The Jaguars take on the struggling Dolphins on Sunday. The game highlights the return of Chad Henne to Miami and will showcase the previous Miami starter and the man who replaced him: Ryan Tannehill. So, who should we be watching in this game?
1. Brian Hartline, WR, Miami: Hartline is the leading receiver for the Dolphins with 925 yards off 62 receptions. He only has one touchdown catch this season but could easily improve on that against the weak Jaguar defense. Hartline can be a major difference maker in any game and has shown that he is resilient as well. It will be tough for the Jaguars to limit Hartline, especially with the secondary struggles of weeks past. Look for Hartline to have a dominating performance.
2. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami: If Hartline is having a big game, it’s because Tannehill has been putting the ball on the spot. The rookie quarterback is not having the worst season in the world with 2,709 yards, hitting 57.3% of his passes, and eight touchdowns, but he isn’t having the best season either. Tannehill has 12 interceptions to go with his first season as well. This makes him a difference maker for the Jaguars/Dolphins game. If Tannehill continues to contribute to the Dolphins’ -11 turnover differential, then this could be a gift for the Jaguars defense. The inverse is also true, the Jaguars defense could be a gift to Tannehill and help him get back to form.
3. Cecil Shorts III, WR, Jacksonville: Shorts is worth paying attention to if only because he is nearing 1,000 yards. He is short a mere 176 yards with three games to go. Shorts missed last week with concussion symptoms but is probable for the game against Miami. It will be curious if he gets back to form after waiting a week or if he is not as effective as would be desired by the Jaguars. Shorts is easily the best receiver on the team and elevates the offense when he is on the field.
4. Paul Posluszny, LB, Jacksonville: Poz is having himself a pretty nice season with three interceptions (tied for first on the team), 112 tackles (first on the team), and two fumbles forced. A man I believe is the MVP for the Jaguars this season, Posluszny can really pull away from the competition on his team if he has a nice game against the Dolphins. Besides this, having played in Buffalo for a number of seasons, he has had extensive experience against the Dolphins and could be an even more exemplary component of the Jaguars defense coming into Sunday’s game.
5. Marcus Thigpen, KR/PR, Miami: The Jaguars just waived gunner Kevin Elliott and are hoping that players lower on the depth chart will be able to fill in. Elliott was not an exceptional special teams player, but was well above average on a unit that has been dysmal all season. Thigpen enters Sunday’s game with both a punt return for a touchdown and a kick return for a touchdown. He is averaging 29.4 yards per kick return and 12 yards per punt return. If there is a special teams player that can break this game wide open, it’s Thigpen.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims