The Miami Dolphins this season have exceeded some fans expectations, but they have also disappointed. This team wasn’t expected to do well this season with having a rookie in two key positions, at Quarterback and Head Coach. The Dolphins season being a roller-coaster is a big understatement. Miami has shown signs of being a playoff caliber team, but they have also looked like they couldn’t beat a Division II College Team.
This seasons biggest struggles aren’t on offense, it’s the defense. It’s not the lack of players in a certain position or even poor play calling, it’s the lack of making a tackle. The defense has lost a couple games this season simply because they couldn’t make a tackle when they needed it most. They could even have the running back or the receiver wrapped up, but then he would find a way to break free.
The other concerning aspect of the Dolphins defense is the amount of tackles in the secondary and the lack of tackles on the defensive line. Middle Linebacker, Karlos Dansby, is the Dolphins’ leading tackler with 79 total tackles. That is not surprising nor concerning really. However, Safety Reshad Jones has the second most tackles on the Dolphins defense with 66 total tackles. The fact that there are more tackles by a Safety vs. a defensive line is concerning, simply because the opponents offense is getting plays down the field which force the Safety to tackle and save the team.
Now I’m not taking away from any accomplishments the defense has on the season so far. Reshad Jones has had a breakout year, and having a reliable safety in the secondary is vital for a defense, but the Dolphins D-Line is very concerning. The run defense has steadily declined, and they are struggling to get to the Quarterback. Defensive End, Cameron Wake, is currently the leading tackler on the defensive line with 33 total tackles, and has the most sacks on the entire Miami defense with 14 sacks. His number of sacks in encouraging, but only 33 tackles after 13 games isn’t.
Is the offense struggling? Absolutely. Is the offensive line concerning with Pro Bowl LT, Jake Long, injured and not performing well this season? Yes. But if the defense can’t get stops and put rookie QB, Ryan Tannehill, in better field position, then the Dolphins will continue to struggle. The defensive line must step up and produce like they were at the beginning of the season by stopping the run, and getting sacks. This team has a very good D-Line, they just need to find that spark again.