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Week 7: Dolphins at Jaguars
KEVIN COYLE LACKS IMAGINATION.
The quality that separates a good position coach and a coordinator at the NFL level is their ability to adjust their "system" based on the talent that is on the roster. What made The Don great was not only his coaching savvy, the jaw that made his coaches fall in line, his friendships, but also the ability to change his teams based on the talent that he had. He was the first coach to have two 1000 yard backs in the 70s even though he had a future hall of fame quarterback. Then he changed up his conservative approach when Dan Marino came on the scene and started drafting pass blockers. Brilliant.
Two years ago we noticed that Mike Sherman was not using REGGIE BUSH to the best of his ability. Rather than taking advantage of what Reggie could bring to the passing game he ran him constantly betweem the tackles. When the fan and media outcry finally reached his stubborn ears by season's end, he started to try to get him into the passing game. Too little, too late. Then, last year he misused MIKE WALLACE and created many situations which contributed to our high sack total. JOE PHILBEN was forced to fire him after two years of "square pegs in round holes".
Now, I don't doubt that defensive coordinator KEVIN COYLE is a good positional coach, but he is in the same mold as Sherman when it comes to running this defense. Why else would he not use the talented DION JORDAN in more than a pass rushing defensive end? I am a believer that the Dolphins have a lot of good role players on this team which is why I did not mind trading up in last year's draft to get Dion Jordan. What position did he play in college? OLB. He is big, fast, and can cover tight ends. He is developing as a tackler. Move him around. Get him more involved by taking advantage of his skillset.
I see a real problem with Coyle and it just isn't that his defenses are declining every year. Ireland made a very bad move of jettisoning his aging yet talented linebackers for young and what seemed to be up-and-coming linebackers, but that does not mean that you cannot succeed with them. The good defensive coordinators can change their philosophy based on their talent, and he is not doing it.
After watching Coyle for two years, something is seriously missing with him and I feel it is his imagination. He does not have to be Shula or Arnsparger, but he has to be better than what we've seen. I would not be surprised to see Coyle out as the Dolphins DC after this season, but the only way that will happen is if the owner forces it once again.
THE NO FUN LEAGUE STRIKES AGAIN.
What is wrong with this picture? Nothing at all. I don't have a problem with Roger Goodell's handling of problems in the NFL, but this is by far not a problem. I think every player should make an attempt to dunk the football after every play and have the coaches support it. That way the NFL will have to get rid of the rule. The game needs some personality and celebrating a TD without shoving it in the face of the defense is something the NFL needs. Most fans like the dunk and a little celebrating.
Who would pay for it? How about sponsors. They could say, "This quarter's touchdown dunks are sponsored by Dunkin Donuts" or something like that. Where is a petition? I'll sign it.
IS BRADY QUINN OUR #2?
Are you seriously toying with the idea that Brady Quinn will beat out MATT MOORE for Tannehill's backup spot? I think it's pretty cool that we finally got Brady Quinn, but the reason that Cam Cameron did not draft Quinn was far deeper than wanting Ted Ginn, Jr and his family. He said that he could not coach accuracy.
So, we're hearing reports of Brady's inconsistency at Dolphins practices. I guess we'll get our answer in tonight's game on whether Brady-ball will even be on the Dolphins roster in a few weeks. Now, myself, I am hoping for a quick recovery for Matt Moore and that the Dolphins keep only 2 quarterbacks on the roster this year. We need that third quarterback position for depth at one of a number of weak positions on this team (OL, TE). Heck we may have to keep one of our talented wide receivers in case the Dolphins decide to trim down our salary cap after the season. While I like BRANDON GIBSON, we all know that JARVIS LANDRY is the future in the slot. Getting Gibson was one of the positive moves that Ireland made last year.
NEED ANOTHER ZACH THOMAS.
Which team would not need a Zach Thomas, eh? The Dolphins are definitely in dire need at the thinking players position ... the middle linebacker. Last week we watched Koa Misi whiff on several tackles, and that is just something you don't need at the heart of this defense. If Misi, who is a good OLB, wants to hold onto the position at ILB then he had better show a leap in performance this week.
This week the Dolphins had 5th round rookie JORDAN TRIPP get several snaps with the first team. When the Dolphins drafted Tripp many scouts said that they would not be surprised to see Tripp as our future in the middle. While he played OLB at Montana, he has the skill set to play in the middle.
I'd like to get a look at Tripp as well in the middle, but let's keep in mind that he is a 5th round draft pick and he will need time to develop at a position that he didn't play at college ... unless he is ZACH.
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There's a lot of buzz centered around our first round pick, not this years first rounder, no, our #3 overall from last year Dion Jordan, after a sub par year last year and then a lackluster showing in the first preseason game, where he played extensively due to Olivier Vernon being out for that game, there is a lot of talk about him being moved to LB.
None of that talk is coming from the team however, they maintain that he is going to be kept at DE, Neal Driscoll has started a petition to have him moved to LB, there is a link below where you can add you signiture if you so desire.
One of the popular choices is the strong outside LB, or Sam position in NFL lingo, but I'm not sure that will help, the Sam LB is usually more suited to stopping the run, or setting the edge when need arises.
That is the weakest part of his game, he has trouble one on one with TEs in the run game so we'd be in pretty much the same position with him, under performing.
Then there's the weak outside LB, or Willie position, this is where you try to put a player who is stronger rushing the passer, and he is better at that then he is a stopping the run, and most of the other duties at both Sam and Willie positions are the same, covering tight ends and running backs on your side, or playing in a zone coverage.
However, where he is better at rushing the passer, he hasn't yet shown to actually be a good pass rusher.
Both of these ideas do conform to conventional wisdom, you have a smallish DE who seems to be getting bogged down playing on the line, so move him back a little to play LB, and truth be told I would like to see either of these things given a try over DE, but as I said, they fit conventional wisdom, which is Inside the Box, time to revisit the title of this post.
How about middle LB, or the Mike position, whoa Finster! did you just say MLB? Yes I did, but just hold on a tic, it might just work, and we are Thinking Outside the Box here. It would not be totally unpresidented, think of Brian Urlacher, a tall lanky fast Mike LB who wasn't too shabby, he was 6'4", 258 LBs and ran a 4.57 40. Dion Jordan could be Brian Urlacher 2.0.
Lets start with what I think Dion could actually be historically great at, the middle zone, think about it, just standing in one spot he'll cover a huge area, add to that his fluid athletic ability and you have the potential to be one of the best middle zone coverage LBs the league has ever seen. The way the middle of the field is attacked by todays TEs he would significantly shorten the size of the windows in that area, QBs are constantly throwing over the Mike LB to TEs, throwing over Dion would not be as easy, he can get his hands on throws that are 10' in the air, his latteral movement would shorten the inside underneath throw as well.
Lets continue with what would be his strength at the Mike position, man coverage, we know Dion can run with just about anyone, and with his height, or Tony Sparano's favorite term, length, he can be trailing a little and still have his man covered, to a QB a guy with Dion's wing span blots out the sun. In any one TE set they outside LBs can simply release any inside routes to Dion and cover any running backs or simply rush the passer.
There is one more area where I think he can really excel playing the Mike position, blitzing, Dion could actually be quite a terror blitzing from the middle, we all know he's fast, but he will probably get more clean lanes rushing from the middle than anywhere else, and if he has a clean lane watch out, and his height/length becomes very problematic for QBs to throw over, especially if he's not being blocked.
Now we get to the part we would all worry about, stopping the run, but this is a problem no matter where he lines up, and with our defensive line being so stout he would get more clean looks at RBs from the Mike position than any other position. I also think that having all the space he would have at the Mike he would be much better handling blockers, since they would now have to come and seek him out instead of just being able to engage him right off the snap, this would give him many more options handling blockers.
In a way, you could think of him being a stretched out version of Zach Thomas, I wouldn't want Zach setting the edge or rushing the passer from the edge, they both have some weaknesses due to their size, short and stumpy and tall and lanky. You wouldn't need him to be the captain right away, or ever really, Ellerbe can call the plays, but what would remain to be seen was his instincts at the position, he's smart and coachable so he may actually be a very good captain one day, but we'll never know unless we try.
One parting thought, if he were to go and play the Sam or Willie, chances are he will still be labled a bust, even if he did well, because in our system the Sam and Willie aren't playmakers, but if we got a star Mike out of him then the pick can always be justified because that is a playmakers position.
Well, there's my take on Thinking Outside the Box with Dion Jordan, If all I did was give you all a little to think of then I've done my job, as always, GO FINS!
Here is the Neal Driscoll Dion Jordan to LB link;