I recently had the opportunity to talk Miami Dolphins football with Matt Loede–lead writer/editor at Steelers Gab and owner of the Sports Gab Network.
Matt asked me a series of questions regarding the Dolphins’ outlook this season, focusing on the team’s sloppy outing in the Hall of Fame Game, Ryan Tannehill’s development, Mike Wallace’s impact and more.
The entire interview can be seen by following this link to Steelers Gab. I’ve included a couple of Matt’s questions with my answers to hopefully entice you to read the rest.
The Fins looked a bit sloppy in the loss to Dallas in the HOF game – any concern from that?
Not really. It was the first of five preseason games and the starters that did play, didn’t play very long.
The coaching staff has made protecting the football a priority this season, so turning the ball over twice in the first half was a bit frustrating. But both giveaways were rather fluky plays.
The first was a botched handoff starting running back Lamar Miller couldn’t secure. I highly doubt we’ll ever see him do that again. The second was a pass that bounced off of receiver Chad Bumphis’ hands and to a Cowboy defender.
If they continue to turn the ball over throughout the preseason, Dolphins fans will have good reason to be concerned. For now, I’m chalking up Sunday night’s sloppy play to first-game jitters.
The defense is something that I know the team wanted to improve this offseason – what will they be like in 2013?
The Dolphins’ defense was a stingy group in the red zone last year, surrendering the 7th fewest points in the entire NFL. But they had a difficult time getting off the field at times, finishing 21st in total defense and 27th against the pass. I expect them to improve in both categories this season with better coverage and a more consistent pass rush.
Free-agent acquisition Brent Grimes gives the secondary a ball hawk and someone who can contain the opposition’s go-to receiver. And the team’s second and third-round choices in April–Jamar Taylor and Will Davis–should help provide the cornerback position with depth.
But the best way to slow down the pass is to consistently pressure the quarterback. Oliver Vernon, a third-round pick in 2012, is developing and first-round selection Dion Jordan looks every bit ready to have an impact as a rookie. All-Pro defensive end Cameron Wake likely won’t have to carry the load by himself in the pass rush department anymore.
At linebacker, free-agent additions Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler will also help the defense become a faster, more attacking unit in 2013.
Put it all together and the Dolphins could have themselves a top-five defense.