Written by Chad Hahn
As I focus on week 15 for the Miami Dolphins let’s do a quick review of last week's controversial loss to the New York Jets. In most phases of the game, the Dolphins beat the Jets but in the main category, points scored they didn’t. They had countless red zone opportunities that led to a record number of field goals by kicker Jason Sanders which he connected on seven of eight accounting for all 21 Miami Dolphin points on Sunday.
The offense seemed to struggle once wide receiver Devante Parker left the game due to a concussion on a 21-yard reception as he landed awkwardly on his facemask to the side onto the ground. Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled to get continuity with the wide receivers on the field although freshly called up from the practice squad wide receiver Isaiah Ford who took the place of Parker due to his absence on the field resulted in six catches for 92 yards.
Patrick Laird got to start running back in place of Kalen Ballage as he was put on injured reserve and did as much as he could running the ball behind the Dolphins poor offensive line. Fitzpatrick was also unable to get break out tight end Mike Gesicki involved in the game as well.
Despite struggling a bit on both sides of the ball the Dolphins were oh so close from pulling out their fourth victory of the season as on the fourth and 17, Jets quarterback Sam Darnold threw a pass that was broken up by undrafted rookie free agent cornerback Nik Needham as it seemed the Dolphins pulled out the victory when the officials looked at the play under instant replay and ruled that Needham interfered with the pass resulting in a Jets first down instead of the game being over and a couple plays later the Jets lined up and hit the game-winning field goal from kicker Sam Ficken as the Jets defeated the Dolphins 22 to 21 at home.
Don’t tell Coach Brian Flores or the coaching staff, but this might’ve been the perfect result for Miami, as their 2020 draft status stays status quo as the current first-round draft choice stands at #4. Although at the moment there are three other teams picking ahead of Miami one of those teams the Dolphins play Sunday as a square off against the New York Giants at the meadowlands.
This Sunday’s game against the Giants is a huge game as far as draft implications go. The Giants currently have the second pick in the draft. A win this Sunday versus the Giants would all but take the Dolphins out of top 2-3 selections, which could prove very costly to the Dolphins in the offseason if the goal was to draft a franchise QB in the upcoming 2020 draft.
If the Giants are able to beat Miami that will catapult a potential three-way tie as far as records are concerned with the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins all with a 3-11 record (If the Redskins lose to the Eagles this week).
Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker’s designation looms large in this result as he’s had a good season so far and definitely would have opportunities against the Giants secondary. If he can’t go on Sunday expect a larger role from both wide receiver Isaiah Ford and tight end Mike Gesicki.
For the Giants, the expectation is that the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game would be Eli Manning once again replacing rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. With either of those quarterbacks, they have a rookie wide receiver named Darius Slayton that has come on of late and played excellent, with tight end Evan Engram expected to be out again I expect the main target to be Slayton. If the Giants give a high dose of running back Saquon Barkley to the visiting Dolphins that should be hard for the Dolphins to overcome. Although, never say never when your offense is lead by FitzMagic because with the Giants secondary he very well might be in line for a huge game, especially if Devante Parker plays.
As for Dolphin fans, they are just holding on to the end of the season hoping for brighter days in the future. Much of the fan base is torn on a weekly basis on whether to root for them to win or root for them to lose to acquire a better draft choice. On the bright side it seems like they found a winner in a HUGE category, Head Coach Brian Flores. He’s got control of the locker room and has the players playing hard on a weekly basis. He is a true leader and the more he’s around the better the Dolphins will get. One example of his leadership is on every Tuesday night he takes out the entire coaching staff and their wives and kids to dinner to build camaraderie as a unit. That serves as a breath of fresh air. Better days are ahead for Miami.