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Chiefs vs. Dolphins 2014: Where to beat Ryan Tannehill

To prepare for Sunday's Chiefs-Dolphins game, I spoke with Kevin over at SB Nation's Dolphins blog, The Phinsider. Here's our Q&A on the game.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

1. Who is one player on the Dolphins offense we don't know but should?

The Phinsider: Charles Clay is probably a little too well known at this point to use him as the answer to this question. I'll answer running back Damien Williams. He may or may not have many carries this week, as the Dolphins look to fill the vacancy caused by the dislocated elbow to Knowshon Moreno, but he has been an impressive undrafted free agent in the preseason, and he, hopefully, will be able to carry that over to the regular season as more is asked of him.

2. Who is one player on the Dolphins defense we don't know but should?

The Phinsider: This is a harder one to answer than the offense. The players we know will be playing are mostly recognizable name: Cameron Wake, Randy Starks, Brent Grimes, Cortland Finnegan, and Louis Delmas. Even the less known starters are at least names people may have heard: Jared Odrick (defensive tackle), Earl Mitchell (defensive tackle), and Jimmy Wilson (safety). It's the guys who we are not sure who will play that will be the players you should know but don't.

With Dannell Ellerbe on injured reserve, Koa Misi not practicing, and Philip Wheeler dealing with a cast on his hand, it's the linebackers that are a mess. The assumed starters will be Jason Trusnik in the middle, Wheeler on the weak side, and Jelani Jenkins on the strong side. Jonathan Freeny and Chris McCain could see plenty of playing time as well.

McCain is probably the best answer to the question, as he is an undrafted free agent that has been a surprise this year.
In Week 1 against the New England Patriots, he recorded a blocked punt and a sack. He is versatile enough to play both defensive end and linebacker, filling the role that, ideally, will be Dion Jordan's when his suspension ends. McCain was sick all last week, leading up to the Buffalo Bills game, so he seemed a step slow throughout the game. Hopefully he will be up to full strength this week, and will be able to continue to have an impact on the game.

3. How is Ryan Tannehill's deep ball? Is Mike Wallace working out there?

That's obviously the weakest part of Tannehill's game, and it's frustrating. He can make all the throws, but somehow, he cannot hit the receiver with the throw. Most of the time, he under-throws receivers, despite having the arm strength to get it all the way out there. It's almost like he is trying to place the ball perfectly, and ultimately missing badly. I think it's a matter of Tannehill getting out of his own head at this point, and just throwing the ball.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Albert has been a great addition for the Dolphins, and has absolutely locked down the blindside for Tannehill. -The Phinsider

Wallace is playing more like a wide receiver now, rather than a go-route runner. He's starting to have an impact on crossing routes and slants. He's leading the team in receptions, targets, yards, average, touchdowns, and first downs. He's become a bigger part of the offense, and he's actually started to play with an attitude, something he did not have last year. He's still not a go-up-and-fight type of receiver, but he is at least becoming more of an option for the offense, and the team is looking to get him the ball in more creative ways than we saw last year.

4. How is our guy Branden Albert doing down there in Miami?

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Albert has been a great addition for the Dolphins, and has absolutely locked down the blindside for Tannehill. He's allowed one quarterback hit this year. That's it. After a season in which the Dolphins allowed 58 sacks, having Albert on the line has been exactly what the team needed.

Add in the injury to Mike Pouncey, with the team losing their on-field offensive line leader due to a torn labrum in his hip, and having an Pro Bowl left tackle able to immediately step up and take charge was huge.

The Dolphins have been really strong at tackle this year, with Albert on one side and Ja'Wuan James on the other. James technically allowed a sack to Mario Williams last week, but that was really Tannehill stepping up directly into Williams' arms as he tried to avoid the pass rush coming up the middle. Otherwise, James has been impeccable, routinely handling pass rushers all by himself, and making it look pretty easy. He will be tested again this week, but I would be surprised if is not at least solid on the day.

It's the middle of the offensive line that is the concern. A Pouncey return would be huge, but that's not going to happen this week, so Darren Colledge, Samson Satele, and Dallas Thomas, who will start in place of the injured Shelley Smith, will have to be ready to go. Albert can lead and be great out on the edge by himself, but it's going to be on the middle of the offensive line to perform if the Dolphins will have running success, and if Tannehill stays upright on the day.

5. What's your prediction on the game?

Honestly, I don't know. I think the Chiefs are a better team than they have shown this year, and I think the Dolphins should be a better team than what they showed last week against the Bills. It will be a close game. Kansas City's weakness play to Miami's strengths, but Miami's weaknesses play to the Chiefs' strengths (specifically looking at Travis Kelce and our old buddy Anthony Fasano against a linebacker corps who has not yet proven they can cover a tight end).

At the end of the day, I will give the nod to Miami, simply because they are at home (and having been to Arrowhead, I will absolutely give the nod to KC there). Let's say a field goal? Something like 17-14 Miami.

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