A pair of major events are set to take place before the Dolphins and Rams tee it up Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. With Halloween and daylight savings time coming down the pike, Head Coach Brian Flores and his staff are putting the finishing touches on their preparations for Los Angeles.
With the Week 7 bye in the rearview mirror, the Dolphins are relatively healthy heading into the game.
Friday Injury Report
Dolphins: Cornerback Jamal Perry is OUT and tight end Adam Shaheen is QUESTIONABLE.
Rams: Tight end Tyler Higbee is QUESTIONABLE.
Flores last met Rams Head Coach Sean McVay on the game's biggest stage (Super Bowl LIII), but he says it's not as simple as cutting and pasting the game plan from that night in February to Sunday's tile.
"Any time there's some history, you take a look at it, but things are so different," Flores said. "They've got different players, we've got different players. I wish we could cut and paste that game plan but that's just not how it goes."
One element of the Rams attack that the Dolphins must be prepared for is the quick tempo.
"They line up quickly," Flores said of Los Angeles' pace. "They get to the ball and snap it quickly."
Dolphins safety Eric Rowe highlighted the tempo element of their offense in his Friday press conference.
"We have to keep our eyes on their huddle," Rowe said. "Whatever play call we have in, just keep your eye on your man because they can line a receiver up at running back. Keep your eyes on your man and don't just go to your spot. Keep your eyes on the huddle and none of that breakdown stuff will happen."
Fellow defensive back – cornerback Byron Jones – noted the improvements over the first six games of the season in the secondary's ability to communicate.
"One of the biggest components to an offense like this is communicating pre-snap," Jones said. "So, understanding where the motions can come from and understanding how that changes our defense."
Friday, Rowe confirmed those sentiments, referencing the bye week as an opportunity to improve in all areas.
"Spending time together, talking about what we're going to do against certain formations, that's really all you can do," Rowe said. "With the bye week, we had the one practice and went through corrections, what we could do better, things like that. Kind of just self-scouting and all of that packed together helps."
Rowe's safety counterpart, Bobby McCain, spoke about the Rams offense, McVay, quarterback Jared Goff and the challenges they present.
"McVay does a good job with Goff," McCain said. "They get calls in, go up-tempo, getting you on the ball and trying to confuse you. When you have a defense trying to get lined up and you've got confusion, you can beat people in leverage. That's a really smart game plan and they do a good job of that.
Complementing the play in the secondary is the pass rush up front. The Rams offense is heavily predicated on the run game and the success of play-action passing. Per Pro Football Focus, Jared Goff's 93 drop-backs on play action are the most in the NFL.
Whether it's applying pressure in the passing game or shutting down the run to create longer third down distances for the offense, rookie defensive tackle Raekwon Davis says the key is getting knock back in the trenches.
"Knock back is important," Davis said. "When you get control of the offensive line, it's good for our linebackers. It makes the hole bigger so they can see which hole to run through. The linebackers have to read off you so that knockback is very important."
The Weekend Ahead
Tomorrow, on Miami Dolphins.com, Countdown to Kickoff will get you all the pertinent information you need to know for Sunday. Plus, we'll have the Sunday morning inactives, the recap story and podcast on Drive Time with Travis Wingfield for all the takeaways from the game at Hard Rock Stadium.