The big mystery of this Dolphins defense is whether it’s a good defense that has fully capitalized on eight average to below-average quarterbacks (excluding Lamar Jackson) during its streak. wins last season or if it’s a great defense that will perform well regardless of competition this season.
It certainly didn’t hurt to face a Mike Glennon here and a Tyrod Taylor there.
We’ve explored that key question in this offseason article.
Pro Football Focus, which breaks down the footage of every game, rated the Dolphins defense this way heading into the season:
▪ PFF ranks the Dolphins’ secondary as the fifth-best in football, behind only Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Cleveland and Green Bay.
“It may not be the most complete secondary in Tier 1, but the Dolphins have game changers,” PFF said. “No player has more interceptions than Xavien Howard’s 27 since entering the NFL. Chances are he won’t even be the hardest-hitting player in Miami’s high school anymore after the rookie from 2021 Jevon Holland started his career like a house on fire, the second round was already the third highest ranked safety in the league last season.
▪ The website ranks the Dolphins linebacker unit 22nd out of 32 teams, noting that “Elandon Roberts and Jerome Baker are average linebackers who only have a season rating of over 70.0 in their 10 years. combined in the NFL. Schema plays a role in their making of plays. There is hope that Channing Tindall, the rookie linebacker from Miami, Georgia, can find his way on the court.
▪ I found this interesting: PFF said the Dolphins had two of the top 25 inside defensive linemen in football. The website ranked Christian Wilkins 12th, calling him one of the best defenders in his position last season.
PFF ranked Zach Sieler 24th, noting that he played over 500 snaps in each of the past two seasons for the Dolphins and that his PFF rating last season ranks in the top 10 for all interior linemen.
PFF also called Sieler the Dolphins’ most underrated player.
▪ PFF notes that Howard “has been the best cornerback in the NFL the past two seasons when he’s been fielded in media coverage, judging by the level of PFF coverage. Howard gave up some distance in his coverage of those games, but he more than made up for that as well. Passes targeting him when he’s been the subject of media coverage over the past two seasons have generated a low passer rating of 42.2, less than half the average for all league passes .
THIS AND THAT
▪ I’m not one to get upset over Madden’s ratings, but Howard not ranking in the top 10 for cornerbacks seems absurd.
▪ Only seven NFL players have more than 10 more runs than Sony Michel’s 96 since 2018. And he’s probably No. 3 on this team, if he beats Myles Gaskin!
Chase Edmonds had 19 rushes over 10 yards last season and finished seventh in the league in yards per rush in 2021.
And Raheem Mostert, the other fullback who figures prominently in Miami’s plans, would be the No. 1 active running back in yards per carry in his career if he had enough attempts to qualify.
▪ This week, PFF ranked Tyreek Hill as the 24th best football player, with this comment:
“NFL defenses frustrated Hill and the Chiefs offense last season with a determined refusal to give up the deep plays that made him so dangerous. His average target depth dropped 2.4 yards from the previous year, but he caught a career-high 111 passes in the regular season and was still an elite and dynamic threat at all times. Players who can set the schematic agenda for an entire season are extremely rare, and Hill is one of them.
Howard was ranked 48th in the PFF Top 50 Players list.
▪ It’s puzzling why former Pro Bowl and NFL Network safety analyst Jairus Byrd – in a Wednesday night prediction segment – would say the Dolphins would acquire Jimmy Garoppolo, who was released from the 49ers .
The Dolphins have made it clear they are committing to Tua Tagovailoa in 2022. They have a top 10 Teddy Bridgewater. Garoppolo is a big hit and just had shoulder surgery, and Mike McDaniel was among the staff who decided to replace Garoppolo with Trey Lance. It doesn’t stick.
▪ Cornerback Quincy Wilson, who made 11 NFL starts and played mostly cornerback for the Colts and Jets, should continue to work on camp safety and could potentially get time at both positions.
He’s a versatile and interesting player to watch, who could eventually rival Clayton Fejedelem for the No.4 safety position.
Here’s my Thursday article with some interesting comments from ESPN’s Dan Orlovky and Ryan Clark, who are bullish on the Dolphins and Jaylen Waddle.
This story was originally published July 21, 2022 4:09 p.m.