The 2021 Miami Dolphins defense took a significant step backward. The strength of the 2020 team, defense is among the bottom three in the league at almost every vital statistic. With emerging talent along the defensive line and proven talent on the backend, it is no mystery why the defense is underperforming.
Miami is targeted over the middle of almost every other play. Miami plays mostly man on the outside and against slot receivers. But when tight ends or running backs are lined up for a pass play, our linebackers have been exposed time and time again.
Jerome Bake was recently signed to a large contract extension, hoping to blossom into the coverage linebacker to complement the run-stuffing Elandon Roberts. Roberts played well in the limited coverage snaps he had this season, even hauling in an interception.
With limited options currently on the roster to improve the soft middle of this Miami Dolphins defense, an investment made before the trade deadline could be just the thing needed to tighten up this generous defense.
Miami can move some players into the middle to help limit the damage being done every week, but since they have not done so, maybe they know something we fans do not.
Andrew Van Ginkel, used primarily as an edge defender to rush the passer and set the edge on run plays, played more of a traditional linebacker while at Wisconsin. The Miami coaching staff saw his ability to build onto his pass rush moves and made him an edge defender in Miami’s multiple front schemes.
Miami could also decide to play more safeties in leu of a linebacker to help make the matchup less of a liability, but that would come at the price of weakening an already poor run defense.