It’s extremely rare when an NFL team finds success in the same season where they fire the head coach. The last time an interim head coach led a team to the playoffs was in 1961 when Mike Holovak took over a 2-3 Boston Patriots team and led them to a 9-4-1 second place finish.READ MORE: Attorney: Parkland School Gunman Nikolas Cruz To Plead Guilty To Massacre
Will Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell be the first guy in the last 54 years to take over a team during the season and lead them to the playoffs?
Miami certainly began the Dan Campbell era on the right foot, dominating the Tennessee Titans last Sunday to improve their record to 2-3. This week they’ll face a tougher opponent in JJ Watt, Arian Foster and the Houston Texans. The Dolphins have never beaten the Texans, going 0-7 against the franchise since it came into the NFL in 2002.
The Dolphins surely know how important it is to get a win this week and get their record back to .500. Following the Texans game, Miami hits the road for three straight games against the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles.
We’ll find out this weekend if the Dan Campbell Dolphins are legit or if last week’s win was a flash in the pan. Here are the top questions surrounding Miami heading into their Week 7 battle with the Texans.
Will The Dolphins Energy From The Titans Win Carry Over To This Week?
One of the biggest knocks on the Joe Philbin-led Dolphins was that they were notorious for getting off to poor starts. Campbell made a point of saying that was something that needed to change immediately, and that’s exactly what happened in Tennessee.
Not only did Miami start the game strong, but they maintained that level of intensity throughout the afternoon. Now the question is whether the team will continue to play that well week after week or if the Titans game was the result of the jolt of energy that comes with a new head coach.
Can Miami Continue To Have Success Running The Ball?
During training camp and the preseason Lamar Miller looked better than ever and seemed poised to have his best season as a pro. Through the Dolphins first four games Miller was never given a chance to get going, receiving just 13, 10, 7 and 7 carries during those weeks, respectively.
Last week against the Titans it was clear that Campbell wanted the team to establish the run, handing the ball to Miller 19 times and finishing with a team total of 32 rushing attempts. Miller ran for 113 yards and a touchdown, averaging 5.9 yards a carry, while the team rushed for 180 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per run.
Which Cameron Wake Will We See On Sunday?READ MORE: Parkland Survivor David Hogg On Potential Guilty Plea: 'It's Horrific That Our Community Has To Continue Going Through This'
Cameron Wake has been one of the best defensive players in the NFL during his time with the Dolphins but got off to a horrendous start this season. Through four games Wake had just one total tackle and never looked like the dominant player he’s been throughout his career.
Following the Dolphins bye week that allowed him to rest an injured hamstring, Wake came to life. He sacked Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota four times in the first half, forcing two fumbles that were both recovered by Miami.
How Will The Dolphins Contain Texans Receiver DeAndre Hopkins?
One of the few bright spots in Houston this season has been the emergence of DeAndre Hopkins as one of the NFL’s elite wide receivers. Through six games Hopkins has already made 52 catches for 726 yards and five touchdowns, catching at least eight passes in five of those six games.
Over the past four weeks Hopkins’ numbers are staggering; 8 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, 9 for 157, 11 for 169 and 10 for 148 and two touchdowns.
That doesn’t bode well for Miami’s banged up secondary. Brice McCain is dealing with a knee injury that kept him from Wednesday’s practice, Brent Grimes has been playing through a knee injury and Zack Bowman also missed practice on Wednesday for a non-injury reason.
Is This The Year That Miami Finally Beats The Texans?
The Houston Texans came into the NFL in 2002 and have played against the Miami Dolphins seven times without losing. The first four games in the series were painfully close, with the Dolphins dropping them by a combined total of 7 points.
The last three haven’t been nearly as competitive, with Miami losing by 7, 10 and 20 points. Coming into this week’s game it certainly looks as though the Dolphins have a good chance of finally ending the skid, as long as they play just as well as they did in Tennessee.
Be sure to check out our FinsOn4 Live Dolphins Blog where we will be posting season-long coverage, updates, photos, video, commentary and more throughout the entire 2015 season.
Watch Miami take on the Houston Texans this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. on CBS4, your official Dolphins station!MORE NEWS: Nikolas Cruz Pleads Guilty In BSO Jail Guard Attack
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