When the Dolphins decided to trade Vontae Davis prior to the regular season, two cornerbacks on the roster helped factor into the decision. Veteran newcomer Richard Marshall had won the starting job from Davis, and third-year CB Nolan Carroll had played well enough in camp to give Miami confidence with its nickel defense.
After the Dolphins’ Week 11 loss to the Bills, though, the secondary continued its recent struggles, and the group clearly misses Marshall, who is on injured reserve after injuring his back earlier in the season.
During Miami’s three-game win streak, the pass defense gave up yards, but made key stops. That did not happen against Indianapolis in Week Nine, when Andrew Luck threw for 433 yards. On Thursday night, Carroll’s poor play was magnified by his four penalties, and R.J. Stanford replaced Carroll in the second half. No. 1 CB Sean Smith had his struggles vs. Bills WR Stevie Johnson, who had six catches for 79 yards. Second-year DB Jimmy Wilson, who has impressed observers with his improvement, did make four tackles, including one for a loss, and was on the field often against Buffalo’s spread look, but he did not make enough plays.
FS Reshad Jones is playing at a high level, which helps the secondary, but the corners have room for improvement heading into a tough stretch that includes two meetings with Tom Brady and the Patriots.
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