Dolphins midseason grades reveal some positives

Dolphins Defensive Line (PhinNation Readers – A, PhinNation Staff – B)

45% of you thought the Dolphins D-line deserved an A, while 42% of you thought a B was the correct grade.  We’re going with a B.  While the Dolphins have been great against the run, they have not put enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  The Dolphins are still searching for a pass rusher to play opposite Cameron Wake.  Jared Odrick and Olivier Vernon have been good at times, but they need to refine their pass rushing skills.

Dolphins Linebackers (PhinNation Readers – B, PhinNation Staff – C)

52% of you gave the Dolphins linebackers a B. 24% of you thought a C was the right grade.  We’ll go with a C due to limited big plays and the inability for Dolphins linebackers to cover tight ends.  Covering opposing tight ends has been a problem since Jeff Ireland took over in 2oo8.  The Dolphins linebackers have been solid, but not spectacular, so we think they are deserving a satisfactory grade, C.

Dolphins Defensive Backs (PhinNation Readers – C, PhinNation Staff – F)

This was the biggest difference between our readers and our staff.  42% of readers thought the Dolphins DBs deserved a C, while 34% thought they deserved a D.  We’re going a step lower and giving them an F.  The Dolphins pass defense has been horrendous this year.  This was highlighted by allowing Andrew Luck to pass for an NFL rookie record 433 yards on Sunday.  The Dolphins will now be without Richard Marshall for the rest of the season as the team placed him on IR on Wednesday.  Sean Smith has looked like a Pro Bowler at times and very pedestrian at others.

The Dolphins must find a way to fix the secondary this season, but since the trade deadline has passed, they’ll have to do it with schemes.  Many Dolphins fans point to the trade at the end of the preseason that sent Vontae Davis to the Colts and wonder what could have been. Vontae’s work ethic was not good in Miami and was a contributing factor to this trade.  Could Vontae have helped and stayed healthy in Miami?  We’ll never know.

Dolphins Special Teams (PhinNation Readers – B, PhinNation Staff – B)

46% of you thought the Dolphins Special Teammers deserved a B and we agree.  42% of you thought they deserved an A.  While the Dolphins special teams units have been spectacular lately, we can’t help but remember the missed field goals earlier in the season.  Misses by Dan Carpenter against the Jets and Cardinals cost the Dolphins games.  That lead us to lowering the grade from an A to a B.

Dolphins Coaching (PhinNation Readers – B, PhinNation Staff – B)

58% of our readers said the Dolphins coaches deserved a B.  Again, we agree.  Joe Philbin has done a good job for the most part with this team that has shown it lacks talent.  Philbin is learning on the job, as he’s never been a head coach before.  We think he’s done an above average job and he should only get better with experience.  We question some of the play calling by Mike Sherman, but the way they’ve helped in the development of Ryan Tannehill has been a major plus.

Overall Dolphins Grade (PhinNation Readers – B, PhinNation Staff – B)

65% of you thought the Dolphins deserved a B, while 31% of you thought they deserved a C.  Although the Dolphins are a mediocre 4-4, they have surpassed our initial expectations.  I know, I know, we are all hoping they can make a run at the playoffs, but think back to before the season started.  Many had the Dolphins going 5-11 or 6-10.  The Dolphins have played better than expected and their record could be better if they had closed out some close games earlier on in the season.

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