It's bending, but not breaking. It's bringing Dolfans on the verge of cardiac arrest reaching for Bayer. It's forcing turnovers without recovery, or only to be thrilled about a recovery and have the refs second look take it all away.
The Dolphins defense this season has unleashed a flurry of sacks on the quarterback, pressures, hurries, and set out to control the line of scrimmage.
Run on the Dolphins ...they double dog dare you. Loaded with Randy Starks, Paul Soliai, Big Amigo Tony Mc Daniel,
Jared Odrick and Cam Wake the Dolphins are becoming this years version of the no-name defense. We all no that Cam Wake leading the team in sacks is no surprise, but the biggest emerging star is little known former University of Miami DE Olivier Vernon with 2.5 sacks, 13 tackles, and 2 forced fumbles!
Sure the Dolphins are stout up front, but their best play by far is coming from linebackers like Burnett and Karlos Dansby who sink back into coverage like hidden submarines and making good decisions getting their hands on footballs to tip them away.
In the offseason, the Dolphins ran a vanilla version of their scheme lacking pressure, looking slow to stop the run, and got burned down the field.
When the first game came around versus Houston, they showed they can hang around getting some three and outs and red zone stops.
The defense rose to the occasion in week 3 versus the Jets when the first turnovers were forced via interception from Richard Marshall and Chris Clemons (a safety that seems to never make big plays nor stay on the field).
The following week, the Dolphins defense hung tough and cleaned up the offenses 3 turnovers and got two interceptions from Sean Smith.
Finally, the Dolphins made plays as a defense forcing fumbles and sealing victory by a Reshad Jones interception in Cincinnati.
Last week, the Dolphins did not get a defensive takeaway, but their legs chasing down receivers on two big throws by the Rams Sam Bradford kept the Rams out of the end zone until the 4th quarter.
Again...the Dolphins are tops against the run, run in the redzone, and wreaking havoc on quarterbacks ranked 4th in sacks, the Dolphins D is making their fan base proud.
Lets see what the next two weeks of rest do to this unit who continues to take that blue collar-lunch pail-hardhat approach and make plays and have fun killing the opponent sealing victories.
Maybe Ireland got in right when he hired Joe Philbin and Kevin Coyle and drafted and signed these little known players a few years back...and got rid of leaders like Yeremiah Bell and play makers like Vontae Davis.
Yes, these no-names are taking over and soon everyone in the NFL will take notice!
500 %, while some fans will complain that this team could be 5-1 at the bye the fact is that they are not. There is still plenty to be happy about with the Dolphins 3-3 record. The Dolphins are starting to come together, the defense is playing at a very high level, and Ryan Tannehill’s passer rating has now gone up in t 3 consecutive games and the Dolphins are coming off back to back wins against teams with winning records.
That’s not the only positive news, the Dolphins are also currently in a 4 way tie for first place of the AFC East, while the Dolphins are currently behind the Jets because of their divisional lost, the Phins will get a chance to get a Revis and Holmesless Jets team after the bye to even up the series.
Things are off to an encouraging start in Miami for sure but there is still a significant amount of work to do in Miami this bye week.
Find the mojo that has disappeared in the running game
The Dolphins started the season as one of the best running teams in the NFL; the running game was a great friend to rookie QB Ryan Tannehill and took a lot of pressure off the kid. The running game also opens up play action something that Tannehill has had early success with. Reggie Bush has been pretty banged up of late; the rest should do Reggie well.
I have faith the Dolphins should be able to clean up their running game, however they will need to clean up their offensive line play, especially John Jerry’s whose play has dropped a little.
Somehow finding a 3rd option
While I admit some Dolphins fans including myself are probably holding out too much hope for Jabar Gaffney the fact is the Phins need a 3rd option in the passing game for Ryan Tannehill. While Fasano has been doing what he does best, he is merely a safety blanket and doesn’t really stretch the field. Brian Hartline has had his struggles against elite CB and the Dolphins have gotten very little from their WR3. Hopefully Tannehill can work with the guys and help develop a better relationship with a 3rd guy out there
Reggie isn’t the only banged up Dolphins, despite the strong play from the secondary and defense as of late the Dolphins could use Richard Marshall back in the lineup. The Dolphins are projecting him to be back for the Jets game.
Find a way to keep Olivier Vernon hot
Olivier Vernon had somewhat of a breakout game against the Rams with 2 sacks and creating pressure at important parts of the game, hopefully that game will help his confidence and create a little bit of a more consistent pass rush. A little help on the other side of Cam Wake could go a long way for this Dolphins team.
Dan Carpenter getting his act together
Dan Carpenter isn’t going anyways, partly because of his contract and partly because of his successful kicking career prior to this season. Carpenter has a lot of work to do to build himself up to the kicker he use to be. If the Dolphins are going to make any type of playoff push they will need Carpenter to hit important kicks no matter the distance.
Continue to let Ryan Tannehill roll out
Tannehill has been great on the run and worked very well when rolling out. It seems his vision excel’s the second he is sent on a roll out. The Dolphins need to continue to work with Tannehill’s strengths.no comments
On a day that Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas were inducted to the Dolphins ring of honour it would figured the Dolphins hold on to win an ugly game with a defensive stand. Ryan Tannehill played another solid game in which he had a 112 QB rating the highest of his career but it was the defense which was the real star of this ugly win.
Despite giving up 462 yards to a pretty average St Louis defense this bend but don't break unit was able to hold St Louis to a measly 14 point. St Louis had their opportunities but 3 missed field goals ended up really costing, which is a feeling the Dolphins fans know all too well.
The Dolphins were completely outplayed in the 1st half yet got out to a 10-6 lead, the inability to finish drives kept the Dolphins in the game and despite the fact Ryan Tannehill didn't have any help from his run game today he was able to make the proper adjustments at the line and lead his team down the field.
Tannehill was poised again and while he wasn't spectacular he was able to manages the offense and seem to always make sure to hit the open receivers which included a deep ball to Marlon Moore. The Dolphins run game couldn't get anything going and Brian Hartline was all but invisible and didn't even find himself on the stat sheet.
A nice surprise from this game was Olivier Vernon who had 2 huge sacks which both were momentum changing plays. Vernon offered the first resembles of a pass rush outside Cam Wake who continued his dominance with a sack and another what should have been strip sack but was ruled an incomplete pass due to the tuck rule.
It is important to note while the Dolphins won a sloppy game where they got a break with the St Louis rookie kicker missing 3 kicks, there were a couple of missed calls by the refs that didn't go the Dolphins way including what should have been a fumble by Chris Givens instead called an incomplete pass keeping the balls with the Rams.
The unsung hero of the game is Dolphins punter Brandon Fields who continued to be an all pro out there smashing the ball every time it hit his foot. Fields deserves to be recognized more and is a real weapon and field position changer for the Dolphins.
With the win the Dolphins now head into the bye week 3-3 and in a tie for 1st place in the division. The arrow certainly seems to be pointing up in Miami.
Reggie Bush who has been banged up and not himself the past couple of weeks can definitely use the rest and hopefully Jabar Gaffney can find himself a spot in the lineup as the much needed third option for the Dolphins passing game.
It was ugly but a win is a win !
This Sunday, the Miami Dolphins take on the St. Louis Rams in what will prove to be a good match up for both teams. However, the St. Louis Rams have started to turn some heads with quality victories over the Redskins, Cardinals, and Seahawks. The Rams feature a tough defense anchored by their always up to no good Safety in Cortland Finnegan and incredible play by Robert Quinn, 7 sacks and stalwart stops against the run by Chris Long. All in all, the Rams are tough, but certainly have their weaknesses.
For this post, I took the time to ask Derek Pease an excellent analyst of his team the St. Louis Rams on RamsHerd.com, a Bloguin blog. We asked Derek the following about his team's glaring issues as well as a look into the future with Sam Bradford and if he is the franchise QB in St. Louis. Derek said the following in our conversation:
1). After watching film, the Rams appear to have consistency issues in the red zone with their receivers. Sam Bradford under duress steps off of is back foot to throw, what do you attribute this alarming trend of interceptions to?
Some I attribute to BQS or Battered Quarterback Syndrome. But in reality Sam has a bad habit of locking on to a receiver and needs to be much quicker at going through his reads and progressions and then getting rid of the ball. Too often he gives the defense an extra second or two, to close the gap.
2. ) The Miami Dolphins have 6 takeaway interceptions in the past three games. How do the Rams plan on attacking the Dolphins suddenly opportunistic secondary with a possibility that the Dolphins will bring pressure at the line?
Without Bradford’s safety net playing in Danny Amendola, look for a heavy dose of Steven Jackson and the TE Lance Kendricks. Kendricks is a viable option, when he catches the ball, and can create a lot of separation in the open field. If he shows early that his hands are “on” look for Sam to target him a lot on quick reads. Also I ouwld truly anticipate Jackson and 7th rounder Daryl Richardson getting a lot of touches to keep the Defense honest and help save Sam from some big hits.
3. ) Without Danny Amendola who will the Rams look to for big plays down the field?
It is again Brandon Gibson’s turn to shine. He has the ability to make the deep play, but so often has disappointed with key drops when given the chance.
4. ) As far as the running game, how do the Rams plan on executing a game plan that features a balance to run v. pass since Steven Jackson has been on the outs with Jeff Fisher?
Look for around 10 carries to go to Daryl Jackson. He is the lightning to Jackson’s Thunder. Fisher will use Jackson to wear down the d-line which he excels at and open holes late for Richardson. This will also help Sam set up the play-action which could come in handy.
5. ) We've seen a little over one season of Bradford, in your opinion is he the answer at QB, or is USC alum Coach Jeff Fisher patiently waiting on USC QB Matt Barkley as a guy for the future in next years draft?
I still believe in Sam, however I can’t speak for Fisher and Snead and Fisher plays everything pretty close to the vest. That being said with as awful as this O-line is I can’t see the Rams spending either of their 2 first rounders on a QB next year. But with 11 games left to play a lot can change.
6. ) The Dolphins and Rams represent two teams with new coaches: What does Fisher bring to the game as far as his coaching style and why are his players responding?
The first thing he brings is a toughness and respect that neither Spags nor Linehan commanded. He is not afraid to go for it, which we have seen with the fake FG and having a rookie kicker take 60 yard FG attempts and make them. Spags never gave off that attitude and the players have responded to Fisher that way.
While this game will be played in the hot South Florida humid air, suffocating and cramping the legs of all opposing players in the 3rd and 4th quarter, we thank Derek and his availability to get his take on the Rams versus Dolphins matchup and certainly wish him and everyone at RamsHerd a pleasant Sunday!
Please continue to follow us at @Phins_Phocus on Twitter or right here at PhinsPhocus.com!
In the first three years of his young NFL career, Miami Dolphins cornerback Sean Smith performed well below the expectations that came when he was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft. The standout cornerback out of Utah put up mediocre numbers to say the least as he recorded 152 combined tackles and three interceptions while not being able to produce a single quarterback sack or forced fumble.
Prior to the start of the Dolphins 2011 campaign, Vontae Davis went out on a limb and claimed that the duo of Smith and himself was the best cornerback tandem in the league. As we all know, Vontae Davis was dealt to the Colts following a disappointing training camp this past August leaving Sean Smith with the responsibility of covering the opposing teams' top wide recievers.
Five weeks into the 2012 season, it is evident that Sean Smith has turned a corner in his career and is developing into an elite cornerback. Smith's drastic improvements are in large part due to the fact that he is finally being utilized correctly in new defensive cordinator Kevin Coyle's system. As it turns out, Coyle was very fond of Smith in his days with the Cincinnati Bengals and targeted the 6 foot 3, 218 pound defensive back in the 2009 draft. He was intrigued by Smith's great leverage, great length and speed however the team opted to look elsewhere with the 38th overall pick.
Coyle has played Smith to his strengths rather than his weaknesses and has ensured the 25 year old be put in a position to succeed. It's the small details that have made a difference such as utilizing his height to his advantage and attacking the ball at its highest point. Not only has Smith's play improved, his confidence has done the same as he has insisted on covering pro bowl wide recievers Larry Fitgerald and AJ Green in Miami's past two games. In Arizona, Smith held Fitzgerald to eight catches for 64 yards along with producing two interceptions. He followed that up by holding Green to 65 yards on nine catches in arguably the best game of his career a week ago.
Smith's success against these wideouts have him ranked as the 16th best cornerback in the league by Pro Football Focus. When throwing in Smith's direction, quarterbacks have only managed to complete 47.8 percent of their passes which stacks up as 14th in the NFL. The 66.5 quarterback rating he has surrendered is 21st among players at his position.
Although Smith has impressed through five games, the Dolphins pass defense as a unit has been less than spectacular. In the team's first four matches, their pass defense ranked 30th in the league while allowing 297.8 yards a game through the air. For the first time all year, the entire defense played significantly well as a whole in the win against the Bengals. Both Nolan Carroll and Reshad Jones stepped up with key performances including a game sealing interception from Jones in the last minute of the fourth quarter. The unit's improved play has resulted in a 4 spot increase to their overall ranking to 26th in the league along with their 54.7 opponents completion percentage which ranks third. With CB Richard Marshall ruled out for Sunday, the Dolphins secondary will have to come up big once again in order for Miami to improve their record to 3-3 heading into the bye.
Sean Smith looks to be in the midst of a breakout season and if he continues to record stellar numbers, he may find himself playing in his first pro bowl. With Smith in a contract year, the Dolphins have some tough decisions to make about the cornerback's future in Miami.
Stop: Almost Nothing
I really wouldn’t like to stop anything. As a fan I am enjoying each and every game. As a writer I have a plethora of material to explore each and every week. Finally, as a hater of the Patriots and Jets, I have plenty to be thankful for, each and every week; mostly coming from the Jets. This past weekend marked Canadian Thanksgiving and to be honest, between studying and hockey I hadn’t had much time to ask for thanks. So, as a fan, I am thankful for many things, but predominantly, Coach Philbin who has a young team believing in his philosophy and a rookie quarterback and most importantly playing with heart every week. As a writer, I am thankful for the opportunity to write for Phins Phocus. Finally, as a Pats and Jets hater, I am thankful Tim Tebow is a Jets’ wide receiver and that Rob Gronkowski left most of his production on the dance floor of a night club last February.
Start: We Are Young
The promotion of Oregon product Josh Kaddu from the practice squad and yet another head injury to sophomore tailback Daniel Thomas has the hit song by Fun replaying in my head. The Miami Dolphins are finally working in their draft choices, but, I would like to see more. Ryan Tannehill has exceeded his early expectations, rookie tackle Jonathon Martin is slowly finding his groove, Olivier Vernon from the U is becoming a more complete player with every week, and surprisingly, seventh round pick Kheeston Randall has been a consistent contributor in this young season. I’ve repeatedly lobbied for tight end Michael Egnew to see some action as his skills in the receiving game provide RT with a potential seam threat. He should probably spend some more time around Jake Long to pick up some pointers on blocking…Injuries have paved the way for Mr. Kaddu (potentially filling in for Mr. Burnett) to showcase his spoken-about coverage skills. Dude, I don’t think Oakland TE Brett Myers has a catch since he’s played us. Back on the offensive side of the ball, I hereby plead the fifth, draw up an affidavit and any other legal terms I can pull from hit TV series Suits, to call forth the release of extremely unimpressive wide receiver Anthony “alligator arms” Armstrong. Rishard Matthews has potential, but the signing of veteran Jabar Gaffney could leave him in shorts for the next few Sundays. Finally, as my colleagues have spoken about earlier this week, is the imminent forthcoming of “Miller Time”. Lamar Miller has dazzled us fans with his veteran patience but still needs to impress the coaches with some pass protection improvement. IMO Javorskie Lane could see some increased third down action with Daniel Thomas out. Man, can that Bulldozer bull.
Continue: Secondary to None
This Miami secondary is young and talented but is repeatedly thrown in the shadows, the really large shadow, of the front seven. Sure Cameron Wake and Karlos Dansby are the leaders both on and off the field, but this secondary has come a long way since Houston. Led by cornerback Sean Smith and safety Reshad Jones, the group has shut down some of the most potent wide receiver threats in the NFL: AJ Green and Larry Fitzgerald (Johnson was not shut down; hence the “since Houston”). Reshad Jones is currently the number one ranked safety on PFF, forcing quarterbacks to a 39.7 rating and two interceptions. In Richard Marshall’s absence this past week, Nolan “the constantly bashed” Carroll stepped up in a huge way allowing only two catches on his watch. Here’s an impressive statistic, the Miami Dolphins secondary hold opposing quarterbacks to a 75 rating, which is a delicious recipe for victory. Let’s throw the front seven into the ever growing shadow of the secondary; the sacks have gone up (at my request) and the opposing passing rating has gone. So now that everyone on this Dolphins defense can walk around in some sunlight, the recipe to hard-nosed, stingy, NFL defense is simple: symphony, harmony, concerto, synergy, or whatever you want to call it, but play as a team and cast the opposing offense into our shadow, really really large shadow.
The Incognito Dolphin of the Week: Jimmy Wilson. I have loved the hustle and physicality of this guy since his first start against the Browns a year ago. As a former safety Jimmy Wilson can deliver the goods when needed. JW erased the Bengals emerging wide receiver Andrew Hawkins from the contest, limiting him to a single catch for 5 yards, on 5 targets. I think my next Dolphins shirt will be of Jimmy Wilson…
In a press conference this week Ryan Tannehill paraphrased the famous Dennis Green: “We are, who we thought we were.” Well heck, I didn’t think the Dolphins of 2012 were going to turn out to be THIS Miami Dolphins team. For that, I am thankful.
Next week, we may even run a slant and go; I doubt Cortland Finnegan could stop that.
When the owner speaks unfortunately we have to listen, despite the fact that most of the Dolphins fan base cringe when Stephen Ross speaks football the fact is that he is the owner and the owner usually gets what he wants.
Earlier this season Stephen Ross was quoted by the Sun Sentinel saying , “Ross told the crowd that acquiring a No. 1 wide receiver would be the team’s “top offseason priority” and that they would do “whatever it takes” to land such a player because it would help quarterback Ryan Tannehill. “
Note that Ross’s comments were made before Brian Hartline led the league in receiving although I assume his thoughts remain the same. Miami’s track record of trading for or trading WR’s is not that great, obviously Brandon Marshall and Wes Welker ring a bell.
Next season there are several options to seek out in the draft with a solid group of first round WR talent including, Keenan Allen, Robert Woods, Young and a couple of decent top 2nd round options as well.
On the free agent side Dwayne Bowe is the most attractive name, and a dinged up but solid vet in Greg Jennings might be an option as well. Wes Welker doesn’t seem likely to return to Miami and to be honest I am not sure how great the option is for the Dolphins either way. Mike Wallace I believe would command too much money especially after his holdout this past season.
While I don’t like when Ross speaks publically as he football mind isn’t really parallel to his business mind. Ross’s comments also hopefully will not have an effect on Brian Hartline and Davone Bess who most likely would not be pleased with the news.
That being said Ross’s comments are both obvious and true the number focus should be finding Tannehill a true number 1 target. Love me some Hartline but a number 1 WR lined up with him would only make him better.no comments