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Remember July?

Back in the summer, I was full of cautious optimism, thinking at the time (like many fans) that even with the loss of Tannehill there was ample reason to hope for a solid season, competing for a at least a wild card spot. Like most fans, my deepest concerns rested with the offensive line and the linebacking corps. Now, 5 weeks into the season, we've seen hurricanes, AWOL players, humiliating losses to the Jets and Saints, and now an embarrassing incident involving an offensive coach having to resign in the midst of scandal.

Now, with the offensive ineptitude that has typified the Miami Dolphins season thus far, it's tough for a "glass half full" kind of guy like me to bring much optimism for the season. But watching the Titans game, I came away with several major impressions about this team that offer reason for hope. Glimmers of gold among the silt and muck of an amazingly incompetent offense.
1) Re-tooled linebacking corps. The play of Lawrence Timmons (the previously mentioned AWOL player), Rey Malaluga and Kiko Alonso was absolutely dominating. For the most part, they blanketed the receivers out of the backfield, stuffed the running game and applied consistent pressure against the quarterback. I don't know that you could have asked any more from a set of linebackers than what they provided. Kiko Alonso in particular made impact plays and showed great range and athleticism.
2) Young defenders. Young defensive backs Xavien Howard and Cordrea Tankersley held their own in this game, important because Howard especially looked overmatched in the first few weeks. If these two can grow into the kind of lock down corners that we all envisioned when they were drafted, the next several years are looking suddenly hopeful for our secondary. This week teased at such a possibility. Charles Harris provided impact plays, tipping passes, applying pressure and (finally) getting his first official sack with style points, looking remarkably like Cam Wake on a speed rush. Rookie defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor continued to provide solid rotational play at the position, with Godchaux continuing to flash.
3) Reshad Jones. Six solo tackles, one assist, with one tackle for loss and a half a sack. Oh, and by the way, two recovered fumbles and a return for a touchdown. This is what we're paying Jones the big bucks for. Impact plays. He just seemed to be everywhere, all the time. It was elite safety play.
Jones and Kiko Alonso, along with Lawrence Timmons, Ndamukong Suh, Andre Branch and the young corners together provided a dominating defensive effort. If these players continue to play at this level, it may buy some time for the inexplicably toothless offense to figure things out.


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