As we near the NFL draft, every team's possible selection becomes a little clearer. For the Dolphins, the pick has gone from quarterback, to right tackle, to safety, to pass rusher and it keeps cycling around.
The latest debate consists of whether the Dolphins should draft Quinton Coples of North Carolina or Melvin Ingram of South Carolina.
It is clear the Dolphins need a pass-rusher to play opposite Cameron Wake, especially if they will be switching to a 4-3 defensive scheme. With the retirement of Jason Taylor, the Dolphins are left without a consistent pass-rusher, forcing them to either pursue a big-name free agent or draft the next big-name pass-rusher.
In this year's draft, there are a couple pass-rushers that could be impact players in the NFL right away. Coples and Ingram had impressive seasons and did nothing to hurt their draft stock at the Senior Bowl.
They are both athletic linemen that have the ability to play in a two-point stance or a four-point stance. Ingram also has the ability to slide inside in a four-man front.
Either of these players would give the Dolphins a future Pro Bowler and could push them towards a playoff run next season. The question is, if the Dolphins are willing to take either of these guys, who will they pull the trigger on?
Ingram stands at 6'2" and weighs 276 lbs. He plays bigger than his body size and could play three different positions in the NFL (DE, DT, OLB).
He possesses a great burst getting off the line and has the ability to bull rush offensive linemen. He also has the speed to get by them and track down running backs coming out of the backfield.
This guy is always around the ball and will give you 100 percent effort on every play. His strength is pass-rushing and would be welcomed with open arms in South Beach by the fans, the organization and especially by Cameron Wake, who won't be getting double-teamed as often.
Reminds me of: LaMarr Woodley
Coples has been everywhere in mock drafts. Some people have him going in the top 10, others have him going late in the first round and a few have him falling into the second round. He has all the physical tools needed to succeed in the NFL and could make an impact from day one. Coples stands at 6'6" and weighs in at 285 lbs.
There has been a knock on Coples because it looks like he won't give you his full effort on every play. If this can get fixed, the sky is the limit for this kid and we will be talking about him for years to come.
Miami will surely like to have someone with this kind of potential, who can eventually reach Jason Taylor-like numbers, playing opposite Cameron Wake.
His strength is pass-rushing, just like Ingram, but he possesses the longer body we have grown accustomed to for defensive ends who play with their hand on the ground.
Reminds me of: Julius Peppers (Not just because they're both from North Carolina)
Since the arrival of Mike Nolan in Miami, the Dolphins have implemented a base 3-4 defense while still running a 4-3 formation at times. With the arrival of Kevin Coyle as Miami's new defensive coordinator, it is expected that he will bring the 4-3 defense that the Cincinnati Bengals ran during his time there.
Miami has been building it's 3-4 defense for three years and many are questioning whether or not a change should be implemented to Miami's top ten defense. Miami has a few players that are suited to play in either defensive scheme, but also have some players that would find it hard to transition.
The Dolphins have been able to maintain a top ten run defense while running the 3-4. The most important position in this scheme is the nose tackle since his main purpose is to plug the running lanes and take up blockers. The nose tackle should be a solid 6'6", 315 lbs to be able to command double teams.
The Dolphins have a massive nose tackle in Paul Soliai, who will be a free agent this year and will probably demand too much money for the 'Fins to resign him. It would also cost way too much money to franchise him for the second year in a row. Other than Soliai, the Dolphins' only player that can really step up at nose tackle is Randy Starks, but his productivity at the 3-4 defensive end, or his ability to contribute more as a defensive tackle in a 4-3 will cause the Dolphins to hesitate before putting him in the middle.
Without a big nose tackle, the 3-4 will not be as effective and will force the Dolphins to switch to a 4-3, whether they want to or not.
As for the defensive tackle position in a 4-3, the Dolphins will be able to plug in Randy Starks and Jared Odrick at defensive tackle. Cameron Wake will be able to rush the passer on a consistent basis as a defensive end. The other defensive end position is up for grabs and might be filled through the draft with the possible selection of a Melvin Ingram (as proposed by Dolphins FC Scott Altman), or Quinton Coples in the first round.
Karlos Dansby fits the mold of a 4-3 Mike linebacker with his smarts and athleticism. On the other hand, Kevin Burnett and Koa Misi are the guys that would play the Sam and Will positions, as of right now. Burnett is a better coverage linebacker than he is rushing the passer, and the same goes for Misi. Burnett will most likely be utilized as the Will linebacker, forcing him to cover the tight end and running back while Misi will be used as a Sam linebacker allowing him to blitz more often and defend against screens.
As far as run defense, the 4-3 doesn't put as much pressure on the defensive tackles to read the play and fill the gap where he thinks the running back will run through. This provides the defensive linemen with more freedom to rush the passer. Since there will be more men inside the box, both defensive ends will be able to fill the C gap while the defensive tackles fill one A gap and one B gap. The Will will then take the other B gap while the Mike will take the A gap, and the Sam will take the D gap.
Expect the Dolphins to run a hybrid defense with the base being a 4-3. If the Dolphins are able to find a pure pass rusher through free agency or the draft, the 4-3 defense will be successful with the players they already have. They are a pass rusher away from having one of the most feared defensive fronts in the league, and adding a safety will give them the ability to be a consistent top defense for years to come.
With the signing of four new coaches and the retention of one more, the Miami Dolphins and their new head coach Joe Philbin have completed their coaching staff for next season.
The most recent hirings consist of new assistant defensive backs coach Blue Adams, new defensive assistant Charlie Bullen, new offensive assistant Ben Johnson and new assistant offensive line coach Chris Mosley. The Dolphins also decided to retain running backs coach Jeff Nixon.
Mosley is the only one of these new hires with any NFL experience.
Philbin has really been active hiring his new coaching staff that will fit the system he wants to apply in Miami. Philbin is expected to implement the West Coast Offense and there has been some speculation about switching to a 4-3 defense.
The Dolphins' new staff consists of 20 personnel that will look to bring in a new system and better results to South Beach.
Here is the new coaching staff:
Joe Philbin: Head Coach*New Hire*
Mike Sherman: Offensive Coordinator*New Hire*
Kevin Coyle: Defensive Coordinator*New Hire*
Darren Rizzi: Special Teams Coordinator
Jeff Nixon: Running Backs
Ken O'Keefe: Wide Receivers*New Hire*
Blue Adams: Assistant Defensive Backs*New Hire*
Lou Anarumo: Defensive Backs
Charlie Bullen: Defensive Assistant*New Hire*
Dan Campbell: Tight Ends
David Corrao: Defensive Quality Control/Assistant Linebackers
George Edwards: Linebackers*New Hire*
Dave Fipp: Assistant Special Teams
Ben Johnson: Offensive Assistant*New Hire*
Darren Krein: Head Strength & Conditioning
Phil McGeoghan: Assistant Wide Receivers*New Hire*
It's not a secret that the Miami Dolphins need a franchise quarterback. They have needed one since 1999 and it's evident as they have had the most starting quarterbacks in the NFL since then—from Jay Fiedler to A.J. Feeley and from Chad Pennington to Chad Henne. The Dolphins have been the laughingstock of the league at the position and should be looking to upgrade sooner rather than later.
It was thought that the acquisition of Brandon Marshall would take the Dolphins' passing game to the next level even without an elite quarterback at the helm, but it simply hasn't happened. Marshall has underachieved in his two years with the Dolphins and has even brought up the question of trading him to get some value while still possible.
I completely disagree with the Dolphins even having a thought about trading Marshall because he has the potential to be an elite receiver. Many fans, including myself, were impressed and surprised with his performance in the pro bowl. That's the Brandon Marshall Dolphins fans were hoping to see when the organization traded for him.
Lately, the talk of the town has been about how Brandon Marshall would be the top receiver in the league with an elite quarterback, like the ones in the pro bowl, throwing him the ball. What some fans know but simply refuse to accept is that defenses in the pro bowl are playing at an effort of about 25 percent. Sure Marshall has the ability to be a top receiver, but it won't be because of the quarterback; it will be because of him.
Keep in mind that he dropped 12 passes this year and a few of them would have been touchdowns. He has all the physical tools to be elite, but his mind has to want it as well. Marshall also took his vacation time to open the eyes of say, Jeff Ireland when he said:
“Down in Miami, getting a feel for different quarterbacks, had three or four of them throughout my two years there, Quarterbacks make it easier for me. These guys are putting it in the right places and I’m making plays. It’s easy right now.”
There's no question Matt Moore is not the long-term answer in Miami, but don't think for a second that Marshall's performance in the pro bowl will transform into the regular season next year. There are many factors playing into this like the team's new offensive scheme (which will definitely help the passing game), the team's ability to run the ball and other receivers that step up. In the pro bowl, you have no pressure on the quarterback and have quality receivers lined up on every down. Marshall is constantly getting double-teamed and should be able to deal with that.
A quarterback will help Brandon Marshall and the offense develop into a more potent offense, but his performance in the pro bowl, as incredible as it was, will not dictate and is by no indication a preview of how Marshall will play in the regular season.