Breaking Down The Game: Part 1

To get a different perspective on the Dolphins-Ravens playoff matchup, we turned to Adam Caplan, Scout.com national NFL reporter and Sirius NFL radio host. In Part 1, he offers this thoughts on the matchup when the Ravens have the ball.

Q: How surprising was the performance of Joe Flacco this season?

Adam Caplan: It's not surprising that he's doing well based on his talent and skill, but the fact that he's doing this well so early in his career is the surprise. When you consider he only started two years at the D-1AA level and he's playing this well, you start to understand how surprising his performance this season has been.

Q: How much credit does offensive coordinator -- and former Dolphins head coach -- Cam Cameron deserves for the play of the Baltimore offense this season?

AC: A ton but also give quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson credit as well.

Cameron has brought Flacco along slowly and has asked him to do more and more each week, but nowhere near as much as Matt Ryan is being asked to do.

Cameron has used his power rushing approach on offense which has taken pressure off of the young signal-caller.

And in recent games, Cameron is using a three-offensive-tackle formation on about 30 percent of all offensive plays, which is almost unheard of.

Jackson has worked closely with Flacco and he's done a good job of teaching and harping on fundamentals.

Q: Is the Baltimore offense really good enough for the Ravens to make a deep run into the playoffs?

AC: Because their running game has been so successful of late, they're capable of beating almost anyone that's in the AFC. The issue would be whether they could come from behind against the better defenses like Tennessee and Pittsburgh.

Q: What can the Dolphins do to stop the Baltimore running attack?

AC: Probably bringing down another defender (probably a safety) would help to limit their ability to run the ball consistently. But again, the problem is that Baltimore has three offensive tackles a game for almost a third of their offensive snaps plus a fullback.

Q: Is pressure or disguising coverages the best way to rattle Flacco in this game?

AC: Flacco has improved quite a bit against the blitz in recent games. The best way to stop him is to disguise coverages, which could confuse him a little. What you want to do with a young quarterback is to make him have to think too much.

Q: Are either of the Ravens' starting tackles good enough to block Joey Porter one-on-one?

AC: The way to beat their offensive line is on the right side. Veteran RT Willie Anderson doesn't have good enough feet and doesn't move well. LT Jared Gaither is playing well and has a very long reach.


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