Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Dolphins opponents have been attacking the secondary over the past few weeks with mixed results. While Jimmy Wilson and Nolan Carroll have been picked on a lot, there’s also the offensive struggles that have propelled a three-game losing streak.
Last week, Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll was abused by the Buffalo Bills. Carroll, who took over after starter Richard Marshall went down with an injury for the season, was penalized for holding or pass interference five times against the Bills.
Carroll has been arguably the team’s weakest link, especially in light of his performance against the Bills. This season, Carroll has played in 10 games and recorded one sack, no interceptions, and five passes defensed.
In addition, nickel cornerback Jimmy Wilson has given up 67 percent of the passes thrown at him and opposing quarterbacks have a cumulative quarterback rating of 106.1, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
During the Dolphins’ current three-game losing streak, the Fins have given up roughly 232 passing yards per game, but haven’t forced an interception during that time. The Dolphins have also given up four passing touchdowns during the losing streak.
The Dolphins’ defense overall still ranks number eight in the league in points allowed, but is 21st in the league in yards allowed, according to pro-football-reference.com.
Ironically, the one thing that could help the Dolphins defense out the most has been largely absent over the last two games, a solid offense. The Dolphins offense has scored a total of 17 points over the last two games and just 37 in the last three games.
Overall, Miami’s offense is ranked 26th in points scored and 28th in the yards gained in 2012. The biggest problem has been the lack of playmakers at receiver for rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. It’s stunted his growth to a degree and when combined with a stagnant running game, has crippled the Dolphins offense, and defense.
Miami’s task isn’t going to get much easier in the next few weeks. The Fins take on the Seattle Seahawks, New England Patriots, and San Francisco 49ers in consecutive weeks. Seattle and San Francisco sport two of the NFL’s top defenses and the Pats have the league’s top offense.
If the Fins go winless over the next three games, it will run the overall record of the team to 4-9 with games remaining against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bills, and a season-ender against the Patriots.
The Fins will likely target wide receivers, pass rushers, and cornerbacks in the 2013 NFL Draft. Among the players the Dolphins may target: wide receivers Keenan Allen and Justin Hunter; LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery, Mississippi State cornerback Jonathan Banks, and many others.
The Dolphins have five picks in the first three rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft and will have much more salary cap space to work with in 2013. The Dolphins currently have approximately $80 million committed to the cap, before the reworking of any contracts or cuts, leaving around $40 million in cap space.