Dolphins Defense Is Evolving

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(Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

The Miami Dolphins defense is evolving, and Bradley Chubb is clearly part of that. Since coming to the Dolphins he has helped improved the pass rush, but is the defense to championship level?

The Miami Dolphins Defense Showed Its Best Against The Texans

The Houston Texans rank dead last in the NFL in yards gained on offense. They rank 30th in points per game. The Miami Dolphins defense dominating them should not be a surprise. They gave up just 210 net yards, sacked Kyle Allen four times, and forced three turnovers.

Miami’s signing of Bradley Chubb brings the team closer to what they want on defense: pressure the quarterback, force turnovers, and play man coverage. The Dolphins played more zone in the first half of the season, due in part to Byron Jones injury. With his status still up in the air Kader Kohou and Keion Crossen have been asked to step up. They both have shown a clear upside at times, but have shown mistakes due to youth and inexperience. Both will see plenty of time down the stretch, and how they play will go a long way toward how far the team can go in the playoffs.

Some Of Miami’s Defensive Weaknesses Apparent Against Houston

When the Dolphins failed to pressure Houston the result was a stretch where Houston scored all of its points. Meet this years defense, same as the old defense, to a point. Miami, I said in my series of season preview articles, should play more zone. The defense played a little softer and got burned for two quick scores in the second half, before they righted things and Vernon Mckinley intercepted Allen.

The teams run defense once again proved to be its strength, holding Houston to just 14-36 rushing. Part of that was that Miami jumped out to a 30-0 lead but there also is the fact that Allen is not a mobile quarterback. Josh Allen, and Jordan Love who I would expect the Green Bay Packers to play against Miami, will challenge the defense more as runners. That now has become the bigger question of Miami’s run defense, can they slow down mobile quarterbacks, after their struggles against Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields?

Dolphins Special Teams Must Improve Coverage

The Miami Dolphins defense was not helped by its special teams, which again proved to be a mixed bag. Jason Sanders made all of his kicks, but it was the punt coverage that set up the Texans in better field position. Yes, the Dolphins defense should still be able to slow down an anemic Texans offense, but Houston gained some momentum from punt returns of 17, 19, and 26 yards.

Dolphins special teams giving up big plays or missing kicks have been an issue. Sanders struggles made some call for the team to sign someone during the bye week. Poor coverage and missed kicks put the defense in a tougher position. Analysts often mention the hidden yards you lose or gain from special teams. The Dolphins probably punt more often, given who they are facing in the last six weeks. The Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, and San Francisco 49ers all have strong defenses.

Next Six Weeks True Test Of Miami Dolphins Defense

The Dolphins schedule now gets much more difficult. They need a young secondary, outside of Xavien Howard, has to contend with excellent receivers from almost every team they face. The 49ers and Patriots are strong running teams.

Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer also needs to find a way to get consistent pressure, while also containing Josh Allen and Justin Herbert. Whether or not his defense can do it will determine whether or not the Dolphins can win the AFC East. The last time Miami did that, 2008, they used the Wildcat and a solid defense. The title of this article, based on a quote by Boyer, has to happen for Miami to end their drought of not winning a playoff game since 2000.

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