Well, it’s Week 10 folks, which means there are 8 weeks left to the 2022 NFL season. Our record is 6-3, good for 3 in the AFC East and 6th in the AFC. Our offense is 9th in the league in scoring (23.7 PPG), and our dismal defense is 26th, allowing 24.9 PPG. Just look at our division and you can see the disparity, the Bills who have played one less game have given up 118 points (14.75 PPG), the NY Jets have allowed 176 points (19.5 PPG), and the New England Patriots have allowed 166 points (18.4 PPG). Despite having a prolific offense, we have allowed more points than we have scored, 224, while scoring 213. Yes, we’ve had some injuries, and yes, Tua missed a couple of games, but if you watched the game Sunday against the Bears, you know we were lucky to come out of Chicago with a W.
Yes, CB Byron Jones has been out all season. Pro Bowl CB Xavien Howard has been playing with groin and hamstring issues most of the season, and we lost our 3rd best CB Nik Needham in Game 6. We also lost our Safety Brandon Jones 2 weeks ago to a season ending injury. So we can make excuses for all of those things, but really, this defense has been pretty toothless in general most of the season, with the exception of Game 1 against the Patriots when we allowed only 7 points. Even the game against the Bills where we gave up less than 20 points (19), they were moving the ball all over us, up and down the field, it’s still amazing we came away with a 2 point victory that day.
The good news going forward is that rookie Kader Kohou is now healthy and has proven to be a pretty reliable player, and an excellent tackler in the backfield. While Noah Igbinoghene will never live up to his draft position, he has improved under the tutelage of former All Pro CB’s Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain. Xavien Howard has been struggling with groin and hamstring injuries all season and it appears will continue to do so. Hopefully the BYE week next week will give him the rest that can make him whole. DB’s Keion Crossen is also back and joins veteran special teamer Justin Bethel to round out the secondary.
The Dolphins made a big splash last week trading for OLB Bradley Chubb. Maybe it was too much to expect him to make a difference in his first game action, but to log 1 assisted tackle playing 72% of the defensive snaps is very disappointing to me. Hoping this game at home against an AFC opponent that happens to have his cousin on the other side, RB Nick Chubb, maybe he can show up a little more. Actually, maybe the entire defense can do a little more. Blame DC Josh Boyer, blame HC Mike McDaniel, or just blame all of the players. This defense is not a playoff caliber defense at this time, it just isn’t. 17 sacks in 9 games. You want some bright side? Last season, the Dolphins from Game 10 – 17 managed to amass 31 sacks. If the 2022 Miami Dolphins can come close to that, we should sail right into the playoffs and probably be one of the higher seeds. You want gloomy? I haven’t seen a glimmer that this can happen, except for the fact that we did it last season. You would think the front seven of Wilkins, Davis, Ogbah, Chubb, Baker, Roberts and Phillips could manage more than 17 sacks from here to the end of the season, but can they almost double that? That will remain to be seen.
I know our offense with Tua at the helm can play and score with anyone. I suppose one of the bigger questions will be can Tua do it in poor weather, as the Starks in Winterfell say, “Winter is coming”. We play the Bills in Buffalo December 18th and the Patriots in Foxborough January 1st. Those will definitely be good tests not only for Tua, but our team in general. The acquisition of RB Jeff Wilson Jr. paid nice dividends last week against da Bears. He provides a much better 1-2 punch than Mostert and Edmonds. He’s a little more physical than Mostert, probably a tick slower, but he has some nice wiggle and is as good or better receiver than Mostert. That 1-2 punch might need to be leaned on more in those poor weather games. OL Austin Jackson is getting healthier and whether he starts or not doesn’t really matter, he’ll be another capable player to rotate in or fill a spot if necessary. Terron Armstead has been playing in pain all season with a toe injury. We lost LG Liam Eichenberg who was replaced by OG Robert Jones, who did a nice job. C Connor Williams has been solid all season as has RG Robert Hunt. RT Brandon Shell who has been playing in the stead of Austin Jackson has also been quite solid, but we know injuries and the toll of the season itself requires good depth, so if Austin Jackson can get healthy and help this team, we’ll better for it.