The Miami Dolphins are looking like a new team after two weeks under Dan Campbell. The defense and offense are flexing their muscles and showing the NFL that they are not who they started out to be. It’s hard to believe that the team who has played the last two weeks is the same team that played the first four.
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This past Sunday fans saw the Dolphins light into the only opponent they had previously never beaten in the NFL. The Houston Texans had won the previous seven match-ups between the clubs but that is no longer a stat line in Dolphins history. Ryan Tannehill broke the NFL record for consecutive completions as he completed 25 passes in a row over the span of two games and the defense has recorded 10 sacks in two games moving themselves from 32nd in the league to 25th in that category.
In addition to sacks, the Dolphins have shutdown opposing running backs, something they struggled with the first quarter of the season. The Dolphins players are buying into what Dan Campbell is selling (we will have more on this in a later post this morning). It’s refreshing to see.
On Sunday the Dolphins dominated both sides of the ball for the 2nd week in a row but it’s this Thursday nights game that many believe will be the tell-tale sign of whether or not this team has turned any corners. The New England Patriots are not just the best team in the AFC East right now. They are the best in the AFC and possibly the best in the NFL. Forget about the undefeated record, New England has a very good chance at finishing the season without a loss. Their schedule is not strong.
The physicality that Miami has shown is impressive. The players are playing so well that the weaknesses they have are being hidden. The physical practice approach has made the Dolphins one of the better physical teams in the league. Miami has improved in run defense, pass defense, sacks, interceptions, and more importantly they have improved considerably in the most basic fundamental area of the game. Tackling.
Over the course of the last two Sunday’s Miami has suddenly learned to tackle. Not just one player making a play but a swarming defense that is now seeing multiple players attacking the ball carrier. It’s impressive but it’s far from over.
The Dolphins have a tough schedule ahead including the next four weeks which will see them play New England, Buffalo, and Philadelphia on the road before returning home to face the Dallas Cowboys. If the Dolphins can finish this stretch with a .500 record it would be an impressive feat as all four teams are tough opponents. To say nothing of the games that come after these four.
If Miami wants to continue the trend they are starting they have to continue to play physical. They have to not only beat their opponents on the scoreboard but on the field in the trenches on both sides of the ball. They have to win the one on one battles and they have to continue getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. If they can do that, they might just be able to finish this season strong and maybe, just maybe make a legit run at the playoffs.
The Dolphins are enjoying their new found energy but they are about to face opponents with winning records and it will indeed be a test to that muscle they are flexing.