The Blitz: Veteran Secondary Passing Praise

October 15, 2020

The beauty of a comprehensive win for a sports writer is the plethora of available storylines to track. Today on The Blitz, we'll dive into the Dolphins defensive backfield and the four veterans that put together a suffocating showing last Sunday.

Eric Rowe, Bobby McCain, Byron Jones and Xavien Howard helped created a complementary performance with the pass rush to produce five sacks and three takeaways.

Here's what's happening today in Davie.

Injury Report

Table inside Article
Player Injury Wednesday Practice Status
LB Kyle Van Noy Groin DNP
DT Davon Godchaux Biceps DNP
DE Shaq Lawson Shoulder Limited
TE Durham Smythe Knee Limited

New York Jets

Table inside Article
Player Injury Wednesday Practice Status
QB Sam Darnold Right Shoulder DNP
OT Mekhi Becton Shoulder DNP
OL Alex Lewis Shoulder DNP
CB Bless Austin Calf Limited
DL John Franklin-Meyers Foot Limited
WR Breshad Perriman Ankle Limited
DT Quinnen Williams Hamstring Limited

The rest of the Dolphins-Jets Wednesday injury report can be found here.

They Said It

Sunday, Eric Rowe drew one of the league's toughest matchups in 49ers tight end George Kittle. His first week back from injury, Kittle posted 15 receptions for 183 yards and a touchdown in the Week 4 loss to Philadelphia. When lined up against Rowe, Kittle caught one ball on two targets for 12 yards (Kittle totaled 44 yards on four receptions regardless of matchup in the game).

Despite breaking up more passes than receptions allowed, Rowe passed credit to his teammates.

"It's my teammates. It's not a one man show out there," Rowe said. "The pressure, Bobby (McCain) having my help on overs, I'd just say it's not a one-man show. I attribute it to the whole defense. We're trying to help each other and make each other better."

Rowe won't gloat, but his coaches will do it for him.

"He's gotten a hell of a lot better since I got here as a little intern last summer," Dolphins Defensive Backs Coach Gerald Alexander said.

"He's a mentally tough kid. He's a hard worker," Dolphins Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer said. "He's constantly striving to improve, which is what we ask him to do, and I think he's seeing some results of that."

Around the Beat

Rowe is quick to compliment his teammates. He mentioned fellow safety Bobby McCain in his previous quote, but cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Byron Jones contributed in a major way to Miami's best defensive effort of the season Sunday in San Francisco.

ESPN's Cameron Wolfe wrote about Miami's standout cornerback tandem.

Byron Jones missed much of the past three games with a groin injury, and his return in the Dolphins' 43-17 win against the San Francisco 49ers meant that the team's other top cornerback Xavien Howard finally had his tag-team partner back. Together they delivered a knockout, allowing 35 passing yards on seven combined targets, per NFL Next Gen Stats.

Dolphins On Social

On this Day in Dolphins History

October 15, 1972 - QB Earl Morrall replaces an injured Bob Griese (broken right leg, dislocated ankle) at The Orange Bowl and finishes a 24-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers to improve to 5-0.

Stat of the Day

In the 17 games since his transition to safety in 2019, Eric Rowe's allowed just 37 completions on 64 targets (57.8 percent) for 338 yards (5.28 yards per target) and a passer rating against of only 70.9, per Pro Football Focus.

Know the Opponent

Offensively, the Jets have run 313 plays this season with 225 of those snaps coming out of 11-personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs) – the 71.9 percent clip is the fifth-highest rate in the league.

Content On Tap

In case you missed it, the Eric Rowe feature on MiamiDolphins.com and appearance on Drive Time with Travis Wingfield both published last night.

Today, we'll preview the game with the New York Jets and bring you the latest from Flores' Thursday press conference and the rest of the Dolphins media availability.

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