- Dec 2, 2003
- Reaction score
- Miami, Florida
Thank you for writing this up Ck. It's gettin harder to predict what this team will look like from week to week. Part of that challenge for me, believe it or not, is based on Gase play calling.Last week I played a fun game.
I had predicted a comfortable Dolphins victory against the Lions but I went ahead and envisioned what a Lions victory would look like. What did Vegas have that I wasn't quite believing, but could see.
It mainly centered around the threat of Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount pounding the sh-t out of us on the ground. I also incorporated the possibility of Bobby McCain getting torched on a deep vertical, as we know that's going to happen at some point this year. He's vulnerable that way. I didn't think it would be like what happened with Torry McTyer in the Chicago game, but thought one big play like that could score a touchdown or flip field position, and make a difference. Both those things did come to pass in the game.
But now I've predicted Miami to get destroyed. There's a triple whammy here. The Dolphins suck on the road. The Dolphins suck on prime time. The Dolphins suck on short week. To me, a comfortable loss is a no-brainer without even needing to pick the game apart more than that.
But what would a Miami victory look like?
The thing I keep going back to is the pass protection for DeShaun Watson from that awful offensive line of his, particularly the two offensive tackles, and the fact that Watson likes to hold onto the football.
Miami has faced 8 quarterbacks this year and 6 of them have gotten the football OUT of their hands very quickly. The speed each of the 6 has gotten the ball out against Miami's defense would rank among the quickest in the NFL. The 2 exceptions were Mitch Trubisky and Sam Darnold, two YOUNG quarterbacks who held onto the football (as young quarterbacks often do). Here's the thing, they STRUGGLED when they held onto the football. They had a 58 passer rating against us when they held on 2.6 seconds or longer.
When the Bears shifted course at halftime and started picking Miami apart, they did it by going to more QUICK passing, and Trubisky all the sudden had a perfect 158.3 passer rating (3 touchdowns) on passes that were out in 2.5 seconds or less. That foots with what's happened all year. Miami's pass defense has let up an 89 passer rating on passes that are out 2.5 seconds or less, which is a better passer rating than the league average of 96 on those under-2.5 second passes, but not a whole lot better. Meanwhile on passes that take 2.6 or longer, Miami's pass defense allows a 75 passer rating whereas league average is about 90. We are clearly better when QBs hold it longer. And those two young QBs held the ball longer in GENERAL, as opposed to picking their spots to do that (which is what a guy like Brady does, who did better that way).
DeShaun Watson holds the football 2.6 seconds or longer more often than any other quarterback in the game. And he has no reason to do that because his OL is 31st in the NFL in pressure rate per pass play. Julie'n Davenport has switched to left tackle in place of a struggling Martinas Rankin, and Julie'n has been terrible in pass pro. At least as bad as Rankin was. This newer guy at right tackle Kendall Lamm who is now playing for Davenport, who moved over, he's no good either.
Yet this beleaguered OL is going to go up against a Dolphins pass rush unit that BEATS offensive linemen collectively within 2.5 seconds at about 60% (an ELITE level for the NFL), according to ESPN Insider who used Next Gen Stats RFID chip data to model out OL/DL blocking/pass rush, and began scoring pass rushers and pass blockers according to whether interior or outside pass rushers were able to get within a certain distance of the QB and/or get closer to the QB than the OL that was blocking them within 2.5 seconds. On this measure, Robert Quinn is the most pressure-intensive pass rusher in the NFL and Cameron Wake is #5.
Even by other measures, Cameron Wake has NOT fallen off as some think he has. I go by PFF scoring of pressures, which is based on QB reactions. He's still getting pressure on 15% of his pass rush snaps, which is ELITE, and right in line with his usual career 16% level (which is just...insane...relative to the field). What he hasn't got yet are SACKS. But those, believe it or not, are a RANDOM function of your pressures.
There's a mistaken belief out there that some pass rushers are good at "converting" pressures into sacks, or that a higher portion of their total pressures will be sacks because they finish plays better, etc. Having studied this for years, that is pure hogwash. Statistically we are talking about RANDOM. If you pressure the passer at a 16% pressure rate, some years it's going to be 8 sacks, some years it might be 14 sacks, and the difference between the two is mostly going to be completely random, not explainable by variances in skill.
What does that mean? As I said before, Cam Wake is getting pressure at his usual rate, but he's only got the ONE sack. If that 'conversion' thing is really just random? Then he's in line for some reversion to the mean. You never know when that is going to occur. So it's hard to just say obviously tonight. But I will say that tonight going against Kendall Lamm at right tackle, Cam Wake is going to get a lot of pressures! And that means there's a fair chance that he gets a sack or maybe more than that.
Meanwhile Robert Quinn going against Julie'n Davenport also has to be considered a tasty matchup.
So what you could see tonight is a lot of pressure on DeShaun Watson, who has thrown 2 TDs and 4 INTs under Pressure this year. You could see a resulting low-scoring game, and in games like that anything can happen. The game can turn on special teams play (Jakeem Grant) or a turnover (hopefully Watson and not Osweiler).
On offense, I just think they need to find a narrative-change to turn the season around or else they're on their way to the same outcome (or close enough to it) as 2017. The POTENTIAL narrative-changers on the offensive side of the football are Kenyan Drake and Jakeem Grant. If you un-hook those guys, you could get an offensive explosion even in a situation like tonight. With Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson out, one does wonder if Adam Gase is essentially FORCED to find that. But I'm not going to forecast it.