Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Impressive week 3 win by the Titans


By Albert Breer
September 26, 2022

That was an impressive win by the TitansConsider what Tennessee’s going through, roster-wise. Taylor Lewan’s out for the year, and so is Harold Landry. A.J. Brown was traded to the Eagles. As a result, the team is leaning on more rookies in key spots than it’d like to. And so, sure, Tennessee did let the Raiders back into that game in Nashville. But Kevin Byard, who already had a crucial pick earlier in the fourth quarter, was able to knock the ball away in the end zone on a two-point try to tie the game and lock up a 24–22 win over the Raiders.

“You only get what you fight for in this league,” coach Mike Vrabel told reporters postgame. “I think they fought for it today. And I’m happy for them.”

How sustainable this is for the 1–2 Titans is up in the air—Derrick Henry has a lot of mileage, his line’s depleted, the receiver group has been reworked, and all that means is there’ll be more on Ryan Tannehill to carry the flag for the team. We’ll see how that works. But for now, you can at least see Vrabel’s fingerprints all over that team and its toughness on display.

Ravens rookie report: Week 3


The Baltimore Ravens improved to 2-1 following their 37-26 victory in Gillette Stadium against the New England Patriots in Week 3. As with every game so far this season for the Ravens, several different rookies played important roles in the outcome.

Kyle Hamilton, S

The rookie first-rounder had a tough outing against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. He saw fewer snaps this week (16), though it’s unclear if Head Coach John Harbaugh reduced his snaps due in part to Sunday’s game.

“He played the plays he had [and] he played really well. We’ll kind of work that every single week. You move guys around; a lot of guys are learning,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “Kyle [Hamilton] is developing. It’s his third game as an NFL player. Obviously, [he] had a learning experience the week before, as a lot of young guys did and do, especially on the backend.”

However, Hamilton made the most of them as he forced a turnover in a crucial moment. With the Ravens leading 31-26 with just over six minutes remaining, Hamilton chased down wide receiver Nelson Agholor on a long run and catch to punch the ball out from behind. Cornerback Marcus Peters was there to recover the fumble in bounds. The Ravens followed up with a seven-play touchdown drive to make it a two-score game with three minutes remaining.

Tyler Linderbaum, C

Linderbaum had another solid showing in his third game as the starting center. According to PFF, Linderbaum allowed zero pressures against New England. This earned him a pass-blocking grade of 77.7 — the second highest on the team behind left guard Ben Powers. 

The Iowa center continues to show his next-level athleticism and speed in the run game as well.

Daniel Faalele, OT

The rookie fourth-round right tackle saw his first legitimate playing time in a regular season game on Sunday when he was forced to step in at left tackle for an injured Patrick Mekari. Faalele finished the game in Mekari’s place, playing 90% of the offensive snaps on the day. In unfamiliar territory, as Faalele didn’t play a snap at left tackle throughout college, it was a shaky start once he entered the lineup, particularly in pass protection where he allowed two sacks and three pressures. However, he quickly found his footing and finished the game on an encouraging note.

With no clear date for left tackle Ronnie Stanley’s return to game action and Mekari expected to be sidelined with an ankle injury, Faalele could be relied upon to protect quarterback Lamar Jackson’s blindside for the time being.

Travis Jones, DT

After missing the start of the season with an knee injury suffered during the preseason, Jones made his season debut at Gillette Stadium. The third-round defensive tackle played 29 snaps but did not make the stat sheet. He was credited with one pressure by PFF and finished with an overall grade of 61.2. With defensive tackle Michael Pierce expected to miss some time with an injury, Jones could see his workload increase quickly in the coming weeks. Harbaugh thought he played well and is excited for the games to come.

“Travis is going to be a very impactful player. It was his first outing out there, and he played hard,” Harbaugh said. “He’s going to learn a lot from it. He played well enough for the first time out, as you said he played well, but of course we have high expectations for him and he’s only going to get better from here.”

Isaiah Likely, TE

Likely was relatively quiet in Week 3. The tight end caught just one pass for eight yards against New England. He finished with 20 offensive snaps and a PFF grade of 59.1.

Jalyn Armour-Davis, CB

After being thrust into action last week against the Dolphins, Armour-Davis saw just nine snaps against the Patriots. He was credited by PFF with allowing two receptions on two targets for 71 yards, as well as making one tackle, finishing with an overall grade of 29.9. With both Marlon Humphrey and Peters back to playing the majority of defensive snaps, Armour-Davis will not be relied upon as much. He may need more development than hoped.

Damarion “Pepe” Williams, CB

Williams saw more playing time than Armour-Davis, playing 20 snaps. Williams also recorded one tackle and was credited with allowing two receptions on three targets for 50 yards by PFF, finishing with an overall grade of 35.4. Williams should continue to see snaps in the slot.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Texans RB Rex Burkhead to host fundraising event for pediatric brain cancer


Brooks Kubena

Sep. 23, 2022

Brett Coomer/Staff photographer


Texans running back Rex Burkhead smiled at the memory. It’s been almost 10 years since Jack Hoffman, a survivor of pediatric brain cancer, ran for a touchdown in Nebraska’s annual spring game. It’s been almost 10 years that Burkhead’s been involved in “Team Jack,” a fundraising organization that’s raised almost $10 million toward pediatric brain cancer research.

Burkhead first met Jack while playing for the Cornhuskers. Jack had just been diagnosed at age 6, had just undergone the first of two surgeries, had just no idea how much longer he’d live. Their interaction blossomed into a friendship, into an invitation to practice, then a game, then his spring game touchdown, then a 2013 visit to the White House.

Burkhead and his Nebraska teammates still host events raising money for The Team Jack Foundation. They hosted a golf tournament in Lincoln this past summer. 

On Oct. 10, Burkhead will host a fundraising event at Top Golf in Katy. Burkhead, 32, has been a board member of the foundation for most of the organization’s history. His role has increased since Jack’s father, Andy, died last year after his own bout with brain cancer.

“He was the backbone of it,” Burkhead said. “Did so much for the foundation, and we’re just trying to carry on his legacy.”

The foundation raises money for new research and modern methods for children who’d otherwise not have access.

“That was a big thing,” Burkhead said. “Some of these treatments were 30, 40 years old that they were doing, and they were having many side effects because of that, of course. Just wanted to help them out in their every day lives if they do have to go through trials, do some treatments that they’re not having these side effects from those.”

Donations at October’s event will directly fund pediatric brain cancer research.

“It’s a joy to be a part of,” Burkhead said. “Just trying to do as much we can.”

Thursday, September 22, 2022

College football's most valuable assistants



7:00 AM ET (September 21, 2022)

Adam Rittenberg | ESPN Senior Writer


Vince Marrow, Kentucky

Vince Marrow has been head coach Mark Stoops' right-hand man at Kentucky. Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire


Titles: Tight ends coach, associate head coach, recruiting coordinator

Background: A tight end at Toledo, Marrow spent four seasons on NFL rosters and later had stints as both a player and coach in the World League. He spent a year coaching tight ends at Toledo and another as a high school head coach in Ohio before heading to Nebraska where he coached for the XFL's Omaha Nighthawks before becoming a graduate assistant for Nebraska. Marrow grew up with Kentucky coach Mark Stoops in Youngstown, Ohio, and joined Stoops at Kentucky in 2013.

Why he's so valuable: Marrow has been Stoops' right-hand man as they've built Kentucky into a consistent winner in the SEC. They capitalized on their connections to Ohio and the school's proximity to a state that still produces a good number of Power 5 prospects. Marrow is the lead recruiter for most of Kentucky's prospects from Ohio, and the program has hit big on players, such as Lynn Bowden Jr. and Benny Snell Jr., and current starters, such as defensive Tyrell Ajian and Carrington Valentine, and tight ends Brenden Bates and Keaton Upshaw. "You got Ohio sitting right there," Marrow told me this summer. "It's the fourth-producing state for NFL players, it's the third- or fourth-producing state for D-I football players. How do you not go there? You've got to have connections, but there's a lot of players there, and we have strong connections." Kentucky has rewarded Marrow with several significant raises, and this year he's earning $1.1 million, a once-unthinkable salary for a non-coordinator.

Vince Marrow named one of College Football's Most Valuable Assistants


September 21, 2021

Article written by: Tyler Thompson


Photo by Dr. Michael Huang | Kentucky Sports Radio


What Mark Stoops has done over the past decade at Kentucky is remarkable, but it wouldn’t have been possible without Vince Marrow. Stoops’ longtime friend left Nebraska to come to Lexington in 2012 and built the program’s recruiting pipeline to Ohio. “The Big Dog” is as synonymous with Kentucky Football as Stoops to fans and as the Cats continue their rise, the national media is taking notice.

ESPN senior writer Adam Rittenberg has Marrow on his list of the six most valuable assistants in college football. The list is headlined by Ohio State receivers coach Brian Hartline, brother of former Kentucky quarterback Mike Hartline.

Marrow has been Stoops’ right-hand man as they’ve built Kentucky into a consistent winner in the SEC. They capitalized on their connections to Ohio and the school’s proximity to a state that still produces a good number of Power 5 prospects. Marrow is the lead recruiter for most of Kentucky’s prospects from Ohio, and the program has hit big on players, such as Lynn Bowden Jr. and Benny Snell Jr., and current starters, such as defensive Tyrell Ajian and Carrington Valentine, and tight ends Brenden Bates and Keaton Upshaw.

“You got Ohio sitting right there,” Marrow told me this summer. “It’s the fourth-producing state for NFL players, it’s the third- or fourth-producing state for D-I football players. How do you not go there? You’ve got to have connections, but there’s a lot of players there, and we have strong connections.” Kentucky has rewarded Marrow with several significant raises, and this year he’s earning $1.1 million, a once-unthinkable salary for a non-coordinator.

Adam Rittenberg, ESPN



Since this is a Vince Marrow appreciation post, I want to make sure you saw this video of Marrow listening to Elton John on the field before Kentucky’s game vs. Youngstown State because it’s wonderful.

If Stoops gets a statue, I hope we get one of Marrow eating Fritos too. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Peter King’s Football Morning in America: Trey Flowers stoned Lamar Jackson on a run


By Peter King
September 19, 2022

Week Two…in the league where they play…for pay.

Trey Lance out, Jimmy Garoppolo in. “We lost our starting quarterback in the first quarter of Week Two,” Kyle Shanahan told me on his drive home Sunday night. “Incredibly sad for Trey, but the stars aligned for us to get Jimmy back, and now we need him.”

Still want to enforce the study habits of Kyler Murray, Cards?

The brightest new non-QB star in football plays for the Dee-troit Lions. I’ll tell you why Amon-Ra St. Brown will have a champion-chip on his shoulder for as long as he plays football.

Should we really be surprised that Matt Ryan and the Colts still can’t win in Jacksonville? I don’t think so.

The Giants and Daniel Jones are 2-0. The Bengals and Joe Burrow are 0-2. Just like we thought.

Who will be the first to report exclusively that Nathaniel Hackett will enroll in Coaching Mechanics 101 at Colorado-Boulder this week? That is one messed-up sideline, and the Broncos are lucky to be 1-1. (Eighteen drives in two weeks, two touchdowns.)

Bucs-Saints. Mike Evans–Marshon Lattimore…Ravens-Steelers. Ray Lewis-Hines Ward.

Rams scrape by Falcons. Need a panicky late safety to ensure it. Sean McVay, whatever he says to the press, has to be thinking, “I never could have imagined this.”

Joe Flacco for governor of New Jersey.

Nervous: Jacoby BrissettPittsburgh, Cincinnati, Russell Wilson, Ron Rivera.

Very nervous: Matt Rhule, Frank Reich, Jameis Winston, Bengals offensive line.

Happy: The Dolphins, who don’t often score 35 points in a half.

“At halftime,” McDaniel said to me, “I was focused on guys finishing the game the right way and to our standard. I wasn’t thinking about anything but let’s score on our next possession.”

Finally, early in the fourth quarter, some luck: the Ravens went for it up 35-21 with nine minutes to go, fourth-and-one at the Miami 40-. Two former Patriots, Elandon Roberts and Trey Flowers, stoned Lamar Jackson on a run, and Miami got it back at its 41-yard line.

On third-and-10, McDaniel decided to go for it. F— it. What did they have to lose? The design: Three receivers left, Hill alone on the right, hoping Hill could get two steps on the corner. The cornerback, as it turned out, was an old pro, Marcus Peters. “We had talked the night before at the quarterback meeting,” McDaniel said. “Tua knew he liked the opportunity there. He goes, ‘Yeah, third-and-12, third-and-long, I really like the F-it play.’”

Why? Because who wouldn’t like Hill singled (with sort of passive safety help late, as it turned out) against any corner?

“In practice,” McDaniel said, “we didn’t really execute it well. But give credit to Tua: He didn’t blink.”

Interesting fourth quarter for the Dolphins — duh, of course it would be, scoring 28 on a good team on the road. But there was another reason: The football world wondered if Tagovailoa would be cool connecting with a speed receiver deep downfield. On that play, Tagovailoa threw it 46 yards beyond the line of scrimmage — “air yards,” in modern football lingo — and that would be a trend in this quarter. For the first three quarters, Tagovailoa averaged 5.6 air yards per attempt, per Next Gen Stats. Fourth quarter: 11.1 yards.

Tua wasn’t done. Hill wasn’t done. Next series: third-and-six at the Miami 40-yard line. Were the Ravens feeling the heat of being on the field so much, running so much? Could this be a case of load management catching up with Baltimore, while the Dolphins, after practicing in the oppressive south Florida heat, still had something left? Again, an interesting perspective from Next Gen Stats: Baltimore’s DBs ran a total of 6,131 yards in this game. That’s the most yards any secondary has run in a game since the start of the 2021 season.

And on this play, with Hill singled on the left side against rookie cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis, he blew past Armour-Davis, who looked like he thought he should have safety help. But no safety help was coming. “I knew there was a potential there that they’d go zero [zero coverage, or blitzing and leaving the receivers all singled], so I wasn’t totally surprised because the corner was playing flat-footed, thinking his rush was going to get home.”

Nope. The 60-yard TD to Hill tied it at 35. From there, Baltimore went ahead on a 51-yard field goal from Justin Tucker, and Miami took over at its 32- with 2:12 to go. Who would be surprised that the Dolphins would finish a 547-yard day with a Tua-to-Jaylen Waddle seven-yard TD with 14 seconds left?

Typically in the NFL, you have to learn hard lessons the bad way,” McDaniel said. “I was proud they were able to learn a lesson of mental fortitude in a game where it got out of hand super quickly. Just play the four quarters and figure it out later.”

But this game was bigger than just that lesson. The outside noise in 2022 football is impossible to ignore, and Tagovailoa has been benched, booed, and questioned in his 29 months in Miami. He had to listen to the Deshaun Watson rumors last year, knowing his coach wanted to take a shot on Watson. Then he had to get used to a new coach who stressed with him over and over that he was the future. And now, after the first two weeks of this season, after going to 4-0 against New England and strafing Baltimore with a six-touchdown game, maybe the world (and Tua himself) will finally believe the quarterback of the future in Miami is the quarterback of the present.

“What’d you say to Tua after the game?” I said to McDaniel.

“I said, ‘The weight should be lifted off your shoulders, man. All you did was do exactly what we talked about. Hopefully at least for a week you can shut up all the people that you’re trying not to listen to.’ I’m hoping Sundays feel different to him now. You need kind of a shock and awe moment for that to happen.”

Throwing four touchdown passes against the Baltimore Ravens in 13 minutes…if that’s not shock and awe, what is? The Tua Era is here.

Colts well represented in process for Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023


Posted: Sep 20, 2022 / 01:03 PM EDT

Updated: Sep 20, 2022 / 08:18 PM EDT


INDIANAPOLIS – The on-going selection process for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023 has a definite Colts flavor.

Eleven individuals with ties to the franchise – including seven who played major roles in the team’s strong run through the 2000s – are included among the 129 modern-era nominees.

Topping the list are defensive end Dwight Freeney, who’s in his first year of eligibility, and wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who has advanced to the Final 15 in each of the last three years.

The other core Colts: defensive end Robert Mathis, tight end Dallas Clark, center Jeff Saturday, safety Bob Sanders and punter Pat McAfee.

Individuals with varying degrees of connection with the team are wideouts Andre Johnson and Andre Rison, linebacker Cornelius Bennett, cornerback Antonio Cromartie, defensive end Simeon Rice and return specialist Josh Cribbs.

The list was pared down by the Selection Committee; I am on the panel. The 129 will be trimmed to 25 modern-era Semifinalists in November, then to 15 Finalists in early January.

The 49-member Selection Committee will determine the Class of 2023 at its annual meeting prior to the Super Bowl.

A snapshot look at the core Colts:

Wayne: 30th overall pick in 2001 draft. . . . appeared in franchise-record 211 regular-season games and 21 postseason games. . . . ranks 10th in NFL history with 1,070 receptions and 14,345 yards . . . ranks 5th in postseason history with 93 receptions, 7th with 1,254 yards and tied-10th with 9 TDs . . . six-time Pro Bowl selection with one All-Pro designation . . . appeared in two Super Bowls with one world championship (2006). . . . Ring of Honor member.

Freeney: 11th overall pick in 2002 draft. . . . ranks 26th in NFL history with 125.5 sacks and tied-3rd with 47 forced fumbles. . . . had at least 10 sacks in seven of 16 seasons, including league-best 16 in 2004. . . . seven Pro Bowls and three-time All-Pro. . . . member of the 2000s All-Decade team. . . . appeared in three Super Bowls (two with Indy, one with Atlanta) with one world championship (2006). . . . Ring of Honor member.

Mathis: 5th-round pick in 2003 (138th overall). . . . holds franchise record with 123.0 sacks, which ranks 27th in NFL history. Holds NFL record with 54 forced fumbles. . . led NFL with franchise-record 19.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in 2013. . . . five Pro Bowls and one All-Pro. . . . appeared in two Super Bowls with one world championship (2006). . . . Ring of Honor member.

Sanders: 2nd-round pick in 2004 (44th overall). . . . instrumental in 2006 world championship which culminated with win over Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.  . . . NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2007. . . . two Pro Bowls and two All-Pros. . . . career plagued by injuries. Appeared in 48 games in seven seasons with Colts, but missed 64.

Saturday: signed as street free agent in 1999. . . . appeared in 197 games with 188 starts in 13 seasons with Colts. . . . six Pro Bowls and 2 All-Pros. . . . appeared in two Super Bowls with one world championship (2006). . . . Ring of Honor member.

Dallas Clark #44 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball during the game against the Washington Redskins at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 19, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Clark: 24th overall pick in 2003 draft. . . . one of most prolific tight ends in franchise history with 427 receptions, 4,887 yards and 46 TDs in 115 games. . . . had 100 receptions for 1,106 yards and 10 TDs in 2009. . . one Pro Bowl and one All-Pro. . . . appeared in two Super Bowls with one world championship (2006).

McAfee: 7th-round pick in 2009 (222nd overall selection). . . . holds franchise record with 46.4 average on 575 punts, and club mark with 23 games averaging at least 50 yards. . . . also top-tier kickoff specialist with touchbacks on 53.1% of 659 attempts. . . . two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro.

~ Complete list of 129 modern-era nominees ~

Quarterbacks: Randall Cunningham, Jack Delhomme, Jeff Garcia, Dave Krieg, Donovan McNabb, Steve McNair.

Running backs: Shaun Alexander, Mike Alstott, Tiki Barber, Larry Centers, Corey Dillon,Warrick Dunn, Eddie George, Priest Holmes, Steven Jackson, Chris Johnson, Vonta Leach, Jamal Lewis, Lorenzo Neal, Eric Metcalf, Fred Taylor, Ricky Watters, Brian Westbrook.

Wide receivers: Anquan Boldin, Troy Brown, Donald Driver, Henry Ellard, Irvin Fryar, Devin Hester, Torry Holt, Joe Horn, Andre Johnson, Chad Johnson, Derrick Mason, Muhsin Muhammd, Jimmy Smith, Rod Smith, Steve Smith Sr., Hines Ward, Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker, Roddy White.

Tight ends: Dallas Clark, Ben Coates, Wesley Walls.

Offensive linemen: Willie Anderson, Matt Birk, Lomas Brown, Ruben Brown, Jahri Evans, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Kevin Glover, Jordan Gross, Olin Kreutz, Nick Mangold, Logan Mankins, Tom Nalen, Nate Newton, Jeff Saturday, Mark Schlereth, Chris Snee, Joe Thomas, Brian Waters, Richmond Webb, Erik Williams, Steve Wisniewski.

Defensive linemen: John Abraham, Jared Allen, Dwight Freeney, La’Roi Glover, Casey Hampton, Robert Mathis, Leslie O’Neal, Simeon Rice, Clyde Simmons, Justin Smith, Neil Smith, Justin Tuck, Vince Wilfork, Kevin Williams.

Linebackers: Jessie Armstead, Cornelius Bennett, NaVorro Bowman, Lance Briggs, Chad Brown, Tedy Bruschi, James Farrior, London Fletcher, James Harrison, Seth Joyner, Willie McGinest, Takeo Spikes, Pat Swilling, Zach Thomas, DeMarcus Ware, Patrick Willis, Al Wilson.

Defensive backs: Eric Allen, Ronde Barber, Dre’ Bly, Kam Chancellor, Nick Collins, Antonio Cromartie, Merton Hanks, Rodney Harrison, Albert Lewis, Terry McDaniel, Tim McDonald, Darrelle Revis, Allen Rossum, Asante Samuel, Bob Sanders, Charles Tillman, Troy Vincent, Adrian Wilson, Darren Woodson.

Punters/kickers: Gary Anderson, Jason Elam, Jeff Feagles, Jason Hanson, John Kasay, Sean Landeta, Shane Lechler, Ryan Longwell, Pat McAfee, Matt Turk.

Special teams: Josh Cribbs, Brian Mitchell.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Lamar Jackson: We’ll have an answer for Miami’s cover zero this year


Posted by Myles Simmons on September 15, 2022, 2:11 PM EDT


Last year, Miami’s defense solved Baltimore’s offense on a Thursday night in November.

The Dolphins played a lot of cover zero, sending multiple defenders to blitz while leaving defensive backs in one-on-one matchups with receivers. They limited the Ravens to just 4.3 yards per play while picking up five tackles for loss, four sacks, and a total of seven quarterback hits. Quarterback Lamar Jackson finished the game 26-of-43 passing for 238 yards with a touchdown and an interception — that was scored late in the fourth quarter — and an interception. He rushed for 39 yards.

Plus, Baltimore was just 2-of-14 on third down in the frustrating 22-10 loss.

The two teams meet again this week, this time in Baltimore for the Ravens’ home opener. And Jackson is confident his team has a better plan for what coordinator Josh Boyer’s defense will bring to the table on Sunday.

“They just caught us off guard, really. We hadn’t really gone over defenses doing all-up zero against us — like, just all-up flat-out zero,” Jackson said in his Wednesday press conference. “But I feel like we’ll have an answer for it this year. We watched film — watched a lot of film on those guys— because we don’t want it to happen again.

“Other teams did zero, but it was just the way they did it that kind of affected us. But like I said, we’ll have an answer this time around if they do the same thing.”

In his own Wednesday press conference, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said, “We would have been negligent if we hadn’t” worked on scheming against cover zero, which elicited some laughter from assembled media.

“It was something we needed to get a lot better at, and we studied it the whole offseason,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll have a plan for it and hope it works, because these guys are probably the best in the league at doing it right now. They do it more than anybody, they do it better than anybody and it’s just something they’re committed to. I have all the respect in the world for what they’re doing defensively.”

We’ll see if the adjustments Baltimore’s made to combat Miami’s blitzing scheme are effective on Sunday.


NFL Rookie Power Rankings entering Week 2


Will one player establish himself as a clear cut Rookie of the Year favorite in the next few weeks? 

By Josh Edwards
Sep 13, 2022




The Iowa product handled exchanges with the awarenesss of a seasoned veteran. He was blocking with good leverage and showed the athleticism to make blocks in space.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Josh Boyer steps out of the Brian Flores shadow to lead Dolphins


by Brian Miller | September 13, 2022

The Miami Dolphins defense is still the better of the two sides of the ball in Miami and Josh Boyer was a big reason Miami won on Sunday.


The Dolphins entered the game with a few questions that needed answering, on the defensive side of the ball but the biggest question was whether or not Josh Boyer could lead the unit without former head coach Brian Flores.


Let’s just say that Boyer is no longer in the Flores shadow.


Boyer called a great defense on Sunday and his team executed. As the game wore on, Miami got better defensively. It was as though the heat that wilted and broke down the Patriots only further pushed the Dolphins’ defense forward.


Boyer used a combination of blitz schemes including the Zero-Blitz and it netted three turnovers on the day. His defense kept the Patriots’ running game below 90 yards and kept Mac Jones guessing most of the afternoon.


Miami got two sacks on Jones Sunday including a strip-sack that resulted in a defensive touchdown. The Patriots only had two drives that were significant. Their opening drive ended with a Jevon Holland interception off a Xavien Howard break-up in the end zone, and their lone scoring drive that came in the second half.


Miami’s defense was stifling most of the day and it was clear after the first series that Boyer was ready to show he is more than capable of handling the job without the help of his former HC.


Next up is Baltimore and that will be a significant task for Boyer and the defense. The last time Miami faced Baltimore it was a catalyst to a winning streak that put Miami back in the playoff chase. The blowout victory was set up by a defense that was able to shutdown Lamar Jackson.


Boyer will need to coach another near perfect game to beat the Ravens in Baltimore next week. After Sunday, there is a lot more confidence that he can come up with another solid game plan.

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