Miami Dolphins: Can Vontae Davis Lead This Year's Secondary?

Connor McKnightSenior Analyst IAugust 15, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 04:   Vontae Davis #21 of the Miami Dolphins takes the field during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sun Life Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Throughout the NFL, it is no secret. The secondary of the Miami Dolphins is the weakest facet of their defense.

In a division that requires two matchups a year against Tom Brady and his pass-happy New England Patriots, this unfortunate weakness can prove to be quite devastating in AFC East play.

As drama around now-cut Chad Johnson and the future of the quarterback position continues to dominate the media for the Dolphins, Joe Philbin has been hard at work prepping the team for the upcoming season. In particular, the secondary has been making strides toward improvement in training camp.

The Dolphins’ front office had its sights on improving this dimension to the team’s game during free agency and signed Richard Marshall of the Arizona Cardinals to start at cornerback.

However, with the departure of Yeremiah Bell to the division rivals New York Jets, the Dolphins have a glaring hole at safety. Reshad Jones is poised to start again at free safety for Miami, but with the loss of Bell, the strong safety position will be hard to fill.

Chris Clemons, the fourth-year player and fifth-round draft pick out of Clemson, currently sits atop the depth chart and will most likely start for the Dolphins in Week 1. Clemons, who saw a significant role at safety during the 2010-2011 season, lost the starting job last year after failing to reach expectations in a starting role.

Although the Miami secondary desperately hopes for a turnaround season in the fall, one player cannot go unnoticed. Vontae Davis, brother of Vernon and former first-round draft pick out of Illinois, begins his fourth season as an NFL starter in hopes of his best season to date.

While opponents tend to pick apart the Dolphins secondary, Davis has consistently improved at cornerback for the team. He matches up with the opposing No. 1 receiver, and his coverage has only gotten tighter and tighter.

Davis can be remembered for out-jumping Randy Moss in his rookie campaign, and that was only the beginning. If someone needs to stand out in the secondary this season, it will have to be Davis. It is time for him to emerge as a defensive leader and help improve the defensive unit for a squad whose future is relatively unknown.