BY JEFF DARLINGTONjdarlington@MiamiHerald.com
In the immediate wake of Miami's decision to spend its 28th overall pick Thursday on defensive end Jared Odrick, Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland wasn't willing to say exactly how the team plans to use him.
``We think he can play both inside and outside,'' Ireland said Thursday night. ``I don't really want to get into where we are going to play the kid right this minute. I think you'll see soon enough where he'll be playing. We think he can play both.''
It might seem like a curious sentiment, given Odrick's prototypical size as a defensive end in a 3-4 system. But there's a somewhat interesting explanation for it.
Sources say the Dolphins are in the middle of a defensive transformation that will steer them slightly away from the pure 3-4 defense that has been used each of the last two seasons. It is not a knock on the previous system, but an attempt to fit Miami's personnel.Although complex and still a work in progress at this point, the Dolphins will rely on more penetration from the interior defensive line than previous years. It will allow the team to benefit from the athleticism of its linemen rather than the bulk.
The key phrase in all of this, though, is interior penetration. That's an aberration from the standard responsibilities of a 3-4 nose tackle, which spends its time clogging up the middle to allow for the linebackers to make the plays.
It still isn't a pure 4-3 defense, either, but it is instead simply designed to allow the crop of defensive ends to help make the entire unit better