Steelers Scouting Report: Week Seven versus the Miami Dolphins

Steel City Underground’s “Steelers Scouting Report” is a preview of each opponent Pittsburgh will face throughout the 2022-23 NFL regular season on a weekly basis, with analysis, injury news, and potential key matchups.

The Pittsburgh Steelers come off of what can only be described as an upset win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mitchell Trubisky came in to pitch relief for a concussed Kenny Pickett and then went on to play the best football he’s played for the Black and Gold.

Chase Claypool had a standout day that drew flashbacks to his breakout rookie campaign. The pass rush roared back to life, led by Cameron Heyward with three pressures, two hurries and a sack. And then last but certainly not least, a secondary comprised of Terrell Edmunds and a swath of backups were able to contain Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and the “GOAT” that is Brady.

Kudos to Head Coach Mike Tomlin for getting the team prepared and getting a much needed win. But, now with a little bit of life in the lungs, can Coach Tomlin and the boys stack back to back wins when they visit Mike McDaniel and the Miami Dolphins?

Going into Sunday’s game, we take a look at the Miami Dolphins.

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Dolphins Offense

By all accounts, this week looks to be slated as the return of Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa suffered what was claimed to have been a back injury versus the Buffalo Bills, only to suffer a terrifying concussion on Thursday Night Football against the Cincinnati Bengals the following week (Week 4) that has kept him out until Week 7.

Tagovailoa returns at the perfect time for this Miami team who has been forced to depend on third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson for significant time due to a Teddy Bridgewater concussion.

Before his back to back injuries, Tagovailoa had been playing the best football of his young career and appears to have had his potential tapped-into by offensive guru Mike McDaniel.

Tagovailoa was averaging 308 yards per game before his injury and had amassed 8 touchdowns with 2 interceptions. While there have been moments of raised eyebrows and question marks around the arm strength of the lefty quarterback, the pure speed on this offense – combined with one of the most creative minds in football right now – means that Tagovailoa does not have to throw like Josh Allen to be exceptionally effective, if not a threat in his own right.

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Speaking of the pure speed on this offense, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to appreciate the lethality of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle; a wide receiver duo who, in their first year together, are already in the conversation for the best receiver duo in the NFL.

Hill has proven that he does not need Patrick Mahomes as his QB in order to be special; the Cheetah is an absolute monster in his own right. Pair that up with Waddle, who was already making impressive strides as one of the better young receivers to come out of an incredibly talented class.

There may be arguments on whether Hill and Waddle are the best receiving duo in the league, but I know one thing for sure – Waddle, hands-down, has the best celebration in the league right now and I won’t be taking any further comments on the matter.

The last name on offense that I want to highlight is tight end Mike Gesicki. One of the better receiving tight ends in the NFL, Gesicki fits perfectly into the mold of tight ends that have historically given Mike Tomlin defenses a lot of issues.

While a lot of attention and discussion will surround the homerun threats of Hill and Waddle, do not be surprised if Gesicki were to have a big day against a Steelers linebacking corps that has still struggled in pass coverage. I don’t think there are many Steelers fans out there that feel confident about the matchup of Robert Spillane versus Gesicki in coverage.

Hopefully, the Steelers pass rush can continue to build on their impressive performance from last week and help out some of those linebackers by cutting down their coverage time. Pass rush and pass coverage go hand-in-hand. The Steelers will need all hands on deck to prevent the resurgence of a potent Miami Dolphins passing attack.

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Dolphins Defense

Miami is coming into Sunday’s matchup against Pittsburgh with a few key pieces still missing on their defense. Emmanuel Ogbah (back) and Christian Wilkins (hand) both missed practice on Wednesday; both of which will be sorely missed on that Miami front seven.

This will leave a lot of that defensive  trench work to be done by former disgruntled Steeler, Melvin Ingram, and nose tackle Raekwon Davis.

The Dolphins will also be hoping that linebacker Jerome Baker (limited – hip) will be good to go on Sunday to help out this depleted Miami front seven.

A good piece of news for the Miami defense is that All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard will be on his second week back after returning from injury, shoring up the back of the Dolphins’ defense. Although he’ll be missing his tag team partner in Bryon Jones, Howard will be asked to take on his normal duties and presumably more on Sunday versus a Steelers offense that may be beginning to find a little bit of its identity.

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Miami Dolphins Participation/Injury Report, Week 7

Wednesday, October 19

Thursday, October 20

  • T Terron Armstead (Toe) – LP
  • LB Sam Eguavoen (Not Injury Related – Illness) – DNP
  • CB Keion Crossen (Knee) – DNP
  • LB Melvin Ingram (Not Injury Related – Vet Rest) —
  • DE Emmanuel Ogbah (Back) – DNP
  • DT Christian Wilkins (Hand) – LP
  • LB Jerome Baker (Hip) – LP
  • CB Xavien Howard (Not Injury Related – Vet Rest) —
  • CB Kader Kohou (Oblique) – LP
  • RB Raheem Mostert (Knee) – FP
  • DL Zach Sieler (Hand) – LP
  • TE Durham Smythe (Hamstring) – LP
  • QB Skylar Thompson (R. Thumb) – LP
  • DB Elijah Campbell (Foot) —
  • TE Tanner Conner (Knee) – FP
  • T Greg Little (Achilles) – LP

The Pittsburgh Steelers visit the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, October 23rd at 8:20 p.m. (Eastern) at Hard Rock Stadium on NBC (broadcasters: Mike Tirico on play-by-play, Cris Collinsworth as analyst, and Melissa Stark reporting).

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