Friday, July 19, 2024

Rookie Watch – Game 8 Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

Aloha peeps and we are already at Week 8 and time for another rookie watch! How time flies, and even though the results haven’t gone our way, there are some really good things coming from this year’s rookie class.

ROOKIE WATCH GAME DAY 7 – Atlanta Falcons (Home)

Two games in a row lost by a last second field goal, we just can’t get any good luck or the right bounce of the ball, but last year we did, so we can’t complain too much. Jacksonville was down to some questionable coaching calls, Atlanta the defence couldn’t make a stop to retain the lead. Yes, there was some points left on the board with a couple really bad interceptions by Tua, but this is rookie watch so let’s focus on them.

Jaylen Waddle – Wide Receiver #17

Another week, and another close call with the bold prediction (maybe I should be more bold in the future). 83 yards last week, his best yards in any game, his second best average yards per reception (11.9 yards) and his second longest reception too (19 yards). Overall this puts Jaylen at 7th in the entire NFL in receptions. Now imagine how productive he could be if he didn’t do his usual disappearing act through the middle of the games! This may not be down to him, but maybe due to coaching calls, good defence or just play schemes. However, so far this hasn’t been a bad season so far for #17.

Buffalo currently stands at 4-2 and atop the AFC east. Miami, a lowly 1-6 and bottom of the AFC East, so let’s not beat around the bush, I’m not expecting a win here, just not to embarrass ourselves. Last game against the Bills, Jaylen hauled in 6 catches on 8 targets for 48 yards with Jacoby Brissett at the helm. Buffalo have given up an average of 5.7 yards per passing attempt, 3 interceptions, all from Safety Micah Hyde, and 180.5 passing yards per game. With no major injuries to the defensive back room, this looks like this could be another tough day at the office for Waddle. However, I do predict him to do slightly better than last time around.

Bold Prediction For The Game: 0 Receiving Touchdowns, 60 yards receiving.

One of this year’s highlights has been the Tua & Waddle connection.
Credit: Jim Rassol – USA Today Sports

Jaelen Phillips – Defensive End/Linebacker #15

Goose eggs. All over the board. 0 tackles, 0 assists, 0 sacks, 0 stiffs, but only 15 snaps played so there really isn’t too much to talk about sadly. The high motor he is often praised about was well on show again last week and despite his limited role due to an ankle injury he had all week, it wasn’t the best performance from the defence as a whole, so there can’t be too much blame assigned to Phillips. Is it disappointing, Yes. Will it happen again, Yes. Does that mean we should look at more pass rush options in free agency or the draft. No. Will he learn and get better, Yes.

Last time vs the Bills he had 3 tackles in which was a blow out win for Buffalo. Since then Buffalo have conceded just 72 points over 4 games, including another shutout victory vs Houston, an average of just 18 points a game, and 4.5 points per quarter, so things may be tough again for the Rookie defensive end/linebacker. However, there is a brief and small light to take into this game with Buffalo taking 14 sacks for 74 yards lost so providing Phillips is a full participant in the game, we could see some quarterback pressures.

Bold Prediction For The Game: 1 Sack, 1 solo tackle

Liam Eichenberg – Offensive Line #74

For once, I am glad that I was wrong in my predictions, I predicted 3 pressures and 0 sacks for Liam and he went better in what was arguably one of the best showings this season. Just 1 accredited pressure for the offensive tackle, 0 sacks and his best PFF grade of the season so far. Furthermore, this was the offensive lines second best showing in terms of rushing with 4.55 yards per rush and 132 yards on the ground (only behind Las Vegas, 4.93 yards per rush and 133 rushing yards), so maybe we have turned a corner?

With a stringent Buffalo defensive line giving away only 5 rushing touchdowns all season and an average of 89.7 rushing yards per game, this looks to be a much harder game in the trenches for the offensive line, but Buffalo have only had 8 sacks this season, compared to giving up 14. If Miami’s offensive line keep the upward trend seen in recent performances, this could be a much better showing despite the last time these teams met. As long as we don’t embarrass ourselves, I’ll take that as a victory.

Bold Prediction For The Game:  3 pressures allowed. 0 Sacks given.

This was was one of Liam’s best outings as a Miami Dolphin so far this season.

Credit: Michael Reaves – Getty Images

Jevon Holland – Free Safety #22

The signs where there in London against Jacksonville for a more aggressive approach with Holland, especially with him lining up close to the defensive line, and despite the no interception yet he did register his first sack (something that I really didn’t think I’d be writing this week!). As for my bold prediction, I guessed 6 tackles and no interceptions and he registered 5 solo tackles and no interceptions, so not too far off!

With the high powered and free scoring offence Buffalo has had in the past few games, and Miami conceding 35 points alone in the last meeting, this could look to be a game in which Holland will be all over the pitch supporting the cornerbacks. The last game #8 registered 3 total tackles (2 solo and 1 assist) and I fully expect that to be higher this game with Buffalo probably looking to make another statement against Miami. Buffalo have been stampeding against their opponents with an average of 280.8 passing yards per game and 7.5 passing yards per attempt. On the flip side this has meant 10 interceptions thrown by Josh Allen. Jevon Holland’s best game came against Tampa Bay, could Holland’s next best game be against another Superbowl tipped opponent?

Holland fits perfectly in coach Brian Flores defensive scheme so expect his trajectory to keep going up.

Bold Prediction For The Game: 1 INT, 6 tackles, 1 pass defended.

And that will do us for another week of Rookie Watch! Let’s hope for a better match and outcome for our Miami Dolphins and that we get close to some more bold predictions! FINS UP!

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