« Will Dolphins play spy who loved Vick on Sunday? | Main | The answer to the question you ask more than any other »

Brian Daboll willing to embrace the unorthodox

I am a fan of unorthodox football.

I loved the 46 defense when it first reared its angry head. I applauded the Wildcat package. I was applauding passing the ball 70 percent of the time when Bill Parcells was winning titles running 65 percent of the time. Oh yeah, I also love the shovel pass, the quarterback draw, the safety and corner blitz and God bless Dick LeBeau and his Fire Zone.

So have we established that I like the unusual approach?

That is one reason I like Brian Daboll. The man isn't afraid to try different stuff.

This year, you've seen the Dolphins line up their entire offensive line on the right side of the center and try to out-flank the defense with a run to the strong side. You've seen Flea-flicker Wildcat plays on the first series of the game.

On Sunday you saw left tackle Jake Long split out wide as an eligible receiver who was really one very, very big blocking flanker for a receiver screen. No, the play didn't work because the timing was terrible. But when the Dolphins lined up, I just about fell off my chair with glee.

It was different. What can I say?

That willingness to embrace something different isn't the only reason I like Daboll. Let's face it, he was ripped for how terrible the Browns were scoring points last year. Dolphins fans were screaming at Tony Sparano for trying to improve his offense by hiring the guy who ran one of only two offenses in the NFL that scored fewer points than Miami last year.

Yes, Cleveland was 31st in the NFL in scoring. The Dolphins were 30th. But despite that seemingly fair point, Daboll has injected some life into the Miami offense this year.

With Daboll guiding him, Matt Moore has shown steady improvement. And the Miami offense that was 30th in scoring (just ahead of Cleveland) is tied for 22nd this year while the Browns are 28th.

Back in Cleveland, meanwhile, quarterback Colt McCoy has seemingly regressed this year after playing surprisingly well under Daboll last year.

So props to Daboll for everything but this: As he explains in the video below, he ran the tackle eligible screen last year also. Except it apparently worked there. (Turn up the volume, the sound is admittedly poor.)


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Brian Daboll willing to embrace the unorthodox:


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


Congrats Spiderman!

I have no problem with daboll. For him to have this offense as simply mediocre is a testament to him. Too bad we may not have him around next year.

I think any guy we brought in would of been better than Henning. Not impress.

Guys how about we give the offence and Daboll his due. Last seven games: outscored the opposition 24-13. That's progress!! Not sure what everyone is looking for. There was NO ONE was going to come in here and turn this aroudn overnight. There are some good signs. Let's see what happens the rest of the way.

That could be it too Spiderman, who knows?

I just think that this whole crew comes back if we go 7-9.

Agreed, Leta finish the report card on the organization at the end of the year. Looks like they aren't done yet.

Which one is the 46 Defense?

4 DLineman 6 LB

Armando, I'm not afraid to admit I was one of those who couldn't believe they had hired the only OC who's offense ranked lower than the Dolphins...But having said that, I like Daboll...And I think he's doing a great job with Matt Moore...Unfortunately, it might be too little too late...I still think Ross will make changes...Maybe, just maybe if the Dolphins win out he might reconsider...But they'd have to beat the Jets and the Patriots...We'll see...

Oh, single safety formation. Much used in College.

Which one is the 46 Defense?

Posted by: oscar canosa | December 09, 2011 at 02:42 PM

Isn't it the defense that Bears played in the 80's? with coach Mike Didka and coah Ryan?

Nothing to do 4 DLineman 6 LB.

This offense is definitely fun, and even the OL is doing much better. Did that insufferable windbag Dierdorf notice Long splitting out wide as an eligible WR? It would have given him something to talk about!

Despite all the hand-wringing about our QB situation, we've done a better job of signing a good back-up (Moore) than Chicago, , Indy, KC, Washington, Oakland and probably even the Steelers. We did well not to sign the back-ups at Philly and Denver!


You're right on and if I'm not mistaken I think Rex has used a little bit of it this year too, maybe against the Pats....

Daboll, Nolan, I think they both deserve props. I think they have done extremely well. The work Daboll has done with Moore, is, well outstanding. This in just a short period of time. I to fear that in the end, when Sparano and Ireland are gone so to will be Daboll and Nolan. Sadly

I've been paying attention to RGIII since September and I'm certainly on his bandwagon as he continues to impress all. SI just reported that he appears to be the top pick for the Heisman now. I'm drooling over the prospect of his intelligence, accuracy, and athleticism come into play with Daboll's unorthodox, creative plans.

4-3 = 4 dlineman 3 LB
3-4 = 3 lineman 4 LB
4-6 = 4 dlinman 6 LB

My only concern, and one of the reason griffin has not blown up the draft board, is his size, and his style of play. Although its said he is a pass first QB unlike Vic. I just wonder if he can stay healthy in the NFL. Actually other than Luck, most of the high rated QB's on the current mock draft boards are relatively small by todays NFL standard.

Yes Craig, by the way, that was a defense very fun to watch, also the bears had the right people. The funniest game to watch that defense, was when coach Shula beat them on that monday night!.

I am a big fan of innovations as well.

Kuddos to Sparano for hiring someone innovative. Kuddo's to Sparano for changing an obviously draining workout schedule to something that is unquestionably working. Kuddos to Sparano for admitting he was wrong and could actually change pace in the middle of the season. I suck because I gave up on my team that I have been cheering on since 1971.

In my very little understanding of the game 46 was a kind of 3-4 or 5-2 where you take off a middle LB and add another DL and the name "46" was honoring somebody important (I don't remember now) who wear that number.
Also (I remember) the pressure that defense apply was direct to the center and by attacking the tackles, it seems that the guards doesn't matters.

May be I'm wrong, but if somebody in this blog could but more light in this, I will appreciate.

finfaneurope: RG3's size: 6-2, 220lb.
- Drew Brees: 6-0, 209lb.
- Tom Brady: 6-6, 220lb.
- Aaron Rogers: 6-2, 225lb.
- Eli Manning: 6-4, 218lb.
- Tony Romo: 6-2, 224lb.
- Mike Vick: 6-0, 215lb.
- our own Matt Moore: 6-2, 203lb.

RG3's size should not be a factor.

4-3 = 4 dlineman 3 LB
3-4 = 3 lineman 4 LB
4-6 = 4 dlinman 6 LB

Posted by: Clue | December 09, 2011 at 03:05 PM

Wrong answer. Try again.


May be I'm wrong, but if somebody in this blog could but more light in this, I will appreciate.

Posted by: adrian solorza | December 09, 2011 at 03:21 PM

You're getting closer.

odin, please open your eyes LOL

It's nice to have an offensive coordinator who thinks out of the box.

The 46 defense is comprised of 4 defensive linemen, 3 linebackers and 4 db's. The difference between it and a pure 4-3 is the way in which the linemen and linebackers line up.

46 Su-ks.

From Wiki:

This formation was invented by Buddy Ryan, defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears during the 1980s. Instead of having four linemen and six linebackers (as the name may suggest), it's actually a 4-4 set using 4-3 personnel. This was accomplished by moving a safety up into the "box" instead of a fourth linebacker. The '46' refers not to any lineman/linebacker orientation but was the jersey number of hard hitting strong safety Doug Plank, the player Buddy Ryan first used in this role at Chicago.

Clamorous, add Kurt Warner to the list. When Arizona made the super bowl he intentionally lost a lot of weight to make it easier for him to play. He was barely 200 lbs that year.

And yes the 46 defense was named after a certain player who was flexible enough to play either end or linebacker and he wore 46.

Just like the 53 defense bill arnsparger had here in Miami was named after a certain player to wear the number too.

*cosmodo. Stupid phone.

Shula had the 53 Defense. LB Bob Matheson, I believe, had the option to either rush, contain or drop back in coverage. Right?

I was on board with Daboll. He wasn't my first choice, but I liked it from the start.

He was working with some limited talent in Cleveland, but was doing an excellent job with the position that mattered most, QB.

I also like the "Coaching Tree(as they call it nowadays)" he fell off of. The Coaches and Players he'd been around were a pretty sucessful bunch.

The one thing I liked about Daboll most though, was his apparent versatility and/or his willingness and ability to tweak his strategies to fit the talent availiable.

To me, Daboll seemed like the Anti-Henning and that was good enough for me. Of course, after a few years of watching Henning, I think I would've been an improvement and I suc.....stin.......ah, I'm inexperienced!

here is your answer to the 46 defense http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/46_defense


I remember that game against Chicago well. Wasn't it the only game they lost that year?

Buddy Ryan, for all the neagtive people could say about him was a pretty innovative coach. ?I'm seeing some of the same things show up in the coaching styles of his too boys. I don't rate the Jets talent that highly but I wouldn't put it past old Rex to beat the Pats in the playoffs if they get the chance.

Do you remember the disgust and panic when OC's were getting snapped up by other teams,after Henning was fired last year? I was on the McDaniels bandwagon and thought there were a couple of others that would be good. I didn't know a lot about Daboll but was prepared to give him a chance. I knew it wasn't accuarate to judge him on that pitiful offence in Cleveland.

Didn't see a lot of the game last night but the offence still looks horrid. They have to be really questioning Colt McCoy and I have to think QB is at the top of their list.

I hated the Daboll choice when I heard it.....

But he seems like the right man for the job.....I can't remember the last time I saw Miami receivers running so wide open down the field....a better catch here....a more accurate pass there....and this season might be different......

I definitely think DaBoll has earned the right for an interview...either as the new HC.....or a member of the new OC's staff.....

Daboll = NOT the problem.....

Agreed kris.


Ryan had the 46 defense but it wasn't a 4-6.

Arnsparger had the 53 defense but it wasn't a 5-3.

Ok, I'm NOT confused????

They actually are very similar. I think Arnspargers 53 had a slight edge in the coverages you could play out of it.

But then again, what do I know-LOL?

Be careful what you wish for...meaning if Sparano is fired, Nolan & Daboll go to because the new HC is going to insert his own system with his own coaches.

Just when I'm starting to feel like were finally going in the right direction...all I can think about is on Jan 4th, Sparano is fired and we start all over again.

If I can be just a little bit critical of Daboll......my one issue with him was his use of Bush early on....

But when I factor in Sporano......i can't help but forgive Daboll......

I am coming around to the very real possibility that Sporano will be the HC next year. It'll all come down to the next four games. If they win 3-4 or 4-4, I think there's a pretty good chance Ross keeps him on to see how things pan out.

If the Phins split it 2-2, I give it about 50-50. If they only win 1 of the next 4, I think he's gone....of course, along with the OC, DC, and everyone else on the coaching staff.

How come none of my posts are posting? What's going on here?

Oh, there it is.

NH...good point......

Are Nolan and Daboll worth keeping dealing with the ineptitude and incompetence of Sporano for another few years......

That is the question.....

Thing is Craig, Cleveland outside of Joe haden has an absolutely horrid set of skill players, especially on offense outside of Joe Thomas. He really has nothing to work with including the overrated Hollis.

Colt protects the ball very well, he doesn't have a lot of yardage and that may be a result of the receivers inability to get deep as it does his arm strength.

NHFinsFan: I'm so conflicted. I give a lot of credit to Daboll and Nolan for what they've done recently, but still the reality is this team has only won 4 games. If they were to finish 7-9 or 8-8, the ultimate question for Sparano is: is this the best he can do? Or is he capable of elevating this team further? Sparano is better at picking coaches than players (Colombo, WTF!). And if Nolan and Daboll were to leave, then Sparano's got problems. Ross is now confronted with a really big dilemma.

Odin, arsnparger was very much the buddy Ryan of the 70s. Not that I saw those teams actually play outside of stuff from NFL films.

Agree with wolfman. There is a lot to unfold still.


Well put. That's how I see things too.

NHFINSFAN, that's EXACTLY the quandry this team finds itself in. We've got a couple of co-ordinators who seem to be getting the most out of their respecive units. Both are playing well right now. Does Ross want to blow it all up, if this team ends on a 7-2 or 6-3 run? The players want Sparano to stay. They like the chemistry on the team etc... If he really truly was costing them games and the reason for the 0-7 start, wouldn't it be fair for them to want him gone? Nobody wants to play on a team that loses all the time. That's not fun for anyone.

Mark, I agree with what you are saying about the talent level in Cleveland. But at some point, doesn't the management have to ask if McCoy is REALLY the guy? I think it's the same sort of discussion that needed to happen here in Miami. We know what the answer was.

I don't remember well either if it was the only game the bears lost, but how sweet it was!

Is there any way coach Shula and coach Arnsparger can rejuvenate?

Coach Bill Arnsparger was innovative as well, employs many tricks in a game, I remember a game (vs Philadelphia may be) that he puts a truly LB at the defensive line favoring more agility in the blitzes.

Thank you very much Odin for clarifying what the 46 defense actually is.


Good topic....I think Daboll is worthy of some good debate......

I am interested to see what the rest of FIN NATION thinks about him....

Rex's pappy was a very good Coach and one of Shula's nemesis. If I'm not mistaken, he coached the Houston Oilers back then, and he and Shula had many memorable encounters.

In RE to Cleveland, I think they will be in the market for a QB, but I think it'll be through FA....I could see Flynn being a real posibility. I think they'll bring in someone like Flynn to push McCoy and compete toe to toe.

At some point, that organization has to realize that it doesn't matter who's under center...if you don't have an O-line (other than 1 guy)....zero weapons down field, and zero running game, you're skrewed. Even the very best of the best would have difficulties in that situation.

I think Holmgren will look to provide McCoy competition via FA and use the draft (2 first round picks) to finally build something around the QB.

Craig M....

To be honest with you....I am not even willing to consider Sporano staying.....yeah...the players love him....or so they tell us....

sure would be nice if they showed some of that love early in the season.....how about some 5-2 love...or 6-1 love......

if 0-7 is love.....then Sporano should hire some bodyguards to watch his back...with friends like these players....who needs enemies .....

The team losses....Sporano makes things easier.....i don't like it.....and I KNOW why the players love it.....

My simple take on why Sparano needs to go.

How will Ross look if Sparano starts out 0-3 for the 4th time in 5 seasons? He will look like a guy foolishly repeating the same mistake. Sparano has failed his test. Time to move on. No make up exams in the big leagues.

Does anybody really want to see Sparano on our sideline in a playoff game?

The body of work Sparano has produced in four years is a .500% football team.

Will he suddenly "get it" next year and produce a winner?

Maybe with Parcels & Henning gone he feels more open to trying new things?

We need to think long and hard before we blow this whole thing up.

Also Craig M.....

Until we beat a quality team.....i could care less what Sporano does down the stretch....its easy to coach with nothing to play for.....after all...Tony says this is "the most fun" he has had......

I know most don't....but i consider the Eagles a quality team....and a team that could beat the Raiders in similar fashion as we did.....

Lets get that W under our belt before we even consider Tony staying....

Another one of Shula's nemesis during that time was the very strange and very talented George Allen, coach then of the Washington Redskins.


NOBODY cares to lose. You and I are one level, these guys are ULTRA-competitive. They train all year round to in and get the accolades that come with it. Some of these guys are freks when it comes to winning....win at all cost etc......drug use, advantages etc....Zach Thomas was like that (minus the drug use of course). It's ALL he lived for. Hyperbaric chambers etc.... It's no fun for any of these guys to lose, it's all they here and they have to live with it.
I'm of the belief that this team wasn't ready to go when the season started, kris. Didn't train hard enough, maybe they thought the season woul be lost...whatever. Miami was one of the teams that was hit hardet by the lockout, IMO. Then you factor in a new OC, new players, draft picks etc...Yes, I know every team went through all this but for whatever reason we seem to have been affected more so.

Now kris, all of this goes out the window if the team finishes 0-4 or 1-3, but if they team goes 4-0 or 3-1, I honestly believe there is a chance that Sparano and everyone else comes back. Not a guarantee but a chance. I couldn't have said that at 0-7.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 »

The comments to this entry are closed.