Which Miami Dolphins players must the Washington Commanders keep quiet to stand any chance of a major upset in Week 13?
How do you contain Tyreek Hill and the Miami Dolphins? That's the nightmare question Washington Commanders' head coach Ron Rivera is grappling with ahead of Week 13.
Rivera's calling the defense after finally ditching Jack Del Rio as coordinator. The move may spell desperation for many, but the head coach handling the call sheet should be a good thing for the Commanders.
He's a proven commodity as a designer of some outstanding defenses, dating back to his stint as coordinator for the San Diego Chargers in 2010. Rivera will need all of the sophisticated pressures he can think of to try and derail Miami's offensive juggernaut.
The 61-year-old also needs a plan for keeping the NFL's premier big-play threat under wraps.
Commanders need numbers to contain Tyreek Hill
Press coverage is the key to stalling Tyreek Hill, and slowing him down is the best the Washington Commanders can hope to achieve. The wide receiver will get his big plays deep, but it's Ron Rivera's job to limit how many.
A bit of bump and run can work, provided the underneath coverage is supported by safety help over the top. It's what the New England Patriots did to bracket Hill back in the 2018 AFC Championship Game, with Taylor Kyles of Patriots on CLNS showing how.
Double coverage is one thing, but it takes numbers to keep Hill out of the deep third. It's an approach the Patriots used against the Dolphins in Week 2 when they put three safeties along the last line:
"The Patriots 3-high safety game plan was designed to control the areas where Tyreek Hill did most of his damage in Week 1: deep middle and deep sideline. The Pats controlled the middle and limited Hill (40 yards), but still started slowly because they had to pick a poison. That was Waddle (86 yards) and the Mostert-led run game"- Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald
Rivera has the personnel to put a trio of safeties deep and force Hill to live in traffic underneath. Yet, as Callahan noted, the Dolphins have other weapons.