Fasano recently joined The Finsiders to talk about the offense’s identity and Sunday’s game at Arizona.
The Cardinals defense is holding opponents to a league-best 13.3 points per game, shutting down Tom Brady and Michael Vick in consecutive weeks. Arizona has Pro Bowl-caliber players on each level of the defense — it’s the type of unit that can force an opposing offense to change its game plan. The key to the strength-on-strength matchup, Fasano said, will be to not back away from the running game, even if guys like Calais Campbell and Darnell Docket are strong out of the gate.
“We have to dictate,” Fasano said. “We’re going to have to run the ball like we have been and continue to improve. They’ve got a great corner, a great safety, three great guys up front, so wherever you want to look, there’s not really many holes. But we’re going to have to really play well and stick to our game plan, and it starts with the run.”
In the short term, with the offensive line controlling the line of scrimmage, it’s going to continue being a run-first offense. The effects are two-fold. Feeding Reggie Bush the ball may be best way to keep things moving, but it also can make Ryan Tannehill’s transition smoother. Without such a heavy burden, it can open up things for the rookie quarterback, whether on a play-action pass or in short yardage situations.
“It’s immeasurable, I think, how it helps him,” Fasano said. “Knowing that we can run for first downs and not all the load of getting first downs and moving the ball is on shoulders. Running the ball is probably something he wants to do a lot because it makes his passing game a little bit easier.”
Field position, a definite advantage against the Raiders, hurt the Dolphins last week, especially in the second half. Without Bush, the offense stalled out a few times in its own territory, forcing the defense to play catch up on a short field. The front seven’s consistency in the run game continued, however, keeping the game within reach.
Even though the offense failed to flip the field, Fasano was confident the defense was going to stand tough.
“Our defense always seems to hold them,” Fasano said. “As an offensive player, it’s encouraging knowing that you’re going to have your ups and downs and if you have a mistake and turn the ball over on your side of the field, it doesn’t automatically mean points for them.”
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