I have no idea whether the Dolphins will be able to defend their AFC East title in 2009. But defend themselves on and off the field?
The Dolphins this offseason are working with two martial arts consultants who basically are helping certain players with striking at opponents so as to escape blocks while keeping their feet active. Among Miami's karate kids are Jason Taylor, Joey Porter, Matt Roth and some receivers.
I assume offensive linemen wanting to perfect an unorthodox type of chop block might be helped also. (Hey, if you want really funny stuff go to a comedy club.)
Twice a week, Jared Tomich and Michael Storms fly to South Florida and work with players who have volunteered for their lessons. Neither man is considered a full-time member of the coaching staff but they are being paid as consultant types through the remainder of the offseason.
Tomich played at Nebraska and spent time with the New Orleans Saints. That's where he met current Miami strength and conditioning coach Evan Marcus and Storms, who is a full-fledged walking weapon as an eighth-degree black belt.
The story was first reported earlier today by the Munster Times in Northwest Indiana. I have confirmed the pair are consultants and not actually part of the coaching staff, as the story says. The pair are expected to work with players up until training camp, although that may lead to other opportunities if players request more help and the offseason work show results on the field.
"We have different drills for every position -- teaching running backs how to take on linemen, teaching linebackers how to shed offensive linemen, teaching DBs and wide receivers how to knock their guys' hands down and get around them," Tomich, who is a second-degree black belt in Okinawan karate, told nwi.com.
"It wasn't martial arts for the sake of martial arts when I started. I was trying to do something to improve my game and it helped me tremendously. Miami's players have taken our program and implemented what we do into their everyday practices, which has been a huge testament to us. Not only are they doing the stuff when we're there, but when we're not there. The coaches think that much of it."
This is not the first time an NFL team uses a martial arts consultant nor the first time the Dolphins think outside the box in bringing people aboard with a non-football expertise to help their players. The San Francisco 49ers used a martial arts coach for years to help their pass-rushers and well as their receivers, who use the techniques to fight off press coverage.
The Dolphins had a yoga coach in 2007. (I'm thinking that didn't work out so good.)
"We work on their hand quickness and teach 'em some pretty good drills that change how they think about using their hands on the football field," Tomich said. "When I've got guys like Jason Taylor and Joey Porter jumping up and excited to learn the stuff, then I know that I'm doing the right thing.
"It's mainly hand placement, teaching escapes and teaching hand efficiency while being able to use their feet at the same time. A lot of times, you see players, especially linemen, come off the ball, and the first thing they do is grab each other and nobody goes anywhere."
That's not what the Dolphins want. And perhaps using martial arts can help prevent that from happening.
Discuss ... After you check out the video of a well-known martial arts hero.