Miami Dolphins (0-0) at Washington Redskins (0-0)
Sunday, September 13th
1 PM ET, CBS
Ryan Tannehill proved last season that he has the qualities necessary to be a franchise quarterback, and he was rewared with a new contract in the offseason. Tannehill was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the game in the short and intermediate passing game, but Tannehill must still work on his deep accuracy, as he had one of the lowest completion percentage in that facet of the game. Tannehill also gained a few new weapons this offseason to offset the loss of Mike Wallace. Kenny Stills was acquired in a trade from New Orleans to be Wallace’s replacement, and one could make an argument that Stills is already a better player than Wallace, as Stills’ runs a more diverse route tree than Wallace. Greg Jennings was acquired via free agency from Minnesota, and while he may not be the same player he was in his Green Bay days, he is still an efficient short yardage option. The Dolphins spent their first round pick on DeVante Parker, and while he may be limited in this contest due to injury, Parker is still talented enough to make his impression felt. This trio, plus Jarvis Landry, Tannehill’s favorite target, should give Washington’s pass defense fits. Chris Culliver is a solid corner, but the rest of the secondary make up one of the league’s worst units. DeAngelo Hall is just about done, while Justin Rogers is a below replacement level talent. The safeties aren’t much better, either. Dashon Goldson should be good for a penalty or two, while Duke Ihenacho is better against the rush than he is the pass.
The Dolphins also obtain one of the league’s better rushing attacks, as Lamar Miller is one of the games most underrated players. Miller didn’t receive 20 carries in a single game last year, yet he still accumulated over 1000 rushing yards. Now another year in this offensive system, Miller should step up and become the bell cow runningback this year. Miami also has an underrated offensive line, as Branden Albert and Ja’Wuan James form an underrated tackle combination. The Redskins were solid against the run a year ago, and the same may be true this year. Ryan Kerrigan is one of the games top outside linebackers, and he alone can wreck an offensive game plan. Terrence Knighton was brought in at nose tackle, and he played well this preseason for his new team.
Robert Griffin III is benched, so Kirk Cousins is now the teams new quarterback. Cousins has had his moments in the NFL, but he has looked more like a backup quarterback thus far. Cousins has a skill set similar to Andy Dalton, Jay Gruden’s quarterback in Cincinnati, and perhaps he sees Dalton when he sees Cousins. Cousins doesn’t go deep very much, which doesn’t really mesh with the talent the Redskins have on the outside. DeSean Jackson is a true deep threat in every sense of the words. Pierre Garcon is similar, although he at least goes underneath more often than Jackson. Jordan Reed is the tight end, and if he can stay heathy he may end up being Cousins’ top receiving threat. Keeping Cousins’ upright will be a tremendous test, as Washington possesses one of the league’s weakest offensive lines. This is music to Cameron Wake, Ndamukong Suh & Olivier Vernon‘s ears, as those three are some of the best at their positions at defensive end and tackle, respectively.
While the Redskins look to have major issues in the passing game, running the ball looks like a good option. Runningback Alfred Morris has gained at least 1000 yards in each of his 3 seasons as a pro, and he has established himself as one of the game’s top power backs. Washington drafted Matt Jones out of Florida this year, and he is another power back that should be able to maintain the type of smashmouth rushing attack the Redskins like when Morris needs a breather. As mentioned, Washington’s offensive line isn’t very effective, but the unit exhibits enough physicality to be able to run the ball effectively. Left tackle Trent Williams is a house, while right guard Brandon Scherff was selected in the 1st round to bring stability to the right side of the line. As mentioned above, Miami has one of the best defensive lines in football, so the offensive line’s ability to hold it’s blocks will be key in this one.
Jamil Douglas. Douglas was the teams 4th round pick out of Arizona State, and he has already won the right guard job. Douglas isn’t a very physically imposing player, but he more than makes up for his lack of physical build with his technique. Douglas is a very finesse type of lineman, which works great in offensive coordinator Bill Lazor’s up-tempo scheme. How effectively Douglas is able to get to the second level of the defense will determine of much success Lamar Miller will be able to have in the running game, and how much protection Ryan Tannehill will have.
Dashon Goldson. Two season’s ago, Goldson was a pro bowler for the San Francisco 49ers. Known for his huge hits and timely interceptions, Goldson established himself as one of the games premier safeties while also earning a huge pay day in Tampa Bay. Goldson failed miserably with the Buccaneers, and was acquired by the Redskins for next to nothing. Goldson is expected to regain the form he had in San Francisco while also being a leader in the locker room, as he was also named a captain. Goldson will have his hands full with all of the Dolphins passing targets, but if he can establish himself as a defensive enforcer while also putting his teammates in positions to make plays, the Redskins could slow down Miami.
Result: Miami 28, Washington 10
Miami has established themselves as an up and coming team that shouldn’t be underestimated by anyone, while the Redskins have down just the opposite. Miami’s strengths coincide perfectly with Washington’s weaknesses, while Washington’s strengths match up poorly with Miami’s strengths. If this game was in Miami, the contest would probably be a blowout, but Miami should still get the win regardless.
Kirk Cousins: 18/31, 248, 2 INT’S
Ryan Tannehill: 24/29, 307, 3 TD’s; 4 carries, 42 yards
Alfred Morris: 13 carries, 48 yards, 1 TD
Matt Jones: 7 carries, 31 yards; 2 catches, 17 yards
Lamar Miller: 21 carries, 87 yards; 3 catches, 31 yards, 1 TD
Damien Williams: 6 carries, 27 yards, 1 TD
DeSean Jackson: 3 catches, 67 yards
Pierre Garcon: 6 catches, 62 yards
Ryan Grant: 4 catches, 51 yards
Jarvis Landry: 8 catches, 98 yards, 2 TD’s
DeVante Parker: 4 catches, 59 yards
Kenny Stills: 3 catches, 52 yards
Greg Jennings: 1 catch, 12 yards
Jordan Reed: 3 catches, 51 yards
Jordan Cameron: 5 catches, 55 yards