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Dolphins relative strength on defense is ... good

The Dolphins this season are transitioning their defense from the 3-4 that has dominated since Nick Saban took over in 2005 and lasted through Cam Cameron to the Parcellian Era.

While Miami may use the 3-4 at times this season, I think it's fair to believe they should be called a 4-3.

Yeah, that means Cameron Wake goes from OLB to DE. That means Paul Soliai is no longer exclusively a nose tackle. And the five-technique defensive ends are suddenly going to have to transition or play defensive tackle.

Meanwhile, the unit lost its two most tenured players -- Pass-rusher Jason Taylor to retirement and SS Yeremiah Bell to the waiver wire.

Not surprisingly, the Dolphins haven't exactly replaced either player with guaranteed upgrades. Yes, Olivier Vernon was drafted in the third round and is expected to help rush the passer. But will he deliver seven sacks to offset the seven Taylor contributed last year?

Yes, the club is expecting Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons to finally grow up and man the deep secondary. But which will take over the leadership duties that Bell filled the past few years. And can either finally start getting some interceptions for the Miami secondary that needs more turnovers?

We'll see.

Overall, however, the Miami defense seems talented on many levels. The defensive line got stronger because Wake is now with the unit and he's perhaps the team's best defensive player. Two of the three linebacker spots are manned by proven vets. There is a good combination of youth and experience at cornerback although the depth is a question.

Are we about to see the 2001 Baltimore Ravens?

No.

Are we about to see the 2007 Miami defense?

God, I hope not.

We're going to see a unit that should be solid and relative good. The unit's relative strength:

Defensive line: Kendall Langford is gone after signing a $6 per year deal with somebodyorother. Why does that not worry me? Well, because Langford was a nice player but not a playmaker. He was a big body but not one that collected sacks, caused fumbles, or made tackles behind the line of scrimmage with any consistency. The Dolphins, meanwhile, still keep Randy Starks, who does make plays, they have Jared Odrick, who has shown promise and also has made plays, and they re-signed Paul Soliai who has been to a Pro Bowl game. Those three beefy men will all play and form a good foundation for an active front. Tony McDaniel, the world's tallest defensive tackle at 6-7, provides decent depth in that he can give the team 20-25 solid downs every week. Add Wake at defensive and you have some quarterback pressure. If Vernon is the player GM Jeff Ireland believes, then the Dolphins have something. If not, this club needs pass-rush help. Look for Odrick to work outside initially. Overall strength: 7 but possibly a 9 if either Vernon or Odrick can become good ends.

Linebackers: Karlos Dansby is good and when he's on he's very good. Kevin Burnett, quirky and all, is good and can rise to very good at times. Gary Guyton knows how to play and is a winner. Jamal Westerman seems more like a down lineman to me and, beyond that, more like a special teams guy. The big question is Koa Misi. Can the guy find a comfort in the 4-3 that he clearly could not find in the 3-4? This is a make-or-break year for Misi because his position demands he make some plays and he didn't do much of that last year. Rookie Josh Kaddu is obviously a project. Overall strength: 7.5.

Secondary: Vontae Davis played very well late last season after his, ahem, one-game suspension. He finished the season with four interceptions but that doesn't tell the whole story. He was physical. He was very good in coverage. He started to show the promise everyone expects. Maybe he's starting to get it. Sean Smith is fine, too. Did he finish with a burst? Not really, but he was more consistent throughout the year. These guys aren't kids anymore. This is Year Four for both players. No excuses anymore, fellas. Six-year veteran Richard Marshall comes to the team with a reputation for being solid. He has made plays in his career. He is the strongest candidate for work as the team's nickel cornerback. I already discussed the safety position above. It is a concern. A darkhorse that requires attention is Jimmy Wilson. He's likely headed to the safety spot. He hits like a sledgehammer. He's fearless. Last year, he was probably over his head playing cornerback as a rookie. But I like his potenial. Overall strength: 6.

Comments

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First yipppeee

Thanks! Tell us something we didn't already know!!

I think we are going to have a good D this year. My biggest concern is FS & SS. If we can hold other teams to 24 points or less I think we have a real shot at a 10-6 record and maybe a wild card spot.

I am 3rd place :(

I have concerns about the back ups. I don't think Tony McDaniel is all that good. If one of the top four gets injured I don't think we have anyone who is really good to step in. I think this applies to substitutes as well. Vernon may turn out to be good, but who do we have for the interior line?

Dz good point. But holding teams like the Jets and patriots to 24 points is a tall order for any defense!! When we play teams like that WE have to score at least 35 points to beat them and over 40 points if theyre having a good day. We have to become a scoring machine to start winning games!!

Did you just comment that holding the jets to 24 points is a tall order for any defense?

Since it is a new regime you should probably grade the coaching staff too, Mando.

That d line is mean, big, nasty, and will chase down your QB, I really like it.

The linebackers are huge for a 4-3. Dansby, Burnett, and Misi have incredible size. And Dansby and Burnett are incredibly athletic.

The front seven will hurt you.

The corners are solid but the safeties have a lot to prove. Like mando, I think Jimmy Wilson will be the team's strong safety by year end. He's a mean f**ker!!!

Mando

Explain to Home and the fan base how sean smith is good?

Two years ago he set a Miami Dolphin record dropping the most potential interceptions on errant QB passes in the history of the franchise

In 2011 CB Smith was rated by Pro Football Focus as
105th ranked NFL CB

Mando,
CB Smith cannot be rated much lower and 105th is extremely bad, not "pretty good"


Some Believe that losing Mike Nolan was bad. I agree that Mike Nolan was a good coach, but like other teams who allowed Mike to move on, Miami never really saw the talent here developed into its potential. Mike Nolan's system (not the man) has a bad way of blowing leads.

That being said, I think Players like Paul Soliai if really coached well can be elite caliber players. Soliai could have wrote his ticket in FA but wanted to stay here, I have a ton of respect and REALLY admire a players staying in the place he started. I also feel players like Wake, Odrick, Starks and Vernon will comprise what on any team that NFL channel or ESPN are doting on as a "Elite defensive line... A player I am really pulling for who I think can be a fan favorite plus a hell of DE is Jarell Root. He is an underrated FA, but I would say take the time to watch some video on this guy and see what I am saying... This guy J-Root has all the characteristics of a Un-Drafted bad azzzz player....

I also think Coyle will finally wring out what we have waited for for 3 years out of Davis and Smith on the Corners and I think Jones, Clemmons and Wilson along with Marshall and Johnson may have enough to keep the secondary competitive... hey, in today's NFL, the rules are against the D-Secondary... after 5 yards those guys are done and just trying to make a play.

Should Dansby come in healthy and fit, along with Burnett, Misi, Spitler, Jason Trusnik and Westerman, Miami's Linebackers will build on last years late season games... I think Kuddu and Collins are two Rookies who could make the team as LB's... But they would need to unseat at least one of the other guys.

All and all.... I believe a new coaching philosophy and giving guys like Odrick and Misi who have had early years screwed up with Lock outs and injuries will make this defense better....

I firmly believe that it is coaching that will raise the level of play concerning all phases of the game in Miami... a fast paced, well conditioned offense and a well coached, willing to takes some chances defense with some Linemen and Ends that will seriously get after some QB's will be fun to watch...

I don't expect 11-5 Superbowl runs out of this team... I think NEXT YEAR they will make a BIG surge of improvement... But I am sticking by my believe this can be a 9-7 team with the possibility of being 10-6.... I remind EVERYONE that Miami was exactly 11 points from being a 10-6 team rather then a 6-10 team.... 11 Lousy points..... win those games this year instead of allowing them to slip away and this team will get plenty of press come December and next seasons before the draft....

HOME ON THE HERALD....


YOURE A DOUCHE!!! I HAVE READ ABOUT 20 OF YOUR POSTS THE LAST FEW DAYS AND ALL I HEAR IS TANNEHILL SUCKS...FIRE JEFF IRELAND....THE DOLPHINS SUCK.

THE REASON WE DRAFTED RYAN TANNEHILL IS CLEARLY BECAUSE HIS WIFE IS SMOKING HOT!!!

BY THE WAY HAVE YOU GUYS SEEN THE DOLPHINS CHEERLEADERS YOU TUBE VIDEO COVERING "KISS ME MAYBE"........YUMMY

Mando

Home agrees w your defensive line and linebacker assessments

However think Burnett had a rough start last year otherwise can rise to excellent
Burnett was the leading tackler on the number one defense in the NFL in 2010 w San Diego
Last season 2nd half he played great

Vernon is very raw playing only 2 seasons in college and is the worst DE picked this year in the entire AFC east in FA or the 2012 NFL Draft

Expect very little from DE Vernon other than UM Alumni cheering for their below average rookie DE

Expecting the Dolphins to finish last in the AFC east in pass defense due to not enough pass rush and weak CB/safety pass defense

Poser Boy Fraud CB sean smith does not deserve to be on this team, never mind sean running his
Undeserving Shucking & Jiving Punk mouth

lamar miller. roy

Look the draft is water under the bridge now!

But everyone in the NFL and all the football fans with common sense, knows that only two QB coming out of college are going to start in the NFL and came in with a good pedigree! But drafting Tannelhill at the #8 spot it's a reach! C'MON. JEFF are you stupid!!! Tanny only 19 starts coming out of college, and you expect for this kid with not enough experience coming out of college is going to start in the NFL because he knows the play book!! That is laughable!! Look with Moore Gerrard And a potential good third stringer we would be fine! We should of

Address the WR position the safety position and draft players for depth on the D line
O line. Etc etc etc. Look I know I'm a dumb
A s s. When it comes down to drafting players because I never done it .. But

JEFF FIRELAND. WHAT IS YOUR EXCUSE!!!!

home, u'r trashin' omar's girl.lol

Score card:

Miami offense: 6/10 - RB's keep it from a 4 or 5
Miami Front 7 - 10/10 - not many teams with better front 7 than us
Miami Secondary - 4/10 - no faith in anyone but Vontae
Miami Special Teams - 10/10 - I'll take Carpenter, Fields, and Denney every week

Overall - get QB play this team is making a push IN the playoffs.

2 watt

Omar needs to be institutionalized, as he self promotes himself not as a reporter, but an "evaluator of talent"
as he claims he is on the radio

After Home threw up, he couldn't stop laughing at
"The Braided Empty Coconut Head"

Omar has been the absolute worst evaluator of Miami Dolphin talent of all S.FL. reporters

case in point:
"Gibril Wilson playing great"
"Ernest Wilford looking good and practicing w the TEs, looks like the best TE on the team"
"CB Smith is an elite Pro Bowl CB" (every year for 4 yrs now)
Channing Crowder is the glue of the defense"

LMAO!
these are some of my favs from "The Braided Empty Coconut Head Kelly"

Stick w Armando,Darlington,Volin and Barry

Is it fair to say that this years defense will resemble the Baltimore Ravens defense? They are a 3/4-4/3 hybrid, especially with Terrell Suggs. One of there 3/4 sets have Suggs primarily at DE when others have him standing and then rushing.

Derek,

Most games are won or lost by 3 points or less

Enjoy the seafood :)

Duriel Harris was a wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins.

He played for the Dolphins.

I know this.

Miami will not have a better record than the Patriots
at least for 3 more yrs

Pats are absolutely stacked w play makers on offense and defense and have excellent HOF coaching

Don't realistically see the fish w even a shot in the Playoffs for 3 more years

Dolphins look like a practice squad next to an elite team like New England, who just got, ...
a WHOLE LOT BETTER!

Sucks but it is reality

Welcome back Armando

What is everyone looking forward to seeing the most on Hard Knocks?

The bottom line on the DE, is if Vernon does not pan out, then Odrick is going to need someone to relieve him. I still believe that JT needs to stay in shape because I think he is going to be needed. I think about mid-season. I believe we are going to the superbowl this year and JT needs to be in the house!

Home,

What time are you arriving tomorrow at Training Camp?

We will assign a few extra officers to your area.

How the front 7 transitions to the 4/3 will be the key to the 2012 Fins D and it starts in the middle with Solia. I thought Solia in 2010 looked quick playing at 330 Pds but in 2011 at around 345 Pds. seemed slower and the prototypical 3/4 NT clogging up the middle of the field. If he comes in and plays at 330 then it could be a great combo with Starks who played DT in the 4/3 next to Haynworth in Tenn. were the 2 were a very potent combo. Odrick has the explosivness to be a solid DE in the scheme but I feel that Vernon was a better fit in a transition to OLB at the next level and his ability to put on more weight and be a factor in the run game will be telling because if not then we'll need to play with seeing if McDaniel can play in and out on the line or start him inside with Starks outside leaving the line more of a ?? than some on here seem to think.

The LB spots are an even bigger ?? outside of Dansby who goes back to the 4/3 were he played at a high level early in his career at Arz. but Burnett has always played inside in the 3/4 since coming out of Tenn to the NFL and Misi was a 4/3 DE coming out of Utah. The depth behind these guys is suspect with only Guyton providing any experience and he's not going to scare alot of opponents in coming over from the Giants were only M.Boley made plays consistently.

Then on the back end V.Davis is set at LCB but it won't surprise if Marshall ends up sending the weak minded S.Smith to the bench and if so then who man's the nickle spot, Carroll?? At Safety J.Wilson seems very undersized at SS were we need R.Jones to not only QB the secondary but quit being so overly aggressive that he runs himself out of plays with bad angles which was the knock on him coming out of Georgia. I will however expect better play with the D-Backfield oriented Coyle overseeing this group. All in all we have talent but it remains to be seen how a D built for the 3/4 transitions and some players develop, lots of ??? but will wait till late Oct. before praising or criticizing the D as a whole.

I agree with your assessment of the defence. Hopefully they are a bit better especially in the secondary. Pointing out that Smith was hung out do dry on some occasions because the strong safety was some place he should not have been. The SS position has to read the play as it is happening and react quickly. Can't expect Smith to run 100 yards chasing Welker for 5 plays and keep up. All Brady had to do was hit him in stride 20 yards out and it was a for sure td. Now if Bell had of laid a lick on Welker that might have changed things for the whole season.
Yeah, I am saying that there are always a few plays that make or break a season. Plays that kill a teams morale. That was one of them. Once the team stopped believing they could not stop a qb it was game set and match. One or 2 secondary plays will get us a pass rush and sack inside and visa versa.

Home will be there early and this time see if u can escort him out w less than six fat security officers

ThanX

Liked the physical play of Wilson, Jimmy Wilson since last seasons camp

Only prob as fin4life points out is Wilson is a lil vertically challenged in height and vertical leap,
otherwise Wilson, Jimmy Wilson ... would be Pro Bowl material

Go Phins!

It's funny to see Homeless posting about his lame predicitions & creating fake names for himself to converse with. This fool actually thinks he's relevant or that ppl pay attn to him. LMAO

Home, nobody on this earth gives a sh*t about you. Not even your birth parents.

You just take up space that Odin could use to call everyone a gaytard or a blog hit troll. Know your role and STFU.

The team is garbage. No talent.

Appreciate the love and contribution to the blog ;)

Can DE Vernon be replaced w a box of rocks?

This Just In:

Jeff Ireland IS NOT SIGNING TANNEHILL!

I didnt think, overall, the Dolphins defense was "that" good last yr. The defense has to have "take aways" or turnovers and they didnt get it done. Thats where the defense lives,,,turnovers. But a new yr springs enternal.

Yes matty I said the Jets!! You maybe yr right not every defense but but for our defense it will be a challenge. Better?

Tannehill looked like shyt in practice. I wouldnt sign him either.

Home isn't crazy, he's dumb. Just try reading his idiotic posts.

Welcome back Armando. You were missed.

Hey Mando
No way the LBs rate higher than the D Line. Tyrone Culver is the answer in the secondary. Did you notice how well the defense played when he replaced R. Jones last season? I think the Dolphins will do better than advertised this year - we will benefit from a weak schedule. Take a look at the QBs we face this year - outside of Brady and Schaub - I'm not impressed.

"Peace"

The defense will be decent if there are no injuries to deal with. The secondary will still be suspect because there arent any Vets back there to keep SS and Vontae head on str8. I hope Rashard learned not to take disgusting angles to the ball and give up 99 yard TDs to Brady

Home report back to us what you see at camp and keep it positive if you can.

Can anybody here tell me if this makes sense, look I'm not the brightest light bulb on this app! You guys are way smarter than me about football, even if I been watching for the past 40 years and read a whole lot of football books! But why is JI worried about not guaranteeing the contract of Tanny if he gets cut, didn't he picked the guy, didn't he see his potential and talent coming out of college to be confident that the contract is deserving to Tanny? Or is it that JI is not sure or confidence after watching him in minicamp!
Maybe it's just me I don't know that's why I'm asking you guys for your opinion! But knowing for the past couple of years on this app, some of you guys won't answer my question anyways!!

Ireland has come to realize what Home has known all along

Tannehill is NOT an NFL starting QB and plays poorly under pressure w decent competition

Tannehill only won one game in college w a formidable opponent

Tannehill threw 3 interceptions in all three "big games"
in college and had a record 29 incompletions against Texas last season

Not sure what Ireland or any other TannyREACH bandwagon jumper was looking at as clearly he has no future in the NFL

Ireland has finally learned this, but is about 6 months behind the rest of us anti Tanny fans

Terrible pick and now wants double the money to be a 3rd string QB, of team MVP 12th ranked QB in the 2011 NFL incumbent starter Matt Moore

Meanwhile if u needed a QB
22nd pick Weeden is doing excellent

FIRELAND!

Weeden sucks, and he's close to retirement

...Derek @ 9:37.

I get what you were trying to say about the team only being 11 points away from an impressive record. The problem is every team in the league could skew their record in their favor if they had an 11 point point differential. Most games, even the ones between good teams and bad teams come down to one or two plays that decide the outcome..Sure, there are games that get sideways..blowouts..etc. But for the most part, NFL games are played close. This team, talent, no talent whatever you want to categorize it..Has to be able to make a play when the opportunity presents itself. Something we just haven't been able to do on either ide of the ball.

Home,

Not as down on the draft as you are but can appreciate your cynical view of it. I believe Tannehill was that player every Yr who seems to go into orbit completely out of left field draft week. If the idea was taking a gamble then there was a better one to be had in 2011 with Mallett in Rd.3 or simply waiting out Barkley or Landry Jones in 2013, although I believe L.Jones to be the product of B.Stoops system in watching all those swing passes he throws out at Okla. that his WR's turn into big plays and felt him really out played head to hrad Vs. RG3 and Baylor which didn't exactly have a great D.

I don't agree about J.Martin though, I watched Stanford and Luck enough last Yr. to know that they were a solid OL and maybe the most underrated in all of College Football. The Vernon pick is a bit of a head scratcher in the sense he was mainly a situational pass rusher probably better suited for OLB in a 3/4 scheme but he brings a motor so we will see although my worry with him will be in power sweeps in the run game.

I don't know much about Egnew except that at Mizz. the TE is a non O factor so it seems a project pick. The wild card could be Miller who can fly but is often injured which caused his draft slide and the rest seem project picks at best, so I guess we will see.

Ok, people, I don't know if it is true or not, but we should trade with the pats, a 5th rounder next year and some more spy equipment for Ryan Mallett. We do not need to sign Tannehill. Everyone knew that it was a mistake to draft him that high.

Darryl,

@11:52, solid point and was the difference for the unbeaten Ravens at home last Season, none the less I think Derek's point was from a competitive stand point were outside of being handled by Philly they seemed to start to come on especially late and give everybody all they could handle. We should have beat Dallas and remembered there was a 2nd half at N.E., add the notorious slow starts under Sparano and you get the feeling that while not elite we were better than our records indicated over the last couple of Seasons, by the way been a while Bro, big what's up your way!

Tannehill will get signed. Probably happen today or tomorrow. Calm your jets people. You are showing your ignorance.

...Fin 4 Life...What up???

I get what Derek was saying. My issue is that for the last 3 years this team has underperformed in close games. Especially in the crucial points of the close contests. Go back to the 2010 season. We there were 3 games where the team went into the the 4th quarter behind more then 7 points. (Balt, both NE games) the other games the team was right in the thick of it. Even the Balt game we were only down 9..Last year, same story. A couple of plays here, a couple of plays there..Different story.

The fact is we haven't had enough to muster the nuts to make the plays when we need them..This IMO is the difference between the good teams and the bottom feeders...Will making these plays make us Super bowl contenders? Probably not, I do not think we have the horses to be in this class. But if we can make some thing happen here and there, like every bad team in this league..We could see a dramatic turnaround.

Fin 4 Life...Running the bar, and restaraunt. Doing a lot of fishing..Taking out a couple from the Keys here in about an hour.. Going to be fun because they know how to fish, and the river is muddy a bit...Been working on this trout project all summer as well..

fin4life,

Very good assessment and good points on your posts

However don't agree on Martin.
Yes he looked good in college but also believe an elite QB making quick intelligent reads and powerful accurate throws can also make a LT look good

The NFL is a whole nother animal though and as a linemen whether u posses finesse skills or not u absolutely must have strength and power
Martin has neither and is getting tossed around like a garbage can
Martin can only bench press 225 lbs for 20 reps which is NFL weak for any lineman
For example the Dolphins 7th round draft pick at WR can bench press 225 lbs for 19 reps

and in comparison Jake Long playing the same position LT, bench pressed 225 lbs 37 times at the combine

Home has done his own "homework and determined Martin not only his NFL weak and wont stand up against NFL DL, but would not transition well to an NFL RT

Home posted his insight on Martin being to weak and not transitioning to RT immediately following the Draft

Time will tell but Home seems to be accurate on the disappointing picks of Tannehill & Martin, thinking independently and not following, parroting or regurgitating what direction or insight the other Dolfan sheeple believe

Sincerely,
The New World Order Resistor,
Home

Darryl Dunphy,

U forgot the part, "and when pigs fly" lol

22 nd pick Weeden is not that old esp considering he starting from day one and 8th pick TannyReach is a projected (lol) 2-3 yr starter

Weeden is 28 or about 7 yrs younger than Garrard

Weeden has also beaten Luck, RG3 and Tannehill last season

Weeden has also pitched for the NY Yankees and several other MLB teams, giving him valuable exp conducting himself and training professionally

Browns have five rookies which coach is mixing w the offensive starters not to mention the best looking RB to come out of college football in years

Smart GM, unlike Ireland ;)

I'm going to make a bold & daring prediction like Home the momo does.

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow!

Home is a Turd was right yet again! You just wait & see!

Brought to you by NostraTurdUs

lol

ThanX 4 Stopping by ;)

Darryl,

I get your points as well @12:15 I believe we are of the same school of thought here just looking at it from different perspectives. I hear the new up tempo approach Philbin is running in practice is whipping the gang into shape which we both hope will translate into a more cohesive and conditioned team in Sept. I however will take everybody else's word for it given that due to the hard knocks thing there is a cover to attend practice which I refuse to pay, happy trails on the fishing old friend. I'm catching a break from my cushy Freight forwarding gig which keeps me in the South Fl. beautiful outdoors weather at the Port of Miami (dripping sarcasm) but these days you gotta jump through hoops given cut backs which is why I've been on less lately.

sign him in 3 seasons. if* he's ready to qb by then,why pay him and take up a roster spot 4 3 seasons and not touch the field.?
lol

Looks like my post got deleted, bummer.

Weeden beat RG III, Luck and Tannehill? In a steel cage match? Football is a team sport. Nice try

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