are a team that is much better suited to play with a lead than to play catch up. If the Dolphins get a lead, then I have to believe that Sparano has the smarts to attack this team on the ground and with short, high completion and force them to stop us. Keeping the Chargers offense off of the field is the key. Phillip Rivers is not Matt Cassell and LT is not Sammy Morris. It can be argued that the Patriots have better WRs and the Dolphins managed to keep them under wraps. One key is going to be keeping LT and Chris Chambers in front of them and not giving up the big plays they did against the Cards. These WRs are not as talented as Boldin/Fitzgerald but they’re pretty good. Another key is to stop LT early to prevent play action from becoming a problem and then rushing Rivers relentlessly. Chambers and Jackson can’t get deep if they’re hitting Rivers every time he drops back. As a reasonable, thinking human being, the best I can truly hope for is that the Dolphins keep it close and have a chance at the end. As a Dolphin fan that’s gone through a couple of seasons of poor play and hopelessness, I’m hoping for another strong performance where the Dolphins stick to their strength (running the ball) and control the line of scrimmage and get another resounding win. Go Dolphins!