The Redskins 2015 campaign begins the week and unfortunately, the Miami Dolphins are bringing Ndamukong Suh and a terrifying DL to town. Are the Dolphins poised to win the AFCE this year or are they being overrated thanks to the Suh signing? I spoke with Keith Beebe from The Phinsider and asked him five questions about the current state of the Dolphins. Thanks to Keith for the time.
1. Tell us about how DeVante Parker has looked coming into this match-up. What are his strengths and weaknesses? What do you expect from him on Sunday?
"DeVante in many ways was the finishing touch for my Miami's young, explosive receiver corps--a big-bodied, smooth wideout in the Jordy Nelson mold. However, his activity this offseason was extremely limited due to replacement of a screw in the foot he broke while at Louisville. He only played in one preseason game--and had one catch for 11 yards in that contest--but all signs indicate he'll be ready to go Sunday against the Redskins. If so, Dolphins can't wait to see Parker line up alongside Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, Rishard Matthews and even bigger pass-catchers like Jordan Cameron."
"In terms of strengths and weaknesses, Parker is unquestionably a YAC guy with a ridiculous catch radius. He won't blow you away with athleticism or insane size, but teams will have to account for him at all times, regardless of whether it's over the middle, on the boundary or deep down the field. A weakness, aside from lack of experience and the fact that Parker's working up to full speed following the corrective procedure made to his foot, is route-running. He's still developing his ability to tempo routes and set up defenders, but he should learn plenty from the many outstanding route-runners on Miami's roster (Landry, Jennings, Stills and Matthews). As for his output on Sunday, I don't know, really. Ryan Tannehill has so many weapons this year, and he's already displayed his intention to spray the ball around. In year's past, he would've felt obligated to force it in Parker's direction, but now I think he'll let his receivers' play dictate throw volume. I'll go out on a limb and say that Parker will get a red zone touchdown on Sunday. His play in that area was a big selling point for the Dolphins during the draft last spring."
2. How good are Suh and the rest of your DL? If you were the Redskins, what would you do to try to neutralize those guys?
"You really can't oversell the impact Ndamukong Suh has had on the Dolphins' defensive line. Defensive ends Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon were already high-profile pass-rushers prior to Suh signing last March, but you could tell during this preseason that the game just feels so much easier for them. However, the guys who will almost certainly profit the most from Suh's presence are fellow defensive tackles Earl Mitchell and Jordan Phillips. Mitchell has 0-tech size and strength, yet will get single-blocking assignments because of Suh; Phillips is a rookie with ridiculous size and very good athleticism, and the hope is that he'll eventually become the perfect 1-tech complement to Suh. As a Sooner fan, I have high hopes."
"If I were the Redskins, I'd look to run formations with two tight ends as a way to at least get multiple bodies on Wake and Vernon while still getting a constant double team on Suh inside. I know that sounds rather arrogant, but we've already seen Suh split triple teams this preseason, and I simply cannot imagine trying to block the guy one-on-one. Let's put it this way: Miami last season left Mike Pouncey (an excellent lineman) one-one-one with Suh, and it pretty much ended in tears."
"I'd also try to establish a quick-hitting passing game to slow the rush up the middle and test Miami's personnel on the perimeter. We'll touch upon that further during question No. 4."
3. How healthy is Brandon Albert? What's the difference with him playing this week as opposed to if he were out and just how effective do you think he'll be?
"Well, Albert pretty much said he's a go this Sunday, so ... apparently healthy enough to get in there and start following his ACL injury last November. There couldn't be more of a difference between a Dolphins offensive line anchored by Albert and one without him. When he's in there, the Dolphins and quarterback Ryan Tannehill can rest assured that he'll sew up the left side; when he's not in there, the Dolphins have to move around their OL personnel, which, when you consider the team's inexperience at guard, is a recipe for disaster. With Tannehill and Co. poised to have a breakout year, it's crucial that Albert start at left tackle. I cannot reiterate that enough."
4. We all know about Brent Grimes, but what about the rest of that Dolphin secondary? Think McCain, Taylor, Jones, and the rest of those guys have any chance against Jackson, Garcon, Reed, and Roberts?
"Miami's secondary is in pretty decent shape right now, although I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that some of its current warts are covered up by the pass-rush. Jamar Taylor has the athleticism and intelligence to become the perfect complement to Brent Grimes; however, it's Brice McCain who will start on Sunday (perhaps due to the quad injury Taylor sustained last month). McCain played really well in training camp and the preseason, so it's hardly surprising to see him get a starting CB gig to begin the season. I do believe Taylor will start on the perimeter at some point this year."
"Will Miami's secondary handle the Redskins' impressive group of receivers and pass-catchers? I can see Jackson causing problems with his game-breaking speed. Garcon is a damn savvy player, too, which is always cause for concern for a young secondary. Reed is the kind of player who has destroyed Miami's defense in previous years. Let's put it this way: if the Redskins can fend off Miami's pass-rush and keep Cousins upright, I think those talented pass-catchers will find a way to make some big plays. It will be tough to get comfortable against that Dolphins pass-rush, though. But hey, that's why they--er, what's the cliche again?"
5. Name one player on the Redskins offense and one on our defense that you're most worried about on Sunday. Then explain why.
"Two players immediately come to mind: Kirk Cousins and DeSean Jackson. I've always thought Cousins was a talented signal caller, and I've seen Jackson destroy so many secondaries with his rare speed. You simply need to account for Jackson at all times; otherwise, you'll have a bad time. Ask just about anyone in the NFC East (or any division, for that matter). Cousins has a bit of an underdog thing going right now, which is cause for great concern when you figure that most people have spent this week talking about the Dolphins' pass-rush (myself included). Upset factor acknowledged."
Thanks again to Keith for his questions and answers.