Defense key to Dolphins season

After overhaul, defense remains Dolphins' strength

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MIAMI, Fla. - If the Miami Dolphins win this season, it will be with defense.

For the first time since the 1960s, the Dolphins (No. 27 in the AP Pro32) have endured three consecutive losing seasons, but don't blame the defense. Miami ranked eighth in the NFL in offensive points allowed each of past two years, and went 6-10 in 2011 despite ranking in the top 10 in rushing defense, sacks and third-down stops.

The offense sputtered through most of the four-year Tony Sparano era. So the Dolphins hired Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as head coach, then courted Peyton Manning before drafting Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who won the starting job in training camp.

This hasn't changed: Defense remains the strength of the team.

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