There is a lot of debate if Miami should sit a lot of guys this week vs New England since the game means very little for the Dolphins who are already locked into a Wild Card spot. Yes, technically if Miami wins and San Diego beats Kansas City the Dolphins could jump up to the 5th seed and have a much easier round 1 opponent in Houston, but San Diego just lost to the Cleveland Browns and are on the verge of announcing the team moving out of the city. If you think the Chargers are going to show up and beat a Kansas City team that is very good I don’t know what to tell ya; it’s not happening.
So, if you are logical and use common sense in that San Diego has no shot of beating Kansas City (who has something to play for by the way, a) to lock up the 5th seed b) if Oakland loses they are the 2nd seed and get a first round bye) then that means Miami is locked into the 6 seed making this Sunday’s game meaningless.
Since the game is meaningless then Miami should rest everyone right…I mean right? WRONG!
The Dolphins should not rest anyone who is healthy and should play this game as normal and go all in to get a win. Now, let’s put in a caveat here; if Isa Abdul-Quddus is hurt and needs a week to get ready for the playoffs, obviously don’t play him. If Spencer Paysinger is only 50% then yes he can take the week off. If Byron Maxwell needs another week to get his ankle better, that’s fine he can miss one more. But this notion Miami should sit Jay Ajayi. Matt Moore, Laremy Tunsil, Branden Albert, Cam Wake, Ndamukong Suh and others is beyond foolish on every level.
For one, the roster is only 53 players and Miami doesn’t have enough guys to sit everyone as this isn’t the pre-season where you have a 70 or 80 man roster. Second, Miami has won 9 of 10 games right now and they are hot as a pistol, there is no way in hell you take your foot off the gas for one week this late in the year. Win or lose, Miami has to go at it full strength and play to win.
Now, does this mean guys like Suh, Wake, Ajayi need to play a full work-load on Sunday? Oh hell no! There is a happy medium here. Instead of giving Jay Ajayi 22 carries maybe he only gets 13 and Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams play a little more this week. Maybe Cam Wake comes off the field on some first and second down plays and limit his snaps in this game. There are things that can be done where everyone plays but you lessen their workload a tad bit this week.
There is a happy medium here and Coach Adam Gase I am sure will find it and do the right thing. Yes, you always want to beat New England and to knock them off and prevent them from getting home field advantage would be sweet. But Miami now has a 1 in 6 chance of going to the Super Bowl and representing the AFC. So the first order of business is managing the Dolphins and not worrying about the Patriots.
This notion though that many Dolphins fans have that Miami needs to sit everyone and treat this Sunday’s game like an exhibition though is foolish. Miami must play all of it’s healthy starters and play to win the game. Go all out, don’t take the foot off the gas! If it’s a tight game late Miami cannot afford to pull any healthy players and they should keep the pedal to the metal and go for a win. Now, a blowout game either way in the second half, sure rest key guys, don’t be stupid.
Do not just mail it in this Sunday though. This Miami team is very young and the “core” of this team going forward is being put together and nurtured this season at this very moment. They are learning what it takes to win, play in big spots, and what it means to be on a winning team that makes the playoffs. You do not want to mess with that as we aren’t like an old Peyton Manning Colts or Broncos veteran team who can flip the switch at any time and rest is more important than anything else. Miami isn’t that type of team at this point, so they must go all out, play hard, and play to win!
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