Miami Dolphins

Dolphins defensive coordinator says Mario Williams ‘has got to play better’

Miami Dolphins defensive end Mario Williams sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the first quarter at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, on Sept. 11, 2016. Williams was called out by defensive coordinator Vance Joseph for his play in the wake of a disappointing loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Oct. 9.
Miami Dolphins defensive end Mario Williams sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the first quarter at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, on Sept. 11, 2016. Williams was called out by defensive coordinator Vance Joseph for his play in the wake of a disappointing loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Oct. 9. ctrainor@miamiherald.com

Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph made clear Thursday that he expects better play from his entire defensive line, with Mario Williams at the forefront.

“He’s got to play better, has got to play harder,” Joseph said. “Mario, [Ndamukong] Suh, Jordan [Phillips], all those guys up front — if they want to rush more, [they must] stop the run more consistently. Mario has got to play better, has to play faster and more consistently.”

Asked who has stopped the run well in his front seven beyond Suh, Joseph said: “Out of our front four, no one has. To be stout in the running game, it’s got to be consistent across the board. It can’t be one guy busting the gap and one guy missing a tackle.”

BENWIKERE PLAN

Joseph said he views newcomer Bene Benwikere “as an outside corner. Hopefully in the future he can play inside as the nickel, but right now, our need is outside corner.”

▪ With Xavien Howard out indefinitely, does Joseph envision Byron Maxwell, Tony Lippett, Benwikere, Chimdi Chekwa and Chris Culliver (eligible to return next week) competing for two starting jobs at cornerback?

“The best guys are going to play,” Joseph said. “Culliver hasn’t played in a year – that is going to be a stretch for him to come back and become a starter right away. Hopefully, he comes back and can prove he can play. Then we can determine who are the two or three best guys to play for us.”

▪ Speaking publicly for the first time since missing last Sunday’s game, left guard Laremy Tunsil insisted his ankle injury occurred when he was getting out of the shower at the team hotel hours before the game.

“I thought I twisted my ankle, the same one I dislocated in college,” said Tunsil, who was limited in practice Thursday. “The one I had surgery on. It was pretty banged up. Had a little sprain. Everything’s good.”

Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen joked that the team would shower on Saturdays now, and Gase cracked: “I don’t know if we’re going to let them shower this week.”

In all seriousness, Christensen said Tunsil “has maturity way, way, way beyond what his years are. He has exceeded our expectations.”

▪ Though the Dolphins haven’t decided if running back Arian Foster (hamstring) will play Sunday, Gase said: “He looks good to me, but I’m a couple credits short of my MD. He looks normal to me.”

▪ Christensen said rookie running back Kenyan Drake’s performance has been “a mixed bag. His good is really good. And his rookie stuff is really rookie, is rookie-ish. We’re not discouraged. We’re looking for consistency from him. He had big drop on the third down.”

▪ At the team’s annual Alumni Weekend (Oct. 21-23), the Dolphins will honor 28 people who “have dedicated their service to helping those in the community.” Those 28 include former coach Don Shula, plus 27 former players including Dan Marino and Dwight Stephenson.

▪ The Dolphins’ 280-page “Fins at 50” book, priced at $50, is now available at miamidolphins.com.

▪ Former Dolphins cornerback Fulton Walker died Wednesday after a massive heart attack while doing yard work, Dolphins executive Nat Moore said. Walker played for the Dolphins from 1981 to 1985 and returned a kickoff for a touchdown for the Dolphins against Washington in Super Bowl 37 – the first TD on a kickoff return in Super Bowl history.

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