After an agonizing divisional loss to the New York Jets when place kicker Dan Carpenter missed two chances to put the Jets away, the Dolphins look to rebound against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals in Arizona.
Despite having two very different records the teams do have a lot in common in terms of how their teams stack up. Both employ strong defenses with each offense having one singular bright spot, the Cards in WR Larry Fitzgerald, the Dolphins with RB Reggie Bush, and each team having QB’s with loads of questions coming into the year.
MDD Staff Writer: Chad Pullen
Bush should be able to play after sustaining a mild knee injury just before half last week against the Jets. He practiced all week though he did not force anything to try and rest the knee as best as possible. Losing him for any significant length of time would greatly diminish the strength of the Dolphin offense. While the Arizona defense is very solid, they have been prone to the run game allowing over 100 yards a game and 4 yards per carry thus far this season. This could prove to be the Dolphins best chance at beating the Cardinals using what could be a three headed monster at running back with Bush, Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas all splitting carries.
Defensively, Miami should be able to control the run game against them as the Cardinals have placed RB Beanie Wells on IR and will instead go with second year back Ryan Williams. Stopping Fitzgerald however will prove problematic for Miami as they have struggled against the pass so far this season allowing both Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez to eclipse the 300 yard mark the last two weeks. Kevin Kolb has played well early this season but is not typically a QB that puts a lot of fear into a defense, so if Miami can keep the running game grounded, they may be able to double up on Fitzgerald more and limit his impact.
The last time the Dolphins flew into Arizona, they were defeated rather handily in week two of the 2008 season, and on the plane ride home decided to find a way to put both their best offensive players on the field at the same time in running backs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, and came up with the “Wildcat” formation. That led to a surprising week three beat down in New England the following week.
While no one expects the Wildcat to return this time, it would be sort of poetic if the Dolphins would use a formation employing both of their biggest weapons this season in Bush and Miller. Fans have asked for it since the moment Miller was selected in the fourth round this past April and this could be the week to use some pure speed against a tough Cardinal D. Using Miller and Bush at the same time could cause matchup nightmares and open up the seams, the screen game, the flats and possibly even more running lanes up the middle for draws or playactions.