1) Continued Progress From Rosen
Quarterback Josh Rosen showed toughness and mobility last week making his first start of the season against a very sound Dallas defense. His ability to throw the ball down field gave wide outs Preston Williams and DeVante Parker chances to make explosive plays and added a spark to an offense that has struggled to execute with consistency. His awareness to deliver the ball on time was better than I anticipated and when pressured, he found ways to keep plays alive outside the pocket. Rosen started fast in the opening series against the Cowboys and he'll need that to continue verses a stingy Chargers defense. Protecting the football is paramount this week, but that shouldn't deter his aggressiveness in the passing game when chances arise. I expect Rosen to play well again and am hoping his play will lead to points that this team has failed to find so far this season.
2) Slowing Down Bosa and Ingram
The biggest challenge on Sunday will be to slow down the edge rush that Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram provide for the Chargers defense. These two players can simply take over a game with their speed and technique when harassing the opposing quarterback. It will be a challenge for Dolphin tackles Jesse Davis (if healthy to play), J'Marcus Webb, Michael Deiter and Isaiah Prince all afternoon to keep the pocket clean for Rosen to operate. I would expect help much like last week when running backs Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage chip blocked to slow down the Dallas speed rush. The Miami offense must have the ability to run the football and make these two talented defenders stop the ground game and not just turn the game into a track meet off of the edge.
3) First and second down production
It's no secret the Dolphins offense has struggled mightily on third down. The issues for this group are really the lack of consistent production on first and second down. What Miami needs this Sunday is a combination of their short passing game and hopefully positive early yards in the running game. That's easier said than done, but having the ability to face 2nd and five or six hasn't happened enough in the first three weeks of the season. I would look for the Dolphins to use more movement and formations to make it easier for Rosen to get the ball out quickly on early passing opportunities. That just might open up creases in the running game that will provide some confidence up front and allow some space to run for Drake and Ballage.