Pregame Observations: Washington Edition

After wondering when — and maybe even if — the Dolphins would win a game, they'll now go into Sunday's battle against Washington in a different role: as the team expected to win. That fact led to a reporter asking Jason Taylor this week whether he was concerned about the Dolphins being overconfident. Yep, it's funny how things can change with just one great showing.

• Really, this is more about the Redskins, who don't represent a formidable opponent. They come to Sun Life Stadium having lost five of their last six and having had to deal with one injury after another on offense. Washington looks right now like a team that's going to have problems beating anybody.

• The biggest issue for the Redskins is at quarterback, where Rex Grossman's inconsistency led to his benching and the promotion of former Dolphins second-round pick John Beck. The problem is that Beck hasn't changed much from his time in Miami, which means he has a hard time making decisions in the pocket and winds up taking a lot of sacks because of it. Just two weeks ago, he was dropped 10 times in the Toronto game against Buffalo — and the Bills DO NOT have a good pass rush.

• When Beck does throw the ball, he throws short, which is also something he did while in Miami. In other words, the Washington passing game is a mess.

• Truth is, if the Dolphins don't get four or five sacks in this game, it will be both a big surprise and a big disappointment. Cameron Wake hasn't had a truly great game yet this season, but this sets up as the perfect opportunity for him.

• And, just maybe, this is the game one of the starting defensive backs gets an interception. For those keeping score, the Dolphins have but two picks on the season, one by defensive end Jared Odrick off a tipped pass and the other by backup cornerback Jimmy Wilson at Cleveland. That was in Week 3, which means the Dolphins have gone five games without an interception. Needless to say, that's way too long.

• To be fair, things shouldn't be that easy on the other side of the ball for the Dolphins because Washington is pretty good on defense. It's just that their offense has put so much pressure on them, eventually they cave.

• But this is solid group with some big-name defensive backs (DeAngelo Hall, LaRon Landry, Oshiomogho Atogwe, to name three) and a very good pass rush. In fact, linebacker Brian Orakpo leads what is one of the best pass rushes in the league.

• That said, don't simply expect Reggie Bush to have another field day. Not saying it's not going to happen, but Washington is better on defense than the Kansas City Chiefs and probably better than the New York Giants once you get past New York's formidable front four.

• We're expecting to see cornerback Vontae Davis back in the lineup and it will be interesting to see if he can finally get something done this season. The first half was, to say the least, forgettable — from his regrettable claim that he and Sean Smith represented the best CB in the league, to his hamstring problem, to his suspension from the Dolphins.

• We're also curious to see Jake Long and how he deals with Orakpo after completely shutting down Tamba Hali last weekend. Long had taken some criticism for his play before last week and he's now gone a couple of weeks without talking to the media.

• Elsewhere on offense, we want to see more and more of rookie tight end Charles Clay, who shows a lot of big-play potential.

• Also, is this the week Brian Hartline re-appears?

Breaking down both teams, this clearly is a game the Dolphins should win, but until they show some consistency and put together more than one good performance, "should win" probably never should be used.


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