Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The Miami Dolphins have the second best statistical defense in the NFL behind the Detroit Lions and have been getting their due credit over the past several weeks. There are a lot of reasons for this - lack of injuries, a much improved linebacker corps and yes, one of the best defensive lines in the league.
“Everybody is making plays," Olivier Vernon said. "When the opportunity is there, everybody is stepping up. Veterans to young guys, everybody is just doing their job and what they have to do.”
Earl Mitchell said one of the keys to their defensive success has been their ability to create turnovers and then capitalize on the opposing team's mistakes.
“For us, creating turnovers have been big for us," defensive tackle Earl Mitchell said. "Scoring on defense has been really huge. Whenever we do happen to have a turnover, we’re able to get the ball back or give our offense an opportunity to score once again. I think that’s been really big for us this year.”
Joe Philbin said the concept is simple - you play to score points while not allowing the opponent to score. He said that one of the biggest points of emphasis he made when he first started was to play well on defense and special teams.
"We’ve been in the top 10 in scoring defense our first two years and we’re there again right at this moment. There’s a lot of football left to be played. But certainly we want to tackle well, pursue well, pressure the quarterback. Those are all going to be huge things in this game, as important as anything that we do, are those three things. Offensively, you have to play to your strengths and establish an identity over a course of time. I think we’re getting into a better groove. I think it’s been a new system. There’s been some learning and some adjusting, but we’re starting to see increased productivity.”
The Dolphins seem to get a new test every week and on Sunday, they will get one of their biggest ones of the year when they square off against Peyton Manning and the dangerous Broncos offense. However, they may catch a break if Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas don't suit up. It will be something to keep an eye on but there's no doubt the Dolphins are ready to prove themselves once again.