After a close and hard-fought loss to the Buffalo Bills, your Miami Dolphins get a quick turnaround with a short drive north to have a matchup against an in-state rival in the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday Night Football.
Let’s dive right in to see what five things I will be keeping a close eye on.
Response from Team:
One of the first things I am keeping an eye on from kickoff is how the team will respond to not only a severe loss but such a quick turnaround. Will we be active and energized to move past last week’s embarrassing defeat to a division rival? Or can we expect another lackluster effort filled with a stubborn coaching staff unwilling to adjust game plans?
Which leads to my next point in that the coaching staff for two straight weeks has shown either an inability or unwillingness to alter the game plan once it becomes apparent it is not working out. Suppose the defensive game plan is not getting the job (I highlight the defense because our head coach was a defensive coordinator before this), then we need to pivot and try other things with different players. Enough hitting our head against the wall, hoping that it will breakthrough. We spent a lot of money and a lot of draft capital not to be making any improvements and be regressing in most areas.
One of the more specific disappointments of this past weekend was the disappearance of Jerome Baker. A week after being everywhere on the field making impactful plays, he was virtually nonexistent, totaling a measly five tackles. A player that for us to become a good defense, we need to start putting it all together on a consistent weekly basis. Coach Flores must also take some accountability and use Jerome in better spots as we have seen him be able to not only play the run but also pass defend and rush the passer.
The biggest positive coming out of Week 2 was the career day for Mike and what that ultimately means for his development moving forward. 8 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown more than solidify Gesicki as a top 12 tight end with room to get higher up with more performances like this one. Having said that, though, Mike instantly becomes the second clear option for defenses to game plan for after DVP. How he responds to all the extra attention he will undoubtedly be receiving is the key to how great Gesicki can become.
Sticking to positives to close out this piece, the continued development of the offensive line with specific attention to the rookies will be the last thing I keep a close eye on. Austin Jackson continues to improve and is practically penciled in as the LT for the next four years. Kindley and Hunt are the two I am most interested in seeing. They both seem like the same type of physical, tough, nasty player that Coach Flores is looking for. We saw Hunt go in on goal line and not only move people but drive them into the ground until well beyond the whistle. Kindley seemed to feed off that energy or vice versa because multiple times, I saw Kindley pulling to destroy his blocker with no better example than the touchdown from Jordan Howard at the 1.
Ultimately having a Thursday Night Game allows us to wash our mouths of the nasty taste left behind by the Week 2 loss to the Bills. Let’s hope for a better outcome than this past week, or we may be discussing a ten-day prep to get Tua ready to play against the Seattle Seahawks at home.