Entering Sunday’s game as an overwhelming underdog, the Miami Dolphins may have finally given their fans a reason to smile. Trailing 17-0 at one point, the Dolphins put in an extremely impressive second half performance to comeback and defeat the defending NFC Champion Falcons by a score of 20-17.
While the whole team put in a great performance on Sunday to comeback and defeat Atlanta, the rookies on this squad also did their best to help earn this victory. Going back to Sunday’s win, let’s take an even closer look at how the Dolphins rookies played and how their effort helped lead the team to victory.
Cordrea Tankersley — Cornerback
Week 6 Stats: 57 defensive snaps (100%), One tackle, One Pass Deflection
While most, if not all of the credit from Sunday’s win has gone to Reshad Jones due to his game-clinching interception, few realize how important Cordrea Tankersley was to making this play happen. Showing off some impressive closing speed, Tankersley was actually the first player to meet the ball. Hitting Austin Hooper, Tankersley deflected the ball into the air and eventually into the hands of Reshad Jones.
Adding an additional tackle during the contest, Tankersley is not only a top two cornerback on this team, but he could potentially be the best cornerback on this roster. Going forward, Tankersley should become the number one corner this season and will almost certainly be a top player on this defense for years to come.
Charles Harris — Defensive End
Week 6 Stats: 24 defensive snaps (42.1%), One QB hit
Though the statline from this past Sunday’s game may not show it, Charles Harris is slowly but surely becoming a presence along the defensive line. One play in particular that shows this on one of Freeman’s runs from this past Sunday. Changing direction to force Freeman outside, Harris does just enough to disrupt the play before Kiko Alonso comes in to make the big tackle.
That said, the fact that Harris played 42.1 percent of the defensive snaps in this game and did not record a tackle worries me. Going forward, Harris will need to eventually earn the numbers in order to validate his future status with the team. For now though, the signs look to be there of an eventual breakout for this former first round pick.
Davon Godchaux — Defensive Tackle
Week 6 Stats: 21 defensive snaps (36.8%), One tackle
Splitting snaps with both Vincent Taylor and Jordan Phillips in this game, Davon Godchaux should now be able to settle into a normal role with this team. A solid run defender and potential starter down the road, Godchaux just has the looks of a future starter for the Dolphins defensive line.
The big issue here is that I still believe Vincent Taylor has outperformed him this season in a limited role. Until Godchaux can outperform both his fellow rookie and Jordan Phillips on a week-to-week basis, look for him to be stuck in a rotation going forward.
Chase Allen — Linebacker
Week 6 Stats: 19 special team snaps
Once again, Chase Allen was a special teams player this past week for the Dolphins. While Allen was able to put up some great numbers in the preseason and during his limited starting role earlier this season, Allen will likely be a non-factor going forward. Unless injury strikes one of the team’s starting linebackers, don’t look for Allen to be making anymore headlines this season.
Matt Haack — Punter
Week 6 Stats: Two punts, 80 total yards, 40.0 average
Finally earning somewhat of a break, Dolphins punter Matt Haack was only called upon twice this past Sunday against the Falcons. Recording punts of 42 yards and 38 yards, Haack didn’t really do anything notable. As they say though, no news equals good news. That’s the exact situation we find here.
Vincent Taylor — Defensive Tackle
Week 6 Stats: 9 defensive snaps (15.8%), One Pass Deflection
Dropping from 23 defensive snaps a week ago to just nine defensive snaps this past Sunday, Vincent Taylor still put in a solid performance given his limited reps. Recording a single pass deflection, Vincent Taylor might eventually see more reps this season should either Jordan Phillips or Davon Godchaux struggle or suffer some type of injury. Until then, look for Taylor to see limited chances on defense.
Week 6 Rookie Scratches: Isaac Asiata (G), Torry McTyer (CB), Maurice Smith (S), Eric Smith (OT) — Injured Reserve