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  • 26 Jun
    The strength of the Miami Dolphins should be their
    defense ,
    shutting down the passing game through the pass rush and secondary, forcing
    teams to try to beat them on the ground and stuffing them there. Instead, the
    defense is becoming more and more of a liability, with an offense not equipped
    for shoot-outs trying to win exactly that way. There are plenty of things on
    offense that need to be corrected, but the defense has clearly become a bigger
    issue in Miami.Today, I will do something I typically try not to do. I try to
    trust the coaches and let them do their jobs. I have not been a coach. I am not
    in the practices. I do not watch the film like they do, knowing the assignments
    and able to tell who was actually wrong on every breakdown. But, I do watch
    every single game, most of them more than once. And, I know what all of you are
    saying as well - whether you are the media or the fans. With that said, here are
    my fixes the Dolphins should consider during this mini-bye week.1. Minkah
    Fitzpatrick is the free safety. The Dolphins, prior to the season, appeared to
    be set up with exotic looks using their three safeties, Fitzpatrick, Reshad
    Jones, and T.J. McDonald, in multiple places throughout the game. Then, injuries
    and poor preseason play got in the way and Miami was forced to move Fitzpatrick
    into the nickel cornerback position. That would be fine and a great use of
    talent, if Fitzpatrick were on the field more than just when the nickel package
    is used. Miami should absolutely move Fitzpatrick back to free safety and let
    him play as close to 100 percent of the snaps as possible. If they want to keep
    him as the nickel cornerback as well, substitute into the game McDonald as the
    other safety next to Jones and move Fitzpatrick up, but at this point, keep the
    rookie in the game the entire game. However...2. Move Bobby McCain back to the
    slot. McCain was given a large contract extension this year because of his
    excellent abilities as a slot cornerback. Then the injuries and poor play that
    promoted the team to move Fitzpatrick down to the nickel forced the team to move
    McCain to the outside. Move McCain back to the slot - which would allow
    Fitzpatrick to play solely as the free safety - and let McCain do what he does
    best.3. Start Cordrea Tankersley. I know Tankersley is struggling this year and
    just cannot seem to put things together. At this
    point Womens
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    , however, the Dolphins have to get him on the field
    and get him through whatever his issue is. You could argue that McCain stays on
    the field in base coverage, sliding inside on nickel, but he is being picked on
    outside, so is there really going to be a difference between McCain and
    Tankersley? The second-year cornerback played decently last year when thrust
    into the starting lineup. Now, he has to do it again. Or, at least the Dolphins
    will be sure about where they have to find another player in the offseason.4.
    Live with the a degree. Kiko Alonso is having a really strong
    year, but there is clearly confusion among the linebackers at times, pre-snap
    and post-snap. That is simply because the Dolphins have two first year players
    at linebacker - Raekwon McMillan who missed all of his rookie year due to an ACL
    tear and rookie Jerome Baker. Both players have shown growth already this year
    and that should continue throughout this year. It is frustrating to see a
    linebacker out of position, but at this point you have to live with it, to a
    degree.5. Use T.J. McDonald in the box as a fourth linebacker. If you move
    Fitzpatrick back to free safety, you now have McDonald sitting on the bench as a
    reserve safety. Why not consider making him play up in the box as a linebacker.
    He can rotate with Baker as needed, giving you coverage and run support options,
    both of which could help the linebackers perform better. It is not ideal, but it
    could work.6. Find defensive line help now. William Hayes landing on injured
    reserve messed up the Dolphins’ defensive line plans. Some will say he has not
    been a good player for Miami, but it really seems like, when he is on the field,
    the Dolphins have something different - both against the run and as a pressure
    defensive tackle up the middle. Hayes is not the reason the defensive line is
    struggling, but he was definitely a part of it. Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn
    are repeatedly getting close to the opposing quarterback but no one is actually
    sacking the quarterback. Charles Harris has yet to turn it on after being a
    first-round pick.And, the run defense is non-existent right now. Tuesday marks
    the trade deadline. Miami needs to find a way to land a solid, run-stopping
    defensive end who can be a rotational guy on the line of scrimmage. The Dolphins
    are supposed to be running a Wide-9 scheme that allows Wake and Quinn (and Andre
    Branch and Harris) to get to the quarterback, but they are not getting there
    right now. Something in the scheme has to be adjusted to free up the pass
    rushers to be pass
    rushers.Obviously Bobby
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    , there is more to what is happening with the Dolphins than
    any of us see. There is more data the coaches have - injuries, struggles,
    schemes, etc. - than any of us have. Maybe something cannot work out of these
    ideas. But, this seems like it would be a good start for fixing the Miami
    Dolphins defense this year. MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Miami Dolphins enjoyed quite
    the emotional high last week, defeating despised New England with a
    double-lateral touchdown that covered 69 yards on the game’s final play to give
    their long-shot postseason bid a big lift.On the road in Minnesota, Ryan
    Tannehill and the Dolphins, literally, came crashing back to the turf.The
    Vikings used a career-high 136 rushing yards and two touchdowns by Dalvin Cook
    to complement a swarming defense that took down Tannehill behind the line of
    scrimmage nine times for 71 lost yards in a 41-17 victory on Sunday, tying
    Miami’s franchise record for sacks allowed.“All around, starting with me, we
    weren’t good enough,” Tannehill said.Tannehill, who left the game against New
    England briefly because of an ankle injury, said afterward he felt fine despite
    the series of collisions he made with the ground throughout the afternoon.
    Miami’s chance in the AFC wild-card race took the biggest hit, with Baltimore,
    Indianapolis and Tennessee all winning to move to 8-6 and push the Dolphins
    (7-7) into ninth place in the conference race.The Dolphins were sacked nine
    times on Dec. 11, 2011, in a 26-10 loss to Philadelphia, with four against Matt
    Moore and five on J.P. Losman. They also gave up nine sacks on Oct. 17, 1999,
    all against Damon Huard after he relieved an injured Dan Marino in a 31-30
    victory at New England.Coach Adam
    Gase Jakeem Grant
    , whose team fell to 1-6 on the road this year, put the blame for
    the awful pass protection largely on the offensive line, running backs and tight
    ends for not giving Tannehill much of a chance.“We just didn’t block well
    enough,” Gase said. “We knew what we were in for as far as the pass rush. They
    just beat us.”The Vikings saved eight of their sacks for the second half, after
    Kalen Ballage’s 75-yard touchdown run on the first snap of the third quarter
    pulled the Dolphins within 21-17 after they’d fallen behind 21-0.On first-and-10
    from Miami’s 38, Tannehill was sacked for a 9-yard loss by blitzing linebacker
    Anthony Barr. Defensive end Danielle Hunter took him down for an 8-yard loss on
    the next play, putting the Dolphins in an extremely difficult third-and-27
    situation. Tannehill completed an 8-yard dumpoff to Danny Amendola, and the
    Dolphins had to punt. On their five possessions following the rookie Ballage’s
    score, the Dolphins netted a staggering minus-27 yards on 16 plays.“Personally,
    I played my worst game of the season,” said running back Kenyon Drake, the hero
    of the previous game after he crossed the goal line following a 52-yard slither
    and scamper through New England’s secondary. “I let the team down. I missed a
    couple key blocks on third down. So you’ve got to look yourself in the mirror
    and be motivated to get better.”No matter what was going to unfold for the
    Dolphins down the stretch, topping that “Miami Miracle” sequence was going to be
    tough. The way they performed against the Vikings all but cemented that play as
    the season highlight.Though they fell behind by three touchdowns after
    Minnesota’s first three possessions, the Dolphins insisted they didn’t carry any
    emotional hangover with them this week . The way they rallied from the early
    deficit offered evidence that this was true, but the way they wilted over the
    final 28 minutes of the game raised plenty of questions about the direction of
    the team nearing the end of Gase’s third year. After going 10-6 and making the
    playoffs in his rookie season, the Dolphins are 13-17 over the last two years,
    albeit with Tannehill missing 21 of those 30 games to injury.The Dolphins have
    been outscored 218-120 in road games this season. They’re 7-17 away from home
    under Gase, with 11 losses in their last 12 road games.“From my perspective, the
    guys did a good job of moving on to prepare for Minnesota and not letting it
    bleed into the next week,” Tannehill said. “We didn’t come out and execute well
    from the first snap.”