The Miami Dolphins’ run defense has struggled so far and while it is true that it’s just the preseason, we can ask ourselves if the absence of five-time Pro Bowl tackle Ndamukong Suh is a big reason for this leaky ground defense. The Defensive Line has proved that it can rush the passer with specialists like Cameron Wake, Robert Quinn (2 sacks against the Panthers), Andre Branch and Charles Harris. Especially when they are playing with an advantage and a lead, but if the Dolphins want to be ahead on the scoreboard they need to stop the run.
The defensive tackles haven’t done their job in the first two preseason games and they have been moved by the opponents offensive line creating big holes. And we have seen the Dolphins linebackers hesitating to attack a hole and having trouble shedding their blocks.
Miami has allowed 299 yards rushing in the first two exhibition games that include a 71-yard run by Christian McCaffrey and two touchdowns against the Buccaneers. The coaching staff and the players are confident that they are moving in the right direction despite the fact they rank 31st against the run through two preseason games. Seeing is believing though and until Miami shows on the field in a preseason game they can’t stop the rung it’s hard to believe that they will flip a switch in the regular season and do so.
“I can see how it’s starting to come together,” Gase said Sunday. He also put special attention on two former Buckeyes in linebackers Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker, “We’ll get those guys up to speed,” Gase said. “They’ll be doing it right once we hit the first week. We have athletic guys in that second level. We’ll give them opportunities to make plays, and they’ll make them.”
“Clean up some of the mistakes, and we’ll be all right,” linebacker Raekwon McMillan said.
Maybe the presence of Kendall Langford can help to overcome the struggles of the defensive line. Langford played 18 snaps on Saturday despite being with the team for just a few days, but he didn’t make any assignment mistakes and is in excellent shape. Perhaps we need to be patient and take the wait and see approach to the new techniques implemented by new defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.
It’s really important that the coaches find the way to fix this issue though otherwise the Dolphins might be in store for a very long season.
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