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Steelers Film Room: Dolphins defense has some big name players, but lacking in execution

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The Pittsburgh Steelers offense is about to go into enemy territory to play a Miami defense which is big on names, but lacking on execution.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike the past 5 weeks where I was able to point out some area's of concern with other team's defenses and how to attack them, there are just simply so many ways to attack them I'd rather go over what Miami's front 7 can do on a good day.

Put it this way, I'm not downplaying Miami's defense in any way but there are multiple ways that Pittsburgh can attack them but I know damn well they could have a letdown against them as well.

So for the purpose of this breakdown, I will be analyzing what Miami's defense can do on a good day and how they can cause problems from the front 7.

Let's get down to business.

Front 7

Miami runs a 4-3 defense with their ends being Cameron Wake and Mario Williams and their interior consisting of Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Philips. Their LB's consist of Jelani Jenkins, Donald Butler and Kiko Alonso.

This actually isn't a a part of this defense that lacks talent and they actually have some big talented guys in the middle like Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips who can both cause some havoc in the middle of the defense.

Ndamukong Suh is a special player who can play in a variety of places but he really does his work on the interior.

Here he's lined up as pure 0 technique nose tackle right across the center. He absolutely just tosses aside David Andrews and annihilates James White in the backfield.

When Suh is playing at his best, he's almost unstoppable. I really look forward to watching his battle with Maurkice Pouncey.

Speaking of talented players, Jordan Philips the former 2nd round pick is absolute huge.

The word to describe Jordan Phillips would be obstruction. At 6-5, 329 LB's and almost 35 inch arms, he takes up a ton of space in the run game. Right here he completely overwhelms the right guard inside and he's able to wrap up Prosise in the backfield.

This isn't exactly the best offensive line in the league but Phillips is definitely noticeable when looking on film. I mean the Steelers have somebody like this on the roster in Daniel McCullers although Phillips may be a little more explosive than Dan. A guy like this really opens it up for fast athletic LB's to clean up in the backfield.

Speaking of athletic LB's, the trade to acquire Kiko Alonso the former Buffalo Bill and Philadelphia Eagle (Oregon Duck too) has seemed to pay off for the Dolphins.

After having a down year with the Eagles with only 43 tackles, Alonso is looking more like his rookie season self where he amassed over 159 tackles and he already has 50 tackles on the season in 5 games. His ability to go from sideline to sideline in an instant is what makes him special talent.

Here in run support, you really see his speed flash off the screen as he's able to quickly close the gap on the outside stretch play. Christine Michael is a really fast RB too, this really shows what he can do when he's left unaccounted for.

The thing is, you'd think watching this Miami would have at least a semi decent run defense.

NOPE, dead last in the NFL.

Anyway, moving onto their defensive ends, Cameron Wake is 34 years old but he still looks as explosive as ever off the edge.

Lined up in a wide 9 technique, Wake uses the patent rip move that Steelers fans have grown accustomed to seeing every season since 2007 with James Harrison. Wake shows what every elite pass rusher has, great hip and ankle flexibility (what Jarvis Jones lacks) to corner and get around the edge.

Technique and flexion, something that doesn't go away with age and what's allowed him to keep going strong.

Miami is middle of the pack in terms of sack numbers among teams (tied for 17th) but they definitely don't lack the talent to get after the passer with Mario Williams and Cameron Wake.


Don't avoid the let down. The Steelers are a vastly more talented team than Miami, but Miami in spite of their record definitely has more talent than you'd think.

Suh and Philips can open it up for fast LB's like Alonso but so far it hasn't translated in the slightest for 5 weeks as they are dead last in run defense.

Again, the rankings and the stats shows they aren't a good team, the talent level though doesn't translate. If the Steelers suffer a let down it's because they outright let the Miami front 7 perform to their talent level.

The Steelers can absolutely attack this team on the ground and through the air in a multitude of ways with their plethora of weapons though that this shouldn't even be close.

I say shouldn't, but you never know.

It is the NFL after all.