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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins won’t get much use out of Bills “Snow Bowl” game tape

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Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Having to quickly put Monday night’s impressive win over the Patriots behind them, the Dolphins now move on to the Bills and their game in Buffalo this week. And, it’s definitely going to be a challenge to get anything useful out of last week’s Bills-Colts game tape.

In one of the biggest snow storm games in the NFL in recent memory, the Bills trudged, waddled and splashed their way through the white powder and outlasted the Colts, eventually winning in overtime 13-7 to keep their AFC playoff hopes alive.

The problem for the Dolphins in trying to get anything useful out of the “All 22” Coach’s tape? You can’t really see much.

As Pro Football Talk laid out on Wednesday morning, the Colts upcoming opponent Thursday night, the Broncos, have already be-moaned that because of the blizzard like snow falling throughout the game, the Colts wearing all white on the snow covered field, etc., the tape shot 300 feet above the field, has no real value.

Coach Vance Joseph told the media, “We tried to watch it, but you can’t, you can’t see it. They’re are wearing all white, it wasn’t worth watching. I watched about 15 plays and …we pulled it out of our breakdown.”

Aside from visibility, the conditions made it as such, that the two teams Sunday adjusted their normal formations, and play calling and began to play much more basic, conservative football. There was more running and short passing out of necessity. And, any success was almost built on one on one individual effort to fight through the one-two feet of snow to simply make a play.

So, from a game-plan standpoint what you saw from both is not a typical game at all. And, the Bills were down to third string QB Joe Webb, who tried at times to throw without much success (even though his team was in more visible Red on Red jerseys and pants).

They did end up winning on the LeSean McCoy TD run in the OT, as he waded through the small snowdrift on his way to the end zone.

So, what will the Dolphins study instead?

Well, last year’s two victories over Buffalo are fine in the media guide, but since first year Bills coach Sean McDermott is running a new scheme with new coaches, you can’t get much from those games, either.

So, coach Adam Gase and staff, are likely looking more at the Bills recent games: their 23-3 decisive loss at home to the Patriots two weekends ago, and their 16-10 win at Kansas City the week before.

It’s still uncertain mid week if Bills starting QB Tyrod Taylor can play with his sprained knee or if it will be backups Nathan Peterman or Joe Webb, again.

Also, uncertain is the forecast for this weekend in Western New York.

There is a chance, again of snow on Saturday afternoon and night. Then on Sunday, the high will only be 36 degrees with a feels like in the mid-upper 20’s and there is a chance also of snow and rain-wintery mix in the afternoon.

It is not expected to be anywhere near the arctic wonderland of last Sunday at New Era Field, but still nasty conditions for a must win game for both teams.

Welcome to December football in the North!

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill on track to be back Sunday?

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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It’s an encouraging Monday in South Florida, as it relates to the injury rehab for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Now, the real question is: will we see the veteran back on the field Sunday against Indianapolis?

Coach Adam Gase met with the media Monday with the Dolphins coming off their bye week, and shared encouragement that Tannehill looks on track to be able to play soon. In fact, he’s back throwing a football for the first time since being shut down the week after the loss to the Bengals:

In that game in October, Tannehill took a couple of significant hits in the fourth quarter meltdown and suffered what was eventually revealed to be an injury to the shoulder capsule. He did try to practice on the following Wednesday, and apparently the throws got worse and more painful, as the workout went along.

Tannehill ended up not taking any of the throwing reps in the Thursday or Friday practices, the Dolphins ended up hiding that point and were eventually fined by the NFL for listing him as “questionable,” when they knew he was not going to be able to play in the game with the Bears.

Veteran backup Brock Osweiler quarterbacked the team to the dramatic overtime win over Chicago that weekend, but there’s been little success since. In fact as Miami dropped two of their last three games, they had a nine quarter stretch without scoring an offensive touchdown.

Still, at 5 – 5, the Dolphins are on the verge of the AFC playoff picture and Gase has a decision to make about how soon he brings Tannehill back, as opposed to going with a healthier Osweiler at least for this week at the Colts.

Tannehill helped the Dolphins get off to a 3 – 0 start to the season, but that was with a more talented and healthy receiving corps than what they currently have. Free agent acquisition Albert Wilson has been put on injured reserve with a hip injury and the Dolphins, will also put Jakeem Grant on injured reserve with an Achilles injury suffered in their loss to the Packers eight days ago.

Veteran deep threat Kenny Stills has been bothered by a groin injury, but the hopes are that the extra week of rest with the bar I will help him for the stretch run of the season. Also, former number 1 pick DeVante Parker, who has seen his role increase with all of the injuries, had his left arm in a sling after the Packer game and his status is not known.

Back to Tannehill, as you probably know, he missed all of 2017 after ACL surgery and now, with having missed another five games to this point, there are question marks about his long-term future with the Fins?

So Gase has to weigh all of that in the decision-making of when to bring Tannehill back in a season that could still be salvaged down the stretch

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins beaten up every way possible after latest loss in Green Bay

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Make no mistake, the Dolphins season is not officially over at 5 – 5 headed in the bye week.

It just looks and feels that way.

Mostly, it does, because the Dolphins are banged up, not only physically, but also it appears emotionally and psychologically. So, much so, they don’t appear to have a whole lot left for the stretch run.

Let’s start with the actual physical injuries and that began Sunday with the inactives. The Fins starting offensive line was minus Laremy Tunsil and Ja’Wuan James, which were not unexpected. However, after being able to practice some this week, former number 1 pick defensive end Charles Harris was not able to play against Green Bay today, either.

Then, as the game wore on, it was one Dolphin leaving after another. Whether it was Kenyan Drake with a shoulder injury in the first half or Bobby McCain with a concussion in the third quarter or when receivers Jakeem Grant and DeVante Parker both had to leave on the same Drive, it was tough to watch the Dolphins walking wounded.

The biggest fear is for the smaller but explosive Grant, who may have torn his Achilles in the third quarter. Grant was already suffering from Achilles tendonitis and came up hobbling right away on a slant pass and could not put weight on the foot. He was then carted shortly thereafter to the Dolphins locker room.

Coach Adam Gase offered no real update on Grant’s status other than that it’s a wait-and-see. As for Parker, same thing is being hoped, even though, the media reported him walking around in the locker room after the game with his left arm in a sling. You combine those injuries with Kenny Stills being slowed by a groin injury and Albert Wilson already out for the year having hurt his hip a few weeks ago, and the Dolphins may be looking for Mark Duper or Nat Moore to come out of retirement at this point.

Bigger than just the physical injuries, the Dolphins appear spent in the figurative sense as well. The frustration mounted as Aaron Rodgers continued to carve them up throwing darts all over the football field Sunday night in the Lambeau cold. He finished with only 195 yards passing, but did have two TDs. And, they marched on the Dolphins defense, whenever he wanted.

It was almost as if Miami was just helpless to do anything against him, and they are watching their season wind down.

Consider that backup quarterback Brock Osweiler was not able to spark the team for the third consecutive game. So poor is the offensive output, that Miami has not scored a touchdown in their last nine quarters dating back to the Thursday night loss in Houston.

The Dolphins aren’t playing with any confidence, at least from the guys that are replacing the injured players. Remember, with Miami at full strength early in the year  they got off to a 3 – 0 start.

So, the bye week comes now and perhaps, starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill shoulder will be healed enough that he can practice in 10 days and maybe play at Indianapolis. It’s anybody’s guess as to who, out of the names above, will actually be healthy enough to help Tannehill and the Dolphins for the final six games.

Finally, even though Miami would appear by record to be very much in the hunt for an AFC wild-card spot, they don’t look like a playoff team.

No. They’re banged up and look like a team that will be watching the postseason like everybody else.

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Miami Dolphins

Gameday- Dolphins travel to chilly Lambeau Field

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Who: Dolphins (5-4) at Packers (3-4-1)

When: Sunday 4:25 p.m.

Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

Spread: Packers by 10 points (Courtesy of VegasInsider.com)

Here’s what to watch:

Continue with takeaways
As double-digit underdogs at Lambeau, the Dolphins really only have one real shot to win this game with the Packers – turnovers. And lots of them.
Granted it was rookie quarterback Sam Darnold last week, but the Fins four interceptions, including Jerome Baker running one in for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, were the difference in the game. Whether it’s a strip sack of Aaron Rodgers or being able to get an interception or maybe two off of him, Miami has got to take the football away.
It hurts the Fins that linebacker Kiko Alonso, who we wrote about earlier this week is questionable with an ankle injury, but it looks like he will try to play.
Still, they other veterans on defense have got to pick up the slack and try to make something happen.
Don’t let Rodgers pick you apart
Well that’s a simple phrase above, it’s going to have to be a goal of Miami’s to not give the veteran Pro Bowl quarterback all day to throw and allow him to dissect the Dolphins secondary. Green Bay barely gives the illusion of trying to run the ball, they instead use the short passing attack with Rodgers throwing it to pick up short-yardage, convert third Downs, Etc.
If Miami pass-rushers like Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn and hopefully active after missing a few games with a calf injury, Charles Harris, can make Rogers life difficult than the fans have a better chance to hang in in this one.
Being efficient on offense
There’s no way that Miami can win a shootout against Rodgers, as backup quarterback Brock Osweiler and the weapons Miami has aren’t built for that right now.
However, the Fins can run it some with Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore and the Packers defense has been susceptible a lot of this season. Osweiler needs to convert third downs and move the chains and when Miami gets chances to score points, even field goals, they have to capitalize.
If they fall significantly behind on the road in chili Green Bay, it will be an ugly day..
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