The assignments is tougher this week for the Miami Dolphins defense.

You already know last week was a disappointment because the Dolphins were unable to stop the New England Patriots from running the football and that led to a season-opening loss.

So this week coach Brian Flores has promised his team will spend a lot of time correcting the mistakes of a week ago and making sure the run defense plugs those leaks it sprang last week, including the biggest spill which came when quarterback Cam Newton led the Patriots in rushing.

That's good because the Buffalo Bills, like the Patriots, can hurt opponents with a running quarterback.

Like Newton in New England, Buffalo's Josh Allen is a running threat.

Except Allen's younger, almost as big, and faster than Newton.

"I think we'll be ready for all of those this week because we got a good challenge the first week," Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy said, "and Josh Allen is just as big a problem as Cam Newton running the ball."

Actually, Allen threatens to be a bigger problem. Because the Patriots were one-dimensional against the Dolphins. They could run the football but their outside receivers were never a significant downfield threat against Miami's secondary.

So the Dolphins had trouble stopping the run. But it could have been a lot worse if the Patriots had a good passing game, too.

The Bills are more balanced. Allen led the Bills in rushing against the New York Jets. But he also threw two touchdown passes and has what seems to be a good receiving corps that includes Stefon Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley.


"As far as dual-threat from a run-game and running quarterback standpoint, yes we have seen some of it a little bit, but this team offers some other issues," Flores said. "When you've got two outstanding receivers on the perimeter, it's hard to load up on the run game when you've got guys like that on the perimeter.

"They do a good job really in all areas – the tight ends, the backs, the scheme. I don't think it will just be all run or quarterback runs or all pass. There's a great mix."

Buffalo's ability to pass the football — Allen threw for 312 yards and had an outstanding 104.6 passer rating against New York — means the Dolphins cannot simply solve last week's problem with the run defense by throwing more bodies at the issue.

Miami tried multiple times to position more players in the tackle box against the Patriots, gambling New England's outside receivers wouldn't do a lot of damage downfield against fewer defensive backs. That worked well enough, except for the fact more bodies still didn't stop the run.

Well, now the Dolphins might not be able to simply outnumber the Bills in the tackle at all because Allen is likely to throw to whichever of his superior receivers might face single coverage downfield.

Adding to the problem is Allen, in his third NFL season, seems on the cusp of a breakout season. He's improving as a passer and everyone seems to recognize it.

"Just watching his film now, he looks a lot better than he was last year – 10 times better," said Dolphins defensive end Shaq Lawson, who was a teammate of Allen's last year in Buffalo. "Throwing the ball – the guy can already run – and just a strong, physical guy and just a dog. I respected Josh Allen Day One, since he came in there."

Said Van Noy:

"Josh's growth each and every year has been big. You can see his strides. His reads are getting better. Everything about his game is getting better. (Offensive Coordinator) Brian Daboll and (head coach Sean) McDermott, they've done a really good job with his growth and development. I continue to see that after Week 1 this year.

"We've just got to do a good job. They ran him a lot. He actually threw a bunch too. I think he threw 46 times against the Jets, which was a lot, and he also made plays on the ground. He's making strides."

So everyone understands the assignment of stopping Allen might be tougher than last week's assignment of stopping Newton because of Buffalo's versatility.

"We've got to a good job of trying to defend it all," Flores said. "(That means) good communication, good fundamentals, technique. We've got to compete for 60 minutes and play a tough, physical game."


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