ATLANTA — The Dolphins have beaten the Falcons, lost to the Jets and nearly lost to the Chargers.
Such is life in the NFL.
A thrilling roller-coaster in which you never know which hurricane, injury or melodrama is around the corner.
Let’s take a look at who Adam Gase and Matt Burke used (and did not use) on Sunday in Atlanta:
- Ndamukong Suh (47 snaps, 82 percent). It’s really amazing how well Suh plays, even after so many snaps. The players joke about how Suh works out every day, but doesn’t do the same exercises they do. Whatever he’s doing, it’s working, because he presents outstanding stamina throughout the game. In this game, Jordan Phillips and Davon Godchaux each had 21 snaps, with Vincent Taylor taking nine.
- Jake Brendel (39 snaps, 58 percent). Brendel did a serviceable job after replacing Mike Pouncey, who has a concussion. Brendel has been a solid practice player after an excellent career at UCLA. If Brendel has to go against Leonard Williams and/or Mo Wilkerson next Sunday, that is a tremendous challenge.
- Anthony Fasano (47 snaps, 70 percent). The Dolphins realize how much more effective they can be, particularly in the running game, when Fasano is on the field. So in the last two week, Fasano’s snaps have increased from 16, 29, 18 to 44 and 47. This is not to suggest Adam Gase is done with Julius Thomas. Conversely, Thomas’ snaps increased from 37, 39 and 36 back up to 54 this week. Thomas had three catches on five targets for 22 yards, not mind-blowing stuff. But Gase clearly sees an advantage to 2- and 3-tight end sets.
- Leonte Carroo (34 snaps, 26 percent). It’s not easy to step into DeVante Parker’s shoes. Jakeem Grant didn’t capitalize on the opportunity against the Titans. And Carroo really didn’t capitalize on the opportunity against the Falcons. Carroo was targeted three times and had no catches. Once, he was the target on an interception. Once, he was the target on a tipped ball that he failed to haul in. The Dolphins need Parker back ASAP.
- William Hayes (14 snaps, 25 percent). It was hard to believe Hayes played only 14 snaps, because he had 3 tackles, including 1 memorable tackle for loss. Hayes is a boss. He is one of the great recent Dolphins trade acquisitions. But Miami has a plan to not overuse him. And so Andre Branch (84 percent) and Cam Wake (75 percent) dominated snaps at defensive end. Harris’ run-stopping ability should again be key on Sunday against New York.
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