Miami Dolphins key to victory on Sunday lies with the defense
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins could pull out a win on Sunday but if they do, it will be on the shoulders of a defense that we are unsure about.
Offensively, the Miami Dolphins are going to struggle. From offensive line problems to inconsistent quarterback play of Ryan Fitzpatrick, the offense is going to have a long Sunday. The defense, however, could make it easier.
It is unclear what kind of defense the Dolphins are going to roll out on Sunday and the season. They didn’t show a lot in preseason and that was likely by design. We know that Jerome Baker and Sam Eguavoen will play a big role up front but how will the Dolphins use the edge defenders and players like Minkah Fitzpatrick?
Unlike on offense, the defense has a lot of talent but it is how that talent is used despite being young. Coverage at corner will be interesting but in this Brian Flores defense the safeties could play the biggest role of all.
Flores wants to have a physical and aggressive defense. He wants them to be tough and with the team not relying on defensive ends to get quarterback pressure, the Dolphins will rely instead on players making plays from disguised positions. It should be exciting to watch even if there are times that the defense fails.
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This is a new system and we haven’t seen what it really can do or how exactly it will work. We can look at New England’s system and theorize about blitzing safeties and linebackers but the talent from the Dolphins is different and has less experience. As the season progresses, the defense should grow considerably and become more fluid.
Beating the Ravens will not be easy. The Ravens are favored by seven and that could change by kick-off. Miami’s defense will have to rattle the young Lamar Jackson and force him to beat them through the air. Stopping Jackson is not easy. He is very mobile and can make defenders miss then take the ball up field on his own. He could lead the Ravens offense in rushing yards.
Stopping him initially will be the play of rookie Christian Wilkins and veteran Davon Godchaux. If the two up front defenders can force the Ravens to pass and whomever has the edge containment responsibility can hold the edge, Jackson will have to throw the ball. That could work in Miami’s favor.
Jackson is a good passer but he isn’t great and the Dolphins could force him into making bad decisions. This is where Xavien Howard and Eric Rowe could step up and have good games. Mark Andrews, the young tight end in Baltimore is expected to have a big role on Sunday and Miami will need to take him out of their game plan.
Miami’s secondary is expected to play more physical at the line instead of playing six or seven yards off the receiver. If the Dolphins can get decent pressure on the QB, quick passes could be taken away. It’s a tall order but it is something that this defense should be able to do consistenly despite a good Ravens offensive line.
If the Dolphins are going to win on Sunday the defense needs to show a lot more than they did in the preseason. They have the talent, raw of course but talent. Now they need to put on the field what they have been working on the better part of a month.