The Miami Dolphins gave up way too many big pass plays, and put their offense in a hole early on in games. It was obvious that that group needs to improve if Miami wants to be a top team in the NFL.
My question is: have they improved, and if so, how much have they improved?
First, I want to say that they have definitely improved. The loss of Jason Taylor and Joey Porter wasn't the best thing that could have happened, but it was also not the worst thing.
Miami replaced Joey Porter with another talented LB who can get 100+ tackles in Karlos Dansby. Dansby is also a veteran who shows great leadership ability, which isn't really something we had with Joey Porter. Porter was somewhat of a leader, but not as much as Dansby can be.
Koa Misi is one player who will be able to replace Taylor this year. While Misi is only a rookie, he has had a very good training camp so far.
And while I do like Misi a lot, I don't like him as much as Cameron Wake. Wake was the Canadian Football League defensive player of the year two years ago before he came to Miami. The man is an absolute beast, and is able to get to the quarterback extremely well. He didn't even play that much and he still had 5.5 sacks last season.
I like Wake to replace, and surpass, Jason Taylor as an OLB this year.
The weakest part of the Miami Dolphins defense was the secondary, though. There aren't many new faces that will most likely be starting in the secondary, but that doesn't mean they will be as weak as last year.
Both of the Dolphins main starting CBs of last year, Sean Smith and Vontae Davis, are back, and they are more experienced than last year when they were only rookies thrust into starting spots against the best receivers in the NFL.
The experience has got to help, and another thing that I think will have an impact on their development is the fact that they have two other backup cornerbacks ready to take their spots: Will Allen and Nolan Carroll.
Allen is a veteran CB who has been in the league for 10 years. Carroll is a rookie drafted in the fifth round of this years draft. Carroll has been a very pleasant surprise during training camp as he has been able to make a lot of great plays so far.
And, for those of you that think that Ted Ginn Jr. never did any good for the Miami Dolphins, well you are wrong. The Dolphins traded Ginn to the 49ers for the fifth round pick that they used to draft Carroll. Wierd, huh?
The last, and biggest, concern is the safeties. Miami seems pretty set at Strong Safety with Yeremiah Bell. The problem is the Free Safety spot. But, I am not nearly as concerned about that now as I was before training camp started.
The current leader at FS is Chris Clemons, a second year safety out of Clemson. Clemons has gotten the most reps in training camp so far and, according to Miami Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano, has made only one mental error. That sounds pretty good since Clemons has had well over 200 repetitions.
I think Clemons will be the biggest surprise this year.
So, to answer the question of whether or not Miami's defense will be better than last year, I have to say they will. I just don't see anywhere where the Dolphins have gotten any worse, just better.
Let me know what you think. I am eager to hear your opinions.
Subscribe to DolphinShout