The Miami Dolphins have managed to make it through the season without any critical injuries aside from the knee injury of emerging running back De’Von Achane. Particularly this season, it can be an absolute heartbreaking when you have your hopes up and all of a sudden the season falls apart off of a season-ending injury. As a Bengals fan, that is far too real for me but luckily for Miami, they haven’t lost any key talent so far to injuries.
Key Defensive Tackle ends up on Dolphins’ Injury Report
That is, until maybe at this moment. On Friday, star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins found himself on the injury report for a groin injury. Now that could mean a long list of things but it cannot be overlooked that a key defender on this defense has his name show up on the injury report.
Frankly, it could be as simple as a teammate accidentally bumped Wilkins in the groin and he had to sit out for a few plays from the pain. It could mean he has a substantial muscular injury but given that this is the only thing you are hearing about it, Wilkins will most likely dress out on Sunday against the Titans.
If this does turn into a more serious injury, Wilkins absence will be sorely missed on the defensive front for Miami. Wilkins has established himself as an elite 3-technique, getting home to the quarterback 6.5 times this season and collecting 25 tackles. That may not sound that impressive but it is a widely accepted rationale that tackles are fairly worthless for defensive tackles. Their job is not to bring down the running back: their job is to clog holes, stuff double teams and shrink running lanes so the job is much easier on the linebackers to close space.
The other side to that coin is the opposition that Miami finds themselves up again without their best defensive lineman. Miami will be trying to stop arguably the most talented running back in the NFL when Derrick Henry forces his way through the A-gap on Sunday. Defensive tackle is hands down the most important position on the field when you are playing against Henry because Henry’s biggest strength is that once he accelerates, he is virtually impossible to bring down without giving up at least 4 yards.
As previously mentioned, Wilkins would help close up gaps and prevent Henry from having a wide space and plenty of time to build up speed. In all of the games Henry has struggled, the defenders typically meet him at or behind the line of scrimmage. If the linebacker meets him another yard or two from the line of scrimmage, he will undoubtedly flatten the defender and gain the extra two yards from his body length.
Optimally, Wilkins will be playing and this is completely precautionary discussion. If Wilkins doesn’t play, Miami will be forced to blitz the A and B games far more often during the game to try to use multiple players to do what Wilkins can do singlehandedly.
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