Steve: Who to keep an eye on in Saints vs. Dolphins
3 weeks into the NFL season and the Saints are rolling along at 3-0. What’s surprising is that the Black and Gold have been winning games because of the play of the defense. The unit has really done a complete 180 from last year and is currently ranked 5th overall in the NFL…5TH!!!
The Saints opponent this week, the Miami Dolphins, are also unbeaten on the year. The ‘Fins are a young team on the rise and 2nd year QB Ryan Tannehill looks to be the real deal. Here are some players that I’ll be on the lookout for in this one:
OG JAHRI EVANS
The Saints All-Pro offensive lineman missed last week’s contest against Arizona and his absence was quite evident. Brees was sacked 4 times in the game brining this year’s total to 10 (yowser!) He was sacked 26 times total last year for crying out loud.
Evans has been nursing a hamstring injury to start the year and saw his ironman streak of 114 games come to an end. Him being hurt has contributed to opposing defenses teeing off on Brees as well as the struggles in the run game. Hopefully a week off was enough to get him back on the field.
OLB JUNIOR GALETTE
I will still never forget Saints training camp 2010. Sideline reporter Krisitan Garic and I were talking, going through our roster sheet at the start of practice as the team began to stretch. Out of nowhere this undrafted rookie out of Stillman College passes by both of us and says, “THEE Junior Galette.” Krisitan and I were left scratching our heads, laughed, and were left wondering who this guy thought he was.
Since then Galette has proved to be a talented pass rusher with speed being the name of his game. He has 2 sacks so far this year and is thriving in Rob Ryan’s system. Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is not very mobile and I think Galette is really going to shine in the prime time lights of Monday Night Football. FEAR THE BEARD!
TE JIMMY GRAHAM
Why won’t anybody trade me Jimmy in fantasy football? I’ll tell you why, this guy is the Incredible Hulk in cleats. He is almost un-coverable, plays with a ton of passion and is Drew’s go to guy.
Graham has 23 receptions for 358 yards and 4 touchdowns. Don’t expect him to be slowed down by Miami. Jimmy hungry, Jimmy eat Dolphin!
DT RANDY STARKS
This mammoth tackle is a terror and will likely be a thorn in the side for the Saints offensive line. His bull rush is not easy to handle and in turn is very disruptive to the running and passing game.
He lost his starting job to open the season to Paul Soliai but due to a knee injury Starks has been thrust back in a starting role. Starks isn’t likely happy about his situation and I’m afraid the 2 time Pro Bowler just may take out some frustrations Monday night for the world to see.
CB BRENT GRIMES
This familiar name flew the Falcons coop and landed in South Beach this offseason in free agency. He tore his Achilles in the first game of the season in 2012 and missed the rest of the year.
He’s quite familiar with the Saints and Brees having spent 6 season in Atlanta and has picked off #9 twice before. Grimes is just 5 ft 10 in, 190 pounds but the 30 year old is a danger in the ‘Fins secondary. He signed a one year deal in Miami and is looking to prove himself all over again.
RB LAMAR MILLER
Miller was drafted last year and after a nice rookie campaign, the Dolphins were comfortable letting Reggie Bush walk in free agency. The homegrown talent out of the University of Miami has breakaway speed, but hasn’t quite got things going yet this season.
He has improved each week after a brutal week one though and is now averaging 4.2 yards per carry while finding the endzone once. The small speedster may give the Fluer Di Lis D fits as the Saints rushing defense is giving up on average 111 yards per game.
MY SAINTS VIDEO OF THE WEEK: