1) Control the line of scrimmage
A bye week for the Dolphins doesn’t change the issues along the line of scrimmage for the Dolphins on offense. The offensive line must be able to control the strength of the Redskins defense, which is their front seven. Miami has played with a different starting lineup along the offensive line in each of its first four games, and there’s a chance we might see a new lineup again this Sunday. Hopefully starting tackle Jesse Davis can return to one of the two tackle spots coming back from a right arm injury and should be paired with J’Marcus Webb opposite him. This should help stabilize the edge pressure from the Washington defense and hopefully jump start a running game that hasn’t found consistent traction over the first quarter of the season. If running backs Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage can take some pressure off of quarterback Josh Rosen and the passing game, Miami should be poised to win their first game of the season.
2) Create pressure
One area that the Dolphins defense must improve on is finding a way to disrupt the timing of the Redskins pass offense. One bright spot has been the pressure created by defensive end Taco Charlton. He’s registered a sack in each of his first two games as a Dolphin and hopefully he’ll get some help from players like Vince Biegel and linebacker Jerome Baker. If this defense can create pressure opposite Charlton, with either Charles Harris or John Jenkins, it would help the interior push from Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins. Washington has started multiple quarterbacks due to injury over the first five weeks, and Case Keenum should get the start on Sunday. Keenum has thrown four interceptions in the four games he’s played, so hopefully the Dolphins can create some pressure in the pocket that allows this defense to capitalize when Keenum misses his mark throwing the football.
3) Picking each other up
To get their first win of the season, the Dolphins must play better complementary football against a team that has struggled as much as the Dolphins have early in the season. Taking advantage of field position and getting points first against a winless team should be the start this team is striving to achieve. Early success on offense could help energize the defense and it’s also crucial that placekicker Jason Sanders converts anytime he takes the field. This is not the week to leave any points on the field. Winless teams usually find ways to beat themselves and hopefully the Dolphins can take advantage of opportunities provided by one side of the ball to gain early momentum and sustain that play against Washington.