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On top assistant hires: Daboll and Cox

The Dolphins made a handful of coaching changes after last season and the most important one will be the addition of Brian Daboll to become Miami's new offensive coordinator. Although initially skeptical about that hiring because all I saw was the fact the new coach's offense ranked lower than Miami's last year, I've completely changed my mind on this addition.

Brian Daboll is instilling a more aggressive, more dynamic offense for the Dolphins this year than you've seen recently. The success of the unit will fall on the talent running it, but I'm encouraged by what little the Dolphins have shown in practice and Friday in the preseason opener.

The offense attacks, which is what an offense is supposed to do. It does multiple things, making harder to prepare against. And I've yet to see Daboll call the incongruous end around at exactly the wrong time.

The second most dynamic addition to the staff?

Bryan Cox.

You'll hear a lot about Cox in the coming days for all the wrong reasons. Simply, the Dolphins will make him available to the media Tuesday and so the pack will write about him because its a seemingly easy story: Former Dolphins Pro Bowl player returns to South Florida to coach where he first played.

That is not the reason this hiring is important.

The hiring is important because the Dolphins are entrusting their most valuable defensive playmaker to Cox. It is up to Cox, who recorded 14 sacks in 1992, to help outside linebacker Cameron Wake make the next leap in his progression. (No, he's not fully formed yet.)

Wake led the Dolphins with 14 sacks s in 2010. So what is the next step for Wake? Well, the toughest assignment in the NFL is not having one good season. The toughest assignment is gaining everyone's attention with a good season and then following it with more good seasons.

Consistency suggests the player is maintaining a level of play, but in truth, consistency means the player is getting better because he is managing the same high level of performance despite the fact opponents are now trying to stop him, adjusting for him, scheming to erase him.

Wake has to get there. How?

He's explosive. He's got God-given gifts. Now, under Cox, the idea is for Wake to become a craftsman, a technician. Yes, he still has that amazing first step, but to remain elite he has to learn the tricks, the hand-fighting, the use of his hips and leverage.

I get the feeling Cox will also talk to Wake about harnessing his emotions. Cox was a master at it. Wake is more controlled. Maybe a little letting loose could help here.

Cox has work to do with Jason Taylor and Koa Misi as well. Misi, a grinder, needs to learn to play his position perhaps more than any Dolphins pass rusher. He gets his mostly on athletic ability and sheer determination. He needs work on his technique.

Taylor knows pretty much everything he'll ever know. But Cox is not beyond challenging his players, milking them. Cox and Taylor together are a couple of great pass-rush minds.

It is no secret I'm a fan of the Cox hire. I covered him throughout his Dolphins career. I loved the guy then and still do today. The Dolphins of the early 1990s were a finesse team. They didn't have a reputation for being able to push anyone around.

I loved the moment in 1991 when, as a rookie, Cox challenged the Cincinnati Bengals bench after they laid a hit on kicker Pete Stoyanovich. Here this almost anonymous fifth-round pick was leading the charge of standing up for Dolphins pride. Amazing.

In the summer of '92, I went to East St. Louis, Ill. with Cox when he went back home to the old neighborhood. I went to see first-hand what kind of place this guy had molded this fearless, confrontational, often angry man. I remember him asking me, "Are you crazy?"

East St. Louis was then and I suppose remains today a tough place. The most obvious example of how tough this place was is the city government had street lights flashing red and yellow starting at dusk rather than running through their natural progression. The idea was to let motorists stop only momentarily at the lights rather than sit there for a couple of minutes -- because that way drivers wouldn't get jacked up or pulled out of their cars as often.

I visited with Cox and his family for three days. After my visit one day, I announced it was time for me to go back to my hotel. It was around sunset. Cox, obviously concerned I kind of stood out in the neighborhood, asked if I needed him to follow me out of town.

No.

"Do you want to borrow my gun?" he offered.

No.

If I had been smarter I would have said, "You betcha!"

Obviously it was a cool experience for me. Cox was always open and honest. The guy hated Buffalo and he said so -- remember the Bills at the time where Miami's biggest rival and the reason the the Dolphins didn't make at least one Super Bowl.

The Cox dual one-finger salute of the folks at then Rich Stadium is a classic detailed below. It led to so many stories and a feud between Cox and the NFL that I could not possibly detail them all here. It was, shall we say, interesting. And, believe it or not, it served to unite the Dolphins defense behind Cox because all his teammates were enraged at the situation.

Cox played with vengence and the team lost something the day he went to the Bears in free agency. He's back now. There's gray in his beard and his belly is a bit larger than it was then.

But is this going to be a good hire by Tony Sparano?

Definitely.

[Please be sure to catch my radio show, Armando and the Amigo, this morning and every weekday morning 6-10 a.m. on 640-AM in South Florida and 640sports.com on the web.]

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I agree that it is time for the excuses to stop and I think most fans agree with you. That's why the stadium was 1/2 empty last December. Its getting old.

If they are going to miss the playoffs this year (which seems likely) I would rather them have a Cam Cameron / Bates type of year with a top 5 draft choice than another mediocre year.

My point with Henne is that he has simply become a punching bag for everything that has gone wrong with this franchise for over a decade.

So, I just read the Crowder stuff on SS. First, to Mark in Toronto, I'm with you dude. Ask kris, he and I got into it a few days ago over Crowder, I was defending him, kris said he sucked (he hasn't spoken to me since, so not sure he took offense to my comments, he shouldn't have, it was just my opinion that Crowder wasn't that bad other than him being injury-prone).

But what interested me most was Crowder saying Sparano was a great Coach to play for, and it was Ireland he had the problem with. Crowder is a "problem player" because he talks a lot (which this FO hates). So, first of all, that's AWESOME he got along with Sparano. It means the HC can relate well to his players and make them want to play for him. That's positive.

But this Ireland stuff is pretty discouraging. If you take into account the Dez Bryant stuff, all the Cowboys retreads, and Ireland's tight-lipped demeanor with the whole replacement Coach search after last season, and it's starting to become clear Ireland is an A-1 arse. The guy needs to be smacked in the face or something. He's not a good talent evaluator, he's not good at understanding what the team needs to get better, I'm starting to think he's the larger problem here (than Sparano).

Don't get me wrong, if we don't do well this season, I'll be happy to see both of them go, but I have to say I have more respect now for Sparano, to be a good players' Coach, then I have for Ireland, who hasn't fixed almost ANY of the problems we all saw last year (at QB, TE, RB, oline, Safety, etc.).

DC ... did you catch the Pennington interview on 790 the other day (probably not being in DC but it is up on their website). Anyway, CP10 defended Sparano big time and talked about how well respected he is - he mentioned how honest he is and how players respect that. On the other hand CP10 was very critical of Ireland and how he handled the end of last season with Sparano. Same goes for Ross. It was interesting hearing CP10 being critical of the FO b/c he is generally a VERY positive person and doesn't say many negative things.

This is the last year on Henne's contract. No new coach will have to even be concerned with it. If Henne impresses, he will get an extention, if not he becomes a FA.

No woman of beauty, substance and intelligence would want anything to do with you.

Posted by: Teresa Starr

Good, because I'm looking for a slu+ty wh@re.

I want to buy a Cox jersey now....great article

Question 1. What ever happened to that nyg all pro center that came to town. Is he signed anywhere yet??

#2. Incognito is a good pulling guard??

#3. Carey made some good pulls today, correct??

Posted by: ltcdolphin | August 16, 2011 at 03:53 PM

Itc,

Incognito is the slowest pulling Guard in Pro Football, go watch some video of last Season and watch him try and pull and you`ll see why some runs were so sow in developing. I know he was steady and good in pass protection although it was his man who gets past him landing on Henne`s knee and hurting him vs. Tenn. but as a pulling Guard, ahhh!! It was down right painful watchng him out there again youtube the video.

Richie was a Center at the Univ. of Nebraska who the Rams convert to LG out of need because they couldn`t keep a Q.B. healthy behnd what they had out there in 08. It`s Sparano`s lack of doing something as obvious as trying people at there natural positions or the ones they played in College that really leave you scratching your head because we all know Pouncey played Center last year out of need as well and was thought of as an athletic LG coming into the draft. I think we may have been one of the few teams that were thinking Center.

You asked in your post about the pulling ability of the Guards presently on the roster well Itc, the best pulling Guard in Miami is playing Center, WHAT!!!, HUHHH??

The more I see Sparano tinker and sputter the more I come to realize he was just in the right place at the right time in Dallas were all 5 starters were Pro Bowl players. It`s my estimation he`s about as much of an OL GURU as I am a Rocket scientist, in short in my book he`s a fraud!!! I will say though that it`s telling that he caled out the TE position because it leads one to guess that he and Ireland don`t see eye to eye but as someone said earlier Ireland brown nosed and yes manned his way into Boss Ross`s `pocket so it will be

TS holding the blame at the end.

Fin4life. Reason I asked wad after reading the daily report from SS on practise. Seems incognito made a good pulling play as well as carey. Trying to get some perspective. Thanks.

Hello

Well said DC

I watched Cox go after that Bengal player and I jumped off the couch in glee. I hadn't seen a Dolphin player go on the attack like that since Larry Csonka put a forearm into the mouth of a player and ran him over like a diesel train.

I do like the Cox deal. Maybe he can develop Henne this year into a winner and not an interception machine?

Armando,
You are maybe too young with stars in your eyes. I have been a 'Phin fan for 40 years and Cox was a major reason the Bills went to four straight and Danny got to watch all those Super Bowls on TV. Go back and watch the tapes...3 and 3; Cox at ML and everyone in the stadium knows Thurman Thomas is going to get the ball to run the clock. First down Bills....a hundred times. What player were you watching? On top of being a sieve on the run (particularly on 3rd down), he couldn't cover anyone out of the backfield. So now he is going to train others how to lose and embarass yourself along the way? Great hire? NOT!!!!!

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