One thing Miami needs more of regardless of quarterback in Week 3

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The Miami Dolphins enter Week 3 of the 2021 regular season with perhaps the least comforting 1-1 record in the history of the franchise. At least that’s what the fanbase would have you thinking. And, to be fair, Tua Tagovailoa was just knocked from the team’s Week 2 contest with bruised ribs. The Dolphins’ young offensive line seemingly couldn’t touch anyone to get a bloc set. And the Dolphins were defeated by a bigger margin of victory in Week 2 than they were in their embarrassing season-ending defeat to the Bills in Week 17 of last year.

So sure, things aren’t good right now.

But Miami has a lot of season left and they have a prime opportunity, no matter who the quarterback is in Week 3, to get the offense back on track. How? By running the football. The Dolphins have made a continued, concentrated effort to load up on big bodies that offer a lot of power at first contact throughout the course of this regime — the average size of the Dolphins’ top 6 offensive linemen (Jackson, Kindley, Deiter, Hunt, Davis and Eichenberg) is 321.7 pounds. Add in a storm of tight ends that includes two 250+ pound in-line tight ends in Adam Shaheen and rookie Hunter Long and the Dolphins have a significant amount of size up front.

And yet, in part because of the structure of Miami’s offense, which is tailored to QB Tua Tagovailoa’s strengths as an RPO passer, Miami is consistently shooting the ball around the field and not running the football with consistency. Detractors will point to a 3.4 yards per carry average and suggest there’s good reason for not running the ball more; but in reality Miami’s running game feels like something of an afterthought.

It won’t be an advantageous matchup every week — but Miami should certainly have a leg up in the trenches this weekend against the Raiders. Maxx Crosby is the star of the show up front for Las Vegas. He’s 255 pounds. Yannick Ngakoue is the other starting defense end — he’s nearly 10 pounds lighter than that at 246. Quinton Jefferson mans an interior spot at 291 pounds. There’s a lot of side advantages for Miami to key on up front.

Nose tackle Jonathan Hankins is 340 pounds; but here’s every other defensive lineman on the roster for the Raiders and their current stature:

Crosby: 255 pounds
Ngakoue: 246 pounds
Carl Nassib: 275 pounds
Clelin Ferrell: 265 pounds
Jefferson: 291 pounds
Solomon Thomas: 280 pounds
Darius Philon: 286 pounds
Malcolm Koonce: 250 pounds
Damion Square: 293 pounds

The Dolphins top-6 offensive lineman average a 43.6 pound advantage over the size of the Raiders’ defensive line. And if the Raiders want to combat that by playing more of Carl Nassib and Clelin Ferrell, then it helps the Dolphins resolve the conundrum of how to slow down the Raiders’ pass rush.

And if you can’t run the ball on the Raiders with this kind of size advantage, it will probably be time to ask some hard questions about personnel, coaching and how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. But right now things seem pretty simple for Miami. Run downhill at the Raiders and put all this size you’ve coveted up front for three years to good use.