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Top News: Rhyme and Rhythm Defense and a Pair of Trades

Trade Deadline Update

The Miami Dolphins today announced they have acquired running back DeAndre Washington from Kansas City in a swap of conditional draft picks.

Washington has played in 56 career games after spending four years (2016-19) with Oakland and one (2020) with Kansas City. He's totaled 285 carries for 1,127 yards (4.0 avg.) and seven touchdowns on the ground with 89 receptions for 615 yards (6.9 avg.) and one touchdown in the air during his career. He also has six kickoff returns for 106 yards (17.7 avg.) and three solo special teams tackles. Washington originally entered the NFL as a fifth-round pick (143rd overall) by Oakland in the 2016 NFL draft.

Another trade was announced Tuesday as the Dolphins acquired a 2022 draft pick from the New England Patriots in exchange for wide receiver Isaiah Ford.

Context in Statistics

There is a stat for everything in 2020. Classic counting stats, advanced metrics, charting and tracking – most imaginable narratives can be supported when the search goes deep enough.

With that said, the Dolphins defense ranks near the head of the leaderboard in a few key stats. The opposition's 33.3 percent conversion rate on third downs is tied for second, the 17 sacks are 10th and the 13 takeaways are tied for fifth in the NFL – all of these metrics factor considerably into the final equation, the one stat the Dolphins truly care about.

Points. And that's where the Dolphins defense has shined so far, leading the league with just 18.6 points allowed per game.

"They don't give you points for yards," Dolphins Defensive Coordinator Josh Boyer said. "Everything we do has a rhyme and a reason. Ultimately, we're trying to win the game."

Sunday's box score in the 28-17 victory over the Los Angeles Rams tells the story of the game through an obstructed lens. Miami's eight first downs and 145 yards of offense can be explained through the context of the defensive and special teams dominance.

"I'm very leery about statistics right now because I look at the stats from (Sunday's) game and we gave up this many yards passing and this many yards rushing," Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores said. "When you look at it, it felt like we got dominated and I didn't feel that way during the game."

The Dolphins scored two touchdowns without the offense taking the field and another on a one-yard drive after linebacker Kyle Van Noy's fumble return to the fringe of the end zone.

Miami established an 18-point lead at halftime for the third consecutive game. Dolphins Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey detailed the approach to preserve the lead and victory.

"We try to score every time we get the football," Gailey said. "That doesn't change. We probably do take less chances than you might if you're in a seven point game or tied."

One sure-fire way to grind out the clock and protect second half leads is a strong running game. Dolphins Offensive Line Coach Steve Marshall provided a mid-season evaluation of Miami's rushing attack.

"We're not as consistent as we would like to be," Marshall said. "We've made strides but we need to me more consistent on a down-after-down basis. That comes with a plethora of things. I could list 15 things, but every week is a new challenge."

Talking Tua

Gailey on his evaluation of Tagovailoa's first start: "He made some good reads and did some good things as far as understanding what we're trying to get done with the run game. He needs to keep working timing with these guys and those reps he got the other day were invaluable. I think he'll start to get better in bigger jumps as we go forward."

Gailey on the maturation of a young quarterback: "Two things happen to young quarterbacks. One, they start to see defenses better, and two, the game starts to slow down for them. It's at a hectic pace the first time they go out there."

Dolphins Quarterbacks Coach Robby Brown on Tagovailoa's debut: "I was encouraged by some things he did communication wise. He was calm. I thought he did a really good job of telling me what he liked and what he didn't like. He does a really good job of being himself and he's not afraid to tell you what he sees or likes."

Cardinals Up Next

Boyer on quarterback Kyler Murray: "You're very aware of the things that he's capable of. He's got it all. He's the total package. He's quick, fast and has a strong arm with a quick release."

Boyer on the Cardinals offense: "They have a very athletic offensive line that does a good job of working together. They have two Hall of Fame receivers. The quarterback is dynamic and Coach (Kliff) Kingsbury has done a phenomenal job."

Miscellaneous Coaches' Quotes

Dolphins Special Teams Coordinator Danny Crossman on core players: "A lot of guys are playing on four phases, giving good effort and doing a great job with the younger players. Clayton Fejedelem, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Kavon Frazier, Mack Hollins, they've done well to nurture the younger guys."

Running Backs Coach Eric Studesville on the run-pass option: "What it changes for us is there's always a free defender, so we just have to know who that is. When we're talking about the free guy, that's who we're trying to study. How does this guy play? Is it a linebacker? Does he squeeze? That's the guy we're studying."

Dolphins Wide Receivers Coach Josh Grizzard on Mack Hollins: "He works incredibly hard. In the meeting room, he's really good for some of these younger guys. He grinds for everything he gets. That showed through in special teams even from his time back at North Carolina. To show that you can carve out a role to get on the field and make plays on special teams but also do things in the receiver room as well, it's a great example for the younger guys."

Tight Ends Coach George Godsey on the tight ends room: "There's the dynamic of a new player coming into the organization where two of the guys had been here for a couple of years. So, just (Adam Shaheen) being accepted from Mike (Gesicki) and Durham (Smythe's) standpoint and then from Adam's standpoint of opening up. The more we get to know each other, the better off we'll be as a unit. They've worked at it. It's not easy to do, especially since by the time Adam had got here the offseason had already taken place. It's not always plug and play and those guys have worked at it."

Dolphins Offensive Line Coach Steve Marshall on protection calls after switching quarterbacks: "It doesn't change as much as you'd think. We went from (Ryan) Fitzpatrick, who is one of the most experienced quarterbacks in the NFL, to Tua who's obviously Day 1, first game. The calls don't really change but understanding what they're seeing in front of them, making sure we can get the right guys block which we've done a heck of a job this year."

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