Game Preview: Miami at N.Y. Jets

The Dolphins are running out of time if they hope to make a push for the playoffs, and it's got to start with Sunday's game against the Jets at the new Meadowlands Stadium. Here is a breakdown of the matchup.

WHO: Miami Dolphins (6-6) at New York Jets (9-3)

WHEN: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET

WHERE: Meadowlands Stadium

SURFACE: FieldTurf

TV: CBS, Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts


KEYS TO THE GAME: Jets QB Mark Sanchez has made several poor decisions the past two weeks after leading three consecutive final-possession victories. The Jets will lean on RBs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson early and look to get Sanchez back into a comfort zone. Dolphins QB Chad Henne is also coming off a three-pick game in which he struggled with his accuracy. Miami doesn't have the luxury of hiding him behind a potent ground game, and Henne will have to make quick, accurate decisions in the face of the Jets' blitz packages. WR Brandon Marshall (hamstring) could return after missing two games.

FAST FACTS: Dolphins OLB Cam Wake leads the NFL with 12 sacks. ... Sanchez has a 75.4 passer at home this season.



Right tackle Vernon Carey has been ruled out for Sunday's game, putting an end to his long streak of consecutive starts.

Carey missed practice this week with a painful knee injury that knocked him out late in the second quarter against the Browns. Before that setback, Carey had missed just five plays all season, grading out as the league's seventh-best right tackle, according to Pro Football Focus.

Dolphins coach Tony Sparano makes no attempt to hide how much he's come to rely on Carey, who hasn't missed a start since five games into the 2005 season.

"It's not something I take for granted," Sparano said, "because of coaching that position for so long."

Sparano mentioned the Saints' offensive line, which he recently heard had stayed intact all season.

"That's hard to do in this league right now, with the physicality of the game in the interior," Sparano said. "When you look at a guy like Vernon, who's played as many times as he's played, and obviously has played bumped up and banged up at times, you trust that if there's a chance, there's a chance."

Sunday against the Browns, it was Lydon Murtha, the second-year man out of Nebraska, who came off the bench to play the final 30 snaps. Murtha, who has never started in the NFL, worked with the first unit at right tackle on Thursday.

A day earlier, it was John Jerry getting some more work at a spot he dabbled in earlier this season while battling an illness that cost him four starts at right guard. Jerry returned to make five straight starts, giving him seven this season, before sitting behind journeyman Pat McQuistan against the Browns.


Jason Taylor has recorded only one sack in the last seven games. Of course, it's hard to get them from the sideline.

So that's one reason why coach Rex Ryan said Thursday, "I'm not happy with how we used him (against New England). This guy is a great football player and we need to use him more."

The veteran linebacker said he was in for only 15 plays in the 45-3 loss to New England. The Patriots had 58 offensive snaps.

Taylor later spoke to the coaching staff about being more involved, and Ryan agreed.

"Everybody wants to play," said Taylor, who has four sacks this season and is the NFL's active career leader with 131.5. "If there was anyone in this locker room that didn't want to be on the field, I'd be disappointed in that person. If I get more snaps, then great. I feel like the more snaps I get, the better I play. I've always kind of been that kind of guy that gets into a rhythm and a groove. ... We're 9-3. If I was inactive and we were 9-3, I'd still be happy we're winning. It's not about me."

For most of his career, Taylor has been an every-down player, and by playing a lot of snaps, he said, a pass rusher is "able to set guys up" for certain moves. Although the Jets have 27 sacks, their pass rush has been spotty for much of the season.

Ryan indicated that the season-ending injury to safety Jim Leonhard three days before the game against the Patriots forced the Jets to change some of their personnel groupings, which had a trickle-down effect that limited Taylor's plays.

"I think I was more disappointed in the plan of attack that we had," Ryan said. "Obviously things changed when we had Jim out, but (Taylor) has to get more involved. This guy makes plays. That's all I see."

Taylor has four sacks and two forced fumbles this season. Ryan said he would "strongly suggest" to defensive coordinator Mike Pettine that Taylor get more playing time Sunday against his former team, Miami.

Pettine doesn't have a problem with that.

"We had a combination of outside linebackers in Bryan (Thomas) and Calvin (Pace) from a year ago that were a good combination and that were playing well," Pettine explained. "We didn't want to disrupt that chemistry too much and put a full rotation in with it. I think JT, in the limited time that he's had, he's played well. He's graded out well, not necessarily on the stat sheet, but he's done his job. It merits more plays for him."



-- WR Brandon Marshall, who appears to be making good progress with his right hamstring injury, downplayed the possibility of his long-awaited matchup with Jets CB Darrelle Revis. "I didn't say I was excited to play against that particular guy," Marshall said. "He's a great cornerback, one of the best in the league now."

-- ILB Channing Crowder (knee) worked with ILB Karlos Dansby again Thursday during individual drills and appears set to return after missing his fifth game this year and seventh in the Dolphins' past 14 outings.

-- Rookie CB/KR Nolan Carroll is "getting close" to breaking his first kickoff return for a touchdown, coach Tony Sparano said. The coach said he teased Carroll this week that the kicker has tackled him three times already. The Dolphins' last two kickoff returns for touchdowns came courtesy of Ted Ginn Jr. on their last trip to the Meadowlands, last Nov. 1 against the Jets.

-- WR Brian Hartline was placed on injured reserve because of a finger injury. He will miss a game due to injury for the first time in his two NFL seasons.

-- DE Phillip Merling continues to progress, coach Tony Sparano said, in his return from left Achilles' tendon surgery in July. Merling played 17 snaps against the Browns on Sunday, just five days after being activated off the reserve/non-football injury list.

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