John Congemi 1) Start Fast at Home
There's no better place than Hard Rock Stadium for the Miami Dolphins to get their first win of the 2020 season. It won't be an easy task facing another AFC East division rival in the Buffalo Bills. In order to achieve this goal, Miami must execute early in the game, moving the chains on offense and not allowing the Bills offense to control the time of possession. Ideally, the Dolphins would like to create some balance offensively using the running game to make their play-action passing game keep the Bills defense on its heels and honest. Controlling tempo and possession keeps Buffalo offense and quarterback Josh Allen on the sidelines. Last week in defeating the New York Jets, Buffalo held the football for over 41 minutes and had total control of the outcome from start to finish. Winning early field position should also lead the to early momentum and hopefully guide the Dolphins to get their first win of the season.
2) Contain Josh Allen
Going from trying to defend the strength and athletic ability of veteran quarterback Cam Newton to a younger version in Buffalo's Josh Allen is no easy task for the Dolphins defense. Newton had more designed runs built into the game plan then Allen will have, but the more youthful Allen is much more dangerous because he's faster and more elusive then what the Miami defenders faced last week. Allen has rushed for over 100 yards in the past at Hard Rock Stadium, and most of those yards were from being chased from the pocket in the passing game. He rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown in last week's win over the Jets, also attempted 46 passes for 312 yards and two scores. Pressuring the pocket against Allen must be done with discipline, not allowing him to step up and through past all of the traffic. When the pass rush gets to deep and behind Allen, that's when he'll try to find a lane to step up and escape the pressure. The Miami front seven must get into those passing lanes and close the distance between Allen and where the offensive line would ideally like to set their protection. If they can do that, you might see Allen have a lower that average outing.
3) Control the Line of Scrimmage
Coaches are always preaching about wanting to run the ball on offense and having the ability to stop the ground game on defense. Their always talking about it because it's so true! If you give an offense like the Bills the ability to get their running attack going with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, how much easier is it then to spread the passing game to game-breaking speedsters like Stephon Diggs and John Brown. If that happens this Sunday, the Dolphins defense will be guessing for 60 minutes! The challenge this week and every week for the Miami defense is to stop or at least slow down the run. New England rushed for over 200 yards last week, allowing the Patriots to control the way the game was played. It paved the way to play calling that was conservative for their offense, placing extreme value in protecting the football in every possession. Conversely, not controlling the line of scrimmage made the Dolphins offense chase the game for the majority of the afternoon, and that's not where they want to be. Miami must be able to gain consistent yardage on the ground for the passing game to have its desired effectiveness. Plan and simple, the play in the trenches doesn't always get the credit it deserves. It usually has an enormous effect on the outcome of the game, and for the Dolphins to win this week, it needs to pick it up on both sides of the line of scrimmage.