April 22, 2024

The only edge rushers remaining on the Dolphins’ roster are Emmanuel Ogbah, Melvin Ingram, and practice squad linebacker Quinton Bell.Emmanuel Ogbah, Melvin Ingram, and practice squad linebacker Quinton Bell are the Dolphins’ only remaining edge rushers heading into Saturday’s playoff game.

Consider a defense that relies heavily on pass rushing to make Patrick Mahomes uncomfortable.

That very well could be the truth for the Miami Dolphins’ playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday.

The Dolphins were so thin at edge rusher entering last Sunday’s 21-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills that Melvin Ingram, who signed to the practice squad three weeks ago, wasn’t merely compelled to play a big role.

The 12-year veteran was required to handle the most defensive snaps (58) at outside linebacker, anchoring the edge position of Miami’s 3-4 defense in Sunday’s loss, and that had a lot to do with the injuries Miami came into the game with, as well as those they sustained during the game.

How many starters have been injured?

Jaelan Phillips tore his Achilles tendon in late November, and Bradley Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Baltimore Ravens last week. These are the two starters for Miami at the position.

 

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Because of those injuries, Miami was forced to make Andrew Van Ginkel a full-time starter and the team’s primary pass rusher, and he’d done well in that role — 69 tackles, six sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception — until he suffered a foot injury against the Bills and didn’t return.

While his agent Drew Rosenhaus informed WSVN’s Sports Xtra that X-rays on his foot were negative on Sunday, Van Ginkel had an MRI on Monday and coach Mike McDaniel claimed he won’t be able to play in the semifinals.

Making matters worse for Miami was the fact that Cameron Goode, largely a special teams contributor, suffered a PCL damage to his left knee while attempting to cover Deonte Harty’s 96-yard punt return for a touchdown.

In addition, starting inside linebacker Jerome Baker, who had some experience starting games as an outside linebacker during the Brian Flores era, ended his season on Sunday due to a wrist injury that was surgically fixed Monday.

What’s left on the cliff’s edge?

Due to those five injuries, Miami was left with only Ingram and Emmanuel Ogbah on the edge for the second half of the Bills loss, and it’s probable that Miami may rely heavily on them against the Chiefs.

Miami is compelled to take an all-hands-on-deck strategy, which might involve Quinton Bell being elevated to the practice squad.

McDaniel commented, “That’s pretty good math,” when it was stated that Ingram and Ogbah were the last veteran edge players available. “We’re working on it right now.”

“We have conversations about people we’re bringing up today and people we sorted through last week,” McDaniel added later. “If you make [lack of depth] a thing, it becomes a thing…We’ll work everything out as soon as possible.”

That means some reinforcements should arrive by Wednesday’s practice.

Miami could re-sign Jason Pierre-Paul, a Miami native who spent three weeks on the Dolphins’ roster, or add an edge player like Malik Reed who spent training camp with the team or has a history with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

Because they are all free agents, the Dolphins might target pass rushers on practice squads of clubs whose seasons have ended.

However, it’s difficult to see the Dolphins bringing in someone who will understand the defense quickly enough to make an immediate impact. But the Dolphins also require special teams assistance.

Miami is more likely to deploy a defensive lineman like Raekwon Davis or Da’Shawn Hand on the inside and Christian Wilkins or Zach Sieler on the outside.

None of these solutions are perfect, but in desperate times, extreme measures must be taken.

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