Five things to watch for as the Miami Dolphins host the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium:
1. Once again, receiver DeVante Parker is doubtful so the Dolphins plan to be without him for the second consecutive game. The team got practically no production from his replacements — Jakeem Grant and Leonte Carroo — last week. Both combined for one catch for 4 yards in four targets. This cannot continue. The Dolphins need to find a package Grant is comfortable running and use him in that role. Use an end around, have him run nine routes down the sideline to take advantage of his speed. Use him like the Kansas City Chiefs employ Tyreek Hill. Why not?
2. The Dolphins didn’t force any mistakes by Jets quarterback Josh McCown in the first game. He had a 126.3 quarterback rating and threw a TD without an interception. This cannot repeat. The Dolphins must (and will) bring pressure on McCown to make him more error prone.
3. The Jets are 28th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game. And yet the Dolphins rushed for 30 yards in the first meeting between the teams. This means the Dolphins, who run the ball better than they throw it, didn’t run well against a poor run-stopping New York team. The Dolphins say the Jets rank so low because they typically give up a big run that skews their statistics. Well, then, run often enough to get that big run New York typically allows. Don’t give up on the run. The Dolphins rushed only 15 times in the previous meeting.
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4. The Jets have found a viable weapon in tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. He has 23 catches with two TD receptions, and last week was very effective against New England — even when you factor a TD catch was erased by a seemingly bad call. The Dolphins have to make sure McCown’s growing comfort level with his TE is disrupted.
5. The Jets like to pressure the opposing quarterback. Coach Todd Bowles has a reputation for bringing exotic blitzes against the Dolphins in particular — like the time he blitzed cornerback Buster Skrine five consecutive times in one game. Dolphins coach Adam Gase has conceded there will be blitzes the Dolphins haven’t seen on tape. At that time, the Dolphins protection (offensive line, tight ends and running backs) must be clear on their assignments and protection rules to allow quarterback Jay Cutler time. Cutler was sacked three times in the first meeting.