Through three weeks it hasn’t been too much fun for the coaches, players and yes, us, the fans of the Miami Dolphins. It must stop this Sunday in San Diego, period! The Dolphins have a chance to turn around their entire season with a victory out west, and restore some confidence inside the locker room going into the bye week. It isn’t going to be easy, but this is a league where nothing is given and everything is earned! Here’s my take on some of the keys to victory on Sunday.
1) Score 24! – Let’s face it, the Miami Dolphins offense has improved from last season, but this group isn’t taking advantage of it’s scoring opportunities. It’s been well documented how they have stalled in the red-zone and turned six points into missed field goals. San Diego hasn’t been a scoring machine on offense either averaging only 21.7 points through three games. Plan and simple, Miami cannot leave points on the field Sunday and win! The Dolphins are averaging 17.7 points per contest and that needs to change no matter who the opposition is week in and week out. This doesn’t only fall on the offense because San Diego is first in the league converting on third down (62 percent), so Jason Taylor, Cam Wake and the boys need to find a way to get off of the field as well. If Miami can improve on their execution in the red-zone, and score 24, they have a great chance for victory.
2) Kick’em While They’re Down! – In three games, the Chargers are minus six in the turnover margin and that’s a good sign for the Dolphins! Quarterback Phillip Rivers has played well, but not at his normal level and the numbers show it. Rivers is 20 points lower in his quarterback rating then his normal numbers, and has forced the football on multiple occasions. He’s also playing without his security blanket in tight end Antonio Gates, who is suffering from a foot (plantar fascia) injury. Gates sat out last week against Kansas City and hasn’t practiced at all this week. Safety Bob Sanders has been placed on injured reserve, and they only have five healthy defensive lineman going into Sunday’s match-up! It is imperative that Miami starts fast on both sides of the football and gets field position on special teams, because the Chargers have already given up a kickoff return for a touchdown and big gains on punt return. Can anyone say Reggie Bush!
3) Play With Confidence – Everyone talks about swagger and you need that “look” at game time! Sorry, but you only feel or look that way when you’re winning. That stuff is easy to say and much harder to do when you’re 0-3! Can Miami erase the feeling of losing and not finishing off games, and start fresh on Sunday at San Diego? That’s what needs to happen and that will be the job of this coaching staff and more importantly, the players on the field. As much as fans would like to blame management, coaching staffs, etc, the players on the field need to turn this momentum around and execute. It’s that simple, can Miami outperform San Diego on Sunday? Will someone step up and make a play that makes a difference in winning or losing. It’s the penalties, missed tackles, blown assignments that have held this team back. Take care of yourself and that should be enough to take care of the Chargers!
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.