Sunday, September 8, 2013

Four Point Stance: Dolphins at Browns


It's time for the blueprint the Miami Dolphins have been following all offseason to finally produce a house. The team made major waves this offseason, bringing in multiple big-name free agents and trading up to the third pick in the draft to select defensive end Dion Jordan.

Miami opens the season against a Cleveland Browns team that's undergone major changes of its own. Just like the Dolphins, the Browns have a second-year quarterback they hope makes a jump and a defense that is expected to be among the best in the league. (photo: Erik Daniel Drost, Flickr)

It's never appropriate to call a Week 1 game a must-win, but with a schedule that features five 2012 playoff qualifiers in the following seven games, this game is pretty close for Miami.


Keeing Ryan Tannehill upright. The Browns made an effort this offseason to upgrade their pass rush by signing former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger and drafting linebacker Barkevious Mingo in the first round. Despite Mingo's absence due to a bruised lung, Cleveland's defensive front will be a tall task for Miami's patchwork offensive line. The front-five's ability to give Tannehill enough time to get the ball to his weapons will be a major factor in the outcome of this game.

Clock control. With two inexperienced quarterbacks and two aggressive defenses facing off, this game has the potential to be decided by field position. Miami will need to generate a consistent rushing attack, while preventing Cleveland's talented offensive line and star tailback Trent Richardson from doing the same.

Throw off the thrower. Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden was among the league leaders with 17 interceptions last year. He struggles with his decision-making at times, and the Dolphins will try to create pressure and mix up the coverages to induce mistakes.

Turnover battling. Miami head coach Joe Philbin has been preaching it all offseason and during training camp. Not only will the Dolphins need to produce takeaways, but also protect the ball on offense. In 2012, Miami was 1-6 when Tannehill threw an interception, and 6-3 when he didn't. Expect ball security to be of utmost importance in this one.
A week in Dolphins posts at

Week 1 AFC East game picks: Fins at Browns

Injury Report: Rookies Jordan, Sims probable

Sherman didn't like Sims' chances, now does

Web-wide AFC East power rankings: Week 1

Pouncey gearing up for blitzing Browns

Carpenter on third East team in as many weeks

Dolphins add former first-round guard Watkins

Patriots scoop up some of Dolphins' scraps

AFC East is NFL's youngest division

Follow Sean @seanldonovan
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily