Armando Salguero

Tons of Miami Dolphins info, notes, plus PFF grades for the week

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase will meet with the reporters at 1 p.m. this afternoon and will officially name Matt Moore the starter for Thursday night’s game at the Baltimore Ravens.

(I unofficially told you this Sunday evening in this report along with interesting details you should check out.)

Gase will be asked about Jay Cutler’s status -- which is he’s not playing this week and perhaps for a couple of weeks, depending on his pain tolerance after suffering injuries to his chest and ribs. And that’s probably about as far Gase will go but I’ve already reported what will happen when Cutler is healthy with the starting QB job.

So what’s left?

Comparisons between Cutler and Moore. Get used to it. It’s going to happen a lot the next few weeks. It began Sunday.

Cutler entered Week 7 with an overall ProFootballFocus.com grade of 66.6, which was 32nd among all QBs in the league.

When Moore replaced the injured Cutler, he helped lead a 14-point fourth quarter comeback. Moore picked apart the Jets' defense when he faced no pressure, completing 10-13 passes for 116 yards and one touchdown. So against no pressure, Moore put up an NFL QB rating of 129.0.

What does that mean?

Like most veteran quarterbacks, Moore is very capable when he feels secure in the pocket. My guess is teams will now look at the tape of the playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers last year as a template of how to play against Moore.

Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins quarterback, talks to the media about replacing injured Jay Cutler today and their victory over the New York Jets.

That means blitzes. Pressure packages.

The Steelers sacked Moore five times that January day. They intercepted him once. They forced him to fumble once. They also knocked him out of the game for a play.

The Dolphins moved the ball but only scored one touchdown -- that coming late in the fourth quarter when the issue was already decided on Pittsburgh’s behalf.

That’s the template ... Chase Moore and if he’s out of the game, the Dolphins are relying on David Fales, who was cut in September when the team trimmed its roster to 53 and hadn’t been signed with anyone since.

A note about the Dolphins left guard situation:

Ted Larsen was eligible to begin practicing last week. He obviously did not. As this week the Dolphins will basically have one legitimate practice, that on Tuesday, the team won’t start the clock on him this week, either.

(He gets two week to practice before the team must decide whether to bring him off IR or not).

So obviously the time frame for getting Larsen back on the field seems delayed. According to injured reserve (eligible to return) rules, Larsen was going to be eligible to play his first game against Oakland on Nov. 5. Hard to see that happening now because it is difficult throwing a player out there with only one week of practice -- especially a player coming off an injury.

But make no mistake, the Dolphins need him. Left guard Anthony Steen struggled at times on Sunday against New York.

When Larsen is ready to play, he’ll take over the left guard spot. Jermon Bushrod will remain at right guard and Steen will serve as a backup.

As to this week’s PFF grades ...

Offense

For the second time this season, the Jets' defense limited Jay Ajayi and the Dolphins' running game. Ajayi needed 23 carries to reach 51 yards on the afternoon. As is the norm with Ajayi, 49 of his 51 yards came after contact but he forced no missed tackles for the first time this year.

The last time Ajayi forced no missed tackles in a game was last season in Week 2 against the Patriots, a game he only carried the ball five times.

Wide receiver Jarvis Landry stepped up for the second straight week with DeVante Parker missing another game with an ankle injury. Landry was targeted a team-high 10 times, catching seven of them (with at least one catch against five different New York defenders) for 93 yards and a touchdown.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry talks about Matt Moore replacing Jay Cutler and the team winning after the game Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017.

Landry earned a PFF grade of 86.7 and that ranked second among all WRs for Week 7.

Wide receiver Kenny Stills has also stepped up in the absence of Parker in back-to-back weeks. He was targeted eight times against the Jets, catching six of them (a few of them spectacular) for 85 yards and two touchdowns, earning an overall grade of 81.2 for the week.

Dolphins' Kenny Stills talks about the Dolphins’ comeback win Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, his acrobatic catch early in the game as well as his two fourth quarter touchdown catches.

That grade is 14th-best at the WR position. For the season, Dolphins' quarterbacks have an NFL QB Rating of 128.8 when targeting Stills and that’s fourth among all WRs in the league.

For the third straight week, tight end Anthony Fasano played at least 44 snaps (45 against the Jets). Fasano has gotten more snaps than Julius Thomas in two of the last three games. Fasano was targeted four times in the passing game, grabbing three of them for 28 yards and a touchdown.

Thomas, meanwhile, had his most productive game of the season through the air, catching three of four targets for 58 yards, highlighted by an incredible one-handed catch.

Defense

Defensive end Cameron Wake was once again the highest-graded player on the Miami defense, earning a grade of 84.4, which ranked third of all edge defenders for Week 7.

Wake has recorded a quarterback pressure every 6.01 pass-rushes since entering the league. A total of 58 players have at least 3000 pass-rush snaps since 2006 and Wake's ratio is at the top of the list.

In Week 7, Wake recorded three sacks and six total pressures on just 18 pass-rush snaps. For the season Wake has recorded 29 total pressures in just 142 pass-rush snaps.

Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh had a productive game both defending the run and rushing the passer. He earned a run-defense grade of 87.4 against the Jets and for the season his 91.2 grade ranks third for all interior defenders stopping the run. In 29 pass-rush snaps, he recorded four quarterback hurries, one hit and one sack. The four hurries were the most since the season opener against the Chargers when he had five.

Cornerback Xavien Howard was targeted four times on the afternoon, allowing one catch for six yards, which is an encouraging sign for a corner who has been picked on for most of the season (37 targets through six games). Howard missed a tackle in the game which brings his total for the season to five in 360 snaps. He recorded six missed tackles last season as a rookie in 582 snaps.

On a more positive note, Howard has committed just one penalty the last three weeks after being called for four in the first three games.

Reshad Jones was targeted in coverage five times, allowing four receptions for 54 yards. The targets and receptions were each the highest in any game for Jones in coverage since Week 10 of the 2015 season at Philadelphia. The 54 yards were the most in any game for Jones since Week 17 of the 2015 season at New England.

Jones had his typical strong game in run-defense, earning a grade of 84.9 for the week, as his five stops were tied for the most for any safety for the week.

Starting linebackers Kiko Alonso and Lawrence Timmons have been playing at a very high level for the Dolphins' defense the last few weeks, but they each struggled against the Jets in Week 7.

They combined to miss four tackles and allowed eight of nine targets in coverage to be caught for 80 yards and a touchdown. Rey Maualuga was the most impressive linebacker on the team for the week, earning an overall grade of 83.0, good for 11th-best at the position for the week. Maualuga played just 24 snaps, however.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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