Scout’s Eye: Finding Talent On Miami’s Defense

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FRISCO, Texas – Here’s my look at the names to know on this Miami Dolphins roster.

There’s no doubt Miami is experiencing a lot of problems at the start of an 0-2 campaign, but they have some talent. Here are three guys to keep an eye on:

Nemesis: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

The Dolphins’ best chance of winning this game is on the arm of Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has had an amazing career from where he came from. He is capable of lighting up a defense when he gets on a roll. He has played with his fair share of NFL teams. At times he has had weapons around him, and other times he has been the only show in town.

This is a situation with the Dolphins where he could sure use some help. He is one of the toughest quarterbacks to ever play this game. He takes some brutal hits and bounces right back. Opponents have a difficult time destroying his will to compete. Fitzpatrick reminds me of Hall of Famer Dan Fouts in the way he plays. Fouts and Fitzpatrick share that trait to get the ball out of their hand in a hurry.

Fitzpatrick shows no fear playing this game. He can throw three or four interceptions and then come back with the same number of touchdown passes. There is no quit to his game. Despite his advancing age, he still does a good job of moving around in the pocket. He can buy a second chance. He will run as an absolute last resort. You have to be ready for him finishing that run. He will sacrifice his body in order to secure a first down.

With the problems the Cowboys are having at safety, I could see him attacking the middle of the field in order to move the ball. This is a savvy quarterback.

Weapon: LB Charles Harris

Harris is listed as an outside linebacker but really plays as a defensive end. He is the best player on the Dolphins’ front seven and will need to be accounted for on every snap. He plays hard regardless of the score.

This is the type of player that keeps attacking the blocker. He shows impressive quickness and get off in reaching the corner. Tyron Smith and La’el Collins need to be careful of this when dealing with him. As a blocker, you can’t overextend or reach for him because he will just swim around you. Harris plays with exceptional body control and balance. He is going to do everything in his power technique-wise to keep the blocker’s hands off of him. I have seen him dip, getting really low to the ground to capture the edge.

The more Harris carries his man up the field, the more problems he presents. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dak Prescott use some hard counts on him. Harris can be a little anxious and jumpy getting off the ball when it comes to rushing the passer.
He is a quality run defender. He is like DeMarcus Lawrence in that he’s not going to allow the blocker to hook him. He plays with length and power in order to extend to keep himself free. I didn’t see any tackles just flat overpower him at the point of attack. Harris does a nice job of finding the ball. He will chase it all over the field and finish when he gets there.

Under the Radar: LB Raekwon McMillan

Raekwon McMillan is not the Dolphins’ biggest linebacker, but he sure has some snap with his upper body strength. He can really jolt a blocker when he gets his hands on him. He shows outstanding quickness to attack the hole and finish on the tackle. He has a feel for how to extend on blockers in order to keep himself free to pursue the ball.

He is physical at the point of attack. You don’t see him get knocked back. I have seen blockers attempt to cut McMillan down in the open field and he’s played off those blocks to get in on the tackle. He is active in the way he goes about his job. Can close some ground when running.

He’s got some ability as a rusher. I saw some nice shots on Tom Brady coming off the edge as a pass rusher. Where he got into some trouble was when he was rushing down the middle of the blocker. He needs to be on the edge to make it work. He’s is not going to rush the quarterback much, but when he does he can be effective.

McMillan will see plenty of action when the opponent gets down in the red zone or near the goal line. That’s where you really understand how physical he can be. He will line up as the Mike linebacker and attack the line of scrimmage all day. He goes on and off the field depending on the down and distance, but a nice player on a defense that has had its struggles early in the season.

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