Tale Of The Tape: Miami Dolphins At Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- QuarterbackThe Dolphins are reeling from the scandal that has left guard Richie Incognito suspended for his role in a bullying or team-hazing incident involving tackles Jonathan Martin. The leadership of the Dolphins has been called into question and that includes quarterback Ryan Tannehill. While he throws a decent pass, a quarterback must find a way to stand up for his teammates.While Mike Glennon may not be the answer for the Tampa Bay Bucs long term, he has performed better than former quarterback Josh Freeman. Glennon is quick and resourceful, and he has completed 60.3 percent of his passes. Glennon has an 8-3 TD-interception ratio, and that’s something that head coach Greg Schiano would like to build on.
- OffenseThe Dolphins have been getting some decent production from running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, but with Incognito suspended and Thomas remaining out of the lineup it may be difficult to have a solid ground game. Mike Wallace should be an explosive big-play maker, but he has only scored one touchdown this season. Brian Hartline is a solid possession receiver.The Bucs had a surprisingly sharp game in Week Nine at Seattle, and head coach Greg Schiano would like to see his team pick up from where it left off in that game. Mike James will get the call at running back if Doug Martin (shoulder) can’t play. Vincent Jackson is a big-time receiver who can use his size and strength to dominate smaller defensive backs.
- DefenseThe Dolphins rank 23rd in overall defense and that’s a bit worse than last year. Defensive end Olivier Vernon has been the team’s best pass rusher and he leads the team with 4.5 sacks. Outside linebacker Philip Wheeler leads the team with 58 tackles and he has the speed to go sideline to sideline to make tackles.The Bucs have not won any games, but they have played with a consistent effort on the defensive side of the ball. They rank 17th overall in yards allowed and they have been a fairly physical defensive team. Linebacker Lavonte David is the team’s leading tackler with 71 stops and he also has 5.0 sacks and six passes defended.
- Special TeamsThe Dolphins have been decent in the punt and kickoff coverage teams and Joe Philbin would like to see Marcus Thigpen break a long punt on kickoff return. Caleb Sturgis is struggling with his placekicking as has made just 13-of-18 FG attempts. Brandon Fields is a solid directional punter.The Bucs play hard on special teams and they do a solid job of preventing their opponents from breaking any big returns. However, the Bucs lack the firepower to hit a big return themselves. Rian Lindell has made 11-of-13 FG attempts. Michael Koenen is an ordinary punter.
The Bucs should have an excellent chance to break into the victory column because they have been playing hard while the Dolphins have been struggling. Even though Miami beat Cincinnati last week, the Incognito bullying incident is staining this team badly. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor