During what most would describe as a highly successful exercise, dolphins have left themselves open to second guessing in at least one key area: the back corner.
Even with Byron Jones missing the first four games due to off-season leg surgery, the Dolphins chose not to add former Pro Bowl players, Joe Haden or Chris Harris and instead decided to go ahead with Nik Needham, Noah Igbinoghene, Keion Crossen and Rookie Kader Kohou And the safety of Elijah Campbell as a back behind Xavian Howard.
“I think these guys are pretty good,” said coach Mike McDaniel. “I know the names don’t make you upset, but when you watch them play, they give you a good performance on the court.”
In the Dolphins’ defense, they signed veteran Mackenzie Alexander earlier into camp, but he picked up a season-ending injury days later.
Why the subsequent decision to skip adding a veteran with Pro Bowl percentages and instead stick to Igbinoghene, Crossen, Kohou and Campbell — at least two of whom should play a lot on Sunday against the Patriots? McDaniel explained it this way:
“They may be young and new to the Miami Dolphin fan base. As we’ve been going through some off-season injuries, we’ve had more opportunities to train, assess and see the young core of defensive emergence, which has been the driving force behind [making no move for a veteran corner in the past two weeks].
“They are very experienced for us in terms of abilities, strength and weakness. We have been very fortunate in the process to have those opportunities to rate all these guys. We have to see them in every defensive structure, covering, responsibility and having a long time in pre-season.
“There was a lot of value the collegiate gave us. You weigh that against who’s out there and see if you want to go that route. We feel like we have enough NFL players to serve you better.” We don’t go out at this time. .
It didn’t look like Needham was training on Monday but she was running sprints. He was nursing a minor injury.
Igbinoghene struggled at times during camp and allowed three passes to be thrown against him in the Raiders game, for 34 yards. But he played well in the pre-season final against the Eagles.
Crosen, who has signed mostly for his own teams’ prowess, has generally done well in the buck’s corner in camp and pre-season. He played only 2% of the defensive giants’ hits last season.
Kohou impressed the team throughout pre-season, earning a place on the 53-man roster as an unpolished starter.
Campbell, who was intercepted twice in pre-season, was working exclusively in the buck’s corner last week.
McDaniel declined to say who would enter the season as the No. 3 linebacker behind Howard and Needham, suggesting that might depend on matches for the game.
He will almost certainly be targeted by New England, Baltimore, Buffalo and Cincinnati during the four games Jones missed.
this and that
▪ Linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, who had his appendix removed two weeks ago, is back in training and doing well. So was Jaylen Waddle, who was breastfeeding from a lower-body injury. Series III quarterback Skyler Thompson was the only player missing from training for unspecified reasons.
▪ What can fans expect from McDaniel as a theater communicator? “You’ll see someone who does their best to adapt to defense while playing to our players’ strengths.”
▪ McDaniel likes to have four players (plus full-back Alec Ingold at 53) because you want them to be as fresh as possible.
▪ Tackle left Terron Armstead likes this set of Dolphins edge rushers:
“Trey Flowers has always been an impressive player; he’s a Super Bowl champion. I’m a huge fan of Melvin Ingram. He’s always been my entire career. He’s one of the top three players in the league.”
Jillan Phillips too. The things he’s done especially in the last couple of weeks, you can see the game is starting to slow down for him. He’s a bit of a sports freak. It’s done in a lab so just to watch his progress I’m excited to see him continue to evolve as a racer. , he learns more, he sees things better. We have some players who can go after passersby.”
This group also includes Andrew Van Ginkel, whose condition for the opener is in doubt after his accessory has been removed.
Noting that defensive line and edge positions are his favorites, McDaniel said, “The more quality players they have, the more they can play, the more problems they give you offensively because now you’re preparing six different passing lunges instead of two. You’ll have to talk to me about not trying to make an offer for Chris Greer to recruit a defensive lineman or defensive edge every year because it’s valuable.”
▪ Xavien Howard – who respects his budding teammate Jevon Holland and his burgeoning talents – said last week that Holland would stand on his back when Howard makes a mistake or isn’t in the right place – which surprised Howard but didn’t. Everything bothers him.
Asked why he felt comfortable doing this, Holland said: “I’m holding on to a higher standard and I want them to understand that I hold them to a higher standard too. I wouldn’t necessarily say something to someone based on their situation.”
“I see him as my teammate and I want him to coach me as hard as I coach him. I’ll take whatever he says, and I hope he does the same for me. Of course he’s always love from me, and he knows that.”
“It’s amazing that he’s 22 years old per second,” McDaniel said of Holland.
▪ The Dolphins have defeated the Patriots in the past three games. According to ESPN Stats & Information and winning writer Mike Reese, the Bill Belichick Patriots have not lost four in a row to the same opponent since becoming head coach in 2000.
▪ In response to a question about Belichick’s showdown, McDaniel: “Could there be more disparity in career win/loss total? It would be a bigger deal if coach Belichick and I were on the field doing a workout in Oklahoma; I don’t expect that to happen. I don’t think that Fans will pay for it. [He’s] He is arguably the best coach of all time.”
▪ The Patriots – who are trying to acclimatize the heat here – are flying to South Florida on Tuesday for a multi-day practice in Palm Beach Atlantic. “It makes sense what the Patriots are doing,” McDaniel said.
This story was originally published September 5, 2022 11:04 am.