Miami Dolphins, Def, Dolphins
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2015 Outlook: Solid/Safe PickLast updated on Aug-20-2015 by Shawn Childs
DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS
Miami has four tough matchups against the run based on 2014 data: The Houston Texans, the Dallas Cowboys and the Jets twice. Their best matchups will be come against the Buffalo Bills twice, the San Diego Chargers and the Tennessee Titans.
Overall, the Dolphins don't have a tough schedule against the pass. The Indianapolis Colts will be their most difficult opponent, but the Patriots, Eagles and Giants will all present a test. The Jets are Miami's weakest opponent on the passing side.
Miami finished 24th in the league in rushing yards allowed (1,937) while permitting just above the league average in yards per rush (4.3). They allowed 13 rushing TDs, a little less than the league average. The addition of Ndamukong Suh should instantly upgrade Miami's run defense. The Dolphins would love for second-round nose tackle Jordan Phillips to step up to grab the right defensive tackle position. Miami only needs him to hold his ground against the run as the other three defensive linemen will apply plenty of pressure on the QB. The Dolphins finished with a league-average 39 sacks in 2014. The presence of Suh will make it tough for offensive lines to double team Miami's leading pass rusher, defensive end Cameron Wake (12 sacks, 14 QB hits and 39 QB hurries). DE Olivier Vernon had only 6.5 sacks last year after recording 11.5 in his second season. The Dolphins' defensive line will be one of the best in the league and show growth against the run and the pass. Miami is hoping more pressure will beget more fumbles and interceptions.
Safety Reshad Jones ranked as one of the best at his position last year and is solid against the run. Miami's other projected starting safety, Louis Delmas, is coming off a torn ACL last December. Cornerback Brent Grimes allowed seven TDs in 2014 after allowing none in 2013. Overall, he allowed 56 completions on 95 pass attempts for 706 yards with five picks. He seemed to be a step behind last year (one defected pass last season, 14 in 2013). CB Will Davis tore his ACL in November. As a reserve player in 2014, Davis allowed 12 completions in 27 attempts for 171 yards and one TD.
Linebacker Jelani Jenkins racked up 110 tackles in his second season in the league while grading out as slightly above average at his position. He needs to improve against the run. Overall, Miami has league-average talent at linebacker and two decent players in its secondary. With a renewed focus on stopping the run and a strong pass rush, the Dolphins should be much improved on defense. Their bump in sacks and possible turnovers should lead to a top-five fantasy rank among defenses in 2015.
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