The Miami Dolphins are just barely clinging to postseason hopes as the team heads into a Week 16 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. After last Sunday’s shellacking at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings, Miami will need to win out in order to stay in the hunt. After the offense failed to get any momentum going in Minneapolis outside of a 75-yard Kalen Ballage run, Adam Gase will need to find ways to move Miami’s attack down the field against a talented Jaguars defense. One Jacksonville defensive end is sure to make that difficult.
Each week of the 2018 season, I’ve highlighted one player on the opposing team that Dolphins fans should be watching out for. This week, that player is Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell.
Experience: 11th season
Height/Weight: 6’8”, 300 lbs
College: Miami (Fla.)
Coming off of a career year in 2017 (14.5 sacks), Campbell has been a force on the Jaguars’ defense in his second year in Jacksonville. The veteran defender has eight sacks, 62 tackles, and two passes defended through 14 games. Campbell’s leadership and production have played a huge part in helping the Jaguars field a 6th ranked defense in both scoring and yards per game allowed. Campbell’s eight sacks rank first on the team, while his 62 combined tackles rank third.
Week 15 played host to the most dismal performance of the season on the part of Miami’s o-line. The unit yielded nine sacks to the Minnesota Vikings in that contest. Yes, the Vikings are the league’s top club in terms of total sacks with 47 on the season. Yes, Mike Zimmer is one of the most creative defensive coaches in the league. And yes, the Dolphins are missing two key starters along the o-line. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Miami won’t win games if Ryan Tannehill isn’t given any time to throw. With Campbell and the Jaguars on the horizon, the o-line needs to perform better this Sunday.
If Campbell has epitomized one thing in his nine years with the Arizona Cardinals and his two years in Jacksonville, it’s versatility. The dynamic defender is capable of lining up anywhere on the defensive line and causing disruption. His size allows him to plug holes in the interior, while his athleticism gives tackles fits on the outside. Standing at 6’8” and 300 lbs, Campbell embodies the combination of the size and power of a defensive tackle with the speed of a defensive end. To keep the behemoth at bay, Laremy Tunsil, Ja’Wuan James, and the rest of Miami’s front five will need to have their best game of the season.