Written by Matthew Cannata at 1:40 PM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The Miami Dolphins defense is one of the most under-rated units throughout the entire NFL. Yet, week after week, they go out and turn in a solid performance with some great ones mixed in here and there. This is why they’re statistically ranked near the top in various categories throughout the NFL. In fact, it’s possible that the Dolphins can finish number one overall in total defense but defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said that’s not the most important thing for them.
“It would be great if we did, but winning games is what’s important to us. I mean that sincerely. We’ve got a tough road ahead and we’ve got to play winning defense. As long as we play winning defense, we’ll be happy. All of that other stuff is nice, but it’s not the goal we set out. We want to play winning defense. We want to be able, at the end of the season, that each and every week we went out there and played well enough to win.”
The Dolphins are currently ranked number one in yards allowed per play. This is important because this means there aren’t many explosive plays happening for the opponent, which can limit the momentum shifts throughout the course of the game.
“I know it sometimes sounds simple. I forgot who I was talking to about the matchup against what I think is a very good San Diego team,” Coyle said. “I said I feel like, if we don’t let them throw the ball over our head and if we hold onto the ball on offense, that I thought we would have a chance to win the game (and) that we would have good opportunities to win the game. It wasn’t a slam dunk. I didn’t make any bold proclamations, but I thought we would have opportunities to win the game. Our defense has done a good job, knock on wood, eliminating a lot of those free plays, cheap plays, big plays, whatever you want to call them. We need that to continue.”
With all that said, Coyle isn’t too concerned about the rankings and statistics. He just wants to win and with a tough stretch of opponents coming up, he’s focused on one opponent at a time and right now, that means it’s the Detroit Lions.
“We’re only halfway through and you look down the road, we’ve got a few dicey ones on the horizon, some teams that are at the top of the offensive end of things. We certainly take a lot of pride in what we do defensively. The stats are nice, but yet, the bottom line is I think we’re playing really good football. Really, I think we’ve played pretty good football defensively since the Kansas City (Chiefs) game. When you go back and look at the games that we’ve played since then, including Green Bay (Packers), I thought for the most part even in that game against a very good offensive team we held our own and then some probably. We’re playing good. There is a confidence among the group right now. Certainly, we want to continue it and hopefully maintain where we’re at or even improve.”
The Lions have quite a few playmakers on their team and it will be up to the Dolphins defense once again to limit the amount of explosive plays they execute. If they do, it won’t be a surprise when the Dolphins come away with a victory.