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QBs testing Dolphins' pass defense at high rate

Pro Football Weekly
QBs testing Dolphins' pass defense at high rate

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QBs testing Dolphins' pass defense at high rate

The Dolphins are seeing the consequence of possessing the league’s best run defense — teams are choosing to throw, and throw often. Miami’s run defense is allowing a league-low 2.4 yards per carry, but a league-high 43 pass attempts per game, something defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle discussed on Oct. 2.

“The thing I come back to and I am disappointed in the numbers in terms of yards that were given up,” he told reporters.

But Coyle was quick to mention that opposing quarterbacks have a 54.7 completion percentage against Miami. The Dolphins have been hurt, though, by giving up passes to running backs and tight ends.

“A lot of stuff is underneath,” Dolphins starting S Reshad Jones told PFW in a phone interview Wednesday. “We have to do a better job tackling the guy after he catches the ball. Yards after the catch were a big factor.”

More than 42 percent of the yards the Dolphins have allowed through the air have gone to tight ends and backs, and Jones knows that stopping those players in the open field is an area that must be improved.

“We haven’t given up too many plays in terms of long throws. Guys are going to get their plays, we have to do a better job wrapping up and tackling guys,” he said.

When Coyle came aboard with the new staff, the safety position was a big question mark, though Jones quickly secured the starting FS spot by proving to be a versatile playmaker. In his third season, Jones said he is doing his best to “show everyone that I’m a premier safety in this league, and I think I’m on the right track.”

Jones has 19 tackles, two tackles for loss, an interception and two passes defensed this season, and like other Dolphins defensive players, he is a fan of the new system Coyle has installed.

“He has a great game plan. From a safety standpoint, the safeties in his defensive plan have been a lot more active and getting in on a lot more plays,” Jones explained.

Making game-changing plays was a problem for the Dolphins’ secondary last season, and Jones knows that the success of the front seven will give them more opportunities.

“It feels good when you have guys stopping the run like that, it makes a team more one-dimensional, forcing them to throw the ball and allowing us in the back end to make plays,” he said.

The 1-3 Dolphins have let two games slip through their fingers, blowing late leads against the Jets and Cardinals, only to lose both games in overtime. With quarterbacks throwing against Miami more and more each week, Jones and the secondary need to make more plays and finish games to bolster that record.

“Like coach always preached to us — it’s always going to fall on the DBs,” he said. “We’re going to be the ones that can win games or lose games, we just have to create more turnovers and give our offense back the ball.”

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