The Miami Dolphins are looking to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium, as Mike McDaniel’s team is looking to win their sixth game in a row and ninth of the year.
Miami is coming off of a win over the Houston Texans that left the team with injuries to both starting tackles. With Austin Jackson already ruled out, and Terron Armstead doubtful for the contest, the Dolphins could be in for some trouble.
Before Miami’s Week 13 matchup against the 49ers, we caught up with managing editor Kyle Madson of Niners Wire to get some inside information on the Dolphins’ opponent.
Here are five questions with Niners Wire:
The 49ers have had one of the most interesting quarterback stories in recent memory. Which side is the fan base on when it comes to the Jimmy Garoppolo-Trey Lance saga?
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KM — It’s been a roller coaster. I think the fan base is going to support whoever the signal caller is. Going into the year though it was probably 60-40 pro-Lance. There’s a lot of love for Garoppolo in the Bay Area, but his frustrating play style is always going to draw the ire of some. His play in Lance’s absence has definitely won some people over so perhaps that 60-40 split is closer to 50-50 now. On the other hand, the honeymoon could end soon depending on how Garoppolo plays down the stretch and into the postseason. I have no idea what it’ll look like going into next year, and it may be moot if some team like the Jets or Saints gives Garoppolo a bunch of money and he walks.
Christian McCaffrey was probably the most notable player traded at the deadline. In what ways has he changed the offense since he arrived?
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KM — The biggest thing that’s changed since his arrival is Garoppolo. So many of the mistakes Garoppolo would make have been mitigated with McCaffrey’s arrival. There’s less pressure on the QB to force throws into the middle of the field, especially when under pressure, so his interceptable throws have diminished a ton. He’s also taking fewer bad sacks with McCaffrey to check the ball down to. Since McCaffrey got to the 49ers there are probably three plays per game that would’ve been negative plays prior to his arrival that McCaffrey has turned into positive plays via checkdowns or opening up lanes for other pass catchers with his gravity.
Tight end George Kittle hasn't exactly felt the same this season, as he's on pace for one of his worst full years of his career. Is there a deeper reason for this?
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KM — There are a couple issues. First, he was hurt to start the year. That didn’t help since he missed two games and then took a couple weeks to get warmed up. Second, he’s getting older. He’s taken a ton of hits in his career and he turned 29 in early October. I think the 49ers want to limit some of his usage when they can. There’s also just less necessity for him to be a pass catcher. Garoppolo has other pass catching weapons to lean on. The result is Kittle getting a handful of targets consistently, but then every now and then he’ll have a monster outing where he looks like his old self.
There was talk about Deebo Samuel getting traded this offseason. Are these rumors all in the past with the three-year extension he received back in July.
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KM — Yeah, Samuel is a 49er and will be for the foreseeable future. His volume is down a bit overall, but given that one of his goals appears to be getting another sizable payday before his career is over I don’t think he probably minds the less extensive usage. He’s another player who I think might see a higher usage rate in big spots down the stretch and in postseason games.
Can we get a score prediction for our Week 13 matchup?
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KM — I’m interested to see how the 49ers adjust to what the Chiefs did to them back in Week 7, because I think the Dolphins will hammer the edges with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle’s speed the way Kansas City did with Mecole Hardman. San Francisco should be able to take away some of the throws in the middle of the field that Tua thrives on, but there’ll be some shots open over the top that could lead to a game-swinging play or two. I think the 49ers will probably rein in the Dolphins offense some, but I suspect at some point the 49ers will have to go TD-for-TD with Miami and I just don’t trust their offense to do that — especially if Deebo Samuel is out. Dolphins 27, 49ers 17