Defensively the Dolphins have some serious issues. They lack quality depth at linebacker and have questions in their secondary from corner back to safety.
Earl Mitchell, Ndamukong Suh, and Jordan Phillips are the only three pure defensive tackles to remain on the roster after cuts. It’s not a complete surprise given the fact Miami plays in a 4-3 where the edge rushers can often slide inside as well.
The meat of the Dolphins defense is on the edge and the Dolphins are deep at the position. Cameron Wake has been relegated to a pass rush specialist which should keep healthy and extend his career. Mario Williams has had a lackluster pre-season but he never really motored at 100% in the exhibition season anyways.
Terrence Fede makes it through another round of cuts but this could be his last season in Miami if he doesn’t take another step forward. Jason Jones and Andre Branch also make the roster but the surprise and possible feel good story of the unit is Juluis Warmsley who makes the 53 and looks to have a real shot of being active on game day.
Neville Hewitt, Koa Misi, Jelani Jenkins, and Kiko Alonso all return but the depth seriously drops off from Hewitt. Mike Hull enters his 2nd season and Spencer Paysinger who is more or less a special teams player rounds out the thin six man unit.
Sometimes you just want to shake your head. The problem with the corner back position is that there is depth problems and questions about the starters. Byron Maxwell has been o.k. but far from the level Miami had hoped for, but it’s early. Xavien Howard has been back for two weeks and has one pre-season game experience and he will start next week.
It doesn’t get much better after Bobby McCain who will likely play nickel. Jordan Lucas is on the bottom of the group and there is no guarantee he makes it until next Sunday. Tony Lippett rounds out yet another thin group of five.
The release of Chimdi Chekwa on Saturday was a surprise because he had more experience than any of the others aside from Maxwell.
Reshad Jones and Isa Abdul-Quddus will start and Michael Thomas and Walt Aikens make it through for another season. The Dolphins only kept four but that is typical of many teams.
Andrew Franks beat out the not-so-stiff competition and Matt Darr had no competition at punter.
The Dolphins didn’t have too many players they could hide on one of the three designated lists. CB Ifo Expire-Olomu was placed on the Reserve/Injured list. The Dolphins could bring him back in 8 weeks.
CB Chris Culliver was placed on the PuP list and Zach Vigil and Dion Jordan were placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list.