September 30, 2020
The Jacksonville game is nearly a week in the rearview mirror and it's time to hone in on visiting Seattle. The Dolphins will hit the practice field for the first time this week in anticipation of the arrival of the NFL's highest-rated passer (139.0) in Russell Wilson.
Here's what's happening today in Davie.
The first injury report of the week will come out later today.
They Said It
Linebacker Jerome Baker leads all Dolphins defenders in snaps (177, 97.25 percent of the defensive snaps) played this season. Last year, Baker logged over 1,000 defensive snaps and better than 1,200 total reps when factoring in special teams work. An important part of this football team, Baker displays the traits Head Coach Brian Flores and the rest of the staff covet.
"I would say the first thing is he's in good physical condition," Dolphins Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer said. "He works hard. He's been all over the field. We ask him and he's got the mental capacity that he can handle multiple roles, so that with the physical condition, we think we're putting him in positions to succeed and he's shown the ability to make plays. So that's all a culmination of him being out there as much as he is."
"Baker has the athleticism to get depth in zone coverage and have the speed to really break down on check downs and be able to make open-field tackles as well as be able to do some things athletically when we want to play some man-to-man and matching up on certain guys," Dolphins Defensive Backs Coach Gerald Alexander said. "I think that that's a weapon for us defensively, being able to utilize his skillset."
"A lot of times he's stretching the offensive linemen out and getting better every day with his pass rush," Dolphins Defensive Line Coach Marion Hobby said. "Sometimes he's calling the plays for us, so he's like a coach on the field for us in those situations. But his speed is evident in those situations as a pass rusher and a penetrator."
You can read more about Jerome Baker later today when we publish a feature on multi-faceted linebacker on MiamiDolphins.com.
Around the Beat
Fellow linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel was drafted a year after and two rounds later than Baker. After starting his rookie season on injured reserve, Van Ginkel started to make an impact late in the year and is carrying that progress into the new season.
Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post wrote about Van Ginkel's efforts to get bigger, stronger and more dangerous.
Andrew Van Ginkel uses his speed and spin moves to create pressure on opposing offenses. But in the fourth quarter of a victory at Jacksonville last Thursday, Van Ginkel seemed to surprise right tackle Jawaan Taylor at a critical moment.
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On this Day in Dolphins History
September 30, 1973 – Running back Mercury Morris sets a Dolphins single-game rushing record of 197 yards on 15 carries with three TDs (24, 70, 35) in 44-23 win over New England at the Orange Bowl. It's a regular season record that stood until 2002 when Ricky Williams eclipsed the mark.
Stat of the Day
Football Outsiders ranks the Dolphins special teams' unit as the second-best in the National Football League through three games. The only team higher on the list, Miami's Sunday opponent in the Seattle Seahawks. Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman talked about special teams being a reflection of the team's identity and makeup.
"When you look at their special teams, I think it is a small fraction of what they are as a team and how they play the game," Crossman said. "They play fast, they play physical, they are aggressive and they have a good nucleus of players. I think anytime you talk about playing well in the kicking game, it always starts with your specialists. The biggest thing is they have a nice nucleus of veteran and young core players."
Know the Opponent
Russell Wilson is having success no matter where the football goes, especially attacking vertically. Wilson's 149.3 passer rating on balls that travel 20-or-more yards is second among all NFL quarterbacks, per Pro Football Focus (Jared Goff).
Metcalf's 220 yards on such passes (5 receptions on 7 targets) leads all NFL receivers. Lockett has caught one of two deep pass attempts this season for 43 yards, but he was 11th in the NFL in 2019 with 379 receiving yards on deep throws.
Content On Tap
The Dolphins are back on the practice field, which means more sound from Coach Flores and Dolphins players. We'll recap the day's news on Drive Time with Travis Wingfield and Top News on MiamiDolphins.com.
In case you missed it, The Fish Tank dropped its latest podcast episode. Seth and O.J. caught up with former Dolphins offensive lineman Todd Wade.