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by on February 14, 2019
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The Miami Dolphins will face off against the New York Jets on Sunday in a Week 2 meeting between AFC East rivals. Both teams are coming off of wins Youth Cameron Wake Jersey , with Miami beating the Tennessee Titans 27-20 this past Sunday and the Jets dispatching the Detroit Lions 48-17 on Monday night, and will be looking to continue a fast start to the 2018 regular season. A lot will have to go right for both clubs, as they look to prove they are better than the preseason pundits predicted.For the Dolphins, several players need to step up and have big games. Miami has to get out to an early lead, then let their defense get after rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who, after a 16-for-21 for 198 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, is riding high and has the New York fan base feeling good about themselves. Pressuring the rookie should allow Miami’s secondary to continue to pull in interceptions, building off safety Reshad Jones’ two picks last week, with a third interception coming from linebacker Kiko Alonso.These five players need to have big games on Sunday:1. Kenyan DrakeDrake was good last week and needs to continue that this week. He and Frank Gore were able to gash the Titans’ defense early, at one point averaging over nine yards a carry and making it look easy. The Dolphins used Drake in a multitude of ways, including lining him up at receiver. Getting production out of Drake early will allow the offense to open up more, especially with the play action pass, and Miami can get to that lead they need.2. Xavien HowardThe Jets believe they have their franchise quarterback in Darnold, and he has all the confidence in the world right now after bouncing back from a pick-six on his first NFL pass attempt. It is time for Howard to show Darnold that one good game as a rookie does not define a career. Howard has continually shown that he has the potential to be a true star in the league, a shutdown cornerback that can take away a side of the field. This week, with Darnold likely looking to prove he is what Jets fans saw last week White Frank Gore Jersey , Howard should get a chance to prove he is the cornerback Dolphins fans and South Florida media believes him to be.3. Josh Sitton, et al.Sitton gets singled out here because he was “banged up” against the Titans and is now on the injury report, but really this is the offensive line as a whole. The Dolphins really need Sitton to be healthy so they can continue to keep the same starting five offensive linemen they have had since April’s offseason training program began. This is the first year in the last several in which it feels like the Dolphins finally have an NFL-caliber offensive line, and they showed it last week. They were able to create some beautiful pockets for Tannehill and they were able to open holes for Drake and Gore. That must continue this week, hopefully with Sitton; if Sitton cannot play, Ted Larsen or Isaac Asiata (pulled up from the practice squad) make the most sense to be his replacement. Miami’s offense will only be as successful as their offensive line, so those five men need to be big on Sunday.4. Raekwon McMillanMcMillan now has a true taste off the NFL after missing all of his rookie season with an ACL tear. The Dolphins need their middle linebacker to start playing up to his potential. He struggled at times this past Sunday, which is understandable for a young player, but the Jets will take the ball right up the middle and challenge McMillan, so he needs to be ready and show he is the right choice to man the middle of Miami’s defense.5. Mike GesickiAt this point, it feels like a given that Miami’s first-round draft pick, safety/cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, will have a big game and be a playmaker. Now, it is time for the team’s second-round pick, tight end Gesicki, to do the same. He caught one pass for 11 yards last week, and should have had a touchdown pass if the ball did not slip out of/be under thrown from Tannehill’s hand. Gesicki gives Miami something they have not had in a long time White Kenyan Drake Jersey , a true seam-threat, red-zone target tight end. This week, they need to get him involved in the passing game early so he can find his rhythm. It is not all on play calling, however, as Gesicki was slowed at the line of scrimmage several times by the Titans’ defense, either with a defensive lineman or a linebacker lining up on top of him and making sure to get a solid jam on the rookie. He has to be able to shed that quickly and move into his route. Leonard Williams knows exactly what the stat sheet shows from the New York Jets' last game, and he realizes how it looks to some fans and media.The big defensive end played 65 of 77 snaps in the 21-17 loss at Cleveland — and didn't register a single statistic.No tackles, no sacks, no quarterback hits. Not even a pass defensed. But there was plenty of criticism of arguably the Jets' best all-around defensive player."I just simply didn't get much action," Williams said Friday. "That's pretty much it. In the run game, I was in my gap. It wasn't like I was getting blown off the ball and was just playing bad. I'm setting the gap and I'm in my B-gap, and the ball goes the opposite way. In pass-rushing situations, I'm getting double-teamed or the ball comes out quick. It just happens like that sometimes. You're not always going to get all the action in every game."I definitely wasn't worried about the stat sheet."That said, he understands why some are.Williams is in his fourth NFL season after being the Jets' first-round pick — No. 6 overall — in 2015. He has 12 career sacks, but only two in his last 22 games and none in his last seven. That has raised eyebrows, with some wondering when — or, if — Williams will have the big-time breakout so many anticipated by now."That's the reason why fans go to games http://www.authenticsmiamidolphins.com/cheap-kiko-... , they want to see the big plays, they want to see the sacks, the touchdowns, the hoorah moments," Williams said. "If you're looking at a guy you're expecting to make those type of moments, and it's not happening, it's natural for a fan feel that way."New York has eight sacks this season, tying for 10th in the NFL, but Williams doesn't have any. Well, he actually did have a half-sack when he and Avery Williamson took down Miami's Ryan Tannehill in Week 3, but it was nullified by a penalty."That's kind of disappointing, but at the same time, it's driving me to get that first one even more," Williams said. "I know they come in bunches, so once I start getting them, they're going to keep coming, so I'm definitely hungry to get after it."Opposing offenses have clearly singled him out in their game plans Youth Minkah Fitzpatrick Jersey , intent on not letting him be the guy to punish their quarterbacks."Yeah, it started last year, too, so I try to work on beating double-teams," Williams said. "I'm not making an excuse about it and I try not to say, 'Oh, because I'm getting double-teamed, that's why I'm not this and this and this.' Instead, I'm trying to figure out how to beat a double-team."That's a work in progress, and he's certainly getting plenty of practice in games.Also, the statistics might not show the entire story.In the Jets' defensive line room, the players have a fines system in which they get dinged for what Williams calls "stupid, silly stuff." They can have the amount they owe knocked down a bit for examples of what they classify as "hidden production.""If I'm running with the outside backer and I pick the guy really good for him and he comes free and makes the sack," Williams explained, "that's a 'hidden-production' type of thing."While the Jets don't keep actual stats on "hidden production," it helps explain why coach Todd Bowles gave Williams a positive grade for his game against Cleveland."I thought they tried to double him a lot and he got to the quarterback when the ball was out," the coach said. "He took the pressure off the other guys. They sent two or three guys at him almost every other play White Bobby McCain Jersey , but Leonard caused a lot of other people to make plays and that doesn't show up on the stat sheet. I'm happy with what he did."Make no mistake: Williams would like to have some tackles and sacks next to his name. For now, Williams isn't putting extra pressure on himself or getting frustrated. He's focused on making sure he's doing his job at all times so that the film proves it when the team gathers."I'm not going to say that stats don't matter completely," he said. "I'm just saying that if there's a game where I didn't get as much stats as I wanted to, it depends on how I looked on film. If I didn't get stats, but I looked good on film — I was in my right spot, I was doing what I was supposed to do, I didn't have any mental errors and I'm helping the other guys get freed up — then that's a good game to me."But, if I didn't have any stats and I'm playing bad, then that's a different story, and I'm going to be really hard on myself. At the same time, we're all players and production matters in any type of job. I clearly want the stats, but if I'm watching film and it just didn't work out that way, I'm not going to beat myself up about it if I did I was supposed to do."