Tuesday 5 p.m. Dolphins report: Injury update; Philbin, Lazor, Coyle address issues; 20 Dolphins notes; Playoff update
Quick 4:45 p.m. update: Brian Hartline's knee injury, which forced him to leave Monday's game, isn't serious. The injury is a bruise and he could play Sunday, barring a setback.
### The Dolphins’ run defense has become a serious cause for concern. The Dolphins, once fourth in the league in rush defense, have slipped to 21st after allowing 202 yards against Denver and 277 against the Jets. And Baltimore, fifth in rushing offense, visits Sunday.
Joe Philbin worries that if his team cannot stop the run more effectively, “teams are going to continue you to do that. Some of the reverses they took advantage of. Some of basic fundamentals are missing at times. We have to tackle better. Maybe a guy doesn’t wrap up when he should wrap up. Maybe he leaves his feet. Maybe he doesn’t accelerate his feet on contract.”
### Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said the Jets’ first half, in which they ran for 210 yards, “was like a bad dream. They hit three reverses, each of them about 20 yards apiece. Then they had the long run where we missed tackles. On a 2nd and 10, I called a blitz which didn’t put us in a great situation against the reverse.
"I’m not going to defend that we gave up 210 yards [rushing] in the first half. They ran the ball almost every play. We weren’t as bad as what it comes off initially. We need to fix some things in terms of these run fits, in terms of dealing with these reverses. They had run reverses but not of the actions they showed last night…. Disappointed in the way we started the game. We have to do a better job.”
Coyle, on the state of his run defense: “There are isolated breakdowns we need to get fixed. Some of the plays that have broken out on us are not your conventional run plays, when you talk about reverses and plays of that nature. We need to do a better job of fitting the run game.”
### The Dolphins crowded the line of scrimmage more in the second half, with the safeties closer to the line.
“We tightened things down quite a bit,” Coyle said. “We didn’t anticipate they would throw the ball 13 times in the game. Early on, a lot of the things we were doing were based on what they had been doing. In the second half, we said we’re going to commit to stop the run. We showed them on the overhead at halftime. They didn’t get into passing mode until very late in the game.”
### Against the Jets, the Dolphins –--- as usual –-- shared defensive tackle snaps among Jared Odrick (54), Randy Starks (41) and Earl Mitchell (34). Rookie Anthony Johnson played eight. Starks, Mitchell and Odrick --- in that order --- were given the Dolphins’ lowest grades on defense by Pro Football Focus. With each, there were several examples of them of being unable to dislodge quickly enough from blocks on runs up the gut.
### Coyle’s bottom line: “At the end of the day, we gave up 13 points. When we had to come up with plays to win the game, we were able to do it. We’ve been in some games where we couldn’t keep it together and finish the way we wanted to, making the adjustments we needed to make.”
### Though Jimmy Wilson played the first play of the game as a boundary corner, the Dolphins mostly used RJ Stanford as the boundary corner opposite Brent Grimes, with Wilson in the slot. Stanford played 44 snaps, Grimes all 64, Jimmy Wilson 41 and Walk Aikens 9.
“We went into the game thinking we would play three corners and see how the games developed,” Coyle said. “Jimmy, being most experienced, we felt that would be a good way to begin. As we went through the game, RJ was the first one in the game and Walt Aikens played some snaps. We wanted to get an evaluation of those guys but knowing Jimmy has played a lot of snaps.”
### Coyle, on Jelani Jenkins: “Jelani has stepped up and taken on the challenge of being the leader of the defense. He’s got very good athleticism. Instinctive player. He finally has gotten the opportunity and has run with it.”
### Dion Sims, who had catches of 18 and 17 yards on the game-winning drive, “is starting to really make a positive impact, positive contribution,” Philbin said. “Probably has been more noticeable. We’re asking him to do more things than he did in the first year. He’s got good hands. I like the trend he’s on. The staff has a lot of confidence in him.”
Said Lazor: “Evolved, grown, developed. All those words would fit Dion. Missed a little bit of time with the toe…. His production has gone up. When Charles Clay is out, we do a couple things to make up for it: We played four receivers a little more…. Our confidence in Dion is going up.”
### Philbin said Caleb Sturgis --- who made three of four field goal attempts --- needs to continue to work on his field goal consistency but praised him for “a great kickoff” that went out of the end zone with just under two minutes left. “We were trying to keep the ball away from Harvin the entire night,” Philbin said.
### Philbin, on Tannehill: “Ryan is throwing the ball better. Receivers are helping him better. That’s something we need to keep working on. He has pretty good command of what he’s doing.”
Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, on Tannehill: “His confidence is better. The team’s confidence in him is better.”
### Lazor, on the Jets game: “Bad game. Good win. Sometimes you take it that way…. Two of the first three series were three and outs. It was hard to get in a rhythm because we couldn’t stay on the field. We had a hard time getting in rhythm. Some of that is my fault. Some is errors we made. I was disappointed in myself a little bit.
"The positive is we really kept our composure. I felt really good about how the team was at halftime in the locker-room. I had confidence we were going to win this game. ‘I was asking them: Let’s do it now.’ We had some good runs in that [last] drive.... When you go down the field to score to win, you’re just different after that.”
### Philbin said Baltimore, which visits Sunday, “is as good a team as we’ve seen. We will have our hands full…. I don’t want [players] to get bogged down with [playoff] tiebreakers. Sometimes you get caught up with what other teams are doing, and you start losing focus on what you have to do.”
### Philbin said he’s not sure of the immediate prognosis for Brian Hartline, who didn’t play in the second half because of a knee injury.
### With Hartline limited to nine snaps, Brandon Gibson saw his snap count soar, to 51 of Miami’s 59 offensive plays. That’s a few less than Mike Wallace (55) but more than Jarvis Landry (47). Rishard Matthews played seven. “We do a decent job of rotating the receivers so they stay fresh,” Lazor said.
### Among offensive players, Pro Football Focus gave Miami’s highest grade to Dion Sims. Samson Satele and Shelley Smith allowed sacks according to PFF (Lazor said offensive linemen were to blame for only one of the two sacks), but Smith had PFF’s highest grade on the o-line. Daryn Colledge had the lowest… Samson Satele returned to the game after leaving for five snaps because of a rib injury….
### Colledge (34 snaps) and Smith (30) split snaps at left guard, though both were needed for the five plays that Satele missed. “As we said when Daryn came back, Shelley was playing at a good level,” Lazor said.
### PFF gave Miami’s best defensive grades to Derrick Shelby and Brent Grimes… Dion Jordan played 22 of Miami’s 64 defensive snaps --- same as Derrick Shelby. Cam Wake played 45, Olivier Vernon 43…. Koa Misi played all but one of Miami’s 64 snaps, Jelani Jenkins 50 and Philip Wheeler 24.
### Coyle, on Baltimore: “I see a well-rounded team. Quarterback who can make all the throws, never gets flustered. It’s a big-time challenge. Running back [Justin Forsett] has over 1000 yards.”
### Lazor, on Tannehill’s interception off a low throw that bounced off Lamar Miller’s hands: “Throw wasn’t a great throw. Lamar couldn’t get his hands on it enough. Hard to believe at the time it happened.”
### Lazor, on the offensive tackle play since Branden Albert’s injury: “It’s been enough for us to get where we are but has to keep getting better.”
Please see the last post for an in-depth look at how Miami stands in the AFC playoff race... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz