The Miami Dolphins made a splash last off-season by making defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, and then reached an extension with quarterback Ryan Tannehill through the 2020 season.
They made more headlines when they fired coach Joe Philbin after a 1-3 start.
The Dolphins have continued to stay in the news, though, and for all the right reasons. They have won three of their past five games under interim coach Dan Campbell and are in the mix for a wild-card berth at 4-5.
That would be quite a feat for a team that previously made the postseason in 2008 — its lone berth in the past 13 years. To stay in the hunt, the Dolphins know they have to take advantage of winnable games such as Sunday’s against the 2-7 Dallas Cowboys.
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7-6 The Dolphins’ all-time record against the Cowboys, including Dallas’ victory in Super Bowl VI. Miami has lost two straight against the Cowboys, with their last victory in 2003.
Yes, the Dolphins know the Cowboys will get an extra boost with the return of Tony Romo.
“I know Romo, and the guy can hurt you,” Campbell said earlier this week. “And we’ll see what kind of flow he’s in, how he feels, but absolutely he can hurt you.
“He can work in the pocket. He can get out of the pocket. He’s got weapons to go to, so he’s certainly somebody that we have to try to put some pressure on early. We have to try to get some hits on him and keep him bottled up in there because he will … he will hurt you.”
That, precisely, is the reason the Dolphins handed Suh so much money. And he’s earned it over the past month.
Suh … just about the time you think that’s one of the best games you’ve ever seen a defensive tackle play, then he does something even better the next week. He’s getting better and better and better and he is a menace. I mean, he is. I’m proud of the way the guy played.
Dolphins coach Dan Campbell on Ndamukong Suh
Suh is coming off one of his most disruptive games in a 20-19 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, recording seven tackles, three quarterback hits, a sack and three tackles for loss.
Suh has at least one sack in three of the past four games and is surely going to be hungry to get more and get to Romo, who could have to shake off some rust after being out seven games.
“Suh … just about the time you think that’s one of the best games you’ve ever seen a defensive tackle play, then he does something even better the next week,” Campbell said. “He’s getting better and better and better and he is a menace. I mean, he is. I’m proud of the way the guy played.”
Running back Lamar Miller has shown he can be a difference-making player for the Dolphins. When he has carried the ball 13 or more times for Miami, the Dolphins are 4-0.
Miller has had two 100-yard rushing games this season (against Tennessee and Houston) and has emerged as a receiving threat out of the backfield.
But rookie Jay Ajayi, a Frisco Liberty product, has made a positive impression in his first two games, averaging more than 8 yards per carry.
“Right now we have a lot of faith in Lamar Miller,” Campbell said. “But certainly we like the way Jay runs.”
3 The Dolphins have given up a safety in three consecutive weeks. They had a bad snap by center Mike Pouncey for one; then Tannehill mishandled a snap; and the latest came courtesy of a safety blitz that went unblocked. Miami knows it must eliminate those plays in opponents’ territory.
He said it
“I don’t know if desperation is the right word, but certainly we have to come out with the intensity and focus that we’ve had when we needed it the most. … Certainly we have to come out of the block swinging.” — Campbell, on whether the Dolphins have to match the Cowboys’ desperation
Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @DrewDavison