Week 5: Miami Dolphins At Cincinnati Bengals
- QuarterbackThe Dolphins had to be shocked that rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw for more than 400 yards in the Week Four loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Tannehill has a good but not great arm, reads defenses well for a rookie and plays with confidence. He needs to improve quite a bit for the Dolphins to become a challenging team.Andy Dalton is becoming one of the better quarterbacks in the league. He has the size, arm strength and confidence to get on a hot roll and carry his team. He has exceeded expectations greatly and while he’s already good, he’s going to improve in the weeks to come.
- OffenseThe Dolphins know they are not going to trade points with the better teams in the league. They simply don’t have the talent and head coach Joe Philbin knows it. Running back Reggie Bush must be an explosive factor each week. Wide receiver Brian Hartline knows how to get open and make big plays.The Bengals have a versatile group of receivers who can make big plays and stretch out the defense. A.J. Green is the best of the bunch, but Andrew Hawkins is an underrated performer who needs to become a bit more consistent. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a much harder working running back than former Bengal (and current Packer) Cedric Benson. Green-Ellis has helped change the team’s overall attitude.
- DefenseThe Dolphins can compete a lot better on the defensive end. Not enough to overcome a substandard offense, but they tackle well and they are solid in coverage. Outside linebacker Kevin Burnett is a solid playmaker, but it’s middle linebacker Karlos Dansby who sets the tone.The Bengals may have the best pair of interior linemen in the league in Geno Atkins and Domata Peko. The pair combined for three sacks in the Week Four win over the Jacksonville Jaguars and they can always shut down the run between the tackles. That’s a huge bonus for head coach Marvin Lewis.
- Special TeamsThe Dolphins are OK but not impressive on special teams. Dan Carpenter is a decent placekicker but is not going to impress you with leg strength. The Dolphins don’t cover kickoffs as effectively as you would want them to.The Bengals work hard on special teams and that has not always been the case in the Lewis era. However, they cover punts and kickoffs well. Kevin Huber has a strong leg and gets excellent height on his punts.
This appears to be a very strange season in the NFL because the Bengals seem like one of the most consistent teams in the league. In the past, when they have face undermanned opponents they have not always played hard, but that does not seem to be the case any longer. The Bengals could put this game away early in front of the home fans.