GREEN BAY—The Packers offense is mixing run and pass and is starting to make its move up the league’s rankings, but Offensive Coordinator Tom Clements says there’s still room left for growth.
“We’re playing better but we can still play even better. We’re still not where we want to be exactly,” Clements said as he previewed Sunday’s game in Miami.
The 3-2 Packers will be trying to take their game to a higher level against a Dolphins defense that’s No. 7 in the league in total defense and No. 9 in pass defense.
“They’re an outstanding defense. They rally to the ball. They play their system very well. They have a lot of similarities to Minnesota in their pressure looks,” Clements said of the Dolphins defense.
It’s led by star pass rusher Cameron Wake.
“You always have to know where he is,” Clements said.
It’s thought the south Florida heat and humidity might also be a weapon the Dolphins might use against the Packers, who use their no-huddle offense to up the tempo of the game in quest of a 75-plays goal. Even in the heat and humidity?
“I think we’re in good shape,” Clements said. “Even though we haven’t done it in the heat, we’ve been practicing the no-huddle since June. The heat should not affect our approach.”
On defense, the Packers will be facing a running game that’s produced two rushers with impressive yards-per-carry averages. Lamar Miller is averaging 5.7 yards per carry and his complement, Knowshon Moreno, is running at 5.5 a clip.
“They’ve improved their line,” Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers said. “Their linemen fit their scheme. They do a lot of combo blocking.
“Their quarterback (Ryan Tannehill) is an athletic guy. Miller is a cutback runner. They’ve committed to (the run).”
The Dolphins’ most impressive stat is the No. 1 league ranking for fewest three-and-outs.
“When you don’t give up big plays, you’re hard to score on. It’s a game of big plays,” Capers added.
Speed receiver Mike Wallace is the Dolphins’ big-play weapon. Packers cornerback Sam Shields will be tested again this Sunday, after consecutive games against Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Cordarrelle Patterson, all of whom are big and fast.
“He’s an elite guy from a speed standpoint,” Capers said of Wallace, who leads the 2-2 Dolphins in receiving with 20 receptions for 246 yards and three touchdowns. “He’ll run by you if you’re not conscious about it.”
On special teams, the Dolphins’ main weapon is return man Jarvis Landry. He’s averaging 29.3 yards per kickoff return and has a 74-yarder to his credit. He also returns punts.
“He’s had a little trouble fielding punts, but he’s made some impactful plays,” Packers Special Teams Coordinator Shawn Slocum said.
Slocum acknowledged Packers rookie Jeff Janis came close to blocking a couple of punts in the Packers’ win over the Vikings.
“If I was on the other side, I would say 83 can rush,” Slocum said.
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