Three Keys

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Three Keys | John Congemi Previews Dolphins at Bills

1) Meet the challenge up front

The Miami Dolphins offensive line has gone through some significant changes through the first five games of the season, and game six just might continue the shuffling up front. Starting center Daniel Kilgore went down on the last play of the game last week against the Redskins and his status for the game in Buffalo is questionable at best. Playing against the Bills in Buffalo poses multiple issues because of the noise that’s generated by the Bills’ fan base. Communication between quarterback and center and then the center distributing the information to the rest of the offensive line sometime creates off-sides or delay of game penalties. Most teams will use a silent snap count and to try and avoid these pre-snap problems. But with Kilgore possibly sidelined, the next guy up must be ready to step in and play as close to perfect as possible. The change at center also creates a chain reaction at the right guard position as well, meaning the Dolphins most certainly will have two players starting up front that didn’t start at the same position last week. Buffalo’s defensive line is stout, especially in the middle with Ed Oliver, Star Lotulelei and former Dolphin Jordan Phillips. Miami must create a stalemate up front if they are going to have success in Buffalo this Sunday.

2) Contain Allen and Gore

The Dolphins and Bills have spilt their past six encounters including last season as well with each team winning on their home field. Since second-year quarterback Josh Allen took over the Buffalo offense, he’s been able to apply pressure not only through the air, but by escaping the pocket and taking off like a running back. He’s hurt the Dolphins defense as much, if not more, as a runner than in the passing game. Allen is second on the team in rushing yards and won’t hesitate to tuck the football down and take off. The Dolphins front seven must find a way to create pressure, and at the same time, stay disciplined in their rush lanes and not create alleys for Allen to escape. That brings us to the future Hall of Fame and former Dolphins running back Frank Gore. He looks as good as he did last year with Miami and he’s leading the Bills rushing attack in his 15th season as a pro. Gore’s averaging 4.4 yards per carry, and that’s usually enough to take some of the pressure off of Allen and the passing game. 3.

3) Continue tempo with Fitz

The fourth quarter against Washington was high energy and tempo from the Miami offense. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick came off the bench and infused life into an offense by distributing the ball to multiple players and using the up tempo offense to keep the pressure on the defense. Now, I’m not saying the Dolphins should use this strategy to start the game on Sunday, especially if they are going into the game with the possibility of changes up front on the offensive line. But what I’d like to see is this offense change the tempo up some against the Bills and make them rush and cover if Fitzpatrick is having some success early in the game. Coaches can tell right away what kind of day it’s going to be after the first couple of offensive series. If Fitz and the quick passing game can move the football in the first quarter, Miami shouldn’t hesitate going into the no-huddle, up tempo plan they started the final fifteen minutes with last week. At this point of the season, I would think everything is on the table to find ways to create explosive plays and take advantage of the personal you have on offense.

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