It's never good when the head coach says the second-team players look better than the starters. That is quite damning.
And yet, that is exactly what coach Joe Philbin said of his defense after their preseason-opener against Tampa Bay. "They looked more like a defense," was among Philbin's critiques.
I guess so when you consider the starting defense last week yielded 14 points in barely over one quarter of work and Tampa Bay's QBs were 12 of 13 for 132 yards passing the football. Miami mustered no sacks. And no turnovers.
Obviously, there are issues there.
Vontae Davis, struggling through camp, got beat on one of the first few plays he was in the game. Sean Smith missed a couple of tackles. Neither Cameron Wake nor anybody else got any sort of pressure on the passer. The team gave up two rushing touchdowns. And Tampa Bay won on third down -- a lot.
So it falls on defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle to correct the problems in the next three weeks before the regular-season opener. We see the progress Friday night against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in the second preseason game.
This is Coyle's take on the matter: