The Raiders' defense has looked pretty good so far and the Dolphins offense has not really gotten off the ground. The Dolphins' issues surrounded four turnovers-- three on interceptions and one on a fumble. If they could clean up the turnovers, it's hard to say what they could do.
The Raiders gave up 22 points in the opener but much of that had to do with giving the Chargers great field position to start drives. The Raiders held them out of the endzone on every short field they had. Although they did give up their one touchdown on a long sustained drive which included two penalties on third down (both by Tommy Kelly) that kept the drive alive and one long pass. That is supposed to be the Raiders of old but it reared its ugly head in the new Raiders and cost them seven points.
Here is what Raiders defensive coordinator, Jason Tarver, had to say about the Dolphins offense:
"They do a nice job of trying to control the ball," said Tarver. "In the run game their offensive line is getting better at moving people. They did a good job against Houston early in that game moving their defensive line around, which is a good challenge.
"The young quarterback has improved and they do a good job of getting the ball out of his hands fast... I don't think he really rattles watching him. I think he stays in his progressions. I know coach Sherman and they do a good job of teaching quarterbacks."
Since we're on the subject of the Dolphins rookie quarterback, we'll start there.
Ryan Tannehill vs Tommy Kelly
Yes, that's right, Tommy Kelly. I mentioned Tannehill had three interceptions on the day-- two were off of tipped balls at the line of scrimmage. That seems odd for a 6-4 quarterback to get tipped at the line but he apparently is not good about getting the ball high enough to clear the line. Kelly has always been pretty good at tipping balls at the line. He is 6-6 so when he gets his hands up, not much is getting over him. In fact, when the Raiders faced the Dolphins last season, Kelly tipped the first pass of the day. And after watching tape of Tannehill, Kelly is certainly going to be getting those hands up now. Well, when he's not trying to push through the Dolphins right guard, John Jerry.
Jonathan Martin vs Lamarr Houston
The Raiders had just one sack last week. It appeared much of the time, they were protecting against the run. Well, that is what one would hope considering Matt Shaughnessy was lining up opposite an undrafted rookie at left tackle. This week it is Lamarr Houston who gets to go up against a rookie offensive tackle. It's the Dolphins round two pick out of Stanford, Jonathan Martin, who last week had JJ Watt lined up against him and Watt had 1.5 sacks and the two tipped balls which were intercepted. Houston (the player, not the team) lost 20 pounds this offseason and is looking very fast off the edge. These two should have some nice battles and if Watt's production is any indication, Lamarr should have some success.
Reggie Bush vs Rolando McClain
Bush has a very similar skill set to Darren McFadden. They both are very fast and catch the ball out of the backfield as well as they rush with the ball. In last year's matchup with the Dolphins, McClain was spying on Bush all day. The result was 22 carries for 100 yards for Bush including a big 29 yard run in which he faked McClain way out of the play. Also like McFadden, Bush is the Dolphins' number one weapon and therefore is McClain's top priority. McClain was often seen manning up on McFadden out of the backfield in Raiders camp, even when it was a pass downfield. The other linebackers will have their focus split with the tight ends so McClain needs to be where he's supposed to be as well as line up his teammates. And with Bush, McClain better damn well wrap up.
Davone Bess vs Joselio Hanson
Bess is the Besst receiver the Dolphins have. He is their slot receiver and he took over the same role that Wes Welker had when he was a Dolphin. He is small, fast, and has great hands. The ideal slot receiver. Hanson's job with the Eagles for the past few years has been that of slot receiver. When the Eagles and Dolphins played each other last season, Bess was held to two catches for 12 yards, in large part because of Hanson's coverage in the slot. Hanson collected five tackles in the game as well. Then again, that was with the Eagles and he has only been with the Raiders for a couple weeks. It is hard to say if he has developed the chemistry and comfort with his new teammates and scheme to perform at that level. Especially with Pat Lee getting his first start at corner which will add to the confusion. Hard to know what to expect here.
Also see: Key matchups: Raiders offense vs Dolphins defense
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