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Top News: Pass Rushers Building Confidence

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The Dolphins pass rush has been coming on of late, and defensive end Cameron Wake said Friday it’s been a team effort.

“I think we have had more production, and not just with us,” Wake said. “It’s not just us alone. I’m not a guy who’s likes when we’re doing good, oh, it’s all us. And when we’re doing bad, it’s everyone else. When we’re not playing the way we want to play, it’s usually a team or a defensive collaboration, and when we’re doing well, it’s probably the same thing.”

The Dolphins had two sacks against the Colts last Sunday, giving them seven over the past three games. That’s their highest three-game total of the season.

Defensive coordinator Matt Burke echoed Head Coach Adam Gase’s statement that he’s more concerned about affecting the quarterback than he is about pure sack numbers.

“We feel that if teams are focusing attention on chipping guys and keeping guys in to protect, that’s cutting down on players that are out in the route and those sort of things,” Burke said. “We try to look at it as how it affects that game more than worried about focusing on straight sack totals. I think those guys have been effective, I really do. Especially the last probably three or four weeks, production has gone up. Cam had one last week and Robert Quinn had one that was taken away with a penalty and Robert had a couple of sacks against Green Bay and Cam had a couple of sacks the week before against New York. The production has been starting to show a little bit, so I think that’s been positive. I think they’ve all been affecting the passing game the way we need them to. We’ve just got to keep going that way with it.”

Burke said he was confident the pass rush would continue to produce and perhaps even more with Quinn getting healthier.

“I think he started out pretty hot and kind of hit a little lull,” Burke said. “They all get banged up. I’ve noticed just a difference in him physically in the last probably three weeks. The bye week obviously, and even the week before that—just coming back—I think he’s been kind of healthier the last three weeks or so. I see him just kind of moving around lately like he was earlier in the season. That’s been encouraging. Like I said, the production has been coming. 

“I’m excited to see him kind of move forward these next four or five weeks so we can get him going. He’s a guy that’s always gotten sacks in bunches. He’s always gotten sacks where he gets on a roll and he gets three a game and he gets two the next game, gets three a game and you look up at your numbers and you go, ‘He had a great season.’ He’s always been that guy. He gets shut out for three weeks and all of a sudden he goes on a tear and he’s unstoppable. Again, I’m hoping we’re facing down that as we get toward the end of the season here, because I think physically he’s getting back to where he was in moving the way and bending the way he was earlier in the year. He’s a guy that’s capable of wrecking a game at any moment, so we’re hoping that maybe this is the week for it.”

McTyer flashback: The Dolphins will face Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen for the first time Sunday, but cornerback Torry McTyer has some history with him. In fact, the highlight of McTyer’s career at UNLV came against Allen. UNLV faced Wyoming in McTyer’s senior season in 2016 and UNLV pulled out a 69-66 victory in triple overtime. The game-winning field goal came after McTyer intercepted Allen on Wyoming’s possession in the third overtime. It was his second pick of the game. McTyer has a lot of respect for Allen’s game and is looking forward to facing him in the NFL. “He has a strong arm,” McTyer said. He throws the ball really well. I’ve seen him live throw the ball 60, 70 yards down the field. He has a pretty strong arm. … I look forward to it. He’s a real good quarterback. And just playing against somebody that I played in college, it’s real fun.”

Amendola watch: Head Coach Adam Gase did not rule out the possibility of wide receiver Danny Amendola playing against Buffalo even though he did not practice all week because of a knee injury. “I won’t know until Sunday,” Gase said. “He can run straight. We’re waiting to see (about) lateral movement, how well he really feels doing that. We’ll be able to work on some stuff tomorrow, see how he feels.”

Familiar faces: The Buffalo roster includes several former Dolphins players, including one in a new role. Dolphins fans might notice a tight end on the Bills by the name of Logan Thomas, who just so happens to be a former quarterback who spent time with the Dolphins in 2015-16. Thomas has 10 catches on the season, including seven against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 4. Other former Dolphins players on the Buffalo roster include TE Charles Clay, DT Jordan Phillips, CB Lafayette Pitts and LB Deon Lacey. The Dolphins have four former Buffalo players on their roster: LB Kiko Alonso, TE Nick O’Leary, T Sam Young and TE MarQueis Gray.

Alumni Weekend: A large group of former Dolphins players are getting together this weekend, and six of them will be honored before the game against the Buffalo by becoming the latest members of the Dolphins Walk of Fame. The six who will be honored are Dick Anderson, Mark Clayton, Mark Duper, Jon Giesler, John Offerdahl and Jason Taylor.

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My Cause, My Cleats: Dolphins.com profiled four of the players participating in the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats campaign this week along with the back stories, but here is a complete list of all of those involved, along with their cause: S Walt Aikens (diabetes), WR Danny Amendola (combat injured veterans), CB Cornell Armstrong (empowering student-athletes to transition from high school to college); LB Jerome Baker (Boys & Girls Club); DE Andre Branch (RISE); G Jake Brendel (sudden cardiac arrest in youth); Leonte Carroo (pancreatic cancer); John Denney (assisted therapy programs for those with special needs); TE A.J. Derby (military appreciation); RB Kenyan Drake (Boys & Girls Club); TE Mike Gesicki (childhood cancer); WR Jakeem Grant (cerebral palsy); DE Charles Harris (multiple sclerosis); T Ja’Wuan James (Boys & Girls Club); C Daniel Kilgore (physical activity for special education students); guard G Ted Larsen (NICU); CB Torry McTyer (suicide prevention); QB Brock Osweiler (military appreciation); K Jason Sanders (military appreciation); S Maurice Smith (gun violence); WR Kenny Stills (social justice); QB Ryan Tannehill (freedom from slavery and human trafficking, clean water); DE Cameron Wake (engaging, empowering and educating young men through mentorship); DE Jonathan Woodard (suicide prevention); and Sam Young (cancer).

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