Leaks In The Secondary


What was supposed to be an asset is now starting to become a rather large concern.  The Miami Dolphins secondary is leaking.  To be honest, there are two players that are responsible for opening the flood gates and the bad news in all of this, they are locked in starters.

Let’s first start with TJ McDonald.  Things were supposed to be different this season.  TJ was going to have a full camp and there is was no element of an 8 game suspension hovering over this training camp.  Add in the element  that the Dolphins drafted Minkah Fitzpatrick, the motivation was there for TJ to stand out and earn his starting position.

Additionally, Matt Burke, the Dolphins second year defensive coordinator stated that TJ was his starting Free Safety, even with the presence of a first round draft pick in the waiting room.  Re-watching the Panthers game this past weekend, TJ sucked.  There is no sugar coating it.  The 71 yard touchdown run that the Panthers ran, was 100% on TJ to cover. He took a horrible angle in the pursuit and it was the in box Safety (Reshad Jones) that had a better chance of making the run down.  Those two elements provide evidence that TJ doesn’t know his playbook, can’t read the play or is becoming a liability.  The Free Safety is the last line of defense, and after two pre-season games, the Dolphins are no closer in securing that position.

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On the boundary, the Dolphins have another concern.  Xavien Howard has all the elements you need to become the next shut down corner for the Dolphins.  The problem is that he doesn’t have a running mate.  Cordrea Tankersley is not living up to his 3rd round selection in last year NFL draft.  Tank was picked on by the Panthers and this looks like a trend after 2 pre-season games.   The downside in all of this, is that it’s pre-season.  If Tank is struggling now, against competition that might not even start on Sunday’s what happens when he is lined up against elite talent.   Similar to the Free Safety position, there is no help on the way.   Tony Lippett is still injured and the depth after him is basically supposed to be for special team delegation.

The Dolphins have made some adjustments to their base defense.  The recently moved their starting nickel back Bobby McCain to the boundary, and then placed Minkah Fitzpatrick to nickel cornerback.  This allowed Burke to have all this best players on the field.  Now if TJ continues to struggle, Minkah will replace him at Free Safety, which will then put McCain back to nickel and then either Tank or Lippett at boundary, which is another concern.

There are rumors about bringing Bashuard Breeland or making a trade, potentially including Devante Parker.  Parker is hurt and no team will take that risk and Breeland is looking for $8 to $9 million per year which is why he hasn’t signed.  Both solutions are risky at best and would have to occur rather soon or the leak that has been present in the preseason will turn into a flood come Sunday afternoon.