Heading into the final portion of the season the Miami Dolphins will be matching up against the Cincinnati Bengals in week 13.
Marquee Matchups at WR, QB Positions
Additionally, we might be able to see the top two quarterbacks taken in this year’s NFL draft go head-to-head. QB Joe Burrow will most definitely be playing, barring any injury, for Cincinnati, while Miami may feel comfortable enough to let QB Tua Tagovailoa get some regular season repetitions under his belt before heading into the offseason, assuming the team is not in playoff contention. If it is, Tagovailoa may find the learning bench for all of 2020.
Williams, Boyd Have New Development Hurdles
Both teams have young receivers waiting for their chance to develop some chemistry with their new quarterbacks. Wide receiver A.J. Green spent most of the 2019 season out with injuries allowing Boyd to get more reps as the first option. Williams on the other hand had a tough rookie season.
Sidelined with a torn ACL halfway through the year halted his development and put him behind fundamentally, but he is currently still slated as the No. 2 WR on the Dolphins’ depth chart.
Williams played in just eight games in 2019, starting seven of them. During his rookie season he caught 53-percent of the passes thrown at him while gathering 428 yards and three touchdowns. After going undrafted, the Dolphins decided to take a chance on him and his checkered past and he did not disappoint although his first season was cut short.
Williams’ College Years: Ones to be Forgotten
In Williams’ college years he did not see much of the field. He first attended the University of Tennessee but ended up leaving in the middle of his second year. He played just seven games after both seasons with off the field issues plaguing him. Williams then transferred to Colorado State where he finally got the snaps he wanted. In 2018, his only season in Colorado, he played in 12 games and had 1,345 receiving yards with 14 TDs.
But while he was very productive on the field that season he was causing trouble off the field. Williams was arrested and charged with domestic violence and eventually arrested again for violating a protection order in relation to that domestic charge. These actions led to him getting suspended for the entire 2017 season and cost him an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine.
Boyd a Consistent Safety Valve for Cincinnati
Boyd has played four seasons in the league and was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He has shown steady improvement throughout his career while remaining fairly healthy during his time. Boyd has played at least 14 games in three of his four seasons while in his second year he was sidelined for six games with a knee injury.
During the 2019 season Boyd racked up his second 1,000-yard season and grabbed five TDs in the process. But, while he had 40 more targets when compared to 2018, his catch percentage dropped from 70 to 60 percent. This was the largest drop off and the lowest percentage in his short career. If Boyd wants to be one of Burrows’ top targets he will have to improve and work on his hands during the offseason.
Development in Coming Years for Miami, Cincinnati Exciting
Both and Tagovailoa and Burrow will have plenty of time to develop and both teams have strong options at the starting position for wide receivers. Cincinnati is still early in its rebuild and has one of the worst defenses in the league, giving Williams and the Miami offense plenty of opportunities to be superior in the game.
The Dolphins on the other hand have made multiple additions to the defense, especially their secondary. It wouldn’t be surprising to see solid improvement throughout the defense as the 2020 season goes on.
The defensive gains that Miami is likely to have should limit Boyd more than a Bengal defense who didn’t make any headlines in free agency or the draft in adding new players.