6 Dolphins players to watch against the Bears

It’s been a week of change for the Chicago Bears, but they can’t dwell on it for long as they’re set to welcome in the Miami Dolphins to Soldier Field on Sunday to try as they attempt to get back on track. The Bears (3-5) are coming off a blowout loss to the Dallas Cowboys and, for the second week in a row, jettisoned a defensive leader when they traded Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens. But they turned around and bolstered their offense, however, acquiring wide receiver Chase Claypool from the Pittsburgh Steelers, who should be available for Sunday’s matchup.

The Dolphins (5-3) did some work themselves during the NFL trade deadline. After defeating the Detroit Lions last Sunday, they notably acquired star pass rusher Bradley Chubb from the Denver Broncos and signed him to a lucrative extension. Miami’s defense got better, but it’s their offense that should scare everyone. Here are six Dolphins players to watch when they face the Bears this weekend.

1. QB Tua Tagovailoa

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 14: Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins moves to avoid Angelo Blackson #90 of the Chicago Bears during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 14, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It’s been an eventful season to say the least for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. After a strong first few weeks of the season, he was at the center of a scary situation when he was allowed to continue playing in a game despite visual evidence of suffering a concussion. The next week, Tagovailoa took a vicious hit to the head during a primetime game, suffering another concussion that sent him to the hospital. The situation forced the league to revamp their concussion protocols. Tagovailoa missed a few games, but is once again healthy and showing he’s turning a corner in his career. He’s thrown 12 touchdowns to just three interceptions and completing 69 percent of his passes. The Dolphins will be throwing early and often, meaning stopping Tagovailoa needs to be a priority.

2. RB Raheem Mostert

Detroit Lions defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) looks to tackle against Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert (31) during the second half at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022.

The trade for Chubb wasn’t the only move the Dolphins made during the deadline. They also shook up their running back room, sending veteran Chase Edmonds to the Broncos and acquiring Jeff Wilson Jr. from the San Francisco 49ers. But the bulk of the carries will still be given to Raheem Mostert. The starting back for the Dolphins has deadly speed and is a threat to break open a big run. Mostert has 101 carries for 452 yards on the season and is well on his way to a career year. He does only have one rushing touchdown though and with the change in backs, it will be interesting to see if he gets more work in the red zone.

3. and 4. WRs Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle

Miami Dolphins wide receivers Tyreek Hill (10) and Jaylen Waddle (17) talk on the sidelines during drills at the NFL football team’s practice facility, Saturday, July 30, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Easily the best receiving duo in the NFL right now, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are the two biggest threats the Dolphins have and should be top priority for the Bears defense. Hill leads the league with 961 receiving yards in his first season as a Dolphin and Waddle isn’t far behind with 727. Both players are deadly, but it’s Hill who is commanding the lion’s share of the targets. He’s been targeted 92 times already this season, nearly 30 more than Waddle. While Hill see’s the most looks, it’s Waddle who has done more damage in the end zone, scoring five touchdowns to Hill’s two. Either way, if one player is bottled up, the other will make the defense pay. The Bears secondary will have their hands full on Sunday.

5. EDGE Bradley Chubb

Denver Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb (55) lines up against the Chicago Bears during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

All of the attention goes to the Dolphins offense and for good reason, but the team made sure their defense wasn’t going to be left behind when they acquired Chubb from the Broncos. They also immediately paid him, signing him to a five-year, $110 million deal, ensuring that the trade wasn’t just for this year. The former Pro-Bowl pass rusher was off to another great season with Denver, totaling 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. It isn’t clear how much he will play in his first game with the Dolphins, but he’ll surely have a role. Miami’s pass rush just became significantly more dangerous and the Bears offensive line needs to look out for when Chubb steps onto the field.

6. S Jevon Holland

Nov 7, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; A general view of a Miami Dolphins helmet on the field prior to the game between the Miami Dolphins and the Houston Texans at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

When you think of the Dolphins secondary, cornerback Xavien Howard likely comes to mind. By the end of the season, that answer will probably change to Jevon Holland. The second-year safety is having a breakout season with two interceptions, a forced fumble, and 1.5 sacks. According to Jason Sarney of Dolphins Wire, he’s the only player in the league with multiple picks, a forced fumble, and a sack. He’s also second on the team in total tackles and quarterbacks having a rating of 63.1 when targeting him. In short, he can do it all and could be a problem for Justin Fields both in the pass and run game.

Story originally appeared on Bears Wire