- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins defense finally gets a breather at quarterback. The problem is, as of Monday, Miami isn’t 100 percent sure who that quarterback will be.
After facing Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Super Bowl champion Joe Flacco in four consecutive weeks, the Dolphins will host a lesser quarterback when the Buffalo Bills travel to Sun Life Stadium next weekend.
Thad Lewis played solid in his first start Sunday in an overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. But Lewis, a Miami native, sprained his foot in the game and was in a boot Sunday evening. The Bills also signed veteran free-agent quarterback Matt Flynn and still has backup Jeff Tuel on the roster.
But barring health issues, Lewis is the starter. He threw for 216 yards and two touchdowns against the Bengals on Sunday.
“I thought their quarterback played very well yesterday,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said of Lewis. “They did a good job of preparing him, putting him in situations and he played well. We have to be ready for multiple combinations of guys and we will be.”
Whoever lines up under center for the Bills, that player won’t be at the same level as Luck, Brees and others Miami has faced in the past month. However, the Dolphins (3-2) cannot afford to overlook this challenge. This is a very important game for Miami. It’s the Dolphins’ first division contest in the AFC East, and Miami is only 11-15 at home since 2010.
Miami, which is on a two-game losing streak, needs to get back to its winning ways. Most people will write off the Dolphins if they can’t beat the Bills at home with two weeks to prepare.
Miami’s defense has played below expectations through five games. This was expected to be a strong and consistent unit. The Dolphins are ranked 24th in total defense after five games, and the coaches and players aren’t satisfied with that result.
Playing against a murderer’s row of quarterbacks in the past month certainly skewed the numbers to some degree. But facing a Buffalo team Sunday potentially with an inexperienced quarterback is a good opportunity for Miami’s defense to get on track.
“I think the advantage is that you know things generally are not going to be overly complicated when you play a young player,” Dolphins defensive end Kevin Coyle said of Buffalo. “I thought [Lewis] did a heck of a job orchestrating the game plan that they gave him yesterday against Cincinnati.”
The Dolphins are as healthy defensively as they’ve been since Week 1. On Monday cornerback Dimitri Patterson (groin) returned to practice and Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake (knee) participated fully in the portion open to the media.