Looking at game film after a tough loss like the one suffered by the Miami Dolphins yesterday has to be done with an open mind, and upon first viewing the defense stood out for the right reasons.
The Buffalo Bills came into that game with the best rushing attack in the AFC behind running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, but they found nothing but tough sledding against Miami’s front seven. Jackson, Spiller, Tashard Choice, Frank Summers and quarterback Thad Lewis combined for 90 yards on 30 carries for a paltry 3.0 yards-per-carry average. That put some pressure on the young Lewis to try and make plays in the passing game, which left an impression on Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.
“I thought we did a good job stopping the run in the ballgame,” Philbin said. “I thought our defense played well in the red zone, too.”
This group also put the pressure on Lewis in the pockets, accounting for two of Miami’s four sacks and four quarterback hits. One of those hits was by Odrick in the second quarter just as Lewis was trying to complete a pass and the ball ended up in the hands of safety
“For the most part we felt we did a pretty decent job on that,” said Odrick, who was a first-round draft pick out of Penn State back in 2010. “But obviously there were more things to be done and that’s what we’ve got to try to figure out, what those are and how to attack that and do those things better with the Patriots coming up this week. There were certain screen plays we didn’t stop and we need to stop those and that’s a point of emphasis of our defense and Coach Coyle and it’s our job and we get paid to stop that.”
Coyle has been particularly pleased with the defensive tackles – Starks, Soliai and Odrick, and they did not let him down against the Bills.
“The tackles, the first thing that they do a great job of is stopping the run,” he said. “I think that crew, they do about as good a job as anybody in the league in terms of controlling the line of scrimmage, eating up blockers for the linebackers as well and then getting good push on the pocket.”
With future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady up next, Miami can use all of the push on the pocket it can get and that’s what Odrick and company will be focused on this week.