A familiar face returns to Miami this weekend as former Dolphin QB Chad Henne will make the start and oppose new face of the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill as two Florida teams square off before beginning preparations for the April NFL Draft. Jacksonville could still be without franchise running back Maurice Jones-Drew who has not played since late October.
Rookie WR Justin Blackmon, whom some Dolphin fans wanted the Dolphins to take in last April’s draft, will make his first career appearance against Miami and has started to play better of late since the insertion of Henne at quarterback. The Jags come into the game extremely banged up, without their leading rusher, opening day QB, their top receiver Cecil Shorts coming into the week with a concussion, and WR Laurent Robinson also out. The Jags come in with just two wins on the season, the Dolphins simply cannot let them come in their stadium and leave with a W.
MDD Staff Writer: Chad Pullen
WR Brian Hartline
With most leagues now in their playoff stages and some even in their fantasy bowls, few Dolphins have had a fantasy impact this season but Hartline has been an underrated player at the receiver spot. If anyone should find him on their roster and have a need at WR, Hartline could be a solid play. Jacksonville has given up plenty of yards through the air this season, and if Davone Bess is less than a hundred percent this week, Tannehill may need to rely on Hartline even more this week. Brian also is just 75 yards away from a thousand yard season and the Dolphins should look to get him to that mark.
RB Reggie Bush
The Jags have struggled against the run all season, and as veterans begin facing the likelihood of no playoffs this season, it could turn into a numbers grab. With Bush approaching free agency this offseason, it would be wise for him to attempt to reach the 1,000 yard mark for a second straight year. This is a matchup that Reggie should exploit, even though we’ve said that before this season and he’s failed to deliver big games.
Henne started out with a couple of solid games against AFC South opponents that hadn’t faced him very often or have much film to look at of him. When he faced Buffalo and the Jets in back to back weeks, he struggled mightily suggesting that two defenses that had seen him before knew how to defend him. Along that thinking, nobody should know how to defend him better than Miami. It would be a huge letdown for the Dolphins to not be ready against their former quarterback and know how to attack him. Specifically, Cameron Wake who was never allowed to touch Henne in practice, will now be unleashed to go after Chad all he wants this week. Hopefully, Cam can grab a couple sacks and maybe even force a few bad throws that the Dolphins can turn into turnovers.
WR Davone Bess – Back
Bess has missed practice this week but has never missed a game in his career so he should at least be able to suit up, whether or not he’ll be able to make it through a whole game will depend on the severity.
OLB Koa Misi – Ankle
Misi has also missed practice this week with a bad ankle he injured last week. If he can’t go, Jason Trusnik figures to take his place or in a long shot, fifth round pick Josh Kaddu could be active on the roster and maybe get some snaps.
I was in attendance for the 49ers game last week and it was startling how perfect Tannehill has to be to get a pass completed. The 9ers are a great defense, no question, but there was not a single receiver that could get into open space often enough for Miami to complete easy passes. Down only 7, with about four minutes to go and on the 35 yard line, the Dolphins were in great shape to tie the game. Instead, four consecutive incompletions before the 9ers sealed the game away. Miami has several needs this offseason, and we’ve addressed them for a while now, but Wide Receiver may start becoming more important by the day.
In order for Tannehill to grow and prove worthy of carrying the Dolphin franchise, he is going to need weapons at his disposal. With bowl season starting up this week, once again here is a list of receivers the Dolphins would do well to look at over the next four months. (Should be noted, Miami may need to take two receivers in this draft, unless they manage to sign a free agent like Dwayne Bowe, or Greg Jennings in the offseason.)
Keenan Allen, California
Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas
Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Terrance Williams, Baylor
Da’Rick Rogers, Tennessee Tech
Robert Woods, USC*
Justin Hunter, Tennessee*
Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee*
Ryan Swope, Texas A&M
Conner Vernon, Duke
DeAndre Hopkins, Clemson*