Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 9/6/12

When the Houston Texans travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins Sunday, they’ll be squaring off with a team in transition. The Dolphins have a new head coach in Joe Philbin who has done his best thus far to mold the Dolphins into his team. It’s included trading WR Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears, trading CB Vontae Davis to the Indianapolis Colts, and signing then cutting Chad Johnson. But the one move that will stay with Philbin throughout his tenure with the Dolphins is the drafting of QB Ryan Tannehill in the first round of this past spring’s NFL Draft, which brings us to this week’s key matchup: Tannehill vs. Texans defense.

Last season’s hiring of Wade Phillips as the defensive coordinator has paid off huge dividends thus far for the Texans. Known league wide as a defensive guru, Phillips turned the 30th ranked unit in 2010 into the second best defense in 2011. If the preseason is any indication, last year’s historic turnaround isn’t a one hit wonder. One particular strength of the revamped Phillips D is their ability to rush the passer, forcing turnovers, sacks, and generally causing chaos. Insert a rookie quarterback making his NFL debut and you have a Dolphin recipe for disaster. 

However, it might not be as easy for the Texan pass rush to get to Tannehill as one might think. The Dolphins do sport a fairly solid offensive line, particularly left tackle Jake Long. While the Texans’ pressure might not always physically reach Tannehill, getting in his face and shrinking the pocket can be just as effective. Furthermore, as Wade Phillips likes to do with his 3-4 defense, the Texans disguise their blitzes and coverages as well as anybody in the NFL. Forcing a young QB like Tannehill to read and recognize coverages after the snap with defenders breathing down his neck will inevitably force even the best of quarterbacks to occasionally make big mistakes. Tannehill will be no different. 

Fans should expect a tough first NFL start for Tannehill that will include somewhere between 2-5 sacks and a minimum of 2 INTs. It almost seems unfair that Tannehill must start his career against the Bulls On Parade but if you’re a Texans fans, you should be delighted watching your team win in a rout Sunday afternoon over the Miami Dolphins.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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