Dolphins: Run defense regressing
In what has been an up-and-down season for the Miami Dolphins, it was thought that the area of consistency would be the run defense. The Dolphins boasted a strong rotation on the defensive line, a veteran linebacker corps and two excellent run defenders in safeties Louis Delmas and Reshad Jones. After a strong start, however, things have been crumbling of late.
The trouble seems to start along the defensive line. Through the first 11 weeks of the regular season, Cameron Wake and company had been among the NFL’s best, racking up a cumulative +17.6 grade against the run. In the last three weeks, that same unit has dropped to –21.9.
The Dolphins’ run defense struggles appear to extend to second-level defenders as well. Linebacker Jelani Jenkins, a surprise standout from earlier this season, has seen his grades regress. Over the last three weeks, Jenkins has added four missed tackles to his resume and seen his run defense ranking among 4-3 outside linebackers, slip from 11th to 34th.
With an impending matchup against LeGarrette Blount and the New England Patriots, looming on Sunday, the Dolphins will need to work out the kinks in order to stop one of the NFL’s top rushing offenses.