Editor’s note: This is the last part in a series that spotlights three Dolphins-Raiders matchups to watch Sunday, 10 a.m., at Wembley Stadium.
Dolphins run defense, featuring DT Jared Odrick vs. Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew
Tale of the tape:
Odrick (98): 6-foot-5, 304 pounds, fifth season, Penn State
Jones-Drew (21): 5-foot-7, 210 pounds, ninth season, UCLA
Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew missed two games recovering from hand surgery. He will play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, a welcome return for am ailing ground game struggling to establish an offensive rhythm.
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen is expected to ease him back into action, though he said game action will ultimately dictate how carries are dispersed. A quick start could earn steady touches, especially after Darren McFadden has run hard yet hasn’t been productive in recent starts.
Jones-Drew is itching to return, especially after averaging just 1.8 yards per carry in his only game of the season, which came against the New York Jets. He’s far better than that total, and a solid effort against a Dolphins team ranked No. 20 against the run. They allow 125.3 yards per game, a poor total that contrasts their efforts in pass defense.
Dolphins defensive tackle Jared Odrick has been a strong part of that front seven, which will be collectively responsible for stopping Jones-Drew. The Raiders have struggled to reach the defense’s second level, something Odrick wants to prevent with the Raiders. The Dolphins have great size up front, and have a good interior rotation that also features Randy Starks and Earl Mitchell.
Jones-Drew remains confident that the Raiders can get things moving on the ground. Small mistakes have created trouble, but he believes a few corrections can crank things up.
“It’s been hard for us to get the running game going,” he said. “I think we’re close, and a little better execution on everyone’s part, including my own, can generate production and help get things rolling.”