Miami Dolphins: What Is the Deal with the Dolphins' Secondary?

Connor McKnightSenior Analyst INovember 9, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 04: Reggie Wayne #87 of the Indianapolis Colts catches a fist quarter touchdown in front of Sean Smith #24 of the Miami Dolphins at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

While Miami contends for a playoff spot in the AFC and currently sits at 4-4 on the season, there has been a particularly weak aspect of their squad: their secondary.

As far as points are concerned, Miami has the sixth ranked defense in the NFL. This can be mainly be attributed to their third-ranked running defense that has consistently thwarted tailbacks and forced opponents to rely on the pass.

That strategy hasn't been foolproof, however. Miami's secondary has consistently been torched as far as yardage is concerned. In fact, they currently stand as the 29th-ranked passing defense in the league.

From a fan's perspective, one has to wonder how can this be?

First of all, starting free safety Reshad Jones is having a career season after stepping into a starting role. Despite Miami's propensity to get burned by opposing wideouts, Jones has looked better and better, particularly in his coverage abilities.

The pass rush, led by Cameron Wake, has also been very solid at limiting the time the quarterback has in the pocket.

One could look at the other defensive backs as the problem. Richard Marshall was probably the weakest link, but he has been out due to injury. Sean Smith has been relatively effective as a corner, especially in his contract year, and Nolan Carroll has been average.

Still, the blame inevitably falls on them; opposing receivers are having too much time to get the football. Look at T.Y. Hilton's 36-yard touchdown against the Colts, a ball thrown right down the middle of the field into double coverage and somehow a rookie receiver was able to haul in the catch.

If Miami intends to contend against the AFC greats that feature a pass-heavy attack, they must work on improving the vulnerability of their secondary.