- WR Hartline cut after 6 seasons WR Gibson was also released
- Mike Tannenbaum hired... ...as Dolphins' executive VP of football operations
- Philbin retained Coach Philbin was given a contract extension
- Fins season ends on low note Jets down the Fins to end their season 8-8
Kevin Coyle Speaks To The Media
My Thoughts On the Kevin Coyle Interview:
This is the time of year when every new player reminds one of that shiny used car you just drove off the car lot. You did your research, and fell in love with the prospect of what this car can do for you. Maybe you were looking for comfort, and reliability? Or possibly something to hold you over until you could afford something better. In either case, you had expectations, and you felt comfortable this car would most likely suit your needs. That is how a coach sees every new player he is assigned. He may need to tune the engine, or tinker inside the dash, but the overall car is perceived as an upgrade, and a value. That’s the impression I get when I listen to coaches talk this time of year. Every player is a blessing, and each one is exactly what the team needs.
Here is most of Coyle’s Q&A interview from the other day. See if you don’t get a similar impression. I’ll comment under his answers as appropriate.
You can listen to the entire interview at www.miamidolphins.com
Bottom line the defenses job is to keep points off the board. We’ve finished 7th in 2012, and 8th in 2013. There are only 4 teams in the league that have been in the top 8 both seasons, those are SF, Seattle, Cincinnati, and us.
The bottom line is keeping other teams out of the end zone and giving yourselves a chance to win. Like every team in the league there’s areas we need to get better at, but when all is said and done if we keep people from scoring points that’s the job of the defense, and really that’s what it is. We’ve been doing a really good job of that. We’ve been very good in the red zone, we were 5th in the red zone last year, and first the year before. Quarterback ratings against us last year, we were 5th in the league at 77.3%. There’s a lot of positives. We’ve had the 2nd least amount of touchdowns against us over a two year period. Seattle being the only team that’s been better then us, so yeah, there’s quite a few things to build on, but we want to be the best in the league in all these things so, uh, I feel that we’ve made great progress, but we’re not where we want to be. We want to build a championship defense that is going to take us to the Super Bowl.
I wonder to myself how coach would have responded if someone brought up Darren Sproles. He absolutely killed us in the Saints game, and it seemed we didn’t have an answer. Then there was Graham. It’s great to point out the positives, but the defense got outscored 8 times. That’s a lot in a 16 game season. I wonder too, how he felt about the final two games. No sugar coating, just an honest opinion.
Q –What changes can you make to get Dion more playing time as you’ve got the same people on the roster?
A–Oh yeah, but we have a different Dion as well. You know, the thing was last year we came very close in the pre-season to make a decision as to whether or not to basically red shirt Dion, or know that we were going to get limited snaps from him. All the talk in the off-season about we didn’t utilize him properly. We knew going into the year that he did not have the off season, and was coming off of an injury, and would it be in the best interests of team to have him, even for limited snaps. We made that decision. Certainly Dion wishes he had a bigger rookie season, and so do we. But, we have great expectations for Dion Jordan coming into this year, and uh, you cannot have enough great pass rushers, and we feel with Dion at full speed we have a prime time player who is going to explode this season. We wished we could have gotten more, but situationally we knew where his strengths were. Where he had not gotten enough work so we didn’t want to expose him, nor the team. You also have to look at the fact Oliver Vernon came on and had a stellar second season. He came out, and we knew he was going to be a good player for us. He really came on, so the need in saying we really need to get Dion in there wasn’t as extreme as you might have thought going into the year with the kind of season Oliver was having. So with those two things being said, Dion has a season under his belt in which he played a role and scheme with us, and we expect him to have a more featured role with is this coming year.
I’ll more then likely be in the minority here, but I 100% agree with him. I believe he is being quite honest here. The mindset is he was a #3 overall selection, and needs to play. My response is simply he needs to earn the right to play.
Q–What about Koa Misi inside? Why does that make sense to you?
A–Koa has such a physical presence, Koa hits you and you stay hit for awhile. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve used Koa as an example of this is how you compete on defense. He’s got a great motor. Honestly, as I look back on last season I didn’t keep him in the game as much as we could have. We were in that nickel defense on 3rd down and he came out of the game. We’ve got to get him in some. His ability to take people on, he’s a big man, he’s strong, he’s explosive, and he takes a tremendous amount of pride in doing the little things the right way so it’s a work in progress right now. He’s a guy that’s learning a position, and so far we’ve seen some really good things.
I see the fit, why wasn’t this tried last camp?
Q–Are you committed to that?
A–We’re committed to wining; we’re committed to doing everything we can do to win. Right now we’re evaluating it. We’ll continue to evaluate it throughout the spring. We’ve got different variations. We’re moving people around and this is the time to do it. To get this opportunity during these spring practices where you can experiment, yet you get a pretty good idea if somebody is comfortable there, at various spots both in the back end, and the front. So, right now I can’t commit today to say that it’s a done deal, but certainly I like what we are seeing.
Q–What have you seen from Delmas, and Finnegan so far?
A– Two great additions. Veteran players that have a lot of energy, a lot of emotion, a lot of enthusiasm for the game, and they are very, very smart, instinctive guys. They compete each and every play, and they’ve been a pleasure to coach, they’ve been a pleasure in the meeting room. I think they are going to bring energy, toughness, a fierce competitiveness that a lot of our guys already have, but I think they’ll raise the level of that around them. They are two exciting prospects coming into this season.
They can only bring those things if healthy. Hopefully both will be limited in camp. I see these moves as very, very risky, and with our limited experience behind them I am concerned.
Q– Can you talk about Delmas’s leadership role?
A– He’s been great, as Cortland has been. They’re both vocal guys. You know, I coached Louis in the senior bowl as he was coming out, and uh really got to know him that first week, and loved his personality. As he becomes more comfortable, you see it everyday in the building, He’s 100 mph with everything he is doing, but he is very, very perceptive out on the field. He sees formations quickly, he communicates very well. He understands mistakes, and sometimes you’ve got to reign him back in a little bit, but that’s a good thing. We’d rather have that problem, or situation then uh, having to get him going. He’s never slowing down and you see that on tape, and we’re excited about what he can bring to the defense.
My fear with Delmas is he can be very inconsistent.
Q– Will, and Jamar, are they taking a step forward?
A– Absolutely. Every day we’re seeing significant improvement from both Will, and Jamar. I think they are both more confident. They’re out there competing, and the veteran players out there are a great thing, showing the way. They’ve got to be on the top of their game every play, and you’re starting to see that. They’re making plays. You can see the confidence growing day to day.
The Dolphins need both of these players to make an impact in the secondary, if even in a reserve roll. The QB’s they’ll be facing will school them otherwise.
Final thoughts: Keep in mind the guys are in shorts. The real evaluations don’t begin for another month. I don’t care how good a guy looks in OTA’s. The real deal is training camp, and into the pre-season games. We’ve seen many, many early training camp warriors fizzle once it started to get physical, and mentally demanding.
The one question I would have liked to have seen asked, which wasn’t was, Coach, it’s obvious last years defense against the rush was sub-par. What gives you the confidence it will be improved, especially after losing Soliai whose strength was gap control?
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