But don’t let the pass rush in general — and Bradley Chubb in particular — off the hook. The Dolphins’ defensive front didn’t have any real impact plays until the game’s final moments — and Chubb wasn’t one of the few who made one.
It’s the latest concerning performance for a supremely talented player who for whatever reason has not been able to turn that talent into production in aqua and orange.
When Will Miami Dolphins’ Bradley Chubb Break Out?
Chubb in 71 snaps against the Bolts had missed a third of his tackle opportunities, had one quarterback hit, and was responsible for no sacks, hurries, knockdowns, pressures, or tackles for loss.
That needs to change quickly, particularly with Jaelan Phillips questionable for Sunday’s prime-time game against the New England Patriots with a back injury.
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If Phillips can’t go, the Dolphins would be down their most reliable pass rusher, and raise the urgency for Chubb and Emmanuel Ogbah, who was a spot player in the opener.
But there’s not a lot of evidence to support optimism Chubb will get going this week.
We have signed linebacker Bradley Chubb to a contract extension through the 2027 season. pic.twitter.com/k98NCjSEwM
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) November 3, 2022
In Chubb’s nine Dolphins games since his Fall 2022 trade to Miami — which cost the Dolphins a first-round pick and a nine-figure contract extension that makes him the seventh-highest-paid edge rusher in football — he has:
- 17 tackles (two for loss)
- 16 pressures
- 12 quarterback hits
- 9 knockdowns
- 4 hurries
- 2.5 sacks (none in his last five games)
- 1 forced fumble
That’s one of his least productive healthy stretches of his career.
And it’s all the more curious considering the arrival of Fangio was supposed to incubate productivity for Chubb, who played some of the best football of his career when Fangio was as his coach in Denver.
It still might. Perhaps the opener will prove to be the exception for both team and player. Maybe the Dolphins — beginning Sunday against a shaky offensive line — will start consistently getting pressure with their front four.
Phillips for one didn’t push the panic button after Week 1.
“Well, they weren’t really drop-back passing too often,” he said. “They were either doing play action or, and then, you know, the few drop-back passes they did have, I mean, it’s kind of hard to get in the rhythm when, you know, they’re just running the ball on you.
“We didn’t earn the right to rush a passer,” he added. “So you’ve got to stop the run before you can actually get to those third-and-long situations, second-and-long situations. So, I mean, they were really just kind of having their way in the run game. So we really didn’t even really have the chance to get much going in the pass game.”
Winning first down is always important, but it’s doubly important against the Patriots, who had real trouble protecting Mac Jones in Week 1.
The Eagles had two sacks, five tackles for loss, seven quarterback hits, 17 hurries, 23 pressures against New England. Opportunities should be there for the Dolphins’ front.
For Chubb, that starts with winning at the point of attack.
“They’ve got to take on and defeat the blocks that they get whether it’s an eight-man front, nine-man front, six-man front,” Fangio said.
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