« Al Groh interviews for Dolphins DC job | Main | Dolphins' coordinator search taking wrong turns »

How does Groh fit with a more aggressive D?

The Dolphins defense last year was bland. Can we agree on that?

It was mostly the same-old-same-old, snap after snap, quarter after quarter, game after game. It took defensive coaches weeks to decide that cornerbacks Sean Smith and Vontae Davis should match up with receivers rather than putting them in the same spot every down -- thus allowing offenses to dictate matchups they wanted.

While I watched the Jets bring safeties and drop linebackers and sometimes play as if they had 13 guys on the field, the Dolphins definition of surprising was the same slot cornerback blitz with Nate Jones. While other teams overmatched quarterbacks with six guys on the attack, the Dolphins rarely brought that many.

Deposed defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni repeated time and again that he wanted to get a lot of pressure. But he wanted to get it with his four rushers.


Well, the days of the Dolphins vanilla defense might be coming to an end.

Word on the NFL grapevine is that Tony Sparano wants 33 flavors not the same steady diet of vanilla. And Sparano, apparently recognizing there is no super dominant player on the defense right now, believes the way to get better (aside from adding more talent) is to become more aggressive.

We'll see if this is true or not. But I would tell you that the hiring of Bill Sheridan as a linebacker coach is good in the regard that his roots have been pressure defense. The interviewing of Pittsburgh linebacker coach Keith Butler is good in that his days in Pittsburgh have been filled with fire zone blitzes and other means of freaking out offenses.

I am, however, left scratching my head about Miami's flirtation with Al Groh as it pertains to becoming more aggressive. I remember watching Groh's defenses with the Giants and Patriots and there was nothing exceedingly exotic about them -- unless Lawrence Taylor playing like a crazed dog qualifies.

The University of Virginia, which Groh coached until being fired in 2009, fielded a sound defense but it was by no means cutting edge.

Perhaps Groh, at age 65, can embrace an updated approach to slowing down today's modern-day, rocket-fueled offenses. But I'll have to see it to believe it.



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How does Groh fit with a more aggressive D? :


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

First! Let's get fast and unpredictable. Bring in the youth!

I completely agree!

I don't understand how people keep saying that Butler is young though.

I DON'T WANT GROH !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Younger might be the better word.

Please, no Al Groh as DC. He runs the antithesis of an attacking defense.
In fact his ways are so old-fashioned, when he coached UVA I read quotes from other ACC coaches who said Groh's defenses are unique today in that they resemble the way defense was played in the 1950s and 1960s.

Your writing last year was bland. Can we agree on that?

Right now i'm not sold on anyone, still bumed about Crennel. I like Butler's supposed style and a transition in D is just more reason to cut Porter, Wilson, etc.

Kevin Butler sounds like the best candidate by far for many reasons. The Phins should get this guy on board quickly!

Why do we need another old fringe retirement coordinator?Butler would make more sense.

Yeah, Groh would suck. I hope Parcells is smart enough to realize that there's a lot of talent outside his small circle of coaching buddies and people he's worked with.

Part of the reason for the lack of blitzing last had to be the weak secondary. The two rookie corners both struggled and Gibril Wilson would struggle to cover your average offensive lineman.

That being said, they really do need to get more aggressive. I can't remember the Dolphins trying even one of those Ravens/Jets "overload blitzes". That looks purely like a sceme play. It's not like you need super talented players to run to the QB unblocked.

Pasqualoni even backed off on the Nate Jones blitzes last year. With those goofball middle linebackers, it's tough to get pressure up the middle. They'll probably draft a pass rusher with the 1st round pick this year.

What is Rich Kotite up to these days ?????


Personally I would like Butler because he would bring more heat ala Blitzbrugh. But lets not kid our selves I said it before the Dolphins just didnt have the horeses to be competitive bottom line. And Parcells defenses blitzed but, never to the extent of Pittsburgh defense or much less a blitz happy Jets team. You have to have the horses to generate pressure with the front four or a five man pass rush.
But in terms of Al Groh I'm cool with that so long as Parcells equips him and the Dolphins with some "dogs that bite when they are pupps", or as Armando put it "some crazed dogs".
We need some fresh, new blood, at out side line backers and middle linebacker. OLB that are very hard to block and win more often than they lose battles with opposing teams tackles. ILB that can cover tight ends and are good tacklers. A mean nast line backing coprs similar to that of Pittsburgh. You have to have the Dogs out there if you want to run with the big boys.

It's funny Armando, but this has been on mine for a few weeks. I'm getting tired of crowder unable to get off the block when he blitz from the inside. I look at the Jets, Ravens and Pittsburg and wished that we had a scheme that bunch up the line with exotic blitz packages. In the old days before plan-B you could get away with running a vanilla defense because you were able to stock up on talent. But today with the cap and passing rules heavly favoring the offense, you need to diguise your coverages to confuse the QB. You can't let Tom Brady sit in the shutgun spread and scan the field for 8 seconds on every snap. I know that leaving your corners on and island sometimes will lead to big scores, but you have many more changes for the D to make a big + game changer. The the benifits may outway the negatives. Besides it can't get worst than last year when our secondary was getting burnt regulary for big gains.

Mandich said it best when he says going into next year we need to go right down the middle on D when looking for talent.

Inside Linebacker

Our Offense was good enough to win on many games that we played but our D kept on giving up the lead.

Please not Groh... How about somebody younger more "cutting edge"? The Fins need to apply more pressure, that is the way defense is played these days. Look and see where the Jets and the Ravens rank this year in defense.... That is what is needed, if quaterbacks have all day, the will pick you apart.

Another thing i wanted to mention is the Jets suck they have no pass rush specialist and make up for that by bring 7-8 and I've seen 9 players blitz, they bring pressure and are the number one rated D, but only had 32 sacks this year. They overload to one side and a team like the Boltz are gonna make them pay. Philip River's is gonna play pitch and catch, as his wide reciever corps are huge. So when they stack the line of scrimage, Revis will have his hands full and I say the Jets will get burned! They will go at any one on one matchups Revis included and I look for Vincent Jackson and company to dominate when the Jets blitz. Can't wait for this game as I will be in Tahoe and I will tell you now that I'm betting on the Boltz. Besides how can I root for the Jets? They are going down!

The funny thing is that we were in the top 5 I think in sacks yet everytime I watched a game I swear the QB had all day to pick us apart. Just goes to show you that QB pressure means more than the sacks sometimes. About the Vanilla D ... it was the same as last season and it was easy to see who was coming almost every down, if it wasn't for J-Peazy performance last season it could have been much worse during his first season as well

Wow Im one of the few people that want groh I guess

lets Start a petition:


If anyone wants to participate comment the above statement

NO to Groh!!!

Can we please get some YOUNG blood in this organization? I understand with age comes experience and wisdom for some, but our young guys will relate better someone who can keep up with them.

***Jets vs Dolphins 12/28/08....any with a tape please email aloosh723@yahoo.com thx.

We need the players first. Then we need a coach. I would prefer young and innovative. But experienced is also good. I don't remember weak Pittsburgh defenses. It will be the draft.

AGREE 10000% We don't need any Jets Trash coaches in Miami!!

I've been saying it for days now!!! Groh defenses are just like coach P.. U don't fire someone to replace them with the identical piece it doesn't add up...butler hasn't been a d cord ever... Though he has put his time in and hasn't been a one or two year wonder that benefitted from talent... He has been successful at what he does for many years now... Which is providing pressure and mixing up blitz packages.. Go
With butler!

Could we get an under 65 coordinator please?

No AARP eligible candidates please.

No to Groh!! I am definitely on the Butler bandwagon since we missed the Crennel boat.

Nice job Armando, I guess youve read my column: http://nfldraftdog.com/nfl-team-columns/miami-dolphins.html if anyone's wondering.

Man I really hope they bring in Butler. Pittsburgh has a great defensive scheme.

Going with comfort is exactly how we eded up with Cam Cameron instead of Mike Tomlin. The only thing we would have found out about Tomlin sooner in Miami than Pittsburgh is his ability to make good personnel decisions. Remember they were coming off a recent Super Bowl stocked with talent. We didn't have much talent. But I don't think he would have wasted picks on John Beck & Ted Ginn. The culture would have been changed a year sooner too.

groh and coach p are probably the same. someone younger we can grab off a successful team would be ideal. elevate that younger position coach to a d coord. just try to make sure he's the real up and comer.

In all fairness, it's hard to get to exotic with your defense (particularly blitz packages) when you're starting 2 rookies at CB, your best CB on IR, and the questionable coverage skills of Wilson at safety. I think you could really see the difference between '08 and '09 in what they could do.

That being said, I would naturally expect a more complicated defense in 2010. I think it just depends on how exotic they want to go.

If Keith Butler's interview went well, then I would sign him on as DC. I would think that he has learned alot from Dick Lebeau and take that knowledge and create his own version of the defense, hopefully more aggresive and modern, that will utilize the Dolphins talent such as Jason Taylor.

Let's take a chance and give Butler a shot, but as we know, the Tuna likes "his guys". So I a fearful that we will see 'ol Al being hired by the weekend.

What about Will Muschamp from Texas. I would definately go after him if he is available.

Yes Mando! Once again, you are on the forefront of absolute, 100%, pinpoint TRUTH! Nobody better believe that you don't know what you're talking about when it concerns the Miami Dolphins. The best word to describe the defense the last few years (since Saban) was vanilla. I don't understand how coaches look at the way other teams play defense and think they are competing with their style of d. It makes me feel better that Sparano sees that. I hope the Trifecta is just holding their cards close to their chest (which is more likely I believe) and not outdated with their thinking. We need an aggressive, hungry, tough defense that blitzes from every angle on any down, has SOUND tackling and creates turnovers. In order to make that happen we definitely need a better safety (not Gibril Wilson) and a better ILB (not Akin Adoleye).

Why not get them both? Put Butler in as DC and Groh as the other LB coach.

Best of both worlds. Or If we only get one have Butler do a dual role as DC and LB coach.

I have to say I would rather try Butler first over Groh.

hire Butler.... Go with some young blood!!!

DC Finatic, sounds like you just described Muschamp.


Why did Butler turn down his buddy, Ken Wisenhunt TWICE? They were together in Pittsburgh for several years and yet Wisenhunt could not lure him to AZ. I, with everyone else on this board, wants Butler. Tony, if he truly has control of who he hires, needs to make an offer Butler can't refuse....

Keith Butler should be given the chance to coach our defense. Remember this guy is learning from one of the best DC's EVER!!! being able to unleash ideas from Lebeau's 40+ years of football would be an immense plus to our football team. I also think he would also bring to the defense the fire they lacked for the last what 4yrs I think it is worth a shot. I also think Al Groh maybe coming to the Dolphins. Hopefully in another capacity other than a DC

Adam Scheffter reports Groh going to GT and Butler won't be given the job.

Butler is Sparanos' obvious first choice, and a good one. I'm hoping Groh is a courtesy interview, or perhaps another linebacker coach. It may take some extra incentives to pry Butler away from Pittsburgh, considering he was offered the same job last year with Arizona and turned it down. He knew Whisenhunt from Pittsburgh and it didn't help. Maybe taking the assistant head coach title from Bowles and giving it to Butler and a bonus similar to the ones they gave Wilson or Wilford. Hey, whether it's been done before or not shouldn't matter. Setting precedents isn't a bad thing if it brings positive results. This guy looks worthy of the investment.

I think there is a little power struggle going on in the Dolphins. It sounds like Parcells likes Groh because he is familiar with him and Sparano wants Butler because of the more aggressive style. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Whether Parcells listens to Sparano and allows him to gain more control over coaching personnel and hires Butler. Or if he overrules Sparano and goes with his gut and hires Groh. Personally, I hope Sparano wins this battle as I think he is correct in his belief that Miami needs a more aggressive style.

565, and Mike Florio of CBS just reported Groh will be interviewed by New England...Just saying, rumours are flying and nobody knows sh't

NO Groh.

Please get this wrapped up w/ Butler unless he absolutely muffs the interview.....pay the man enough to persuiade himto leave LeBeau's side.

I love the Pittsburgh style of defense. I know we need more talent, but as that talent is being acquired (one hopes), let's get aggressive. BUTLER.

Florio was just on w/ Rose & said NE also after Groh....good, they're established, let them have him.

We need a youth movement in the coaching ranks! Younger coaches can communicate with younger players! Old guys don't work anymore!

Good article Mando for us to have fun with some discussion. I believe we are all in agreement we need to get more agressive!! I don't care who we hire as long as we become more agressive and a little more scary on defense. Our defense scared no one last year. Like Mando said, same old same old and other teams could choose their matchups against us for half the games we played!

ESPN.com is reporting Groh is taking the GT job.

I'm a Dolphin fan in ATL. The local paper (ajc.com) has just reported that Groh accepted the position at GA Tech.

Dan, old guys can't communicate with younger players...Joe Paterno, Bobby Bowden...

I remember 1-15 folks, IN TUNA I TRUST.


If Groh takes the job with GT and Butler won't be the DC (according to Shefter) does that mean that our DC will be Bowles (who coached our secondary and kept on vouching apparently for Gibril "Burnt Toast" Wilson)? I think they should offer Butler big money to take the job - but if he isn't an option how about Nick Ahole's DC in Alabama - Kirby Smart?

Official: Groh to tech as I said.. I said many times over the past week that Bowles will become the D cord... Carlito kept saying I didn't know what I was talking about... Told ya so...maybe we can get butler in as d cord but I have said all along Bowles will be the new d cord

This morning on Joe Rose Peter King said he heard Groh was going to take the college job. I hope so. Let's get some youth and aggression in there.

Ok, The DC cant make up for lack of tallent on the field. Look at Cam he couldnt coach my daughters softball team. But in Baltimore hes a genius. Why? because he has the players. We dont. Another note the real DC for the ravens id RAY LEWIS can we all say that together. We need a QB on defense we havent had one since the killer Bs. I have a sick feeling that it may take 2 to 3 more yrs for our young people to develop along with very good decision making which this staff dont have a very good track record. Yes I know we are 2 yrs from 1-15 but i just cant see anything on this team that excites me in even 2 yrs.But im a fins fan for life!!!! Love my Dolphins Forever!! Goooooo Finnns. Lets have a helva draft!!! WR Please!!! round 1 then LBs and DE and NT and now im depressed

Can we go after Kiffin??? Lol

Al Groh opts for Georgia Tech D-coordinator job according to ESPN .

And Schefter also tweeted that Butler may not be in the running either. So where do the Fins go from here? Bowles? That doesn't excite me since he was part of the "D" coaching staff of a mediocore defense.
So Armando, what does Bowles bring to the table?

Correct, Groh is not coming to the Dolphins, he is staying in College football. Good thing IMHO.

ESPN is reporting that Groh is going to Georgia Tech. Looks like it could be Butler!!!!!

1 2 3 »

The comments to this entry are closed.