Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where's the Pressure?

Let's face it. Trent Edwards and the Buffalo Bills were not the best example to define Miami's defensive skill. The Dolphins have a total of 12 sacks in five games, but six of them came against an ailing Bills offensive line.

With the presence of Joey Porter and Jason Taylor, along with the emergence of Cameron Wake, Miami's defensive front line is geared for dominance in pass rush.

At least on paper they are.

Besides the secondary having troubles of their own, the reason why opposing QBs have averaged 225 yards through the air is due to Miami's lack of pressure on those QBs.

Historically, the Dolphins have been able to contend with elite teams, such as the New England Patriots, by pushing the envelope against their QBs. Ask Tom Brady himself, he hates playing against Miami, no matter what their record is.

But to put things in perspective, sacks don't have to be the indicator of successful application of pressure. Just take a look at the Jets.

Rex Ryan's revamped defense has only accounted for five sacks all season, but have been highly regarded by opposing coaches and football analysts. Hurried passes and knock downs are factors that are not accounted for in the stat book, but are as valuable, if not more, than sacks.

Either way, the reality is that Miami's defense has not lived up to it's expectations, outside of it's success against the run (ranked 3rd overall).

When you have struggling safeties and young corners, something must be done to help the cause. The solution lies in creative blitz packages and personnel rearrangement.

Keep Taylor exchanging between RE, LE and OLB to throw off opposing teams. Bring in Wake to line up alongside Porter and Taylor and apply added pressure. Don't be afraid to call the occasional all out blitz and safety blitz.

Be bold on defense.

This will be key if Miami wants a shot at dethroning the undefeated New Orleans Saints come Sunday. Nobody has been able to consistently apply pressure to Drew Brees. That trend must end once Miami steps on the gridiron at Land Shark Stadium this week.

If Brees does not find himself with a facemask full of grass more once, it could be a long day for the Dolphins. Those two weeks of rest and preparation must be used as efficiently as possible in order to avoid another embarrassing "air show."

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