clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pre-Game Recon: Cornerback Is A Weak Link For Dolphins Defense

Kevin Nogle of our sister site, The Phinsider, gives his unique insight on this weekend's showdown with his beloved Miami Dolphins.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

1. So how about that Dan Campbell, huh? What are your impressions of him after that debut victory last weekend?

I think the biggest things about Campbell, and what is having the biggest impact on the team right now, is that he is the exact opposite of Joe Philbin. Miami's former head coach seemed like a good man and someone everyone really liked, but he just was not the fiery type that Miami needed. The nice guy routine had gotten the team moving in the right direction, but it fell short of being able to get them turned around the corner. Campbell has come in and is loud and aggressive, which is what was missing under Philbin.

2. Can anybody explain why Lamar Miller isn't given the ball 20 times a game? My fantasy team is friggin' dying out there.

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was not able to draft Miller in his fantasy league, so he's trying to keep the carries count low? I really don't know how to explain it. I think Miller would have reached the 20 carries mark last week, if Miami had not started playing Damien Williams and Jonas Gray with the big lead.

Lazor actually has a history of being a balanced play caller, if not slightly to the running side of a 50-50 split, but Philbin seemed to be all about the pass first, leading to Miami being a 73 percent pass play offense before last week. They are down to 68 percent pass after last week, and I would expect that to continue to drop as the team relies more on the run, and on Miller.

3. What would you say is Miami's biggest weakness on defense? Is there anything that can still be exploitable even after the departure of DC Kevin Coyle?

Cornerback may be the biggest concern heading into this week, mostly due to injury. Brice McCain, who usually starts opposite Brent Grimes and plays the slot in the nickel, could be sidelined, which would make Jamar Taylor the starter and, most likely, rookie Bobby McCain the slot corner. That could be an issue.

The linebackers are a concern, but the defensive line had not really been helping them until last week. If the defensive line is able to again control the line of scrimmage and eat up blocks, the linebackers should be fine.

4. Do the Dolphins still have a realistic chance at making a Wild Card run, or is the rest of this season simply a tryout for Campbell as a long term option at head coach?

It's a great question. I think they could climb their way back into the hunt, if they can continue to play like they did against the Titans. At some point, the impact of Campbell being new, and all the changes he is making being new, will wear off. What will the Dolphins be then? At this point, I don't think the playoffs are realistic, but they are possible. Let's see where the Dolphins stand in a couple of weeks, and make my opinion will change. Overall, seeing improvement under Campbell is the biggest goal.

5. What are your predictions for this Sunday's game?

I think the Dolphins were embarrassed about their home opener being so miserable a few weeks ago, and this will mark only the second game in Sun Life Stadium this year. The Dolphins are going to come out hungry, and they are going to look to end the 0-7 streak against Houston. I won't say this is a blowout, but something like 27-20 Miami seems to make sense to me.

A big thank you to Kevin for stopping by. You can read more of his excellent work on all things Dolphins over at The Phinsider.