This article is going to come off like I am saying two things. I mean the headline basically says that. I really like the long-term trajectory of the defense of the Miami Dolphins but as of right now, there is a good amount of room to get tougher and nastier.
Last week, the Dolphins got run on, hard, in that first quarter. The Panther's offensive line pushed around the Dolphin's defensive line. That happened and it can't really be realistically questioned. Chubba Hubbard was getting at least four yards a run in that first quarter mainly because the Dolphin's defensive line was getting pushed back at least three yards.
Even the Dolphin's pass defense played a bit soft. Adam Thielen gave Kader Kohou a lesson out on that field over and over again. And like I've been saying for a few weeks, the defense is playing so far off receivers that it's making it easy for QBs to get completions.
I get that Vic Fangio does not want to get beat and that's been working. I really get that and like that the Dolphins aren't giving up the huge plays. But when it's 3rd and 6 and the corners are playing 8 yards or more off, well, I don't love seeing it.
Am I nitpicking a little here because the Dolphins, after that 1st quarter, put the hapless Panthers in a vice-grip for the rest of the game? Maybe, but we've seen for most of this year that the run defense and soft coverage aren't ideal.
Philadelphia is who Miami plays this week and we know how physical their offensive line can be. We know that if they decide that they want to be a battering ram team they can play that brand of football. Currently, the Dolphins are ranked 20th in run defense and you would think the Eagles are fully aware of that and will look to pound the Dolphins up the middle of the line.
Okay, that was a bit ranty I agree. Here is the glass-half-full view of the Miami Dolphins' defense. I really like where this defense can be later in the season.
I think back in recent memory to the Kansas City Chiefs' first Super Bowl with Mahomes and the Bengals run to the Super Bowl a few years ago and I think of defenses that were much criticized throughout the season. Then when it got later in the season, especially in the playoffs, the defense just sort of turned it on and put pressure on offenses to be perfect on offense.
I think that can happen with the Dolphin's defense for a few reasons. One, they are mostly healthy right now and will be getting Jalen Ramsey back in a month(bold prediction). Yes, Xavien Howard injured his groin again(nice) and we know that will probably be a thing we hear about for the rest of the season. I get that. But other than that, the Dolphins have everyone still around.
Secondly, I do really believe in the rotation of the defensive line. Those Chiefs and Bengals teams from what I can remember, dominated upfront in those runs to the Super Bowl. They got pressure on QBs and didn't give up a ton in the run game. I think the Dolphin's defense has that type of run in them with the amount of talent they have.
We know the offense of the Dolphins was sent to Mike McDaniel by the Gods themselves or perhaps McDaniel sold his soul to the devil. But I think it will be the defense that will be unlocking victories against the big boys of the NFL. Based on my intuition and general feeling, I think the defense of the Miami Dolphins has everything in place and is even trending in the direction of being able to stimy offenses late in the year.
Or, it's possible that I am way off. That can happen to.
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