Ask a casual NFL fan what he thinks of the Miami Dolphins, and one of the first things you’re likely to hear is, ‘They really have an awesome defense, don’t they?’, etc. Of course, those of us who follow the team closely know that that isn’t close to being accurate. Miami struggled early last season against the pass, particularly when free-agent acquisition Byron Jones was out, and they struggled all year long against opposing teams’ running games.
As is the case with most teams, the Dolphins generally tended to fare much better against the run when they were ahead; their problems stopping the run most often manifested themselves when they were playing from behind and the other team was playing ball control and/or trying to run out the clock.
Brian Flores and Josh Boyer deserve a tremendous amount of credit for the job they with the Dolphin defense a year ago, but Miami is facing a veritable murderer’s row of top running backs this season, and although former Texan Bernardick McKinney was a savvy addition to the defense, they may be hard-pressed to replicate that success again this season, particularly if second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and the new-look offensive line are slow to coalesce during the first month of the season. As we all know, three-and-outs by the offense can be damning for even the best defenses, and although the Dolphins have steadily improved on that side of the ball, they’re not there yet.
I’m interested to hear from our readers, in terms of how well they think the Dolphins will fare this season defensively against the run. My guess is at least half the teams on our schedule will run for 150 yards or more against us, with at least four of them topping 200 yards on the ground. If the Dolphins don’t find a way to shore up their run defense, and quickly, they could well find themselves falling short of the postseason once again.
Finally, it’s reassuring to know that some things apparently will never change. For all of us here, the great Phinsider ‘Tua Wars’ continue to be fought with surprising ferocity, every day, in every article, every post, and every piece. Since I’ve been pretty hard on the anti-Tua crowd so far this year, today, I have some advice for the other side. Guys, let me try to help you out with a couple of things here. First of all, there was nothing wrong with the rookie QB’s numbers a year ago. Any time a quarterback can come into the league and win twice as many games as he loses and throw twice as many touchdowns as interceptions, he’s going to be pretty good, in most cases. But the anti-Tua guys don’t come out here every day and rip our quarterback because they genuinely believe that he’s going to be a bust, or just a ‘game manager’ for Miami. They come out here on a daily basis and criticize the quarterback because they want to dampen your excitement about the direction of the team, and as long you continue to allow that strategy to be successful, they’re gonna keep doing it. The three or four guys who are doing this every day don’t have a Josh McDaniels or Sean Payton sized playbook; they’ve got a sheet of paper with about three plays written on it: ’Tua is a weak-armed game manager’, ‘I expect a better player with the fifth pick of the draft, and ‘Herbert’s better’. In the same way that a football coach is going to keep running the ball down your favorite team’s throat until they stop it, these guys are going to keep hitting you over the head with those three narratives until either you learn how to ignore them, or Tagovailoa comes out smoking to start the 2021 season. When you get angry and tell them that you’re sick and tired of hearing them bash the quarterback every day, you’re giving them exactly what they want. Their goal is to ruin your excitement, and if you allow them to succeed, it’s no one’s fault but your own. They still have a right to comment on any subject they see fit, the same as everyone else. That’s the wrap for today, have a great week, everybody.