5 Miami Dolphins Snap Conclusions from loss to Oakland

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake fumbles as he is hit by Oakland Raiders strong safety Karl Joseph and cornerback Sean Smith at Hard Rock Stadium. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

  1. Kenyan Drake (37 snaps, 55 percent). Drake nearly doubled his season-high in snaps, following the trade of Jay Ajayi. Damien Williams also had a season-high 30 snaps. Drake was more productive on the ground, with 9 carries for 69 yards, including a 42-yarder. Williams had 6 catches for 47 yards, including 1 touchdown. Drake and Williams totaled 12 receptions, which should be a sign of things to come. Miami averaged 4.8 yards per rush and the duo showed superior speed to Ajayi. Drake can’t allow fumbling to become a habit.
  2. Sam Young (16 snaps, 24 percent). The Dolphins hadn’t allowed a sack until Ja’Wuan James left the game with a hamstring injury. On the very next snap, Khalil Mack beat Young around the edge. Mack is a very difficult matchup for any offensive tackle, but Young obviously entered the game cold. And while Young has taken practice reps at right tackle, he’s mostly appeared at left tackle in a pinch for the Dolphins. Expect Ted Larsen to start at guard for Miami against Carolina, which could make Jesse Davis a starter at right tackle if James can’t go.
  3. Maurice Smith (18 snaps, 29 percent). Smith appeared to get involved in some third-down passing attempts. Smith had become a regular inactive but the Dolphins’ plan was to use him on some third downs so special teams ace Michael Thomas could in get a few breathers before punts. Smith was an undrafted player but the Dolphins coaches feel comfortable enough with the talent he showed in camp and the preseason that he could be a contributor down the line.
  4. Andre Branch (36 snaps, 57 percent). Branch led Miami defensive ends in snaps, so obviously his troublesome groin injury held up. The Dolphins had nice balance at defensive end as Cam Wake had 33 snaps, William Hayes 30 and Charles Harris 28. Unfortunately for Miami, due to Derek Carr’s quick passing-game attack, Miami’s defensive ends did not record a sack. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh did record one. In fact, no Miami defensive end recorded a quarterback hit. Branch led Miami defensive ends with three tackles, including one for loss.
  5. Jordan Phillips (30 snaps, 48 percent). Rookie Davon Godchaux got the start, ahead of Phillips, and had five tackles and a tipped pass. Meanwhile, Phillips had one tackle and quarterback hit. It seems clear that Godchaux may be more in Miami’s future than Phillips, the former second-rounder. For the season, Godchaux has 17 tackles and Phillips has seven.

COLUMN: Miami Dolphins appear headed in one direction, and it’s not the playoffs

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