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Quietly, Dolphins’ Chase Edmonds had team-best 16 touches in opener and was most effective as a receiver – Boston Herald


Buried beneath all the Dolphins’ offensive chatter about quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, tight end Mike Gesicki and the offensive line is this nugget: running back Chase Edmonds had 16 touches in the opener against New England, the most of any player.

Even more encouraging is that Edmonds, who rushed for 25 yards on 12 carries, had four receptions for 40 yards, and that’s an area the Dolphins could exploit Sunday at Baltimore.

“That’s something that I feel like is kind of my niche,” Edmonds said. “I feel like I can separate myself around other running backs in the NFL just with my ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.”

Edmonds, the fifth-year player who teams with Raheem Mostert to comprise the main components of the Dolphins’ rushing attack, is an excellent receiver. Last season he had 43 receptions for 311 yards with Arizona, and in 2020 he had 53 receptions for 402 yards and four touchdowns with Arizona.

“Running backs get different matchups than other players as an offensive skill position player,” coach Mike McDaniel said, “and they can really open up your offense if you can involve your halfback in the passing game.”

Three of Edmonds’ four receptions against New England were on third down. There was an 11-yard reception on third-and-7 in the second quarter, a 7-yard reception on third-and-11 in that same drive, and a 15-yard reception on third-and-9 in the fourth quarter.

“It happened to be third down this past game,” McDaniel said of Edmonds’ receptions. “On first and second down, it opens up your offensive playbook as well. It allows you to feature people and also make your offense a little more multiple with your formations and presentations.”

McDaniel said among the things that make Edmonds a quality receiver out of the backfield are his ball skills, understanding of space, route running and timing with the quarterback.

“He’s a very cerebral, calculated player that also happens to be athletic and a matchup issue for opposing defense,” McDaniel said.

Edmonds said he knows he poses a matchup problem for defenses as a receiver because they already have to worry about wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Chase Edmonds.

Keep an eye on Edmonds against Baltimore.

By the numbers

The significance of a 2-0 start, which would come with a Dolphins victory over Baltimore on Sunday, is intriguing.

A 2-0 start in a 17-game season with seven teams in each conference making the playoffs means that team has a 67% chance of earning a postseason berth, according to the NFL.

Those numbers were figured prior to last year’s playoffs, but you get the point. Clearly it’s too early for a postseason guarantee with a 2-0 start, but the numbers are in your favor.

New for everyone

McDaniel and Tagovailoa talked about the play-calling process being slow at times last week. McDaniel said Tagovailoa saved them a couple of times. The play-calling process will take time, such as many aspects of this offense. It should run more smoothly this week at Baltimore.

McDaniel, offensive coordinator Frank Smith, quarterback coach Darrell Bevell and Tagovailoa were working their first regular season game together in their roles last week.

“For the first game, it was good for us to learn one another and to be able to do that in a game where you win the game,” Bevell said.

“But our game operation is definitely something that we can work on from the head coach, to the quarterback, to the line making calls — the whole orchestration, moving around with all of the motions that we’re doing. We can continue to get better at that.”

Protecting Tua’s blindside

There should be concerns about protecting Tagovailoa’s blind side Sunday. It’s not necessarily because right tackle Greg Little will replace Austin Jackson (ankle), it’s because of Baltimore linebacker Justin Houston (three tackles, 1.0 sacks, two quarterback hits), who graded 16th among edge defenders last week, according to Pro Football Focus.

By comparison, the Dolphins’ Melvin Ingram (two tackles, one for loss, one recovered fumble, TD) and Emmanuel Ogbah (four tackles, 1.0 sack, two quarterback hits), who both had strong games, graded 20th and 22nd, respectively.

Tagovailoa was pressured on 41.7% of his dropbacks last week, fourth-highest percentage in the league behind Arizona (61.4%), Kansas City (58.5%) and the New York Giants (57.1%).

Brandon Jones’ aggression

You already know the Dolphins have perhaps the NFL’s best young safety duo with Jevon Holland and Brandon Jones. It’ll be interesting to see how they use Jones against the Ravens.

Last week, Jones’ aggression led to a team-best 11 tackles, including the strip-sack of Patriots quarterback Mac Jones that led to an Ingram 6-yard touchdown.

Against New England, Jones was in the box 59% of the time and on the line of scrimmage 14% of the time, according to Pro Football Focus. Last season, Jones was in the box 42% of the time and on the line 19% of the time.

Jones was on the line for the strip-sack, which came in 2.13 seconds, fastest in the league.

“His game speed is crazy,” Holland said. “He’s like an energy bunny. He’ll just be flying around 100 miles an hour, and he’s a great tackler. He always brings the juice. That’s big.”

Point, counterpoint

The Ravens are aware of how often Jones is in the box and on the line of scrimmage. They’re looking to take advantage of that aggression with big plays.

“If they’re going to basically roll the dice on having everyone up [in the box] and whatnot, you have to be able to hit them,” Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. “I think that’s definitely something you look forward to.”

Jackson had a 55-yard dart to Rashod Bateman among his three touchdown passes last week.



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