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Behind Enemy Lines

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Behind Enemy Lines: A Quick Look at the Miami Dolphins


NASHVILLE – The Titans face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

Here's a quick look at the Dolphins:

Record: 8-7.

Points for/against: 20.3/21.0.


Offense: 24th overall, 314.7 ypg (30th rushing, 15th passing).

Defense: 18th overall, 349.1 ypg (7th rushing, 24th passing).


Head coach: Brian Flores.


QB: Tua Tagovailoa (230-of-328, 2,339 yards, 15 TDs, 9 INTs, 94.0 rating).

Top RB: Myles Gaskin (167 rush, 590 yards, 3.5 ypc, 3 TDs).

Top WR: Jaylen Waddle (96 catches, 941 yards, 5 TDs).

Top TE: Mike Gesicki (67 catches, 707 yards, 2 TDs).


Sacks: DE Emmanuel Ogbah (9).

Leading tackler: LB Jerome Baker (79).

Interceptions: CB Xavien Howard (2).

Take/Give: -1 (23/24).

Kicker: Jason Sanders (20-of-27 FGs, 31-of-32 PATs).

Punter: Michael Palardy (44.8, 40.3).

Last meeting: September 9, 2018: Dolphins 27, Titans 20.

Of note:

-The Dolphins have won seven games in a row.

-Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa enters Week 17 leading all qualified passers with a 70.1 completion percentage (230 of 328) this season. Since entering the league last season, Tagovailoa has recorded a completion percentage of 70-or-higher (minimum 20 attempts) in nine games. With a completion percentage of 70-or-higher (minimum 20 attempts) on Sunday, Tagovailoa – making his 20th career start – will become the first player ever with a completion percentage of 70-or higher (minimum 20 attempts) in 10 of his first 20 career starts.

-Dolphins defensive lineman Adam Butler played five seasons (2012-2016) at Vanderbilt.

-Dolphins cornerback Justin Coleman played at the University of Tennessee from 2011-2014.

-Dolphins punter Michael Palardy appeared in 46 games in four seasons at the University of Tennessee (2010-13).

-Dolphins guard Robert Jones appeared in 20 games at MTSU from 2019-2020.

Injury Report

G/T Jesse Davis (knee)

RB Phillip Lindsay (ankle)

TE Adam Shaheen (knee)

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel

(on how the Miami Dolphins were able to turn their season around)

I think in these last couple of games when they have won, starting with the Houston game, they have taken care of the football. They created a bunch of turnovers during that stretch. I know they went back and forth with Houston in the one game they had to start this streak. I know Brian (Flores) and the consistency in which he preaches and looks like that is starting to pay off now. They are not opposed to playing close games. Very multiple on both sides of the football. It will be like it always is for us and try to take care of the football. They have caused probably 12 or 13 turnovers the last six weeks.

(on Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and if there are any adjustments the defense has to make facing a left-handed quarterback)

Probably on some of the RPOs and where they are going with it, or some of the throws that normally a right-handed quarterback would make that they are maybe trying to do things a little differently. His accuracy has come down to him being very decisive with the football, getting it out of his hand and knowing where he wants to go with it. As far as a left-handed quarterback, you may – there are going to be changes as far as matching the hand and what we try and teach with the pass rushers or those guys that are blitzing. Just trying to be good matching the quarterback's throwing hand and that will have to be something that we will have to practice.

(on Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki and what has been key to limiting opposing team tight ends)

(Mike (Gesicki), we recruited when I was at Ohio State. I remember going to see him in high school. I know that he has battled through some injuries. He has turned into a really nice player. He is very athletic, very long. These tight ends are all different. He runs the entire route tree. He is a very fluid mover. His catch radius is probably second to none in the NFL. As far as some of these passes that look like they are going to be overthrown, he continues to run or take another step and reach up and make a play. Seems like he has a very good relationship with the quarterbacks, and they trust him. As far as defending him, I think that will always change based on the call or what we are going to do as far as a gameplan. He has certainly been a very good target for them.

(on his relationship with Dolphins head coach Brian Flores)

Obviously (Brian Flores), you kind of know right away. You try to reflect upon when you first come in contact with different people. Jim (Wyatt), you have been in this league longer than I have or been around it and everything comes full circle. (Brian Flores) started as a scouting assistant and then helped on special teams so he was around. We knew him, he was young, he was smart. Could recognize early on that he was going to have a bright future in coaching. His teams reflect a lot of those things that we learned when I was a player at New England and he was coach or in scouting there. They rarely beat themselves. They are very good defensively. They have very good technique when you watch and study the technique. These are all things that we believe in here.

(on Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and how he is able to avoid passes being tipped at the line of scrimmage)

We have been trying to study it ourselves. I think he climbs the pocket. I think he is quick. Our quarterbacks coach would call it twitchy. I think he is very twitchy to be able to redirect. He has a quick release. Maybe guys are matching with the wrong hand. He is left-handed. That was my theory, and I don't know if that is going to hold true. We will have to practice that. Different from when you are normally matching with the other hand as the ball is traveling through. He does a really nice job of climbing the pocket and finding those throwing lanes.

(on the Dolphins defense being able to pressure the quarterback without having to blitz)

Well, they do blitz. They do indeed blitz. They are disruptive. They play the run and then transition quickly. The edge guys, (Emmanuel) Ogbah and (Jaelan) Phillips, those guys are tough to handle. They are long and fast. They will bring (Jerome) Baker, they will bring (Brandon) Jones. They do a great job in coverage with the guys they have with (Xavien) Howard and (Byron) Jones out there. Really just playing sound, square, physical. We have to be careful when we throw it their direction.

(on quarterback Ryan Tannehill facing his former team)

I think the focus is on this week. The focus is on the Dolphins. The reflection - we want Ryan (Tannehill) to be our quarterback for a long time. I know he is focused on this week, that is where my focus is and that is where our football team's focus has to be. How are going to be able to execute the keys and take care of the football? Converting on third down. Recognizing pressure and being able to pick up guys from all over the place. How are we going to be able to execute on first and second down offense? That is what Ryan (Tannehill)'s focus is on and that is what my focus is.

(on Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle and the challenges he presents)

He has got explosive speed, so I think you have to honor that. I think that he is a decisive route runner. I think that he adjusts to the ball well for somebody that isn't the length of (Mike) Gesicki. He can go from full speed to be able to throttle down and come back and try to make the quarterback right. I don't see him fight the football at all. They ask a lot of him. They move him around week to week. That is a credit to him to be able to study and to prepare and get lined up in different spots. I know how difficult that can be for any player, especially a young one.

(on Dolphins head coach Brian Flores saying that head coach Mike Vrabel coached him while they were in New England)

Not much. I know that was, I am sure, tongue in cheek. Brian (Flores) is very intelligent. I have continued to bounce ideas off of him even though we are competitors in the offseason. There are guys that you trust in this league, and I would say that (Brian Flores) would be one of those guys that I trust and call a friend.

(on Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins and his ability to play a role in the offense as well)

I actually go back with Christian (Wilkins). I was at his school in high school, so we have actually stayed in contact. He will send me random texts, or I will text him in the offseason because we were recruiting linemen at Ohio State. He went to school outside of Boston and Connecticut as well. He is very athletic. That doesn't surprise me at all that they ask him to do that role. He has really good transition in the pass rush inside, he can run games, he can penetrate and can also execute whatever they are asking him to do up front as well.

(on if he remembers his first game as a coach which was against Miami)

I mean, you never forget your first game. I haven't thought too much about it.

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