Editor’s note: Staff writer Steve Fini takes a look at five players who will most influence Miami’s upcoming win over the Eagles.
Cameron Wake (OLB/DE/Dolphins) – This former Penn State product is the best player on Miami’s roster. He’s a beast off the edge and can beat any tackle in the league. Eagles LT Jason Peters has played at a Pro-Bowl level this year and has kept some of the game’s best pass rushers in the league at bay.
Even though Wake doesn’t have the name recognition of some of his peers, he’s known around the league as one of the top players at his position. He’s been a driving force in a resurgent Miami defense that’s been one of the game’s top units over the past six weeks. If the Eagles don’t key in on Wake, Michael Vick could find himself right back on the sidelines.
Davone Bess (WR/Dolphins) – We’ve talked about it a lot in these breakdowns about the Eagles penchant for turning mediocre players into the week’s breakout star. If you’r looking for a potential sleeper this week, it’s probably Bess. While he comes into the game a bit more established than a guy like Victor Cruz, Bess hasn’t been terribly productive this season, particularly of late. Bess only has 40 catches for 441 yards and two touchdowns.
Still, he’s a great route runner with above average hands. He’s one of those players that knows how to find space in congested areas. What’s more, he plays in the slot. The Eagles cannot contain slot receivers. Frankly, there’s no reason to think this will change against the Dolphins. Dominique Rodgers Cromartie was dismal in the slot. Joselio Hanson was a bit better. With DRC back, I expect his early season struggles to continue.
Michael Vick (QB/Eagles)– He’s back. Great. But does it really matter? Sure, the Eagles are a better team with him on the field, but can Vick find the motivation to get up for this final stretch of games? Teams that play for pride would have never lost to teams like Arizona or Seattle. Is Vick playing for his head coach’s job? The fate of Reid, whatever it may be, is likely already sealed. As much as getting your “star” quarterback back should be exciting, this is as anti-climatic as it gets.
It’s a crazy thought, but I’d almost like to see Mike Kafka get some action. Is he the Eagles long-term answer at backup quarterback, or is he the debacle of a player with a weak arm that we saw at points earlier this season?
Nnamdi Asomugha (CB/Eagles) – This season has been a lost cause for Nnamdi Asomugha. But he can use this game to build some positive momentum toward next year. He will be matched up on Brandon Marshall and he needs to shut him down. He needs to show the ability he displayed for years in Oakland. And it has to start now. It should be a great battle because Marshall plays right into Asomugha’s skill set. Then again, if he fails miserably…
Ronnie Brown (RB/Eagles) – Why waste time mentioning Brown, right? Well, for one, I write about LeSean McCoy every week so I figured I’d give that a rest. But Andy Reid loves to use players in big situations against their former teams. Steve Smith’s one play this season came against the Giants. That’s probably no coincidence. He was used early and often in the first game, but decided to suck and was taken out. I fully expect Reid to get Brown a touchdown in front of Miami’s home fans. McCoy
should better get the majority of touches, but it would be nice to see Brown get a blow against the Dolphins.