Behind Enemy Lines, Part 2

To get the lowdown on the Dolphins' next opponent, the New York Jets, we turned to Jets Confidential publisher Dan Leberfeld. Here is his take on 10 pertinent questions about the Jets.

Dolphin Digest: The Jets have three former Dolphins as assistant coaches -- Mike Westhoff, Bryan Cox and Tony Wise. What kind of job have those guys been doing?

Leberfeld: Westhoff's special teams had been pretty good up until the visit to Jacksonville. The Jets had a punt blocked, and didn't get much out of the return game. But Mike is still one of the best in the business, and we all know he gets real fired up for games with the Dolphins. He didn't leave on the best of terms. Cox is the assistant defensive line coach, and the defensive line hasn't been very good. But that is not Bryan's fault, it's more related to personnel. He looks like has the makings of a very good coach -- he's smart and tough, and the players relate to him well. The offensive line hasn't been great, but it's hard to blame Wise for this. The Jets are starting two rookies, and a journeyman right tackle.

DD: How have the Jets adopted to Eric Mangini's 3-4 defense, and how closely does it resemble what New England does?

Leberfeld: Opposing teams say they see a lot of New England's defense in what the Jets do. But the Jets aren't executing that system anywhere near the Patriots level because of personnel issues. They just don't have a lot of the pieces they need for the 3-4. They need some more bigger stronger defensive linemen to keep the linebackers clean.

DD: Word is former No. 1 pick Dwayne Robertson is a bad fit for that defense. True?

Leberfeld: A terrible fit. If the Jets intend on sticking to the 3-4, they should trade him. He was drafted to be their answer to Warren Sapp, a super-quick three-technique tackle who spends a lot of times in opposing backfields. He's just not big enough to tie up two linemen to allow the linebackers to make plays, and that is a big reason the Jets run defense is so bad. The Jets need a Keith Traylor-type nose tackle in the worst way.

DD: Who is the one player on defense the Dolphins have to worry about, and why?

Leberfeld: That is easy -- safety Kerry Rhodes. He is a blossoming star, and I expect him to make some trips to Hawaii. He's 6-3, 217 pounds, can jump out of the gym, and has cornerback speed. He's also a great kid, and a very hard worker. He's not only good in coverage, but a super blitzer, and expect the Jets to send him a few times since the Dolphins have major protection issues. He has three sacks on the season.

DD: 10. How do the Jets view the Dolphins' struggles, and what kind of game are you anticipating?

Leberfeld: I have a lot of respect for Nick Saban the coach; he's extremely bright, and has won everywhere he's been. But he hasn't done a good job as GM. The offensive line is ill-conceived, and the secondary isn't talented enough. I've never been a huge fan of Daunte Culpepper. He has a big heart, and a gun for an arm, but doesn't seem to read defenses very well. The Dolphins need to pick a quarterback in the first round next year. I think Saban will eventually turn around the Dolphins, but it will take longer than Dolphin fans would like. These are two very even teams, but I think the Jets will win this game because they are home.


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