Dolphins 2020 Opponent Breakdown: Weeks 10, 12 — New York Jets
As the Miami Dolphins continue to prepare for the 2020 regular season as best they can during this most unusual offseason, we will be dissecting their upcoming opponents.
The opponent for back-to-back games in Weeks 10 and 12 (sandwiched around a bye) will be the New York Jets, with the Dolphins facing the Jets on Nov. 15 at Hard Rock Stadium at 4:05 p.m. ET. and Nov. 29 at MetLife Stadium at 1 p.m.
NEW YORK JETS
2019 Record: 7-9, third in AFC East (no playoffs)
Last Dolphins-Jets Meetings: 2019 at Miami — Dolphins 26, Jets 18; at New York — Jets 22, Dolphins 21
Perhaps it was fitting that it was against the Jets and former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase that Miami was able to get its first win of 2019, which happened on the first Sunday in November. Rookie free agent wide receiver Preston Williams had two touchdown catches to lead the way for the Dolphins in that game, though he later left with a torn ACL that cost him the second half of the season. In the December rematch at MetLife Stadium, the Jets pulled out a last-second victory after instant replay intervened to produce a defensive pass interference call on Dolphins cornerback Nik Needham (to be fair, it did look like DPI). Kicker Jason Sanders set a franchise record with seven field goals in that game, though he did miss one.
Season in Review:
Adam Gase's first season with the Jets didn't exactly produce the desired results, and the 7-9 final record actually didn't do justice to the kind of disappointment the season represented. There were problems in several areas, including starting quarterback Sam Darnold being sidelined for a few games after contracting mononucleosis, running back Le'Veon Bell performing way below expectations behind a porous offensive line, and two key veteran additions at linebacker (C.J. Mosley and Avery Williamson) missing all but two games after sustaining serious injuries. The loss against the Dolphins was part of a 1-7 start for the Jets, who later lost to a Cincinnati Bengals team that came in at 0-11. The Jets did win three of their last four to make their final record more respectable, though it should be noted that the Buffalo Bills rested several starters in the season finale. The team's lone Pro Bowl selection was safety Jamal Adams, who also was named an All-Pro.
Key Veteran Additions: QB Joe Flacco, RB Frank Gore, WR Breshad Perriman
The signing of Flacco occurred after the Jets re-signed Gase favorite David Fales, though it's clear it's Flacco who would get the call should something happen to Darnold. While it's clear Flacco's career is nearing the end, he's still have to rank as a quality backup. The same applies for Gore, who will be heading into a 17th NFL season. As remarkable as Gore's longevity continues to be, it was a rather strange signing given his age, his diminishing production (career-low 3.6 average last year with Buffalo) and the fact his style doesn't really complement that of Bell. Perriman, the son of former UM standout and short-time Dolphins receiver Brett Perriman, joined the Jets as an unrestricted free agent after a career year with the Tampa Bay Bucs. A former first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens, Perriman had 36 catches for 645 yards and six touchdowns in 2019.
Key Departures: RB Bilal Powell, WR Robby Anderson, C Ryan Kalil
Powell spent the past 10 seasons with the Jets, most often as a backup, but he's got a very healthy 4.3 average and it's fair to question whether the smart move would have been to re-sign him instead of bringing in Gore. Anderson averaged 52 catches and almost 15 yards per reception for the Jets the past four seasons, but he left to sign as a free agent with the Carolina Panthers. Kalil, the five-time Pro Bowl selection with Carolina, was brought out of retirement last year but he offered a mediocre performance in his seven games before being placed on injured reserve.
Notable 2020 Draft Picks: T Mekhi Becton, WR Denzel Mims, S Ashtyn Davis
Becton was considered among the top tier of offensive tackle prospects in the 2020 draft, along with Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills, and he was the last of those to go at number 11 overall. Becton figures to be a Day 1 starter at left tackle for the Jets. Mims quickly could become the Jets' top wide receiver after he scored 28 touchdowns the past three years and had two 1,000-yard seasons. Ashtyn Davis played for new defensive backs coach Gerald Alexander at Cal and was considered one of the top safeties in the draft.
The big story of the offseason with the Jets involved Adams, who was unhappy with his contract and eventually demanded a trade. Adams is under contract for the next two years and then the Jets could apply the franchise tag in 2022, so they certainly could hang on to him, but this is a situation that could threaten to derail them in 2020. If they can get things sorted out with Adams, the Jets have the potential for a tremendous defense with not only Adams but DT Quinnen Williams, NT Steve McLendon and LB Jordan Jenkins, not to mention Mosley and Williamson. The Jets finished seventh in total defense in 2019, and that was despite having Mosley for only two games and Williamson for none at all. The offense will remain a question mark until Darnold delivers on the promise that came with him being the third overall pick in 2018, until Bell can produce results even remotely close to what he did in Pittsburgh, and until the offensive line can help Darnold and Bell achieve those goals.