December 15, 2020
Among the many consistent messages conveyed both Dolphins coaches and players, perhaps the most current and most prevalent of them refers to the team's depth.
"It's just the message of – 'Flo' (Head Coach Brian Flores) has been preaching it since even in the offseason and virtual meetings – that if one guy goes down, then the next guy has to take advantage of this opportunity," safety Eric Rowe said.
That includes guys playing more, and guys expanding their current roles – players like linebacker Jerome Baker. Today, on the Blitz, we'll look at Baker's versatility, maximizing opportunities and the NFL feat accomplished only by Baker.
The first injury report for Dolphins-Patriots will be available Wednesday afternoon.
They Said It
Baker played 61 of the Dolphins' 62 defensive snaps in the game Sunday. His pre-snap alignment, as it is most weeks, was a mixture of playing up on the line of scrimmage and off the ball. He was on the field for 22 running plays, dropped into coverage 25 times and came after the quarterback on 14 pass-rush reps.
Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores spoke about Baker's versatility and underappreciated value to the Miami defense.
"We were down a couple of linebackers and he had to play a few different roles (Sunday)," Flores said. "He stepped up in the pass rush role. I thought he did a good job rushing up the edge, playing off the ball and having coverage. Jerome is a guy who can do a lot of different things. He's very talented, athletic, he can run, tackles well. He's also the signal caller. He did a lot for us yesterday. He can do a lot. He's one of the most versatile players we have. I would say probably a little bit unheralded in some regards."
For Baker, flexibility within the game plan is business as usual.
"I'm asked to do a lot of things," Baker said. "If it's covering running backs, if it's playing the middle of the field, if it's pass rushing – whatever it is, I've been asked to do so much in my time here in Miami so I'm kind of used to it. If they throw something at me, I kind of take it as they trust me to do it and I go out there and do it."
Around the Beat
After Sunday's game, Flores acknowledged his team's resilient makeup, but also the fact that the Dolphins didn't make enough plays to win the game. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says that's the correct attitude.
And now everyone in the organization knows the standard for the Miami Dolphins is higher than merely coming close to beating the defending Super Bowl champions.
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On this Day in Dolphins History
December 15, 2013 - Signed off the San Francisco 49ers practice squad just five days prior to the game, safety Michael Thomas seals the Dolphins' first victory against the Patriots since 2009 when he intercepts New England quarterback Tom Brady in the end zone with two seconds remaining to preserve the 24-20 victory at Sun Life Stadium. For his efforts, Thomas was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
Stat of the Day
Baker's 2.5 sacks Sunday are the most ever recorded by a single player against Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The 30-yard loss was two yards more than the 28-yard sack defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah recorded on Jets quarterback Joe Flacco in Week 6. The Dolphins became the first team in the Super Bowl era with two sacks of 28-yard losses or more in the same season.
Content on Tap
Dolphins Today is back as we get you caught up on the latest from Davie both on MiamiDolphins.com and the team YouTube page.
Drive Time with Travis Wingfield is also back for the all-22 review taking an inside look at the game Sunday. Plus, we'll cover the press conferences of the Dolphins assistant coaches and wrap up the day on Top News.