When you first talk about turnovers and the Miami Dolphins, the first place your mind will likely go is to All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard. Understandably so. But the Dolphins defense as a whole was quite proficient in the turnover category; they became the first NFL defense in nearly a decade to log at least one turnover in every game of the season. No one turned the ball over with more consistency than Howard, but the collaborative effort shined through all the same.
So how do you do that again?
That’s the million dollar question for Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer. Sorting things out with Howard amid his recent contract spat is a good start. But even still, the law of averages suggests that Miami’s turnover formula in 2020 isn’t something that we should consider to be sustainable.
But Boyer is optimistic that their attentiveness and focus on those opportunities will continue to keep them converting turnover opportunities at a high rate, even if the opportunities themselves change year over year.
“I think the things that we stress is how to force them and to take advantage of opportunities when they come up. We spend a lot of time on it, we believe in it, we work hard at it. Sometimes they are not so random, and when they do become random – tips, overthrows – you’ve got to make sure you make those plays. If it’s a bad read or a miscommunication from a receiver, you’ve got to have those. But when the opportunities come up to attack the football, whether it’s a quarterback in the pocket – a sack is great but if we can get a strip-sack here, that’s a chance to get the ball and recover it,” said Boyer on Monday during a press availability with the South Florida media.
“We spend a lot of time on forcing turnovers, how to force them, situations that they come up and spend a lot of time on recovery because even if you force fumbles and you don’t recover them, it’s not a good deal. Our guys work hard at it, they believe in it; and ultimately we’re trying to is get the ball back to the offense. If we can do that with a turnover on one play, it’s playing complementary football, which I think our players know and understand.”
We saw that manifest against the Arizona Cardinals last year with a strip-sack of Kyler Murray that was returned for a touchdown. Surely you can’t “bank” on turnovers as a part of your game plan on a weekly basis; the inconsistencies in those opportunities makes it an impossible way to try to live or die on the field. But if you play these Miami Dolphins and want to be reckless with the football, do so at your own risk. They’ll be waiting for you to slip.
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