The Offense Steals The Spotlight, But The Dolphins’ Defense Is Also Their Calling Card

The Offense Steals The Spotlight, But The Dolphins’ Defense Is Also Their Calling Card

The Miami Dolphins are one of the great sensations of this start of the season and not only because of their explosive offense, but also because of their defense.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa seems to have turned the corner and his potential is maximized with all the explosive targets around him. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are one of the best receiving duos in the NFL and seem to create separation on every play.

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Surely the “mad scientist,” his new head coach, Mike McDaniel, deserves a lot of credit, as his creative playmaking and confidence boost to this group paid immediate dividends, but one decision in particular it has also empowered the Dolphins.

When he arrived in Miami, McDaniel decided to keep a large part of the defensive staff to give continuity to a unit that had shone the previous year.

As unusual as it is effective.

Beyond the one that usually gets the spotlight on offense, it was the defense that ended up as the hero last week against the potent offense of the Buffalo Bills.

On the surface, it seems like Miami’s defense didn’t necessarily shine, given that they allowed 497 yards, but if we take a closer look, we’ll see that they limited the big plays and, above all, grew in the most important moments.

A team isn’t supposed to win when it’s 51 fewer offensive snaps than the opponent. The Bills dominated the shot clock and still lost.

Under the intense Miami heat that left multiple players cramped, the will of the Dolphins defense was stronger and limited the effectiveness of the Bills in the red zone.

There was a lot of talk about Buffalo’s injury layoffs, but Miami also had plenty of players with ailments, including their second and third cornerbacks. Secondary depth and pass-rusher depth were the top questions for this unit earlier this year, and at least so far, both have been answered positively.

Melvin Ingram quickly established himself as a key element of the Dolphins’ defense. Getty Images/Eric Espada

The late addition of Melvin Ingram has been just what the doctor ordered for Miami. Opposite Emmanuel Ogbah, he already has two sacks and a forced fumble.

In secondary, while they’ve already lost Trill Williams for the rest of the season and are still waiting for Byron Jones to return, other youngsters like Kader Kohou have stepped up, while Nik Needham has settled in to accompany the star. Xavien Howard.

Not to mention the safety duo, which, in my opinion, is one of the best in the NFL. If you haven’t been paying attention, Javon Holland is a star now in his second year and communication with Brandon Jones has been great.

Inside the defensive line, Christian Wilkins is the quiet hero of this group, while Zach Sieler only produces and Jerome Baker patrols the second tier of defense.

To be honest, I thought Josh Boyer’s unit would take a step back this season, and while their level hasn’t been outstanding by any means, they’ve shown resiliency and the Dolphins have played complementary football.

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From there, the start with a 3-0 mark is explained and now, the Dolphins will have the difficult task of playing away, in a short week, against the Cincinnati Bengals this Thursday night.

Miami has a lot of players banged up after a very physical game against Buffalo, even though it would have them all available. Sometimes having 10 days off in the future causes that last rest to happen physically.

Against the Bengals, the defense has to shine if the Dolphins want to win. Cincinnati’s offensive line has been a problem for those led by Zac Taylor despite the renewal in the unit, to the point that Joe Burrow was sacked 13 times in the first two weeks. Now, that protection got better against the Jets, who managed just two sacks.

If Burrow has time, he’s going to simmer with one of the best receiving groups in the league at his disposal.

Cincinnati has struggled to run this early in the season and as such, it’s imperative that the Dolphins focus on Burrow. On multiple occasions this season, the Dolphins have shown “Cover 0” coverage and we’re going to see it often in Cincinnati.

Miami will be looking to upset Burrow, who after undergoing surgery for appendicitis in the offseason, didn’t get enough reps in training camp and still looks a bit rusty.

The Dolphins can’t let the Bengals’ quarterback feel comfortable in the pocket and if they win that battle, a 4-0 start is entirely likely, something that, judging by the difficult schedule to start the season, was not possible. nor for the most optimistic Dolphins fan.

Miami’s defense is the key to success for the Dolphins this Thursday against the Bengals.

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