Ready for another strange Dolphins-Jets game?

The Jets might run every play; the Dolphins might pass every play

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.

Tyson Clabo considers the question. His answer is crucial to the idea. He's not just the Dolphins starting right tackle who, like every offensive lineman on this team, has had some ups and many downs this year.

Clabo also is a veteran, a voice of reason, someone whom the other players look at for some perspective in his answers. So if he thinks this idea can work, it has a chance of working.

"Is it possible," I ask, "to throw the ball every single down in a game?"

"No," he says. "You've got to mix it up some. You just can't pass and let the other guy opposite you tee off. It'd be too difficult to pass protect. But you can be more pass-intensive in a game or run-intensive if it helps you."

That's where we're at Sunday with the Dolphins and Jets. There have been some weird games in the rivalry. There was A.J. Duhe's three interceptions in the rain of an AFC title game.

There was the Monday Night Meltdown where the Jets rallied from three time zones back in the fourth quarter to win in overtime. There was Jets' strength coach Sal Alosi standing on the sideline and tripping Nolan Carroll as the Dolphin covered a punt, similar to what Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin almost did Thanksgiving Night.

This has the chance to be another strange one. It's an important one, as the loser is out of the playoff picture. But it can be certifiably and strategically strange as well.

Consider: The Jets' defense is the NFL's best against the run but yields an ungodly number of big passing plays as their 20 passing touchdowns against six interceptions show.

The Dolphins offense is the opposite. It's awful running the ball, but average passing it. That demands the Dolphins pass the ball on Sunday. A lot.

Consider this, too: The Jets offense is 31st in the league in passing and confronting a Dolphins defense that holds opposing quarterbacks to the fourth-lowest rating (75.8) in the league. But the Jets are a top 10 running team and the Dolphins rank 26th against the run.

"So could the Jets run the ball every single down?" I ask.

"Maybe they will," Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake said. "We know they're successful running the ball. It's something we're going to have to be ready to stop."

Ready? The Dolphins should beg Jets quarterback Geno Smith to throw. The Dolphins have yielded one touchdown to an opposing receiver. And Smith is the 34rd ranked quarterback in a 32-team league with a 62.1 rating.

He has 18 interceptions and fumbles the ball, in part because he never took a snap from center in college (only from the shotgun). Asked about the precision in the passing game of late, Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said, "There has been none."

If you're Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, you load against the running game and dare Smith to beat you, right?

And if you're Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman you tell quarterback Ryan Tannehill to throw deep to Mike Wallace again, and again, until they get it down.

The Jets will offer them chances. This defense has given up 12 passes over more than 40 yards this year — more than one a game. Can Tannehill and Wallace get on the same page? It's popular to say it's Tannehill fault, considering some of the passes. But it's both.

Mark Duper, the former Dolphin receiver who played a similar speed-game like Wallace, said Wallace not only should have caught the final heave against Carolina last week. He should've caught the one where Tannehill overthrew him.

"You've got run under the ball with that speed," he said. "[Dan] Marino couldn't out-throw me. I told him to put it out there, I'd go get it."

Wallace will get his chances Sunday, as the Dolphins should throw the ball a lot. Maybe not every down. And maybe the Jets won't run the ball every down. But that's the facets another strange one between these teams should bring.

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