For the 3-0 Miami Dolphins, it’s only fitting their next game be their toughest test yet—a Monday Night showdown against the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome. Led by Drew Brees, the Saints figure to give Miami their most difficult task thus far on both sides of the ball.
“Well, you look at them statistically, their total offense and total defense—they’re in the top 10 in the league in both categories, which is very, very impressive,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said during his show with The Finsiders this week. “Their scoring defense has been outstanding. They have a great quarterback and they’re a very well coached football team throughout offense, defense and special teams. It’s no question we’re going to have to make some strides in improvement over the course of the week.”
One of those strides will likely have to be in the area of pass rush, as the Dolphins struggled to pressure Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan last weekend. Brees will give Miami’s defense all it can handle plus some on Monday night.
“He’s just got great command of that offense,” Philbin said. “I believe he and Coach Payton have been together, I think this must be about their eighth season together if I’m not mistaken. So they have a lot of history together. [Brees] knows the system very, very well. He knows their personnel very well. And he’s a very good decision maker.”
Ryan Tannehill has proved to be a good decision maker himself over the first three games, excelling against teams’ blitz packages and coming up big in situations where Miami has needed him to do so the most. Monday night will be another challenge for Tannehill, as New Orleans’ complex and top-10 ranked defense can cause issues for opposing offenses if everyone isn’t on the same page.
The Saints’ defensive success is orchestrated by defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who Philbin has gone up against several times over the past.
“I’ve coached against him in a couple different spots,” Philbin said. “And he’s done a very, very good job wherever he’s been. He’s very multiple, so that’s number one. You can’t say, ‘well, he’s just a 3-4 guy’ or ‘he’s just a 4-3 guy’. And he’s very complex in the backend. He’s not always going to press man-to-man every snap. He’s going to give you a variety of coverages. Our quarterbacks and receivers are going to have to be on the same page. And then he has a very good pressure package, so he’s a very good coach.”
Going into a rowdy Superdome against Brees and the Saints may be a tall order, but it’s also an excellent opportunity for this Dolphins’ team to continue to prove to skeptics everywhere they are the real deal.
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.