How do you defend speed? Packers brutally honest about what it'll take to stop Dolphins

Kassidy Hill
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY − The Miami Dolphins are, quite possibly, the fastest offense in the NFL, made up of three of the fastest playmakers in the league. 

Tyreek Hill boast a 4.29 time in the 40-yard dash, with running back Raheem Mostert not far behind. Mostert and Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle both also both show up on the top-20 list of fastest plays this season, hitting 21.23 and 21.11 miles per hour respectively, according to Next Gen Stats. 

“When you look at it, it might be the fastest position group that we’ve (faced),” safety Adrian Amos said this week. 

The Dolphins lead the league in plays of 40-plus yards (12) and trail only the Chiefs in plays of 20-plus yards (53). Under coach Mike McDaniel, Miami has turned games into track meets and can strike at any time, from anywhere on the field. 

“This team truly lives on the explosion play,” defensive coordinator Joe Barry said Thursday. “We gotta keep the ball inside and in front of us. We gotta tackle better than we’ve tackled all year long. I think all those things go into eliminating the explosion play; keeping the ball in front of us and then tackling the ball in front of us.” 

If Miami is the fastest offense in the league, they’re led by the fastest man in the league. The combination of pure speed and quickness give Hill an edge that even the best of the best in defenders can’t answer. 

“Man, if you don't have the speed to match it," Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander said, "it’s gonna be tough trying to defend that, I’m gonna be honest.” 

On Sunday, there will be little to hide blazing speed that made Hill such a hot commodity first in Kansas City, and now with the Dolphins. 

“Mostert’s pretty fast, too, but I don’t think I played anybody that fast (as Hill),” Alexander said. "You gotta get your hands on somebody that fast. Don’t let them get all that speed going.

“You don’t want them building up speed.” 

Inevitably there will be times, though, when Hill’s speed simply wins out. It’s a humbling reminder that defenses must remember before the game, Alexander explained, so that they can quickly forget it during and move on to the next snap. The key, according to the Pro Bowler, is making sure Hill beats only one man, never two. 

“This guy, you can’t really stop him,” Alexander said. "I don’t wanna say unstoppable, but he’s pretty hard to stop. They move him around and he’s so fast, you’ve definitely got to rely on your help.

“You just got to do your best to contain him, play to your leverage and play to your help if you don't have speed.” 

Added corner Rasul Douglas, “Just keep the top on it at all times. Make sure he doesn’t get past the deepest guy.” 

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The Packers had early season issues with miscommunication, passing guys off in zone, at times with no help even present. As the season has progressed, those miscues have lessened. But they will be stressed Sunday against the Dolphins. In those instances, the deepest guy, the “help” referenced, will be either Amos or Rudy Ford. The veteran Amos knows there’s a balance between playing to their opponent and sticking with what works for their personnel. 

“You have to have your eyes on (Hill)," Amos said. "They got two guys (Hill and Mostert) that’s fast like that. So we gotta keep the top on the defense. But it depends on the call. You know, we still got to play ball. Know who they are but you still got to play, play your call.” 

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