Dolphins defensive line lacks nickname, but not production
DAVIE, Fla. -- There have been the "Steel Curtain," the "Fearsome Foursome" and the "New York Sack Exchange."
So if the Miami Dolphins' defensive line is so good, apparently they need a nickname.
They sure think they are good. Just listen to defensive end Cameron Wake.
"I think we're the best line in the league," he said. "Why not? I think if you look across the board."
Now, let's go to defensive tackle Randy Starks.
"I agree 100 percent," Starks said about having the best line. "We have guys that play the run, the pass, playmakers on the line, and we're productive."
But while the Dolphins speak so well about their line, they're not quite ready to give themselves a nickname.
OK, there is sort of a nickname. The players have have a charity group titled "The First of Defense" in which they provide tickets to underserved individuals.
"I'm not going to try to think of a nickname for the D-line," said defensive tackle Jared Odrick, who said that's not really one. "Something like that maybe can start on Twitter."
If anybody has any suggestions, they could be be sent to @JaredOdrick98. For now, the Dolphins are focused on trying to raise their record to 3-0 when they play their home opener Sunday against Atlanta.
The play of the defensive line has been a key in Miami's first two wins. The linemen have eight of the team's nine sacks, which is tied for second in the NFL.
One of the keys to Miami's defense line is its tremendous depth. Consider Starks is a two-time Pro Bowler and he doesn't even start, having played behind Odrick the first two games.
"It shows that anybody can come in and step up no matter how many Pro Bowls you went to," Starks said. "Anybody can be replaced."
That includes defensive tackle Paul Soliai. He will miss the Falcons game due to a knee injury and Starks says he hopes to start in his place.
Soliai is one of three Miami players to have been to a Pro Bowl. Wake, like Starks, also has made two career appearances. That includes last season, when Wake was All-Pro and tied for fourth in the NFL with 15 sacks.
Along with Wake, the other starter at defensive end is Olivier Vernon, an up-and-coming second year man. Other top reserves are defensive ends Dion Jordan, the third pick in April's draft, and Derrick Shelby.
"It's a good group," said Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. "It's a good unit. These guys, we've got a good blend of veterans and some younger guys who are contributing. I think (defensive line coach) Kacy Rodgers does an excellent job coaching this group, and they've been productive. We still have a lot of things to work on, a lot of things to improve, but I'm pleased so far."
That includes getting better against the run. The Dolphins held Cleveland in the opener to just 47 yards rushing, but giving up 133 last Sunday at Indianapolis was considered too much. Miami, giving up an average of 90 yards, ranks 12th in the NFL in run defense.
"I wouldn't want to play next to any other three (defensive linemen)," said Wake, who has a team-high 2.5 sacks while Starks and Shelby each have 2.0. "I wouldn't want any others other than the guys we have. I wouldn't trade them for anybody."
As much as Wake likes his line, he has no suggestions for a nickname. But he wouldn't be surprised if the linemen get one if the Dolphins can maintain their success.
"I think when you win all the other stuff takes care of itself," Wake said. "You can't ask for it. It has to happen."
In the meantime, if anybody has any suggestions, Wake's Twitter handle is @kold91.
Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
on Twitter @christomasson.