1) Limit Lamar’s chances
It will be a difficult task for the Dolphins’ defense to completely shut down a quarterback as elusive as Lamar Jackson for 60 minutes. He runs as fast as anyone on the field, and it’s his off-schedule runs that should concern the defense on Sunday. Jackson will get positive yards and move the chains with his zone-read running, that’s a given. The problems start to mount when he eludes a potential sack or negative play and turns it into a 30- or 40-yard gain. The off-schedule scampers that just demoralize the opposing team and keep the defense on the field and usually turn into points for the Ravens’ offense. If the Dolphins’ defense can limit those explosive plays to a minimum, it will help the offense with field position and keep one of the most exciting players in the league on the sidelines.
2) Communication at QB
One of the main reasons for starting veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is due to the fact that he’s faced a lot of different defenses over his 14 years. Having the ability to function quickly and communicate with limited mistakes will be crucial against the Ravens’ defense, especially with multiple new faces along the offensive line. Fitzpatrick must handle the confusion that a Baltimore defense can apply, while organizing players that haven’t been on the Dolphins roster for more that five days! Setting the pass protections and knowing when to change a play at the line of scrimmage are only a few Ryan must be perfect at on Sunday. It will also be important to get the ball out quickly to players like Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson, so that they can do what the do best.
3) Efficient line play
It’s no secret that this offensive line has struggled to find continuity over the preseason schedule. Heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Ravens, Miami will have a minimum of three new players up front, as well as possibly two rookies manning the guards positions on any given play. The key for this group will be identification. They can’t allow a blitzing linebacker a free lane to the quarterback or cut loose a defensive lineman to penetrate into the backfield on a running play. The only way Miami’s skill players have a chance to shine is for this group to play as a unit on Sunday. It’s a 60-minute game, but this is the area where it’s critical the Dolphins execute early in the game.