One area where Dolphins have improved. And Flores addresses personnel issues, moves, Tua

·5 min read

The Dolphins - who had trouble stopping the run for much of the year - have now improved to 12th best in the league in yards relinquished per carry, at 4.2.

That improvement stems in part from their good work against the Falcons, who averaged 3.3 yards per carry against Miami (22 for 72).

We are playing with better fundamentals, better techniques,” defensive line coach Josh Boyer said. “[Linebackers coach] Anthony Campanile and [defensive line coach] Austin Clark, those guys are doing a good job of making sure that we understand the run fits, the run schemes. Our guys are executing it at a little bit more consistent level.”

Pro Football Focus ranks Zach Sieler the 11th-best run defender among interior defensive linemen this season, Christian Wilkins 17th-best and Adam Butler 25th best.

Though the Dolphins’ improved run defense has coincided with the return of Raekwon Davis from a knee injury, PFF ranks Davis 106th as a run defender among 120 interior defenders.

Among edge players, PFF rates Emmanuel Ogbah the seventh-best run defender in football this season.

The Dolphins’ linebackers haven’t played particularly well against the run. As run defenders, PFF ranks Jerome Baker the eighth-worst and Elandon Roberts the 10th worst among all NFL linebackers.

Buffalo will pose a serious challenge. The Bills average 130.7 rushing yards per game, which is seventh best in the league, and 4.4 per carry, which is tied for 13th.

The Bills ran 30 times for 143 yards - 4.8 per carry - in their 35-0 blowout of the Dolphins in Week 2. Devin Singletary ran 13 times for 82 yards and quarterback Josh Allen five times for 35 yards.

▪ While the Dolphins’ run defense has improved, their pass rush hasn’t. They’re pressuring the quarterback only 35 percent of the time, which is 29th in the league.

FLORES NEWS CONFERENCE NEWS

▪ Brian Flores and the organization will look at the practice squad running backs this week - Patrick Laird, Gerrid Doaks and Duke Johnson - and then make a decision on which to use Sunday at Buffalo, in combination with Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed.

Doaks or Laird seems more likely to be used this weekend than Johnson, who just arrived. The Dolphins protected Doaks from being poached by another team this week; they did not do so with Laird.

Flores said Johnson was appealing because he’s had a “good amount of production throughout his career.”

▪ The Dolphins signed Central Central Connecticut quarterback Jacob Dolegala as their new practice squad developmental QB, replacing Reid Sinnett, who was claimed off waivers by Philadelphia.

The Dolphins had hoped to move Sinnett to the practice squad.

Dolegala went undrafted in 2019 and spent the 2019 season on the Bengals’ 53 man roster. He spent part of the past two years with the Packers and Patriots but hasn’t thrown a pass in an NFL game.

Dolegala, 6-7, was a four-year starter at Central Connecticut and threw for 8,129 yards and 48 touchdowns.

▪ Linebacker Jerome Baker, nursing a knee injury, will begin the week limited in practice, Flores said. The injury isn’t serious.

“Jerome is working through the issue with the injury,” Flores said. “He’s day to day. Hopefully he will be there for true practice on Thursday.”

▪ Flores isn’t certain if receiver DeVante Parker will be available on Sunday at Buffalo. He has missed three games with a hamstring injury.

He’s hopeful Parker “can string a couple good days of practice Thursday and Friday.”

▪ Flores said center Greg Mancz and cornerback Noah Igbinoghene - who have been nursing injuries - are participating in Wednesday’s walk-through and are “moving in the right direction.”

Flores said Austin Reiter “did well” filling in for Mancz and regular starter Michael Deiter, who remains out with an injury.

“There were some players he wishes he would have blocked a little bit better, but overall we were able to run the offense from an o-line standpoint without a huge dropoff,” Flores said of Reiter, a former Chiefs starter.

▪ Asked how he’s navigating the trade deadline, Flores reiterated he doesn’t discuss rumors but said: “Tua is our quarterback. I said that multiple times. I’ve said that to him.” The Dolphins - who have spoken with Houston about Deshaun Watson - have been careful never to publicly mention Deshaun Watson’s name; tampering could be in play if they did.

NFL Network reported that the Carolina Panthers are not pursuing Watson, leaving the Dolphins as Watson’s only known suitor.

Flores said Tagovailoa will continue to wear protection around his ribs.

▪ At 1-6, Flores said players “should keep their heads up. At the same time, they should do better. I also tell them that I’ll be better. I’m not one to point fingers. We’re all in this together. I like to think I’m very honest with my guys. That’s been my philosophy and I’ll continue to do that.”

THIS AND THAT

▪ Rookie safety Jevon Holland, who played every defensive snap against Atlanta, is rated by PFF as the 44th among 87 qualifying safeties this season.

“With Jevon from day one he’s come in, he’s worked extremely hard,” Boyer said. “He loves the process,. He’s working at better understanding…. the multiple things he can do. We’re seeing that growth. He definitely has some playmaking ability. Again, it’s our job to try to put him in spots where he can make those plays.”

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