Behind Enemy Lines: Dolphins

How has Benny Sapp adapted to the Dolphins, how is Miami getting it done on defense and what's the role of Brandon Marshall. Tim Yotter of asked and Alain Poupart of Dolphin Digest answered. Get inside the Dolphins as game day approaches.

Tim Yotter: What sort of role and impact is Benny Sapp having now, and do you expect it to increase at all as he becomes more familiar with the system?

Alain Poupart: Sapp immediately has been inserted as the nickel back covering the slot and he actually started Sunday's opener at Buffalo when the Dolphins opened with five defensive backs. He figures to be a key component of the secondary throughout the season because the loss of Will Allen (IR) created a need for a cornerback to cover the slot, but it's not likely that Sapp can become a full-time starter on this team.

TY: Has Chad Henne shown signs of progressing to the point he can win a game if the running game gets shut down?

AP: Henne has shown promise since taking over at quarterback in the third game of last season, but he's also coming off a mediocre preseason and a ho-hum opener. Because he was able to put up big numbers at times last year (notably in the first Jets game and the second New England game), there's reason to believe the Dolphins can win a game with his passing. But, as previously mentioned, he hasn't dazzled at any point this summer.

TY: Is the Dolphins' top ranking on defense (fifth against the run and fourth against the pass) a sign of things to come or the result of simply playing the Buffalo Bills in Week 1? The Dolphins don't have a lot of big-name players, so how are they getting it done?

AP: That's a great question. The defense was a great unknown coming into the season because there are eight new starters and the preseason didn't offer much in the way of a preview (since teams are so vanilla with their game plan). The performance against Buffalo indeed was very good, but that was one of the worst offenses in the league they faced. The truth is we still don't know how good that defense can be. There are some good players on that side of the ball, starting with nose tackle Randy Starks, safety Yeremiah Bell and linebacker Karlos Dansby. .

TY: Karlos Dansby seems to be getting more opportunities from the outside. How is he responding to the move to the Dolphins defense, and is he staying at one position or moving around quite a bit between the different linebacker positions?

AP: Dansby actually starts at inside linebacker, but he can move around depending on the package on the field. He's a very fast linebacker with the versatility to do a lot of things for the Miami defense, whether it be covering or blitzing. He had a big game at Buffalo on Sunday and one would think he's in store for a big season.

TY: Brandon Marshall is obviously the big concern for teams defending the Dolphins passing attack. He had eight catches for only 53 yards. Is that a product of playing it safe with Henne or do you expect Marshall to start stretching the field more?

AP: The Dolphins would be crazy not to send Marshall downfield considering he's so good at out-jumping defenders and coming down with contested balls. The Dolphins did send him deep on one play at Buffalo and Marshall easily got behind the secondary, but Henne took too long to throw the pass, underthrew it, and Marshall dropped it. That's the one thing with Marshall we've already noticed here: He will drop passes. But he also will get a lot of yards after the catch and he'll block downfield like few receivers in the league. Bottom line: I would expect him to be a major factor every game and, yes, he'll be catching long passes at some point.

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