As many of you are aware, the Miami Dolphins have lost Jason Ferguson for the rest of the season.
This hurts almost as bad as losing Ronnie Brown two weeks ago, as now the Dolphins have lost key players on both sides of the ball.
Ferguson was an important part of stopping the run at the nose tackle position and was a key for getting pressure on the quarterback (even though Paul P. doesn't seem to care about that).
This means that third year defensive lineman from Utah, Paul Soliai, will be playing nose tackle for the remainder of the year.
I haven't seen much from the young Soliai, but the Dolphins better hope he steps up big because they need him more than anyone right now to fill the A-gaps successfully.
This is also going to put pressure on the line-backing corps to make first hit tackles, something the Dolphins' defense has struggled with all season long. To become more than just a good team, the defense needs to learn how to stop big plays by executing tackles properly and not giving up yards after contact.
More pressure is also put on the secondary to lock down receivers and tight ends. The play of the secondary has been another struggle for the Miami defense throughout the year, as long passes have plagued Miami from the start of the season.
We all remember the defensive failures against Indy and New Orleans right?
To keep the Dolphins in the playoff hunt, the defense must execute. It is plain and simple. They must wrap up ball carriers and cover receivers down field. Paul P. has also got to be more aggressive and attack the line of scrimmage. When the defense lays back and is less aggressive, they seem to get lackadaisical, giving up big plays and failing to execute.
Let's also not forget that the key to stopping any passing attack is to limit the time the quarterback has to throw the ball. Pasqualoni seems to have forgotten that over the course of the season. Against the Saints, when Brees was pressured in the first half, the Dolphins only allowed 10 points, but when the Dolphins laid back in the second half the Saints scored over 30.
The Dolphins need to be aggressive and attack the line of scrimmage while also maintaining their assignments and not allowing anyone to break free.