Written by Steven Wilson at 8:00 AM EST | Twitter: @stevenjwilson11
After departing South Beach and moving to the heart of Detroit Reggie Bush is high on the Dolphins priority list. Not as a free agent when his contract expires, but rather when the teams meet this Sunday, Bush will have a few pairs of eyes on him at all times.
“Well, obviously playing with the guy for a couple of years, I know the kind of player he is and the way he can make something out of nothing,” defensive end Cameron Wake stated. “Again, that’s another facet of the offense that we, as a defense and as a front, have to do our best to kind of keep tabs on because, again, I’ve watched him from my own bench make plays and turn a 2-yard pass into a 20-yard run or 30-yard run, and make guys miss and things like that. Now, he’s on the other side of the ball or the other side of the coin from us. I’ve said that that’s something we’re going to have to put high on our priority list.”
Although he’s bounced around to three teams in five seasons and battled injuries over the past three weeks, No. 25 has rushed for 1,000 yards in two of the past three seasons, caught more than 50 passes all but once in his eight-year career and has 34 touchdowns − 18 of which have come through the air.
“Facing a guy like Reggie Bush, he’s able to make moves where a lot of people can’t,” said Phins linebacker Koa Misi. “We just have to play the right coverage and get in the right position to make plays in this game and try to lock him down that way. We’ve just got to play the calls that our coaches give us. Like I’ve said before, he (Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle) is not going to put us in a bad situation and just play that (call).”
Due to injuries and the recent emergence of Theo Riddick as a reliable option, the Dolphins defense will have to be ready for a two- or even three-headed attack, if bulldozer Joique Bell gets going.
“Their backs are a big part of their offense and the passing game,” Misi admitted. “Like I said before, Coach Coyle is not going to put us in any bad situations, so we’ve just got to play the calls that are given to us and we’ll be alright.”
While Bush and Co. will maintain the focus of the defensive line and linebackers, Wake knows one of the best players on the field, regardless of the team he plays for, will be on the outside of the field catching passes. After missing a few weeks with an ankle injury, Calvin Johnson returns to the Lions lineup, which forces the defense to change their scheme.
“Obviously, he’s another dynamic football player and he’s a guy who can on one play take a bunch of yards and change the course of the game,” Wake said. “I definitely think, as a defense, it’s a high priority for us to make sure we do what we can to contain him and I know, again I have confidence in the guys we have in the back end doing whatever they can to step up and make the plays when it counts. Again, I have confidence in our guys. Obviously, respect the guy as a football player, but on Sunday I’m definitely going to put my faith in the guys we have.”
The Dolphins secondary will be relying on Wake to create pressure on Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has thrown for 2,216 yards and 11 scores this season. That means, big No. 91 will have to get past the Lions offensive line if they want to slow this offense down.
“Well [from what I’ve] see on film, I’ve watched the guys at length and, for the most part, those guys, they work well together,” Wake said of the Lions O-Line. “They’re a hardnosed, tough minded kind of group and obviously play to the whistle. So I think the front, that’s another challenge for us to do whatever we can to find the weakness, get after the quarterback and do our best to keep him from getting the ball in the hands of playmakers.”
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