When the Raiders roll into Miami, they will seek to end a brutal two-game slide. During this slide, the team faced established defenses, helmed by veteran players and coaches. However, the Miami Dolphins present a different set of problems for the Raiders’ offense. If you work from the line back, the Dolphins present a slew of issues for the Oakland offense.
Granted, Cameron Wake, through thick and thin, remains the Dolphins’ most reliable defender. Although he is 36, Wake still forces teams to chip him with a tight end. In this game, he will line up across from Donald Penn. While Penn held his own the first two weeks, Wake’s outside step and inside jab will give Penn early trouble. On the other side, Robert Quinn represents a nightmare matchup for Kolton Miller. Few ends contort to get the corner as Quinn can. In a perfect world, Arden Key would pick up a few tips and tricks by watching Quinn film. Quinn’s dexterity will drive Miller to the outside initially. After a few times, look for Quinn to feint wide and attempt to slide in.
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First, this group beings speed to the table. Miami wants to blitz less and rely of their front four to get home. As a result, the linebackers can cover vast areas of the field. Kiko Alonso leads this corps. Although Carr torched the Dolphins a year ago, these Dolphins apparently play a bit differently. Jerome Baker is the wildcard. Baker, blessed with safety speed covers wide areas of the field. The best way to limit him is those crossers that require him to either stick with his man or take the hand off. Young players will guess wrong and Baker could be left covering air. Expect Gruden to target the speed of the linebackers and use their aggressiveness against them.
When Miami decided to reconstruct their secondary, they chose physical playmakers. As a result, the sacrifice a scintilla of speed for handsy, in-your-face strength. Xavien Howard will probably trail Amari Cooper. Howard is a long corner that lives for the handfight. If you are the Raiders, you attack Howard, right from the start. If you see Cooper matched up, feed Cooper the ball. Eventually, Howard will try to jump a slant or quick route. If Carr or Cooper already knows this, watch for the double move. Remember the double move that Cooper unleashed on Jalen Mills last year in Philadelphia?
In essence, the Dolphins’ defense predicates around speed and the ability to get upfield. If Gruden’s approach from the first two games is any indication, the Raiders will finally enjoy their first win of the 2018 season.