Mi­ami Dol­phins

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - AFC EAST -

The Dol­phins are hope­ful re­cently signed free agent MLB Rey Maualuga can help their run

de­fense, which ranked 30th last sea­son. But the for­mer Cincin­nati Ben­gals stand­out has yet to play in a game be­cause he joined the team over­weight.

When he gets in shape, Maualuga is ex­pected to chal­lenge third-year in­cum­bent Mike Hull, who re­placed in­jured rookie Raek­won McMil­lan.

“My strengths are com­ing down­hill and tak­ing on blocks and stop­ping the run and lead­ing by ex­am­ple,” Maualuga said. “If I come in and do all of that and show what I can do on the field in that as­pect, I think ev­ery­one will fol­low, and I think we can be that much bet­ter on de­fense.”

Maualuga spent eight sea­sons with the Ben­gals, in­clud­ing two with cur­rent Dol­phins de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Matt Burke. Maualuga had 27 tack­les in 14 games last sea­son be­fore be­ing re­leased.

Rookie watch: DT Davon God­chaux, a fifth-round pick from LSU, made his sec­ond con­sec­u­tive start and has an ex­cel­lent chance of open­ing the sea­son in front of DT Jor­dan Phillips, a sec­ond-round draft choice in 2015. God­chaux could be the only mem­ber of this year’s Dol­phins draft class to start, though CB

Cor­drea Tanker­s­ley (third round) and DT Vin­cent Tay­lor could be part of the ro­ta­tions.

Note­wor­thy: Pro Bowl C Mike Pouncey saw his first game ac­tion since in­jur­ing his hip last sea­son and played four se­ries. “It’s al­ways dif­fer­ent when Big Mike is in there,” RB Jay Ajayi said. “He changed that whole dy­namic.” … Two weeks af­ter com­ing out of re­tire­ment, QB Jay Cut­ler was 5-for-8 for 105 yards and a touch­down in five se­ries in his most re­cent game. He had a 72-yard strike to WR DeVante Parker and set up an­other score with a long pass that drew a pass-in­ter­fer­ence call.

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