The Miami Dolphins offensive line will have their hands full on Sunday when they face a formidable New York Jets defensive line.
When facing the Detroit Lions on Monday Night in Week 1, the Jets landed hit after hit on Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford– making him look like a ragdoll being tossed around on the field and giving him injuries to his knee, chest, and back in the process.
The Jets defense did not account for any sacks, but had 12 pressures and 4 quarterback hits on the night.
“When you’ve got a defense that plays as fast as they do, as physical as they do, they create pressure on the quarterback,” said Dolphins head coach Adam Gase.
“It might not always be about sacks; it’s really about pass disruption. And when you make the quarterback throw the ball earlier or get them to where he’s off-balance and he tries to force the throw where his feet aren’t set, that’s when turnovers occur.”
And turnovers did occur for the Lions. Matthew Stafford was intercepted 4 times and backup Matt Cassel, who stepped in for the injured Stafford for a period, was intercepted once.
The Jets won 48-17.
“That’s what these guys do. They create a lot more pressure than what anybody really realizes, because everybody always just wants to look at sacks and it’s not always about that. It’s about how many times you’re hitting the quarterback, how many times are you creating pressure, how many times are you making him move out of the pocket. They basically did that the entire game.”
Gase knows his cannot be the case when the Dolphins travels north to play the rival Jets, but there are reasons for optimism regarding the protection of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Those reasons come from an offensive line which has shown signs throughout this preseason and Week 1 that it has improved it’s play from last year’s disastrous 2017 when the line showed moments of confusion and downright cluelessness on who to block.
Tannehill has improved on his pocket presence and awareness, but the team’s offensive line did a fine job giving him a clean pocket for most of their first game versus the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans defense only accounted for 4 pressures, 2 QB hits, and 1 sack on the day. That one sack coming late in the 4th quarter.
The Dolphins won 27-20.
And while the score may not show it, were able to move the ball up and down the field on the Titans, won the time of possession, and kept momentum for the better part of that game.
Let’s hope they can do it again.