The Dolphins’ defense is on quite a roll, especially against the run, and Dolphin Digest editor Andy Cohen points to defensive coordinator Mike Nolan as the team’s most important off season signing.http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/andy- ... nty-credit
To understand exactly how the Dolphins have gotten here, why they remain a legitimate playoff contender with three games left, you simply need to focus on the defense.
What an incredible run this defense is on. Especially against the run.
Over the past three games, the Dolphins have held the Raiders, Browns and Jets to some of the most attention-grabbing numbers you will see. It started with stuffing Darren McFadden of the Raiders for a ridiculous 2 yards on eight carries. It continued against the Browns, who rushed for 57 yards, and the Jets, grounded for 87 yards.
These aren’t slouch rushing teams, either. These are teams that have put together some gaudy rushing numbers against other defenses.
But not against the Dolphins. Not this defense. Not this year.
This defense, under the direction of Mike Nolan, has come together in a fashion few could have imagined. With all those first-year starters. With questions at nose tackle. With three new starters in the secondary. With a season-ending injury to the team’s top draft pick in the very first game. It is an amazing storyline in a season that just keeps on giving.
Through 13 games, the Dolphins are ranked among the top handful of defenses in the league. And they deserve to be there. Look at the numbers up and down the season. The Dolphins have given up just six rushing touchdowns all season. It’s even more impressive when you consider the caliber of backs they have faced.
Adrian Peterson. LaDainian Tomlinson. Ray Rice. Chris Johnson. Darren McFadden. Peyton Hillis. All have a new-found respect for the Dolphins defense.
With the offense struggling to gain an identity, searching for the right answers down the stretch, it is the defense that has given this team a real sense of stability. And you need to look no further than Nolan as a reason for that.
Perhaps most impressive is that this is a young defense with the ability to grow together for a long time.