A six-pack of Dolphins notes:
• The loss of Reshad Jones, one of the Dolphins’ five best players, could have been devastating.
But Isa Abdul Quddus and Bacarri Rambo, along with Michael Thomas, have done good work, with Rambo playing in three of the four games the Dolphins have played since Jones’ season-ending injury, all Dolphins wins.
“I think it’s rare that a guy that wasn’t in our system jumps in there, and does what he’s been doing for us,” coach Adam Gase said. “He brings a great attitude back there, as far as there is a physical presence back there. He’s a really good tackler and he’s a great communicator. The fact that he was still on the street, it was lucky for us that we were able to go out and get him. The personnel department did a great job as far as going to get him, and then he’s done a great job as far as getting caught up as fast as possible and developing a chemistry back there.
“I think there was a hunger there. We've talked about it. The great thing that he has brought was he hadn't played and just when he came in there and just the way that he talks to the other guys on the team about, 'Hey, I promise you. You don't want to be on the other end of this thing. You don't want to be a free agent looking for work. You want to be on a team.'”
As for Abdul-Quddus: “We felt like we had a reliable guy both in the passing game and in the run game,” Gase said. “We felt like he was a really outstanding tackler. We thought him and Reshad (Jones) would be a good marriage back there as far as both guys could be in the middle and both guys could be down in the box. I think he has done an extraordinary job as far as us losing Reshad and him stepping in and being a little bit of a leader back there – being vocal. The last few games he has been outstanding as far as making sure he has been really sound in his fits in the run game. He has been very physical as a tackler. He had some really nice hits last game. When he is back there, he understands – as far as in the middle of the field – he understands the angles and what to do. When somebody breaks free, he’s a really reliable tackler.”
Abdul-Quddus has risen to 18th in PFF’s safety rankings.
• Gase explained to 49ers reporters this week why he isn’t inclined to get conservative late in a game:
“Mike [Martz] always talked about it. It was the offense’s job to go win the game and not to prevent from losing it.
“At the end of the Buffalo game, we had third-and-6 with 2:14 left and we’re throwing go routes. I have a lot of confidence that our guys are going to go make plays and we did and we scored a 66-yard touchdown. That’s kind of how we play. That’s our attitude. We know when we get into 4-minute situations, our job is to go win the game. Our job is to make sure the defense never touches the field again. I think I learned that from an early age with him. It’s obviously in my DNA because that was the way I was raised by him.”
• Dolphins players insisted there’s no risk of them being complacent against a 1-9 San Francisco team. Why so?
“I don’t think we have those type of guys,” Gase said. “The way that I see these guys coming in and work, and the way that we’re doing meetings and the way that guys have constantly been the same, especially over the last six or seven weeks, I only can go off of what I see. I see guys spending a lot of time in our building doing things and using resources that we have….
“I don’t know if our coaching staff would allow it. I think our coaching staff is very hard on our players. There’s that constant grind mentality.”
• What did Gase learn about his team on the West Coast trip?
“I think the one thing I learned was that we were a little more mature than I thought. Monday and Tuesday was an easy kind of get away, you can do what you want (day). There was no curfew. I saw a lot of guys in that office area where we were at and a lot of guys watching tape, just hanging around each other, kind of doing football things to try to help us win a game on Sunday.”
• Gase has been wearing a shirt with the word “Strain.” What’s the deal with that?
“It’s just something that we’ve been kind of talking about, probably since training camp,” Gase said. “(Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Dave) Puloka kind of jumped on it and we were just talking about finishing every play, straining every play, making sure that we were just selling out and it kind of became one of those sayings a lot of guys are using as far as making sure that we are straining every play.”
• The Dolphins are top five in the league in yards per play (fourth), rushing yards per attempt (second), kickoff return average (first), net punting average (fifth), yards per play allowed on defense (fifth-best), passing net yards per play and per game (fifth-best in each), sacks defensively per pass play (fourth) and most importantly, third down efficiency (best in the league).
If you missed it from Friday, here’s my look at what Dan Marino is doing to help and how his role has evolved. Twitter: @flasportsbuzz