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If the Miami Dolphins want to turn their season around into a successful one, it’ll have to start this week.
Brian Flores’ team is traveling to London where they will play Urban Meyer’s Jacksonville Jaguars at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. Both teams haven’t started their 2021 campaigns the way that they envisioned, so they will be going all out in a winnable game for both sides.
Without a victory, Miami would fall to 1-5 and may be on their way to seeing some key people in the organization losing their jobs. A loss for Jacksonville would be one step closer to the NFL record for consecutive losses.
Here are five keys for the Dolphins to beat the Jaguars in Week 6.
Stop James Robinson.
The Dolphins have struggled against the run to this point. Josh Boyer’s defense has allowed 133.6 yards per game on the ground, ninth-most in the NFL.
Robinson can take advantage of that. He’s averaging a staggering 5.8 yards per carry and has four touchdowns on the season.
Miami’s defense also struggles to stop running backs in the passing game. We saw that last week when even Leonard Fournette was juking Jerome Baker out of his cleats.
They will need to swarm the back the second he touches the ball.
Protect the quarterback.
With Tua Tagovailoa potentially coming back, the offensive line will need to be on their game to keep him upright. Even if he’s not in, Jacoby Brissett has been limited this week with a hamstring injury of his own.
Miami switched up the offensive line last week, and many of the players and coaches spoke about the importance of consistency for those guys, so we will probably see the same players in the same spots.
Their performance was okay last week, but the Jaguars don’t have the pass rushers the Buccaneers had. The Dolphins big men up front will have to key in on some of the better guys like Josh Allen and keep him away from whichever quarterback gets the nod.
Feed Myles Gaskin.
Last week, we saw exactly what Gaskin is capable of when he gets the ball in his hands. He finished the game averaging five yards per carry with 10 receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed are fine players, but neither has the versatility nor the playmaking ability to bring what Gaskin can.
In Week 4, the Jaguars gave up seven receptions to Arizona’s Chase Edmonds and, while he’s a better player than Gaskin at this point, that could be the type of production Gaskin gets this week.
Look Jaylen Waddle's way.
One of the most maddening things about re-watching Miami’s games has been seeing just how often Waddle is open and isn’t being targeted. The rookie’s quickness and route-running precision make him a huge threat right away.
Whether it’s Brissett or Tagovailoa, the quarterback needs to be targeting him more, and plays need to be designed where he’s an early read because of just how soon after the snap he gets open.
If the Dolphins use him correctly, Waddle could make a case for Offensive Rookie of the Year. That should start this weekend against a secondary that isn’t too impressive.
Don't get distracted.
Playing in London is always an experience for teams. Many of the players have never traveled abroad, and this opportunity is something that they look forward to.
They should enjoy it, but they can’t take the week lightly. They can’t spend time that they would normally be spent practicing or studying doing tourist activities. There will be time for that, and there should be.
The biggest problem, as coach Flores noted this week, will be the time change. They will need to get adjusted to that as soon as possible. Five hours isn’t a massive difference, but it will definitely mess with the eternal clock for a couple of days.
Miami will need to overcome these issues if they wish to win their second game.