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The Spy: A Week Two Wish to Squish the Fish (Spying the Miami Dolphins)

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Another year, we are still here.
Another week two date in Miami, have no fear.
There is victory to be sewn, there are TDs to be thrown.
There is a new Bills pass rush to make Tua groan.
What is the Dolphins team? Should we bemoan?
Let us be clear, the SPY is here.
To shed light on the fins, being both harsh and sheer.

Yes, I write poetry, now you all know. Since that is out of the way, let’s get right down to business. For the second straight year, the Bills face a week two date in Miami to face the Dolphins. Rivalry? Maybe but, then again, perhaps not. That is outside the scope of this article. What we aim to do now is scout this Miami Dolphins team in a cursory manner, particularly what they’ve done to improve their team this off-season. This serves as an early warning blip on the Bills Mafia radar; an initial threat assessment for competitive porpoises.

SPY 1: The Dolphins Pod Grows: Miami’s 2021 draft class

Jaylen Waddle

Waddle was both an ideal, and a “no-brainer” type of pick for the Fins in round one. This is the type of receiver one hopes can blossom into a Stefon Diggs type of player and weapon. He is one inch shorter and approximately 10 pounds lighter, and years younger. Waddle possesses a diverse and advanced skill complex in a similar way to that demonstrated by Diggs. Waddle himself, is not the existential threat to the Bills, but rather, it is the Dolphins WR corps. He is more of “an” addition rather than “the” addition. Waddle can be used in most (if not all) alignments that will be featured in the Dolphins passing attack.

He has the speed necessary to be a burner from the slot or from the boundary. This would also make him an effective decoy to enable other playsets and tactics on offense. Aggressive and sticky coverage from the Bills secondary will be mandatory to contain Waddle. He possesses excellent hands and maintains the ability to use his body in the most effective and efficient manner possible to compete for catches. A massive catch radius assists in this regard quite significantly. While capable of running many routes and doing so with demonstrated expertise, this is an area of his game that will be polished and developed further. Ultimately, Waddle is a great addition to the Fins and represents a great threat.

Jaelan Phillips

Phillips of Miami is, arguably, the best DE from the 2021 draft. The problem here is his injury history and his odd playing career, given he left the sport and then returned. As a draft pick, Phillips functions for the Fins in a similar way in which the Bills’ Rousseau and Basham do. He will affect the depth of Miami’s pass rush and, more importantly, add more variance to it. Phillips is an effective player who can be used in every conceivable role that the Fins can cook up for him. He can play in different spots along the defensive line and rush well from the inside, similar to Rousseau.

Jevon Holland

Holland can and will be a starting safety in the NFL and will be an anchor of the secondary for the Fins. Holland has all the tools that can make him elite and has used these tools. There is significant, verifiable, and reliable production from this player. The NFL game will be a sort of “software upgrade,” for Holland who will grow as a threat over time. His abilities to lead a secondary and be effective in almost all situations are notable.

Liam Eichenberg

Eichenberg is (now) likely the Fins starting Right Tackle, and rightfully so. He is a player that makes a day one impact; a player that the Bills must be prepared for. Eich protected an inconsistent Notre Dame QB in Ian Book and will now have to do the same for Tua Tagovailoa. Eich is a perfect scheme fit for the Dolphins and shores up their OL significantly. While he is a threat, what he is not is an elite athlete having posted an 8.53 RAS Score, ranked 166th of players tested. The Bills drafted pass rushers that can seriously stress Eichenberg. He will be tested come week two, and it will be an interesting measuring stick for both teams.

* None of the other Miami Dolphins 2021 draft picks pose a considerable threat for the week two matchup, pending yet unforeseen developments.

SPY 2: Fins Free! (Agents)

QB Jacoby Brissett shores up the Miami Dolphins QB room and is the newest coverage added to the Tua Insurance plan. It’s debatable whether Brissett (State Farm) or Ryan Fitzpatrick (Geico) has the better coverage. Brissett is a passive threat to the Bills as things currently stand.

RB Malcolm Brown is a young and dynamic runner who diversifies and enhances the Fins’ backfield. It is highly likely that the Fins employ a committee-style approach. While being an interesting addition, preparation to combat Brown will be not much different than most other RB’s on the schedule.

WR Will Fuller is a grave threat to the Bills. Despite his impending PED suspension and his troubling injury history, when healthy, Will Fuller be an elite weapon. Now part of the Dolphins’ diverse WR corps, Fuller cannot be taken lightly or improperly prepared for. Fuller will be returning from the PED suspension week two and may, potentially, be rusty. Prior to his suspension in the 2020 season, Fuller was playing excellent football.

SPY 3: Troubled Tua Turns Tables?

Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa dealt with a tumultuous and erratic rookie year, not unlike so many of his peers from 2020 and many other seasons prior. One must wonder if his development will be handled in such a heavy-handed manner as it was last year by Miami HC Brian Flores. Tua has seen a stronger team built around him in preparation for 2021 along the offensive line, in his WR room, and in the backfield. Ultimately, week one for the Dolphins will be eye-opening for the Bills. It will serve to analyze his play and attempt to denote improvements in play and shifts in tactics that will have an immediate effect on the following week’s matchup with the Bills. The likelihood that Tua has expanded his purview of the playbook and will be more capable, is high.

DARKHORSE BONUS POINT #1: A Dol-fan’s Perspective

What better way to get a good look at the Miami Dolphins than to requisition some input from BF’s own resident Dolphin expert and beloved show guest, Kevin Guerard? Here are his comments…

“The Dolphins looked at their team, especially in light of the week 17 slaughter at the hands of the Bills, and seem to have concluded that they needed to improve in the following areas:

1. Speed on offense

Miami wants to run the RPO concepts that Tua was so successful running at Alabama. To this end, Miami signed Will Fuller and drafted Jaylen Waddle. Coach Brian Flores has recently spoken about how having those two guys will force teams into “two-high” looks. This should create space for Parker/Gesicki underneath as well as create room in the run game. 

2. Nickel CB

After watching Beasley and McKenzie torch Nik Needham for the last two years prompted Miami to sign Justin Coleman and Jason McCourty. Coleman was one of the best slot CBs a couple of years ago and Miami hopes he can regain that elite form. 

3. Pass rushers who can win 1v1

Miami gets most of its pressure through exotic blitz packages. They blitz a lot. Part of the reason Allen has had so much success against Miami is that he is able to buy enough time to beat the blitz. To have better results vs Allen and the Bills, Miami needs more players who can generate a pass rush with just 4 rushers. To this end, Miami signed Adam Butler who has been NE’s best interior rusher the past couple of seasons. They also drafted Jaylen Phillips. Phillips was widely considered the top pass rusher in the draft and would most likely have been drafted in the top 10 were it not for his troubling medical history. Miami is hoping that adding those two players alongside Christian Wilkins and Emanuel Ogbah will provide a more organic pass rush that is more effective, more consistently.” – Kevin Guerard, The Buffalo Fanatics

DARKHORSE BONUS POINT #2: Miami Dolphins Threat Rating

THREAT RATING: Each Buffalo Bills opponent will be ranked on a 1-10 scale. On this scale, the higher the number = The greater the threat that team poses.

Dolphins Threat Rating = 8

Note: An updated version of this intelligence report will be released immediately prior to the week two matchup.

In closing, please follow The Buffalo Fanatics on all platforms, trust the process and go Bills.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.