The Miami Dolphins are 2-0. Both wins have tested the intestinal fortitude of their fans.
But for all the similarities of the Dolphins’ wins over the Chargers and Patriots, there were some significant differences in strategy. We explore them in our Week 2 Dolphins snap counts overview.
Miami Dolphins Snap Counts vs. New England Patriots
- Tua Tagovailoa: 63/63 (100%)
Two weeks into the season, Tagovailoa has barely needed a laundering service for his jersey. He’s been largely kept upright, which has allowed him to operate the offense at a high level — even though the Patriots did everything they could to keep Miami’s receivers in front of them.
“The most important thing playing this defense is they’re not going to give up too many explosives,” Tagovailoa said. “They really want you to work for yardage. And it’s definitely a take-what-they-give-you kind of defense. And they play sound football. So they’re trying to force you to make mistakes.”
Tua Tagovailoa averaged the 4th-quickest time to throw (2.08 seconds) of any quarterback in a game since 2020.
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 18, 2023
- Tyreek Hill: 54/63 (86%)
- Jaylen Waddle: 46/63 (73%)
- Braxton Berrios: 21/63 (33%)
- River Cracraft: 18/63 (29%)
- Erik Ezukanma: 10/63 (16%)
Waddle’s late head injury puts his availability for the Dolphins’ Week 3 game against the Broncos in jeopardy. That means we might see the 2023 debut of Cedrick Wilson Jr. But on balance, the Dolphins have proven that they’re more than a two-receiver offense.
“You have to play the game and see what is given to you and play that,” Berrios said. “I think this offense did an incredible job of doing that. We put together some really, really good drives, long ones, and again it was a chess match.”
- Raheem Mostert: 46/63 (73%)
- Alec Ingold: 38/63 (60%)
- Salvon Ahmed: 12/63 (19%)
- De’Von Achane: 6/63 (10%)
The Ahmed groin injury bears monitoring, but it’s revealing that the Dolphins went with Achane over Chris Brooks from scrimmage even though the latter was active in Week 1 and the former was not.
- Durham Smythe: 61/63 (97%)
- Tyler Kroft: 3/63 (5%)
In the battle of the bros (Smythe vs. Mike Gesicki), Durham got the win. He’s making the Dolphins look wise for not ponying up again to keep Gesicki.
That motion and route by Durham Smythe provided more than enough space for Tyreek Hill to win in pic.twitter.com/dfoNWb0fM0
— Steelers Depot 7⃣ (@Steelersdepot) September 18, 2023
- Kendall Lamm: 63/63 (100%)
- Austin Jackson: 63/63 (100%)
- Robert Hunt: 63/63 (100%)
- Connor Williams: 63/63 (100%)
- Isaiah Wynn: 63/63 (100%)
Another week, another win for Miami without Terron Armstead. Lamm has been more than solid in Armstead’s absence, and the Dolphins have averaged 4.3 yards per carry and allowed just one sack in 75 pass attempts thus far.
“I wish more people could actually be at practice and see what we were really truly working towards in our standard,” Lamm said postgame. “From our perspective, when you set a foundation and set a standard and that is what you want to uphold.”
- Christian Wilkins: 52/74 (70%)
- Zach Sieler: 52/74 (70%)
- Raekwon Davis: 37/74 (50%)
- Emmanuel Ogbah: 16/74 (22%)
- Da’Shawn Hand: 10/74 (14%)
- Brandon Pili: 2/74 (3%)
A much-improved effort by the Dolphins’ defensive line was evident in both real-time and on the stat sheet. Miami had two tackles for loss and four sacks in Week 2.
“We really didn’t have a choice,” Wilkins said. “We’re running with the guys we’ve got, and we had to get better from Week 1.”
- Jerome Baker: 74/74 (100%)
- Bradley Chubb: 67/74 (91%)
- Andrew Van Ginkel: 65/74 (88%)
- David Long Jr.: 62/74 (84%)
- Duke Riley: 1/74 (1%)
Jaelan Phillips’ late-week back injury scrambled the Dolphins’ plans at linebacker, but not for the worse. Van Ginkel and Chubb had two of their best games in Dolphins’ uniforms, and Long’s increased role was a plus for Miami.
Andrew Van Ginkel. 2015 Missouri Valley Freshman of the Year at #USD.
Was a stud against #NDSU in that stunning win that season. Transferred to Wisconsin and has become a really good pro.
— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) September 18, 2023
“In two weeks, I’ve played two different roles already,” Van Ginkel said. “Who knows what the future holds? I’m just very appreciative to be back here in Miami and being able to be a part of this team.”
- Jevon Holland: 74/74 (100%)
- DeShon Elliott: 74/74 (100%)
- Kader Kohou: 74/74 (100%)
- Xavien Howard: 74/74 (100%)
- Eli Apple: 68/74 (92%)
- Justin Bethel: 10/74 (14%)
The Dolphins might do well to start incorporating Cam Smith into their plans in the secondary. Teams have decided to target Apple and will continue to do so until he proves they shouldn’t.
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