Cardinals Gearing Up for Home Opener

After a dominating road win against the San Francisco 49ers, the Cardinals return home to face the Miami Dolphins. While Arizona looks to start 2-0 for the first time since 1991, they will not overlook an improved Dolphins team. AZRedReport.com's Brad Wilbricht breaks down Miami's roster and previews Sunday's action.

While the Dolphins were expected to emphasize the running game early on this season, QB Chad Pennington threw 43 passes in Miami's season-opening loss against the New York Jets. Despite losing 20-14, Pennington managed the offense effectively and put the Dolphins in a position to win the game. He finished with 251 yards passing and two touchdowns while maintaining a QB rating of 82.6.

TE Anthony Fasano had an outstanding debut with Miami, racking up eight catches for 84 yards and one touchdown. In addition, backup TE David Martin was the second leading receiver for the Dolphins after totaling 4 catches for 53 yards while adding a touchdown score of his own.

Although Miami received great production from the tight end position, their receivers were limited. Greg Camarillo, Ted Ginn Jr. and Davone Bess combined for only six catches for 59 yards. The Dolphins receiving corps will look to be more accessible this week against the Cardinals secondary.

On the ground, running backs Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown combined for only 47 yards on 16 carries. Miami's offensive line will need to show improvement upfront in order to successfully run the ball.

The Cardinals were susceptible against the run early in San Francisco, allowing RB Frank Gore 80 yards on 11 carries during first half action. However, the Cardinals ball possession offense limited Gore's opportunities in the final two quarters. Expect the Dolphins to stay committed to the running game in effort to keep the potent Cardinals offense off the field.

Arizona was able to get tremendous pressure on 49ers QB J.T. O'Sullivan last week and will look to do the same against Pennington. While Pennington has excellent pocket awareness, Miami's offensive line is young and inexperienced. Last week against the Jets, Pennington was sacked four times. Look for the Cardinals aggressive defense to utilize numerous blitz packages and be in the Dolphins backfield all afternoon.

Miami is led on defense by playmaking linebackers Channing Crowder and Joey Porter. Crowder finished with 10 tackles last week while Porter chipped in with six stops. Veterans Vonnie Holiday and Jason Ferguson are joined by rookie Kendall Langford along the Dolphins defensive line.

Although the Cardinals receivers were relatively quiet in San Francisco, they should find holes against a suspect Miami secondary. At cornerback, Will Allen patrols one side of the field while Andre Goodman guards the other. Goodman will be matched up with either Anquan Boldin or Larry Fitzgerald, giving the Cardinals a significant advantage on the perimeter.

On special teams, Ginn Jr. provides the Dolphins with a tremendous weapon in the return game. Similar to Cardinals return specialist Steve Breaston, Ginn Jr. is a threat to score on every return and must be accounted for at all times.


Brad Wilbricht can be contacted at brad.wilbricht@gmail.com


CardinalsSource Top Stories