3 Miami Dolphins positions of concern vs. Broncos

New York Jets wide receiver Jermaine Kearse catches a touchdown pass as Miami Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley attempts to defend. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

These Denver Broncos are reeling even more than the Miami Dolphins, so push must come to… something.

The two teams have been beaten in their last 12 games by an average score of 32-14.

Neither team has scored much – Miami, 15.8 points per game; Denver 17.9 points per game.

Neither defense has stopped anybody — Denver, 25.5 points per game; Miami 26.3 points per game.

Miami’s five-game slide really should come to an end on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium. If it doesn’t, these folks may be involved:

Offensive Line

It’s really easy to put Miami’s offensive line on this list every week. So we will. I mean, look, the Dolphins allowed seven sacks to the Patriots, a team that doesn’t usually, well, do that. Von Miller is #58 in your Broncos program and #1 on the list of concerns if you are Dolphins playcaller Adam Gase and quarterback Jay Cutler. Right tackle Sam Young has been solid in relief of Ja’Wuan James and Jesse Davis but this matchup with Miller is particularly challenging. Miller has 8.5 sacks, including 7 in his last 7 games. “We’ve got a little bit of different guys in there (at offensive line),” Cutler said. “But that’s not to say they’re not doing a good job. They’re going to fight out there. Obviously, a pretty big task this week with that front four. Von Miller’s one of the elite guys in the NFL, so we’re going to have to be aware of where he’s at.”

Cornerback

Rookie Cordrea Tankersley, meet Demaryius Thomas. He’s a monster. He’s a beast. He’s a force. Tankersley has made a few rookie errors in recent weeks but it’s hard to shake his confidence. Sophomore Xavien Howard is the 117th-best cornerback in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, though the Dolphins are not as down on him. Howard has 10 passes defended and 0 interceptions in 17 career regular-season games. Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian has tossed six interceptions in his last three starts, so there’s a great opportunity there. “I want to see those two guys just play aggressive and you just have to move on from the next play,” Gase said. “If you get beat one time, it happens. I mean if you haven’t been beat in the NFL, you’re probably not playing. I want our guys playing confident. I want them playing aggressive. I want them to challenge wide receivers. I don’t want them to play passive and off and just try to keep everything in front of them.”

Linebacker

The Broncos have a running back named Devontae Booker who has emerged over the last two weeks. The Dolphins once offered C.J. Anderson a big deal, but Booker looks like their running back of the future. Booker has added strength as a runner and is a good receiver, so Miami’s linebackers are going to have to be alert. The Dolphins allow 117.7 rushing yards per game, 25th in the NFL and the Broncos average 108.0 rushing yards per game. How much more does Stephone Anthony play and how much less does Lawrence Timmons play? Over the last five games of this season, does Kiko Alonso show more of the reasons why Miami gave him a big off-season deal? The communication between Miami’s highly-paid defensive front and inconsistent linebackers has lacked at times this season. And you’d figure Broncos head coach Vance Joseph (Miami’s defensive coordinator last season) knows exactly how and where to attack the disappointing Dolphins defense.

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