Following their bye week, the Denver Broncos (1-4) will travel to face the Miami Dolphins (0-5) at Sun Life Stadium for a Week 7 matchup. The Broncos have named Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback and will see if he is the answer to lead the team out of the doldrums. The winless Dolphins are coming off a 24-6 shellacking at the hands of the New York Jets on Monday night. Their head coach Tony Sparano has a vote of "No Confidence" from the fans and Miami principal owner Stephen M. Ross has been reduced to publicity stunts in an attempt to lure fans. In fact, the latest stunt is to honor the Florida Gators’ 2008 national championship team. It is no coincidence that Tim Tebow, who led the Gators to that championship, will be starting. The stars could not have aligned more perfectly. Ross' scheme worked, even though it was planned long ago. Sun Life Stadium will fill up alright, but there are likely to be as many Blue Tebow jerseys than teal Brandon Marshall ones.
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Sun Life Stadium is an open air venue that seats 76,500 fans. The playing surface is Prescription Athletic Turf (natural grass).
The game will be nationally broadcast by CBS at 11:00 am MDT. CBS announcers Kevin Harlan will call the play-by-play and Solomon Wilcots will provide color commentary for the game.Click here for the regional broadcast map.
The Broncos are the healthiest they have been all season and that is important coming off their Bye week. Especially if they are to change their fortunes and start winning.
Since losing starting quarterback Chad Henne 2 weeks ago with an injured left shoulder, Matt Moore has yet to throw a touchdown pass. He has completed 55% of his passes, with 3 interceptions and a 52.8 QB rating. He has also been Sacked 7 times in the last 6 quarters. Rookie RB Daniel Thomas has 249 yards rushing and is averaging 4.4 yards per carry. The Dolphins only have 2 rushing touchdowns, one each from Chad Henne and Lex Hilliard. Former Bronco Brandon Marshall has 28 catches for 422 yards, a 15.1 avg. and 1 touchdown. #2 Wideout Davone Bess has 17 catches for 228 yards. Miami's TE is Anthony Fasano, who has 8 catches for 130 yards and a 16.3 average. 3rd down threat Reggie Bush has 190 yards rushing and 15 catches for 93 yards and 1 TD.
The bottom line is, they run better than they pass, their pass protection is suspect and they have the worst 3rd down percentage in the league. In a game between two last place teams though, what do you expect?
The chart below lists the Miami Defensive numbers against the Broncos Offensive numbers.
Miami runs a base 3-4 Defensive look. The Line is anchored by NT Paul Soliai (8 TKL), but DE's Randy Starks (13 TKL) and 2nd year Jared Odrick (7 TKL, 1 INT, 1 FF) wreak havoc themselves. At Linebacker, Karlos Dansby (22 TKL, 1 SK, 1 FF) and Kevin Burnett (17 TKL) cover the inside, with Marvin Mitchell (10 TKL, 1 SK) in the rotation. On the Outside, Koa Misi (10 TKL, 1 SK) and Cameron Wake (11 TKL, 3 SK) patrol. Wake is nicked up, so Jason Trusnik (3 TKL) or Jason Taylor (4 TKL, 1 SK) will fill in. The Cornerbacks for the Dolphins are Sean Smith (20 TKL, 3 PD) and Vontae Davis (16 TKL). Nolan Carroll (16 TKL) is their 3rd CB, but he is nursing a sore Hamstring. That leaves Rookie Jimmy Wilson (7 TKL, 2 PD,1 INT, 1 FF), who the Fin's are high on and veteran Will Allen (7 TKL) to fill in. At Strong Safety, Yeremiah Bell (45 TKL. 1 PD) leads the Defense and Tyrone Culver (2 TKL) is his backup. The Dolphins are beat up at Free Safety. Starter Reshad Jones (32 TKL, 2 PD, 1 SK) is nursing a Knee injury and Chris Clemons (2 TKL) has a sore Hamstring. Culver may end up getting snaps, or freshly signed Gerald Alexander will play.
I expect Miami's Defensive Coordinator (and former Broncos coach) Mike Nolan to employ the blitz heavy and often. Tebow's completion rate is 54.4% against a 4-man pass rush. He is a horrid 39.1% when 5 or more rush the passer. Of course the Dolphins use a 3-4 front look, but the OLB's will be rushing Tebow too. Look for ILB's Karlos Dansby and Kevin Burnett to "Spy" on Tebow.
Dan Carpenter does the Kicking chores for the Dolphins. He 11/14 (78.6%) on Field Goal Attempts with a long of 51 yards. He is 6/6 on Extra Points. His Kickoffs average landing area is the 4 yard line. He has 10 touchbacks and the other 11 have been returned an average of 24.2 yards.
Brandon Fields is the Punter and Holder. He has a 49.0 average and a Net of 42.1 yards on 22 punts. He has placed 10 Inside the 20 yard line and a long of 70 yards. 4 of his punts have been downed and 2 have been Fair Caught. 16 have been returned for a 9.6 average.
John Denney is a career Special Teamer and has served as the Dolphins Long Snapper for the last 5 seasons. The native from Thornton, CO made the Pro Bowl last year and averages 5 ST's Tackles each year.