Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Miami was one of the most active teams at the trade deadline this year, shipping away Chase Edmonds and a first-round pick to the Broncos for the electric defensive end Bradley Chubb and bringing in Jeff Wilson from the 49ers to rejoin Mike McDaniel’s backfield.
- Bears GM Ryan Poles continued to perform as one of the league’s top general managers at the deadline, dealing away disgruntled defensive mainstays in Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn in exchange for picks and Chase Claypool. The fact that Poles continues to invest in his second-year quarterback reaffirms their commitment to his development.
- Both injury reports are relatively sparse, with the Bears continuing their uncanny ability to remain healthy and the Dolphins biggest appearance on the injury report being offensive tackle Terron Armstead to start the week.
How Miami Will Try To Win ::
Two of the most glaring issues with the Dolphins this season have been a largely underperforming run game and a defensive front that has struggled to generate pressure in the backfield. Miami’s 3.89 running back yards per carry this year ranks just 26th in the league while their blitz-to-pressure differential ranks bottom five in the league, with the likes of the Giants, Cardinals, Steelers, and Rams. Furthermore, their 14.8% pressure rate ranks 29th through the midpoint of the season. The good news is that they addressed both shortcomings at the trade deadline, landing defensive end Bradley Chubb for Chase Edmonds and a first and reuniting Jeff Wilson with Mike McDaniel’s backfield. That said, from an offensive standpoint, this is a team that is absolutely feeding their top options, with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle combining for 56.2% of the team’s available targets, a 61.8% targets per route run rate, and a massive 67.3% of the team’s available air yards. Furthermore, the team ranks third in the league in pass rate over expectation (PROE) if we include only the four games in which starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa started and finished. All of that to say, Mike McDaniel is simplifying things on offense, knowing that his two most dynamic playmakers are his stud wide receiver duo, and feeding them the ball at a rate that matches their talent. Miami’s offense has run at a below average pace, ranking 22nd in overall pace of play, 17th in first-half pace of play, and 22nd in situation neutral pace of play this season.
With Chase Edmonds no longer in the fold, and with Jeff Wilson joining the team at the deadline on Tuesday, expect Raheem Mostert to serve as the unquestioned lead back (as he has been since Week 4), with Myles Gaskin and Wilson mixing in for change of pace duties behind him. With the state of the offensive play calling and design with a healthy Tua, we can’t confidently project more than 18-22 running back opportunities for Mostert even with the matchup clearly tilting expectations toward the ground. That matchup yields a well above average 4.56 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Bears defense allowing a solid 4.86 running back yards per carry (which also just shipped off two defensive mainstays in the middle of their defense with Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn dealt at the deadline). Comparing the offensive efficiency of Mostert to the aforementioned pass-catchers (Mostert ranks 63rd in fantasy points per opportunity and 32nd in yards per touch while Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill rank first and second in expected points added and eighth and third in fantasy points per route run, respectively) give us a good glimpse into why McDaniel has called such a pass-heavy offense with Tua at quarterback.
There’s honestly not much left to say about Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle that hasn’t been said. The pass-catching duo are two of the most dynamic and electric wide receivers in the league, which again reinforces the idea of getting the ball into their hands. The fact that Mike McDaniel is simply doing just that, as opposed to forcing things with an underperforming run game or forcing things to a dynamic pass-catching tight end (who is objectively less dynamic than Hill and Waddle), speaks volumes to his coaching ability, in my opinion. It doesn’t have to be difficult – find ways to maximize the talent on the roster, which, in this case, means getting Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle the ball in space to maximize their per-touch upside. Trent Sherfield is technically the WR3 but has maxed out at just a 67% snap rate this season, while tight end duties are split amongst the pass-catching Mike Gesicki and the blocking Durham Smythe and Hunter Long. That said, this offense goes as Hill and Waddle go.