The defense has been a complete disaster the last couple of games. They aren’t stopping the run and they aren’t generating much of a pass rush. Consequently, its leaving our undersized linebackers exposed and our secondary can only cover for so long that they are giving up big play like the other night against the Houston Texans. The heart of any offense or defense is the line of scrimmage play and frankly the Dolphins are getting manhandled up front. The front line should always set the tone for the game and be the aggressor, but the Dolphins are getting pushed around.

The Dolphins front four has been a major disappointment. For the most part, their defensive tackles aren’t pushing the guard and center back and defensive ends aren’t setting the edge to contain running lanes or generating any sort of a consistent pass rush. I don’t want to hear our defensive tackles are getting pushed around because we parted with Jordan Phillips and Ndamukong Suh. The reality is those two were together for 3 years and our defensive were at best middle of the pack in run defense so it’s not like they were dominant. The only defensive tackle that’s generating any penetration at the line of scrimmage is Vincent Taylor. He did that the other night against the Texans in the first half and then he left with a foot injury and nobody else pick up the slack. Akeem Spence and Davon Godchaux have to pick up the slack it’s opening up too many running lanes and the Dolphins are getting gashed severely.

The Dolphins also have to evaluate our defensive ends after the season because they aren’t setting the edge or rushing the passer. I know they have had some injuries, but someone has to step up. Robert Quinn was acquired this off season to help the pass rush and he has played every game this year and only has 1 sack in 8 games. Really?? This guy is getting paid $10 million plus and that’s all we get out of him? Andre Branch is hurt again, and Cameron Wake is also banged up, but it’s also possible that he is slowing down at 36 years old however he has earned the right to get out of his slow start. Charles Harris is banged up, but he has some pressures and no sacks. The defense only has 11 sacks in 8 games. Two of them came from Jerome Baker on blitzes and one came from Phillips, who is no longer with us.

The Dolphins defense in the late 90’s and early part of the 2000’s would set the tone. They had defensive tackle Tim Bowens with Daryl Gardener, Keith Traylor, or Larry Chester would push the guard and center back with consistency closing running lanes and forcing the quarterback to move or get rid of the ball quicker. They had a pass rush led by Jason Taylor with Trace Armstrong, Kevin Carter, or Adewale Ogunleye. Right now, we aren’t getting any of that. Deshawn Watson had all day to throw and threw more touchdown passes than incompletions how does that happen? The Dolphins need to start drafting and developing younger players on the defensive line rather than overpaying players like Quinn, Branch, or Suh and get nothing in return. The Dolphins should rebuild this defensive line because what they have been doing the last few years isn’t working. They have some bloated contracts on the defensive line it’s time to get rid of them and rebuild.

The offensive line has been a mess for years. Things seemed to change to start the season when they had the same starting offensive line throughout training camp, but as is the case with any team injuries derailed them. Josh Sitton and Daniel Kilgore were lost to season ending injuries. One of their top backups Sam Young looks totally lost as evidenced by him being inactive the last two games. Ja’Waun James is too inconsistent for me. I don’t know what I’m going to get out of him. One week he holds Kahil Mack in check and the next week he’s getting tossed around like a rag doll by JJ Watt. James has been with the team 5 years and he’s been a steady starter at right tackle, but it’s time to move on. I believe the Dolphins can get better out of that position. He is too inconsistent to be paying $9 million plus a year. The two players who are playing pretty well are right guard Jesse Davis and left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Tunsil had a bad second season at left tackle, but this year he has rebounded very well. He was blocking Jadevon Clowney the other night and I really don’t recall Clowney’s name being mentioned the other night. That’s a credit to how Tunsil has improved his play. Davis isn’t perfect at right guard, but he’s been the best player at the position in years. The Dolphins should look at more reinforcements along the offensive line to protect their quarterback and open up running lanes. The offensive line just like the defensive line have to set the tone up front and push people around to be the aggressor and I don’t see it consistently. The Dolphins have a very good set of skill players that are a threat to score anytime they touch the ball, but if the offensive line as a whole isn’t holding up you are only going to go so far.

The Dolphins are being looked at as a finesse team and not a physical team. The need to rebuild the trenches save who is worth saving and look to rebuild to become a more physical team up front. The best teams in the league are strong upfront and frankly the Dolphins aren’t going to be a good team let alone a serious contender until they fix their problems on the offensive and defensive line.