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The Miami Dolphins were a key player in the 2022 NFL trade deadline, swinging a sparkling deal Bradley Chubb from the Denver Broncos. With the pickup, the Phins have been vocal about their intention to compete both this season and for the foreseeable future.
Chubb is providing Miami with the high-end edge rusher the club has been sorely missing. He was one of the few bright spots for the underwhelming Denver Broncos this year, recording 26 tackles – four for losses -, 16 pressings, eight QB hits, seven hastes, 5.5 sacks and three knockdowns on 409 defensive snaps.
The 26-year-old is enjoying a resurgent campaign after missing more than half of the 2021 season through injury. While Chubb didn’t record a single sack in the seven games he was healthy in last year and received a miserable 45.0 PFF score, the site gives him a much more respectable 74.9 for his efforts in 2022 .
Chubb will bolster a Miami defense that has recorded just 15 sacks in eight games. The Dolphins are the only team among the above 12 500 teams with 15 or fewer sacks, showing just how important getting behind the quarterback is to success in the modern NFL.
Jaelan Phillips has totaled the most sacks for the Phins this year, but his three sits 49th in the league. Chubb ranks 13th in this category while no other Miami player is in the top 80.
Miami’s poor edge-rushing skills are a major reason the team has struggled on the pass this year. The Dolphins have given up 262.1 yards per game through the air with only six clubs conceding more yards on average.
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Because Miami doesn’t score as many points as the Baltimore Ravens (26.0 PPG), Buffalo Bills (29.0), or the Kansas City Chiefs (31.9 PPG) — the team averages 22.3 points per game –, the squad had to improve their ability to keep their opponent off the board. If Chubb engages with enemy signal callers, it should go a long way toward achieving that goal.
Assuming that move takes the 5-3 Dolphins to the top and eventually into the postseason after two years of being tantalizingly close, Chubb will be the ideal weapon to use against a crowd of elite quarterbacks that are Miami’s way to block a Super Bowl.
Kansas City has made at least the conference championship game in each of the last four years, and it could very well get there again in 2022. The Chiefs got off to a steaming 5-2 start despite trading Tyreek Hill to these Dolphins and appear poised for another deep run. Patrick Mahomes has found a way to succeed without his top playmaker and leads the league in touchdown throws.
The few opponents who have succeeded against the Kansas City offense have generally applied blasts to their quarterback. The most notable example came in Super Bowl LV, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers pressured Mahomes on 37.5 percent of his dropbacks, pressured him 11 times, beat him seven times and hit him three times en route to a 31-9 blowout win fired.
The Phins could also face a familiar opponent in the Bills’ playoff period (6-1). Josh Allen’s rise to a leading NFL MVP contender has made Miami’s AFC East rival one of the most explosive offenses.
However, Miami proved they can beat Buffalo this year after pulling off the impressive performance in Week 3 with a 21-19 win. Allen threw for 400 yards and two points, but needed a whopping 63 pass attempts to reach that mark and was dismissed four times.
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When you consider Allen is 6-0 when he’s been sacked twice or less this year and he’s averaged three sacks in his three career playoff losses, it’s easy to see that it’s one of the bigger keys, putting him on his back to bring down the Bills.
Sending an athletic 6’4″, 275-pound pass rusher who ran a 4.65-40 yard dash — which puts him in the 90th percentile for his height — sending after the likes of Mahomes and Allen, May not always result in many sacks, but his presence will allow the team to pressurize without having to blitz, which was largely impossible in 2022.
The dynamic pairing of Chubb and Phillips will schematically open things up for defensive coordinator Josh Boyer. The Dolphins have relied heavily on the Blitz, using it on 28.4 percent of defensive plays to try and apply some pressure in passing situations. Their rushers didn’t do their job, evidenced by a worrying 29th place in the pressure rating. With Chubb on the field, the team can finally afford to put more players under cover.
If Chubb is as fit as he seems on paper, it would be a no-brainer for the Dolphins to renew his contract this offseason. The fifth-year veteran is playing the final year of his rookie deal.
While he’s likely to land a big deal — Spotrac estimates Chubbs is worth just over $13 million a season — the pass-rusher will be worth every penny if he can take Miami to some serious title-fighting levels.
And the Phins should want to extend it after effectively going all in to acquire it. The MMQBs Albert Breer
noted that the team had already traded away two of the three first-round players it received from the San Francisco 49ers last year — effectively getting Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill in exchange — and only used the last one to bring in Chubb .
With just a handful of selections in the 2023 draft, none of which are in the first round, it’s clear that the Dolphins’ rebuilding is officially over. If Chubb is the missing defensive piece this organization has been waiting for, the rest of the league should be in tune as long as the star pass rusher stays in Miami.