We’re just 24 hours away from the Dolphins Chargers game and it’s time to take a look at the Aqua Thirteen 3 keys to the game. The Dolphins are coming off arguably their best offensive performance of the season against the Cardinals, while the Chargers are coming off another heartbreaking loss.
It’s been an incredible start to the season, and Tua looked every part the franchise quarterback last week. But can it continue in week 10 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Dolphins Chargers: Run Defence
It’s no secret that the Dolphins run D has been suspiciously absent once again this season. The pre-season trade of 2019’s best run defender in Raekwon McMillan was a little surprising, leaving only new free-agent signing Elandon Roberts to fill that role. Roberts has been underwhelming through 8 games with PFF ranking him 65th for run defence.
The line hasn’t faired much better, and the loss of Devon Godchaux with a biceps injury for the season has left us a little light. Chris Grier hasn’t yet seen fit to fill Godchaux’s roster spot, and with Christian Wilkins hitting the COVID-19 list this week things have got a lot worse.
To make matters worse the Dolphins best linebacker in Kyle Van Noy will also be missing. Whilst the depth at linebacker is better than on the line, expect Kamu Grugier-Hill, and Andrew Van Ginkel on the field more than usual, Van Noy will be a big miss.
With the Chargers elevating Kalen Ballage to their active roster for the game, things just got a whole lot more personal. A North South banger like Ballage isn’t what you ideally want to see when you have a weakness right up the middle. Couple that with the fact that the Chargers rank 8th on the run this could prove a tricky area.
Benito Jones has been elevated and will likely dramatically increase his current standing of 20 snaps on the season. Zach Sieler and Raekwon Davis have filled in admirably so far this season, and they will need to step up big time. Jason Strowbridge saw his first action of the season last week, and expect a big dose of him and Benito Jones in the spot where we would normally see Wilkins.
It will be interesting to note how much the team miss Wilkin’s energy as well as the kid is always bouncing around the field.
Dolphins Chargers: Corners need to excel
After getting roughed up by DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk last weekend, Xavien Howard and Byron Jones need to get back to their previous great form. While Howard at least kept everything in front of him Jones got burned all ways by Kirk and that can’t happen against the Chargers.
Number 6 pick in the 2020 draft Justin Herbert will be looking to continue his stellar start to the season, and with the Dolphins likely stuffing the box to make Herbert have to win the game Jones and Howard need to be on point.
Expect a healthy early dose of the cover-0 defensive show that Brian Flores has been employing much more this season until such time as Herbert shows he can adjust to it. It will be a tough call for the rookie, and if he gets rattled early it could be a very long day for him.
Dolphins Chargers: Tua infinity
After last weeks unveiling of the Tua offence expect to see more creativity this week. With Salvon Ahmed the most likely option in a limited running attack this will most likely fall on the young rookies left arm once again. The Chargers 16th ranked pass defence won’t have seen anything like Tua yet this season, so it will be interesting to see how they adjust.
Tua completed passes to 7 different receivers last weekend, and targeted 9, so he seems to have a good grasp of the offence despite having only been in the job for 2 games. His ability to work through his progressions was one of the most impressive things we saw last week along with his elusiveness.
With Joey Bosa out for the game, the Chargers pass rush will still be potent, but takes a big hit. Bosa registers 23.3% of all the Chargers pressures and 27.8% of their sacks. So it will be any easier day for Tua than it could have been, but expect the Chargers to dial up some new wrinkles just to try and confuse him.
This game gets a little added buzz with the fifth and sixth overall rookie QB’s pitted against each other. Expect Tua to out shine Herbert despite his relative lack of NFL experience. Tua has those extra intangibles that Herbert just doesn’t have, and that’s the reason the Dolphins selected him one spot ahead of Herbert.