Ryan Tannehill and a one-dimensional Miami Dolphins offense will be hammered by the Chicago Bears swarming front four in Week 6.
Ryan Tannehill had better hope Adam Gase’s plan for Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears defense is a good one. In fact, the quarterback sacked 11 times in five games should hope Gase’s schemes for a front four with 11.5 sacks to its credit from one fewer game are a work of genius.
Tannehill needs more than better protection to help him steer clear of Mack and Co. He’ll also need major improvement from an anaemic running game ranked 22nd in the NFL.
It all adds up to Tannehill taking a heavy beating at Hard Rock Stadium in Week 6.
Preventing Mack from taking over the game is priority one. It won’t be easy considering the numbers he’s put up since Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders traded him away:
Dolphins right tackle Ja’Wuan James can’t expect to keep Mack off the stat sheet. Instead, he just needs to hope he can keep the number of hits on his quarterback low.
Mack is a dominant game-wrecker off the edge, but he has gotten better because of the superior talent around him.
Specifically, having monster tackle Akiem Hicks next to him has helped Mack up his game. Hicks will be available Sunday despite crossing paths with an official during Week 4’s king-sized beatdown of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Mack knows how valuable Hicks can be:
Having Hicks and Mack, who have combined for eight sacks, on the same side creates a nightmare choice for offensive lines deciding who to double:
Going one-on-one with Mack is usually a recipe for disaster. Yet the Dolphins might prefer doubling Hicks inside after the way Geno Atkins wrecked the interior during last week’s 27-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Atkins got to Tannehill twice and spent most of Week 5 in No. 17’s grid square.
Hicks will do the same if Miami center Travis Swanson doesn’t help guard Jesse Davis inside.
Tannehill and Gase’s can only dream Hicks and Mack are their only problems. Sadly for the Dolphins, Chicago can also rely on tackle Roy Robertson-Harris and end Aaron Lynch for pressure.
Robertson-Harris may be the unsung hero of the Bears’ sub-package schemes. The second-year pro is lining up at multiple spots and generating tremendous push. He has 1.5 sacks to his credit, while Lynch, an underrated edge-rusher who played for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio with the San Francisco 49ers, has two.
Avoiding this front four wouldn’t be a problem for the Dolphins if they could run the ball. The Bears are ostensibly a 3-4 team, but it’s their nickel set wrecking offenses with a four-man rush.
Miami’s O’ is mustering just 96 yards per game. It doesn’t help the Dolphins are making less than 23 rushing attempts each week.
The latter number has to increase if Tannehill expects to survive long against football’s toughest pass rush. Gase might call more running plays if 35-year-old Frank Gore and under-performing Kenyan Dranke prove they merit them.
This is the week for Gase to take a leap of faith and make Mack a non-factor with a steady diet of running. The Dolphins must stay out of long-yardage situations or else Tannehill will be hammered into defeat in no time at all.