The Miami Dolphins, over the last couple of seasons, have leaned heavily on their blitzing to put stress on opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators.
While they’ve found some success with that strategy, it hasn’t worked every time. In fact, against Buffalo Bills signal-caller Josh Allen, it hasn’t worked for Josh Boyer’s unit.
For that very reason, former NFL quarterback-turned-analyst Dan Orlovsky doesn’t want to see Miami play this way in their wild-card meeting.
“There’s no way I would play man and blitz Josh Allen,” ESPN’s Orlovsky said. “They’ll get blown out of the stadium. The Dolphins have to change who they are on defense in this game to have any shot. Play a ton of zone. Play eight guys in coverage. Dare over the course over four quarters for the ball to be thrown underneath [unreasonably]. Slow the game down and make it ugly and don’t give this quarterback — who is a monster against man coverage — so many big-play opportunities down the field.”
For blitzes to work, a team must have confidence in their front to get to quarterback as well as their secondary to hold strong. In Miami’s case, their secondary has been decimated by injuries.
Byron Jones, who is typically their second cornerback opposite Xavien Howard, never played a single snap this season. Nik Needham, normally the slot corner, was elevated to more playing time before suffering a season ending injury. Trill Williams, who would’ve been a depth piece, sustained a torn ACL in preseason.
This has led to undrafted rookie Kader Kohou and special teams aces Keion Crossen and Justin Bethel playing more snaps at cornerback this season than expected.
On top of that, safety Brandon Jones, who was a huge part of their blitzing packages in 2021, went down with a torn ACL back in October.
Howard also hasn’t been his usual self with many assuming that the groin injuries that he suffered earlier in the season are still hampering him.
Orlovsky is probably right here. For Miami to have a chance here, they probably won’t want to give Allen the opportunity for big plays that’s present when they blitz. Force them to drive methodically, and there could be chances for turnovers.