And that defensive turnaround probably would not have happened without two veteran players contributing in unlikely ways.
Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins — who had six tackles (including one for loss) and a sack Sunday night against the Patriots — provided the details Monday, just a few hours after the Dolphins returned home to South Florida 2-0.
Zach Sieier, Andrew Van Ginkel Unsung Week 2 Miami Dolphins Heroes
The tone for the Dolphins’ defensive night was set early on by defensive tackle Zach Sieler — who usually does his talking with his play.
“Zach kind of hit us, the D-linemen, with some real s— before the game,” Wilkins said. “I’m not gonna say what he said, but, you know, it was message received.”
“So we just kind of had that in our minds and just like, you know, we knew we had to play better,” Wilkins continued. “Week 1 wasn’t us, as far as the run defense, our standard, what it’s been around here. So it’s good to definitely improve against a really good running team, you know.”
Christian Wilkins on the improved Dolphins run defense pic.twitter.com/cDZbl4EcPW
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) September 18, 2023
“Everybody knows the Patriots like to run the ball. They like to, regardless of what’s going on, they’re a physical, you know, style team,” Wilkins added. “We were able to just do some solid things there, which is good, just good to see the defense improve overall.”
The Dolphins surrendered just 88 yards on 25 carries Sunday — which was about 150 fewer than the Chargers gained against Miami on the ground the previous week.
When it came to Sieler’s pregame pep talk, the messenger was just as impactful as the message.
Is Sieler a big talker?
“Not too much,” Wilkins replied. “He goes about his business, and when he does talk, you’ll listen and, like I said, message received.”
Zach Sieler, who once was a roster cutdown casualty, is now an eight-figure DT pic.twitter.com/iwMp5rNRwM
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) August 29, 2023
Van Ginkel Is Miami’s Super Sub
No one played more inspired ball Sunday night than Andrew Van Ginkel, who had six tackles, three quarterback hits, and a sack filling in for the injured Jaelan Phillips on the edge.
“I was happy to see him have a night like that, do some good things because, you know, we know what Gink can do,” Wilkins added. “We all mean it when we say Gink’s got like a horseshoe up his butt or something. He always just finds a way to get around the ball. He’s just lucky.
“Sorry if that’s inappropriate, but you know what I mean? And we joke too and say like Gink’s really one of the best football players on the team, just his ability to be versatile, smart, super reliable, so it’s good, you know, he got a little shine.”
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