Did anyone else feel like we didn’t win last week’s game against the Titans even though we actually won? I’ll try to be as nice about this as possible. This offense is the worst in the league right now. Until this team can put together a game plan where the offense can show up from beginning to end, this team is not a playoff contender. Don’t even try to kid yourself on that. I’m going to keep this week’s preview fairly short, as there truly seems to be only one factor right now that determines the success of this team winning on Sunday against the Falcons.
This defense has been showing up the past two weeks, so really there’s not much to say about them. This group will most likely surrender a couple of touchdowns to an Atlanta offense that is full of weapons, but I don’t see the Falcon’s coming in and simply wiping the floor with them in terms of offense.
I laughed when fans on Twitter were saying it was the end of the world when Raekwon McMillan tore his ACL during the preseason. The man was a rookie and never played a true NFL snap yet. How exactly was he the greatest asset to this defense? Miami simply needed a veteran MLB to come in and solidify that role. That’s what they got in Rey Maualuga. In his first game with Miami, Maualuga came in and played over 75 percent of the defensive snaps and looked solid doing it. There’s a reason the ‘Fins are 4th in defending the run as this group is truly looking like a top 5 front-seven. I don’t see the Falcon’s running game putting up big numbers against these guys.
The only group on D that I feel will be shaky on Sunday is the secondary. The Tony Lippet injury, in my opinion, was the greatest loss for our team this season. I don’t count the Tannehill injury as the worst because his knee was already being questioned coming into training camp. Byron Maxwell is healthy again but his play has been dreadful. Xavien Howard was supposed to be a breakout corner this year, but I don’t see it. Our best cornerback so far is the rookie, Cordrea Tankserley. This group will need to be more consistent if they want any chance of limiting Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.
For those who keep harping on benching Cutler for Moore, shut up. If it was just Cutler that was the problem with the offense, Gase would have benched him in a heartbeat. Jay Ajayi is currently sitting at only 261 rushing yards and no touchdowns, yet no one is demanding his benching for Damien Williams or Kenyan Drake. Miami’s receivers had a combined five drops last week. Cutler doesn’t run the football, he doesn’t catch the football and he doesn’t block for himself. All of those areas are under-performing and yet somehow, it’s all Cutler’s fault.
You can make the argument that Tannehill would have been a better leader and could spark this offense and I wouldn’t fight you on that. But Cutler isn’t exactly a scrub at the position. Let’s not forget when the game was on the line late in the fourth quarter last week, Cutler was able to start throwing downfield and was hitting hot targets with velocity and accuracy.
If Miami wants to get the offense going tomorrow afternoon, they need to start with the gameplan. Cutler needs to be able to throw the ball farther than he’s been doing at the beginning of games. I’m not saying he won’t still need to have some dink-and-dunk throws, but that does not need to be the dominate play style for this offense. Cutler is an attacking quarterback. Let the man deal. If this offense wants any chance of beating the Falcons on Sunday, there’s two factors they need to improve on. Cutler needs to be allowed to throw downfield more and the o-line needs to hold better blocks. If they can capitalize on those two factors, it might be enough to come away with the upset.
However, until I see those improvements made on offense, I will not be picking the ‘Fins to be winning anymore games.