(Our Chris Fischer is working the sideline for CBS-TV of Dolphins-Ravens Sunday)
“It’s too early for me,” coach Adam Gase said, when asked about the playoffs during his Monday press conference. But playoffs are on the mind of “Dol-fans” after their aqua and orange rattled off it’s sixth straight win.
“You just keep playing. It’s hard for us to worry about (playoff positions). Our focus is so small. We’re worried about what we’re going to do this week,” said Gase.
But how can you not contemplate a postseason birth for the first time in 9 years. The Dolphins currently are the sixth and final seed and control their own destiny.
“The thing we try to do as a coaching staff is we try to shoot out guys straight, make sure we’re honest,” said Gase.
Truth is, the Dolphins path to the playoffs is rough. 4 of their final 5 games come against teams fighting for their own postseason spot. Not to mention, 3 of those games come on the road in cold weather environment’s beginning this Sunday against first place Baltimore.
“It’s hard to look down the road, because you have so much focus on that week,” said Gase.
Which means the running game needs to refine its form down the stretch. Gase has said that he never wants to get away from Jay Ajayi’s punishing style of rushing. Yet since injuries to the offensive line three weeks ago, Ajayi has yet to top the century mark in rushing yards. Sunday against the 49ers with 3 starters on the line out, Ajayi rushed for just 45-yards.
“The running game hasn’t been good because everyone has been keying in on it,” said LT Brendan Albert.
Albert, who has missed the past two weeks following wrist surgery is hopeful he will suit up against the Ravens. LG Laremy Tunsil (Shoulder) also could make a return, while Gase didn’t sound too optimistic about Pro-Bowl C Mike Pouncey saying; “it’s a week to week thing, probably not ready yet.”
Ready or not, it’s December, crunch time and the month that separates contenders from pretenders. It’s one thing to beat the 49ers (1-10) with 3 starters down on your offensive line. It’s another to walk in to Baltimore and try to hold off the number two overall defense in the league.
Six straight wins have put the Dolphins in position to think about the playoffs, but it’s the Ravens that they are thinking about the most.