Our weekly question from GMC and Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk is a good one this week. Looking at the Miami Dolphins, we are asked what do they do best, and how can they build on that to get into the playoffs.
The Dolphins are currently 11th in overall offense, 18th in passing offense, 4th in rushing offense, 9th in scoring offense, 3rd in total defense, 2nd in pass defense, 12th in run defense, and 3rd in scoring defense. They do a lot of things right. What's the best?
The best answer is probably getting after the quarterback. The team is currently fifth in the league in sacks, having brought down opposing quarterbacks 25 times through their first eight games. Last season, only three teams reached the 50 sacks mark, a pace Miami is currently matching. The Dolphins are averaging 3.1 sacks per game, or a sack ever 12 passing attempts from opposing quarterbacks.
Miami's duo of Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon are dominating opposing offensive lines, and they are making it look easy. Wake has 6.5 sacks this season, while Vernon has tallied 4.5 so far this year. They are playing so well, Pro Football Focus currently has them listed respectively as the first and fifth ranked 4-3 defensive ends in the league.
The pass rush of the Dolphins, led by Wake and Vernon but including Randy Starks, Jared Odrick, Earl Mitchell, Derrick Shelby, Dion Jordan, and Terrence Fede, is a dominating part of the Miami success this year. If they are able to keep up the pressure from the first half of the year into the second half, they could ride the pass rush into the playoffs.