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Previewing the Jets’ opposition: Miami Dolphins

Seattle Seahawks v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Jets head to Miami as they look to avoid a sixth loss in a row against a team that is 0-2 at home so far this year, but 2-3 overall. Last year, the Dolphins got their first win of the year against the Jets, but New York got a modicum of revenge when Sam Ficken’s last second field goal gave them a late-season win.

Quarterbacks

Miami drafted their future franchise quarterback in April when they selected Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick. However, for now, he’s biding his time sitting behind ex-Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick won five of his 13 starts last year, four of them on game-winning drives. So far this year, he’s 7th in the NFL with a career high completion percentage of 71 percent.

One things for sure, you never know what to expect from Fitzpatrick, so the Jets will hope to capitalize on any mistakes.

Offensive Line

The Dolphins have just one returning starter from last season, left tackle Jesse Davis, who was also once a Jet, albeit briefly.

Veterans Ereck Flowers and Ted Karras have been brought in to play left guard and center respectively. Flowers is actually the only Dolphins offensive lineman to get beaten for a sack so far this season.

They’ve built the right side of their line through the draft with first round pick Austin Jackson at right tackle and fourth rounder Solomon Kindley at right guard. However, Jackson went on injured reserve last week and was replaced by another draft pick, second-rounder Robert Hunt. Hunt actually did quite well in his first start, whereas Jackson had been struggling.

Two of their reserves saw extensive action last year with guard Michael Dieter starting every game and Julie’n Davenport starting eight. Adam Pankey rounds out the rotation.

Running Backs

The Dolphins, who of course dumped Kalen Ballage in final cuts, still have plenty of options at the running back position. However, Myles Gaskin has been getting most of the work. He’s already amassed more rushing yards (249) than Miami’s leading rusher did all last year. Surprisingly, that was Fitzpatrick. In addition, Gaskin has also caught 23 passes.

Jordan Howard was signed in the offseason but he’s struggled so far with just 11 yards on 19 touches. However, he does lead the team with three touchdowns.

Matt Breida hasn’t had much success running the ball so far but he’s made a few big plays in the passing game. Patrick Laird hasn’t contributed much either but did catch 23 passes last year. Undrafted rookie Salvon Ahmed was recently promoted from the practice squad.

In addition to these, both Lynn Bowden and Malcolm Perry could contribute to the running game. Bowden is listed as a wide receiver but has already seen action as a wildcat quarterback for Miami. Perry, a seventh round pick, is also listed as a receiver but he ran the option as Navy’s quarterback in college. He hasn’t played yet though.

Finally, Chandler Cox is also on the roster as a blocking back.

Pass catchers

Although Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns opted out, Miami still has some talent in their wide receiver room. DeVante Parker leads them in receiving with 329 yards on 26 catches after having racked up over 1,200 yards and nine scores last year.

Preston Williams only has 10 catches in the first five games but he’s a red zone threat and a big play option with a 19.5 yards per catch average so far this year.

Isaiah Ford has 17 catches and is the team’s primary slot receiver, while the speedy Jakeem Grant and Mack Hollins provide depth off the bench.

As noted earlier, Bowden and Perry can also contribute at the wide receiver position.

Tight end Mike Gesicki broke out with a 50-catch season last season and has had a few big games so far this year. He had 130 yards in week two and 91 yards last week against the 49ers. He’s also showing an ability to be a big play threat as he’s averaging 15.6 yards per catch.

Durham Smythe and Adam Shaheen get plenty of work as the reserves, although Smythe is questionable with an injury.

Defensive Line

The Dolphins had to place starting defensive lineman Davon Godchaux on injured reserve with a bicep tear this week so second round rookie Raekwon Davis should get more work on the inside along with last year’s first round pick Christian Wilkins.

Emmanuel Ogbah gets plenty of work on the edge where he’s been the Dolphins most productive pass rusher so far. He had three sacks. Last year’s sack leader, Taco Charlton - who had five, left the Dolphins in the offseason and is now in Kansas City.

Jason Strowbridge, Zach Sieler and Tyshun Render are available in reserve. Strowbridge was a fifth round pick in April. Miami also elevated undrafted rookie Benito Jones from their practice squad, so he could make his NFL debut.

Linebackers

Kyle Van Noy and Shaq Lawson are listed as the starters at outside linebacker with Elandon Roberts and Jerome Baker inside. Baker is the team’s leading tackler again after having racked up 126 tackles in 2019, but Roberts has been struggling.

Andrew Van Ginkel is the main reserve on the outside and Kamu Grugier-Hill is a valuable coverage specialist. However, the versatile Vince Biegel is on injured reserve.

Sam Eguavoen and Calvin Munson haven’t played much on defense so far this year, although Eguavoen was second on the team with 3.5 sacks in 2019.

Defensive Backs

Xavien Howard is the Dolphins most reliable cover corner. He already has three interceptions after no Dolphins player had more than two in 2019.

They also spent big money on Byron Jones to be the other starter but he’s been banged up at the start of the year. His return made a difference in last week’s win over the 49ers, though.

While Jones was out, rookie Noah Igbinoghene and Nik Needham had been getting extra work, while Jamal Perry has been the primary slot corner in nickel packages.

Needham, who led the team with 11 passes defensed last year, has already had five penalties this year and Igbinoghene had been picked on in coverage, giving up some big plays including three touchdowns.

At safety, Eric Rowe starts alongside Bobby McCain with third round rookie Brandon Jones operating as the third safety.

Kavon Frazier hasn’t seen much action on defense so far, while Clayton Fejedelem has missed time due to injury.

Special Teams

Other than Sam Ficken, Jason Sanders is the only kicker in the AFC not to miss a kick so far this year and punter Matt Haack is also having a good year. He’s improved his gross and net averages by two yards each.

Grant is the kickoff and punt returner with Williams and Igbinoghene listed as backups. Grant returned a kickoff for a touchdown last year but muffed two punts.

In kick coverage, players like Frazier, Grugier-Hill, Van Ginkel and Smythe all contribute. Hollins is also a useful punt gunner.