Although they’ve been rapidly improving on a weekly basis, the 2020 Miami Dolphins’ defense has been about more than just statistics, interceptions or fumble recoveries this year. As the team approaches the midpoint of the season, its stalwarts on that side of the ball have collectively become an intimidating, ball hawking juggernaut.
The league’s unrelenting quest to make playing in the NFL much less violent than it was in decades past cannot change the fact that this is still a very physical, hard hitting sport, and as a longtime observer of game, I’ve come to appreciate a solid, textbook tackle just as much as a dazzling eighty yard scoring play.
When we go back and look at the highlights from last week’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, one play perhaps exemplified this Dolphin defense better than any other, in my opinion. It came on a 2nd and 10 play with 12:03 remaining in the third quarter. Linebacker Elandon Roberts, who of late has been looking like someone spiked his Gatorade with rocket fuel, knifed through the line, rag dolled the blocking back into the Rams ballcarrier, stoning him to the turf a split second after he gathered in the handoff from quarterback Jared Goff. That highlight reel tackle had to have sent an unmistakable message to L.A.’s offensive coordinator: ‘We may have an eighteen point lead, but if you’re planning on running the ball against us, don’t.’
Meanwhile, second year linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, like so many other young players on this defense, has been making his presence felt in recent weeks, returning a fumble for a 78 yard touchdown last week. Taking full advantage of previous starter Vince Biegel’s absence, ‘AVG’ has been anything but average for the Dolphins this season, and I’ve come up with a term for what I think we should call it for opposing offenses when he makes a big play. I think we should call it, getting ‘Ginked’. As in, ‘Aw, man, what happened? I though they (Dolphins’ opponent) were gonna take it in and score...’. ’Yeah, but they got Ginked.’
Now, this young upstart Dolphins team heads out West, to face the Arizona Cardinals and their diminutive dynamo, Kyler Murray, at quarterback. Sure, mobile, scrambling quarterbacks have given the Dolphins problems this season, but you could say that about almost any defense. If this defense can continue playing the kind of efficient, hard hitting football they’ve been playing for the past three weeks, I like their chances.>> ‘It’s like thunder, and lightning, the way they tackle is frightening, think you better...