Game Preview: Dolphins look a lot like Eagles

ByROB MAADDI AP Pro Football Writer via AP logo
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly stands on the sideline with his team in the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015.

PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles will see themselves in the Miami Dolphins.

Bill Lazor, who was Chip Kelly's quarterbacks coach in 2013 when Nick Foles had a breakout season, is in his second year as Miami's offensive coordinator. His offense looks a lot like Kelly's, though the Dolphins don't run up-tempo the entire game the way Philadelphia does.

The teams get a chance to see each other up close when the Eagles (4-4) host the Dolphins (3-5) on Sunday.

"We see a lot of familiar plays that we've seen over time and that we practice all offseason," Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. "It's not like it's a brand new thought for anybody, player or coach."

The Dolphins might be tougher to defend on zone-read plays than the Eagles because quarterback Ryan Tannehill is a threat to run, while Sam Bradford isn't going anywhere. Tannehill ran much more in 2014, however.

"We haven't done a lot of it this year, but certainly we have it up every game and he's an athlete that can handle it," Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell said.

The Dolphins have versatility in their formations and operate with Tannehill under center, in the pistol and in the shotgun. They run a lot of misdirection both in the run and pass game.

"It's a really dynamic offense with shifts and motions on every play, so there's a lot of moving parts that really stretch your communication part of it," Davis said. "There are unique motions."

Here are more things to know about the Dolphins-Eagles game:

STOPPING THE RUN: Expect the Eagles to give the ball to DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles quite a bit because the Dolphins are ranked 31st against the run. Miami allowed 266 yards rushing in a loss to Buffalo last week and LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams each had over 100.

"They like to come downhill, they keep it between the tackles most of time, which I'm excited about because it gives me opportunities to get after their offensive line and running backs," Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said. "We'll definitely have our hands full."

STARTING TO CLICK: Bradford and wide receiver Jordan Matthews both had their best games last week against Dallas. Bradford seems more comfortable in his first season in a new offense, and Matthews has overcome the drops that plagued him the first seven games. If the passing game keeps improving, the Eagles can be a dangerous offense.

"I think we all know that we're capable of that and it's something that we're trying to do more consistent," Bradford said.

DO-IT-ALL JARVIS: Wide receiver Jarvis Landry is the first player in Dolphins history with at least one rushing attempt, one reception, one completion, one punt return, one kickoff return and one 2-point conversion in the same season. He was on the board when the Eagles selected Matthews with the 42nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. The Dolphins took Landry later in the second round.

"We were high on Jarvis, too," Kelly said. "I think he's an outstanding receiver and a dynamic returner."

COX VS. FOX: The Eagles could flip defensive end Fletcher Cox over to face right tackle Jason Fox, who had a tough day against Buffalo. Cox is Philadelphia's top lineman. He sacked Drew Brees three times on Oct. 11.

"I don't care who you put Cox on, it's going to be one of those days where it's going to be all-out all day long," Campbell said. "We'll have enough things in protection-wise that we can hopefully take care of him."

SENTIMENTAL THOUGHTS: It's a homecoming for Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes, who grew up in Philadelphia and went to Shippensburg University before signing with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent in 2006. He has 11 interceptions since joining Miami in 2013. Only Richard Sherman has more in the league.

Meanwhile, Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis played the past two seasons in Miami and cornerback Nolan Carroll played there between 2010-13.