Miami Dolphins face Ian Book-led New Orleans Saints looking to extend six-game winning streak | NFL News


Will Tua Tagovailoa manage to take Miami to its seventh consecutive victory?

Perseverance paid off for the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints, putting them on a collision course for a high-stakes game in late December.

The outlook for the Dolphins (7-7) and Saints (7-7) looked bleak, as both were mired in long losing streaks. Now both are on the fringes of their respective conference playoff races when they meet at the Superdome on Monday night.

But the challenges keep coming on and off the pitch.

Saints starting quarterback Taysom Hill and backup Trevor Siemian were among at least 15 New Orleans players who tested positive for Covid-19 this week, leaving their readiness questionable as the Saints prepared rookie Ian Book for an inaugural start. .

“It’s been a wild week,” said Book, a fourth-round draft pick from Notre Dame. “I didn’t expect things like this to happen, but with Covid you never know”.

It’s just the latest hurdle for the Saints, who started their first season since Drew Brees’ retirement from New Orleans for nearly a month after Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana in late August.

The Saints ‘home debut was moved to Jacksonville, Florida where Jameis Winston won his first game as Brees’ successor on Green Bay. New Orleans started 5-2, only to lose Winston to a late season knee injury during a week eight win.

New Orleans then fielded Trevor Siemian for four games – all defeats – before kicking off Hill.

The losing streak grew to five before Hill won his last two starts, including last week in Tampa Bay with both of his early attacking tackles out with injuries and with manager Sean Payton not making the trip to due to the Covid-19 protocols.

“A team’s identity forms as the season progresses,” said Saints attacking lineman James Hurst, who has been inserted into a starting role due to injuries. “You may be playing a tough period of games where you lose point after point, making stupid mistakes you know you can’t make, but then realizing what you are and how you’re going to win games. That formula right and finding ways to win games that’s all that matters. “

The New Orleans Saints handed Tom Brady his first shutout since 2006 when they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-0

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The New Orleans Saints handed Tom Brady his first shutout since 2006 when they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-0

The New Orleans Saints handed Tom Brady his first shutout since 2006 when they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-0

Miami was 1-7 and apparently went nowhere under third-year manager Brian Flores after losing seven in a row. Now the Dolphins are looking to become the first NFL team to win seven in a row after losing so many in a row.

For Miami linebacker Jerome Baker, the breakthrough came from the team’s growing confidence in Flores.

“We trust Flo for everything,” Baker said. “We believe in what he’s talking about. I think we just had to really see him. I think once we believed in us and him, things started to change. It’s a credit to him and our coaching staff and it’s a credit for all of us. “

OPENING THE BOOK

Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr said all QBs on the roster are preparing – virtually or not – for Miami and have not pledged to start the Book. But he said what Book Saints liked, that he was inactive for all 14 regular-season games of his rookie season outside Notre Dame.

“Before we signed him, there were a lot of things we saw in the movie that we really liked,” Carmichael said. “He’s smart. He’s had a very productive college career. He’s accurate. He’s mobile.

“He was very sharp in the matches and we were impressed with what he did on the pitch with the training team,” added Carmichael.

Miami's defense was relentless as the Dolphins took out the Baltimore Ravens in Thursday's NFL action

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Miami’s defense was relentless as the Dolphins took out the Baltimore Ravens in Thursday’s NFL action

Miami’s defense was relentless as the Dolphins took out the Baltimore Ravens in Thursday’s NFL action

PANDEMIC EFFECTS

The Saints’ Covid-19 absences this week included several prominent regulars, including starting linebacker and defensive captain Demario Davis, opening safety Malcolm Jenkins, tight end Adam Trautman, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk and offensive tackle from Jordan Mills reserve.

Payton, however, was able to return to coaching in person on Friday after being isolated for about a week.

The Dolphins were having better luck. Sixth overall draft pick Jaylen Waddle has been reactivated from the Covid-19 reserve and is set to continue his pursuit of the NFL rookie catch record. He has received 86 passes this season, with Anquan Boldin setting the record of 101 in 2003.

Football Morning in America's Peter King updates us with all the latest NFL Week 16 stories

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Football Morning in America Peter King updates us with all the latest stories from NFL week 16

Football Morning in America Peter King updates us with all the latest stories from NFL week 16

BACKUP

While the Saints hired veteran QB Blake Bortles to support Book, they also expressed confidence in dynamic running back Alvin Kamara as an emergency backup.

Carmichael said that when the Saints coaches met with Kamara before signing him from Tennessee in 2017, he showed the potential to handle the attack in a pinch.

“He talked about the concepts we approached in the film as a quarterback would, in terms of the prospect of knowing what everyone was doing, not just his assignment,” Carmichael recalled.

Kamara attempted a pass in his NFL career and completed it for 13 yards to then tight end Josh Hill, but did so as a running back after making a handover on a catch game in 2019.

Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins celebrates a touchdown for the Miami Dolphins by celebrating the worm and jumping into the stands!

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Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins celebrates a touchdown for the Miami Dolphins by celebrating the worm and jumping into the stands!

Defensive lineman Christian Wilkins celebrates a touchdown for the Miami Dolphins by celebrating the worm and jumping into the stands!

COME BACK

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was part of a big win at the Superdome once, when Alabama overtook Clemson in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs at the end of the 2017 season.

Jalen Hurts was Alabama QB in that game, but Tagovailoa couldn’t resist taking a jab from Dolphins defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, who played for Clemson.

“We all know what happened there, right Christian?” Tagovailoa said.

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