Week 2 Tale Of The Tape: Miami Dolphins At Los Angeles Chargers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 24: Jay Cutler #6 of the Miami Dolphins throws a pass in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles in the preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 24, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 11: Outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett #48 of the Denver Broncos sacks quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
  • Quarterback
    The Dolphins have decided to go with Jay Cutler at quarterback, and that could prove to be a dangerous decision later in the season. Cutler had a solid season when Gase was Chicago’s offensive coordinator, and the Dolphins are hoping the strong-armed quarterback can repeat that success. However, Cutler can be scatter-armed when the game is on the line and his technique breaks down.
    Philip Rivers is the opposite of Cutler in many ways because he is so emotional and cares so much about what happens to his team. Rivers is a true gun slinger, and when he gets on a roll, he can do a lot of damage to opposing defenses. Rivers is smart and gutsy, but he will hurt his team by taking too many risks at times and putting the ball up for grabs.
  • Offense
    The Dolphins have an effective running game with Jay Ajayi, who emerged last year with 1,272 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. If Ajayi can repeat his success, that will take a lot of pressure off of Cutler and he is less likely to make a key mistake. Kenny Stills, Devante Parker and Jarvis Landry may not be big names, but they are solid targets who can make the occasional big play.
    The Chargers know they have an emerging star in Melvin Gordon at the running back slot. Gordon showed significant improvement in 2016, and head coach Anthony Lynn is expecting even more from Gordon this year. Keenan Allen is a top receiver, and the Chargers are hoping he can stay healthy for 16 games. Tyrell Williams is a solid No. 2 receiver who can stretch the field and make big plays.
  • Defense
    The Dolphins have the ability to put quite a bit of pressure on opposing quarterbacks with Cameron Wake and Ndamukong Suh. The Dolphins did not play well on defense in the first part of the 2016 season, but they improved as the season went along. Linebacker Kiko Alonso is an excellent tackler who has taken on a leadership role with this defense.
    The Chargers are counting on second-year DE Joey Bosa to become a dominant playmaker this season. He has a dynamic first step and the kind of strength and technique that will allow him to dominate blockers and punish the quarterback. Casey Hayward and Melvin Ingram are potential stars, while the young linebacking crew looks quite promising.
  • Special Teams
    The Dolphins did a fine job in special-teams coverage last year, and Gase needs even more from that group this year. Jakeem Grant has the ability to make a solid contribution as a returner. Ex-Eagle Cody Parkey takes over at placekicker and he’s just average.
    This was a major problem area for the Chargers a year ago, and Lynn knows his team must perform better in this are if the Chargers are going to be successful. Former Brown Travis Benjamin is an upgrade as a punt returner, but Younghoe Koo is an unproven placekicker.
The Dolphins should be anxious to play after their Week One game against Tampa Bay was postponed. It may be difficult to concentrate after Hurricane Irma, but their players should be glad to get back to playing football. The Chargers are playing their first home game in the tiny StubHub Center.