Written by Matthew Cannata at 10:05 AM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Middle linebacker Koa Misi was battling an ankle injury on Sunday and was unable to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars. While Joe Philbin hopes he can play this coming weekend against the San Diego Chargers, he admits that he doesn’t know what will happen and said the team will take it day by day.
Being without Misi will leave a big hole in the defense, as we saw when the Jaguars racked up 176 yards on the ground, with Denard Robinson leading the way with 108 of them. Philbin said they are going to work to correct the mistakes this week and get back on the right track.
"I think it’s a little bit of everything. We have the saying in coaching that everything counts, so you can’t sit there and say, ‘Well, if they didn’t hit the 40-yard fake reverse, they would have had X-amount.’ Last week you could say, ‘Well, Joe, the tailbacks only averaged 3.5 yards a carry.’ Well, it doesn’t’ matter. We ran the ball with the quarterback and they averaged X-amount. Everything matters. Everything you do counts. Everything matters, so we look at all aspects of it. We had a couple misfits yesterday that we have to get corrected. I think the tackling was good. I don’t know if it was great. There’s some tackling that can be better, so obviously (there are) some things to work on.”
Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle admitted that Misi’s absence definitely affects the run defense but has confidence in the guys that are stepping up to replace him.
“Certainly, Koa’s activity inside, his physicality we miss. But I thought our guys did a really good job, I thought Trus (Jason Trusnik) did a good job in there and I think we had Kelvin (Sheppard) in there for a period of time and he stepped up. I think we probably played more linebackers in this game than any game that we’ve played and consequently our depth is improving and they’re being comfortable out there in those game situations, increasing.”
With all that said, Coyle broke down the runs by the Jaguars and said that although it looks bad on paper, it isn’t really as bad as it looks due to a couple of big runs that the Dolphins’ defense allowed.
“Yesterday, I was disappointed at the end of the day when you look at the statistics and see the high number. When you go back and you look at a couple of runs that added to it, I think you’ll see that one was a 41-yarder on the second play of the game. I’ll take that one on myself, in that they hurried up to the ball and we were trying to get some things communicated and they quick snapped us, everybody was not on the same page and the run broke out. Should it have been as long as it was? No, perhaps, but yet it wasn’t like we were set, ready to go and play.”
“They had a gadget play where they faked a reverse and they caught some people off guard, that’s the long run. Then they had a quarterback scramble for 32 yards. That accounts for 73 yards of 177 I believe or 176, and then when you average the rest of the carries out, I don’t think we were particularly stout throughout the game, but there was a number of good plays. At the end of the day, they would have been at about 3.7 yards a carry, which is a solid overall day. When you add those other ones in, it changes it. I don’t think we played poorly against the run, I think we can play better against the run.”
The Dolphins will need to improve their run defense quick with Chargers’ running back Branden Oliver ready to run wild. Following the Chargers, the Dolphins will need to take on the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills. Getting Koa Misi back in the lineup will instantly improve the unit and the Dolphins can only hope that he heals enough to get in the game on Sunday.