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Is the Miami Dolphins two game win streak over “AFC Title Contenders” real? Will this team play down to the level of competition like they did versus Tennessee or will they rise up and send a message to a lesser opponent?
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Well, those are the things I’m looking for in this game. It will go beyond the game on the field. It will go to the psyche of this team. It will be a reflection of some of the new qualities of this team that are being instilled by this coaching staff. If this team is up by 17 points at halftime, can they keep the foot on the accelerator and punish a lesser squad. I’m not a huge fan of running up scores but that methodology has been working up north in the “New England” states, if you know what I mean.
We’ve seen it before, the Patriots up by 24 in the 4th quarter and Brady is still taking snaps and even running a no-huddle. They send messages. Over the years the message only got louder, it was relentless. Most teams enter the stadium against the Patriots already defeated at least a little bit and it’s 90% mental. And it matters!
It’s time for this team to adopt an attitude of winning. It’s time to play every game like it’s a do-or-die. Essentially for our Miami Dolphins, every game is do-or-die now with four losses and the Pats with only one. It’s time for this team to get a new identity. “Why not us?” Get this team to the post-season and as we all know, anything can happen for any team so….why not us?
Gase has had over two regular season months with quarterback Ryan Tannehill and a bye week. This week will be a huge for the future and will likely show where Tannehill stands in this new system and if he has indeed — finally — taken the next step.
It will not be easy. The past two wins have come courtesy of Jay Ajayi and over 400 yards on the ground. Facing the number one rushing defense will be a test for our offensive line and for Ryan Tannehill. Expecting not to be able to duplicate the 200-yard games against this defense this week is “right thinking.” Expecting Tannehill to be able to make up for the lack of an effective running game? Not so much, at least that’s what we’ve been lead to believe over the first years of his career. So has Gase “whispered” enough to get his quarterback to the next level? Sunday may tell.
Of course the Tannehill thinking and expectation goes out the window if this offensive line is for real and they do what they’ve done the past two games and create holes, gaps, and opportunities for Ajayi & Co. If this unit repeats the past two performances, then maybe there’s your identity for this team going forward.
As much as I hate the phrase, we might as well use it for this team. We need to use “smash mouth football.” “Here we are, we’re going to run it down your throats – deal with it.” If we can do this yet again on Sunday, then Tannehill can assume the role of Troy Aikman in this offense. Step up when needed, but just be serviceable and throw the occasional deep ball to keep ‘em honest. You have to admit, the deep balls are better this year and it keeps the defense on their toes.
Of course, we can all suffer another Jets week letdown and there will be lament and anger on Monday. Let’s hope that with the new coaching regime, that this year is different. Enjoy the game everyone!
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