The Miami Dolphins are a team built on toughness, but if you want to make the playoffs in 2017, you better be able to defend your home turf.
And the Dolphins aren’t alone.
The NFL is full of teams that are in desperate need of defensive linemen.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and Tennessee Titans of the NFC West are all in desperate straits.
In the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins were already a contender last year.
If the Dolphins keep this up, they might have a shot at making the playoffs.
The Dolphins’ defensive line is a major concern.
Defensive linemen have historically been better in the trenches than outside the tackles.
This year, they’re projected to be better at both positions.
This will be an important factor as the Dolphins look to make a push in the AFC South.
What are the Dolphins’ weaknesses?
The Dolphins have been known to be good at one specific thing.
They’re a strong run defense.
The Dolphins average 2.8 yards per carry on the ground, which ranks fifth in the league.
They also have a stout run defense when they don’t blitz.
But this is a problem.
When the Dolphins get pressure, they struggle.
Miami allowed a whopping 5.7 yards per pressure last year, which ranked 28th.
This season, they allowed an average of 3.3 yards per rush, which is seventh-worst in the NFL.
This has led to more turnovers.
The Miami offense was fourth in the AFL in turnovers last year and tied for 23rd in this season.
With the addition of defensive end Dion Jordan and the return of defensive tackle D’Andre Swift, the Dolphins need to be able help their running game.
The best way to help the running game is to be aggressive on the edge.
The offensive line will also be a concern.
This is the position that has the biggest impact on Miami’s defense.
Jordan, Swift and defensive tackle Jarran Reed all have big hands.
But when they get pressure on the quarterback, they can be overwhelmed.
With a stout offensive line, Miami can be a dangerous team on the road.
The other major weakness in the Dolphins offensive line is their secondary.
They ranked 23rd against the run last year at an average 6.4 yards per pass attempt.
That was the second-worst mark in the entire league.
The Miami Dolphins will need to find some help on the other side of the ball if they want to contend in the NFC South.
They’ve got some good options at the position, including safety Reshad Jones and cornerback Jamar Taylor.
If they can get some help at safety, they’ll be in a position to contend this season and make a run in the playoffs again.