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Dolphins defense trying to change ... but not to 3-4

Last season, as the Dolphins declined in multiple defensive categories from the season before -- run defense, third-down defense, pass completion percentage, first downs allowed, yards allowed, and the the big one, points allowed -- there was the suggestion in cyberspace that perhaps the defense would be better off as a 3-4 defense rather than a 4-3 defense.

I know the idea was out there because, well, I helped create it. It just seemed to me the Dolphins defense that was pretty good in 2011 as a 3-4 unit was less effective in 2012 as a 4-3 unit and then was worse again in 2013 in multiple categories in that same 4-3.

Well, forget that switch to the 3-4.

It is not happening.

The Dolphins are indeed doubling down on the idea of running the 4-3 and this brief free agency period has already shown the team's intent. When the club had linebacker D'Qwell Jackson in for a visit weeks ago, coaches told him they saw him as a middle linebacker fit in their 4-3.

When the club first contacted and talked with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, they told him that though he'd played in the 3-4 in Houston, they saw him as a 4-3 defensive tackle. Indeed, that was  a selling point for Mitchell.

"I definitely wanted to be a part of a 4-3 team," Mitchell said, "so I’m definitely ... I’m excited and I really appreciate getting involved with this organization for giving me an opportunity."

Mitchell sees the chance to play in the 4-3 as an opportunity because he likes it more. He believes he's better suited for it. And, by the way, he won't have centers and guards diving at his knees from multiple angles like they do to 3-4 nose tackles.

"I think it will definitely give me an opportunity to showcase my skill and just, it will definitely be a time where I can definitely just be able to make more plays and be part of a, just getting after the quarterback," said Mitchell, who played in the 4-3 in college.

So that's that.

The Dolphins are and will remain a base 4-3. That doesn't mean they don't plan some changes.

Obviously, the Jackson flirtation made it clear the team wants to move Dannell Ellerbe, signed last year to replace Karlos Dansby in the middle, to outside linebacker. The team has also told linebacker Koa Misi he might be moving him to the middle unless the draft or the remainder of free agency yields a middle linebacker type, a fact also reported recently by The Herald's Barry Jackson.

What does this front seven shuffling say?

Well, obviously the Dolphins are looking for upgrade. But in toying with the idea of upgrade, the consideration to change the scheme has been discarded.

Yet ... and I'm just talking to myself here ... I'm convinced Jared Odrick and Randy Starks playing the five-technique would be excellent, and indeed Starks went to a Pro Bowl playing that spot and Odrick was drafted in the first round specifically for that spot.

I believe Mitchell is a good nose, although the loss of Paul Soliai to play that spot stings and crimps my potential 3-4 lineup.

The linebackers?

Cameron Wake, Dion Jordan and Olivier Vernon outside in some sort of rotation. Ellerbe, Phillip Wheeler and Misi inside in some sort of rotation.


Your revamped 3-4 front.

By the way, when the Dolphins brought Ellerbe over from Baltimore last year, they took him away from the more familiar 3-4. Jordan looks like a prototype 3-4 linebacker much more than he seems suited to play 4-3 DE.

Cameron Wake, obvioulsy, is a wash because he's been effective in both schemes. I've had multiple personnel people tell me Vernon, smallish as a 4-3 end, would be well suited as a 3-4 OLB.

OK, end of sermon.

The point is the Dolphins defense that needs to stop the slide in mutliple areas from the past couple of years since the scheme change is looking to make some adjustments. A change back to the 3-4 isn't one of them.


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In Kris's Thirst for Acceptance he agrees with the same person he is talking about. Can we say "Stockholm Syndrome"


Um...who was the one busted by Armando just a week back about using multiple names after you denied it?

Yes, tell the truth or others will tell it for you.

Posted by: Mop | March 18, 2014 at 09:54 PM



I've missed a lot (not).....

Good for Armando.....now he needs to make it so NO person can change sign-in names @ will....blog would improve 1000 PERCENT....

Get rid of the blog idiots who change names...then agree with themselves because they do not have the self-esteem to let their statements stand on their own....even tho their schtick is to always accuse others of the same deficiencies they themselves suffer from...I believe in the medical community they call that PROJECTING....

Any way...Good Job Armando.....

Keep calling them out....and get a system that prevents it...

Posted by: Kris (in Germany) | March 19, 2014 at 03:11 AM
Posted by: Kris (in Germany) | March 19, 2014 at 06:54 AM

Agree Reel,

Unfortunately the Pats and Broncos look strong. Again.

@andynj - lol that goal line bowling over Ellerbe was beyond laughable & would be the all time low point in any LB career!! If were LB's coach I'd show that clip everytime in in the film room until he started playing his arse off!!

Misidentified is too slow for MIL, the linebackers are a mess

Or better yet, I'd put clip together of all lbs missed tackles & standing around together & that would be daily "film study". Wait until they're borderline vibrating to get on field to hit anything or till they all went AWOL! Maybe we could get out of wheelers contract that way..

Well folks he failed at so many levels after 32 starts and a plethora of negative records for a franchise and NFL QB

Posted by: Reel Dolphin In Sight w Home | March 19, 2014 at 09:00 AM

Grossly inaccurate

Butt we do have a bunch of slow reading dim witted Gangsta LBs that are usually late to the tackling party
Posted by: RITCHIE C | March 19, 2014 at 09:01 AM

Posted by: Reel Dolphin In Sight w Home | March 19, 2014 at 09:02 AM



Is Hickey not allowed to work the TB trash pile?

There is a lot of upside in T-Hills game & definitely some stuff he must clean up! Just getting rid of the ball I think Lazor will be effective in that dept.

Can't wait for the season to start. Then HOmar will disappear.

One of the most under the radar moves the Dolphins did this off season was replace the LB coach with a real LB coach.

I believe this will make a difference in the prep and development of our LBs.

How hard is it to pick teams with HOF QBs? HOF QB on your team usually equals looking strong. Not rocket science.

Hope so Dashi

AndyNJ @ 9:09

I agree completely with you: defense wins championships.
Just ask these non-elite,non-franchise Super Bowl Winning QB's:
Jim McMahon
Mark Rypien
Jeff Hostetler
Doug Williams
Brad Johnson
Trent Dildo
Russell Wilson

Jeff Garcia would've fit perfectly on that list because of how non-elite/non-franchise he was.

ETF- great observation- think you could've thrown dilfer on last yrs sea squad & has same result..

I can't wait til J.Football joins the NFL and Sucks!!

It seems like every off season. Some idiot comes on here and says something ridiculous and repeats ad nauseum. Then disappears when he is flagrantly Wrong.

2012- M.Moore for Starter
2013- M.Barkley is a First round Pick
2014- J.Football is the best QB to come out in Forever




I hope so to. Because apparently we are not getting new LBs. Might as well coach up the ones we have.

Remember the movie Sandlot, when the kid hit the cover off the baseball? That is like what Tannehill is going to do to the league next year. Book it.

Reel, Johnny football will be a bust in the Nfl, Tannehill will have the more successful career. Book it.

Coyle's coached a 4-3 system, so don't hold your breath Mando. He may have some 3-4 looks, but ultimately as long as Coyle is DC this will be a 4-3 Cincy-type defense. Even though most of our players seem to be better-suited for a 3-4, the coaching staff in all their wisdom would rather try to fit a round peg in a square hole.

It really doesn't matter to me as long as you use your weapons (DION JORDAN) effectively and stop stalling their growth. Looks like the secondary (Coyle's strength) will continue to improve, so if they front 7 (what used to be our strength) can get back to being stalwarts again, maybe the team can do something (if Tannehill decides to take the next step) this year.

Otherwise, time for another rebuild.

Like Armando suggested in this article- Misi has been told he'd be moved to MLB unless draft or f/a yields something..personally I'd be extremely surprised if we didn't draft a LB. Going into 2015 what will they do? Can't roll with just Misi Ellerbe & Jenkins..really looking forward to this draft like no other. Will be very interesting to see how 1st rd unfolds..

I am liking this notion of Misi playing in the middle. I think that could be a solid move. The biggest thing with MLB is being the voice and heart of the defense. Whoever brings the most of that, should be in the middle. Ellerbe should be stronger this year.

I also hope this stop the idiocy of trying to draft CJ Mosley #19.

CJ Mosley is a 3-4 LB!!!!

The last thing you want to do is waste a first round pick on a mediocre LB and then force him to change position his rookie year.







I would rather draft Shazier!! Who is a Better Athlete and has experience playing in a 4-3!!

If the switch is made with Misi & Ellerbe who do you think plays other LB? Jordan? Jenkins? Thoughts anyone?

Another delusional jaded homer Tannehill fan
Johnny Football is listed as 6.1 and 210 lbs
check it out yourself
Russel Wilson and Drew Breeze are smaller and not as quick w cat like reflexes, yet both are terrific NFL QBs and both have won Superbowls

same old, same old from the blind Tannehill lovers
Nothing is ever his fault!

Coyle doesnt know how to spell 3 4 let alone run it.

Wheeler Garn. With Jenkins stealing some timefrom him and Ellerbe. They need to bring in another LB for more depth. if he can unseat Wheeler, all the better.

For as much as people hate Midi. He has exceeded my expectations. I thought Miso was only going to be a little Better than M.Roth. Boy have I been deceived. So far as a Pro Misi has gone from DE to 3-4 OLB to 4-3 OLB to now 4-3 MLB. Few players in history have made that transition as a Pro. The only one I can remember to ever do something similar to that was L.Kirkland. and he was a 3-4 ILB not a 4-3 MLB.


Well I'm presuming wheeler to be riding the pines..


Yeah bro. That was when Ellerbe became the #1 candidate as my favorite whipping boy. Past candidates include Ted Ginn, Gibril Wilson, Daniel Thomas, Ronnie Brown.

But I usually have 1 guy I love to pick apart his game and hate. Daniel Thomas is no longer that guy. The award went to Ellerbe. Can you remove yourself from my list? Sure. But for Ellerbe it's going to require a position change to WLB. At MLB it's easy for me to see what he can't do at WLB it's not as a cut and dry because of different responsibilities and I actually think he would be average to good at WLB.


I don't see them using another draft pick on a LB this year (after we did last year). At least nothing too high. I see us drafting OL, RB, TE, maybe S. But they drafted Jordan and Jenkins so I don't think they're going to revisit that position this year.

Home took his bright orange Miami Dolphin jersey and wrote Denver over top

U gotta go w a winner

not the Dolphoons

Manziel will be rubbing his fingers together in the NFL like he did in college. But instead of rubbing them for money he will be rubbing them to keep them warm on the sidelines. Brandon Weeden is a better QB than Manziel. Though he MIGHT of had SOME success 2 years ago.

Manziel is barely 6'

And it doesn't matter if he was 6'6".

I don't care about his size.

J.Manziel is going to suck because he can't play QB!!

All that running around he did in college isn't going to work in the NFL. Guys keep their assignments as Pro's.

Huge difference between the College game and the Pro Game. Just Watch. Even if you still don't understand.

R.Wilson and D.Bree's ran Pro-Style Offense all 4 Years in College. Manziel still doesn't know how to take a snap from under center.

Did Mando really suggest moving Vernon to OLB? Really?

Aponte said "no more FA contracts, I need to look good with this 19 mil. We're saving it so I look like a genius. Finnigan F'ed me good, I mean he's really really worth it, he's good"

After saying that Hickey buttoned up his anus and sat back down on his hands saying "yes mam" in his usual passive way.

Dashi... the reason Manziel won't be a good NFL QB has nothing to do with his ability to play the position and everything to do with how reckless he is with his body. With his frame he is going to get inured early and often, and guys like Manziel, Vick, RG III, etc. are all guys you can't coach that out of.

reel dumbazz in sight thinks Manziel is going to be a franchise QB ha ha ha lol. Tim Couch will have a more successful career in the NFL. LOL. I will be surprise if Maziel is even picked in the 1st round.

Thed, remember the genius move by Parcells to take Pat White in the 2nd round, one hit and he layed there for awhile. I think he's still laying there. Yea, Parcells is a genius talent evaluator

Vernon had the most sacks on the team last year as a DE. Him and Wake have solidified their positions. Starks, Mitchell and Odrick rotating in the middle. Coyle definitely needs to find a lot more usage for Dion this year. Last year I was not on his case about it so much, they said he would be a situational player and get limited reps and that is how he was used. Add the shoulder issues in the mix and I gave a pass. This year I want to see him all over the field.

Parcells is where Ireland got all his evaluating skills from

Manziel would make a great receiver on the joke of a franchise Panthers. Lol. The panthers. They should move that team to London and call it the London limps


Agreed. Drafting a LB high doesn't seem like a viable option.

I was just responding to someone who never admits the truth, that the Fins have "ZERO NEED" For a 3-4 ILB at #19.

I have been on the record as saying I want a Playmaker at #19. (Big WR, Fast TE, or Playmaking FS)

Last thing I want is a Linemen at #19. Didn't everyone complain here that is all J.Ireland did.

I also prefer to draft a LB in the Mid rounds. C.Borland, C.Jones, S.Skov. Any of these 3 will be as productive as Mosley.

Personally I don't trust any Defensive Player that went to school for Saban.

We have all heard of System Offenses. Well Sagan runs a System Defense. And his players only succeed in that system as a pro.

The Best Player I have seen Saban Coach recently, D.Hightower, hasn't been as good as I expected. And he fell to the same system he ran in College.

And Mosley is No Hightower, He isn't even a McClain.

White may have had some success in a true spread option. Not the Miami Wildcat. They weren't smart, willing, or committed enough to install that type of offense around Pat. He still would have ultimately been killed.

@Thed- 99% agree with exception of coaching part. While the scrambling style QB isn't my fav I've got zero issues with a Vick taking off but there's no way in hell I let him or the likes of an RG3 do anything head 1st. If they're not using QB slide every single time(playoffs might be an exception) they're on my bench every game until they get it!!

QB Slide = health & prosperity
Head 1st = IR

It may be the last thing folks want to see around here. But OL at #19 is looking to be the pi at the moment. But who knows what will happen in over a month.

yes he would have.

best RT or G at #19 , carlos hyde 2nd round if still available


The same recklessness that will get him killed is the same reason he can't play the position as a Pro.

Manziel doesn't like to follow rules. And Pro QBs need to follow the rules. The NFL doesn't allow a QB to improvise after the snap. Follow the play that is called pre-snap.

Reason I was OK with Sherman not letting T-Hill scramble his rookie year. You don't want to create bad habits.

And the Main Reason the C.Kelly Offense is so successful. The QB has a strict set of rules to follow after the snap. And they need to do it in under 3 seconds. Else throw the ball away or check it down.

And Vick and RG3 can run at will in the NFL because they are still one of the fastest guys on the field with their 4.3-40 speed. J.Manziel isn't even going to beat people to the corner with his 4.6-40.


Agreed. White might have done better in a spread-option like they ran at WVU.

But If one hit would ever change your mind about playing the sport, it was the hit on P.White. I don't even have to YouTube it. That hit is etched in my brain.

The guy hit P.White so hard he was compulsing on the ground for like 30 seconds.

Ben Roth, Russel Wilson, Kaep, Vick, and Cam Newton w 14 rushin TDs his rookie yr do EXCELLENT scrambling around w broken plays like Johnny Football

All their big game winning plays usually come from scrambling and broken plays

Go Johnny Football

Way better than Tanneafail and his 3 WR TDs his NFL rookie yr

The defense may not have been perfect last season, but the real problem is the offense. They don't seem to be showing any sense of urgency regarding the offense as a whole, which may indicate that the actual rebuild is just beginning now that Ireland is gone. Philbin's leash may be a lot longer than we've been lead to believe. Barring a massive improvement from Tannehill, I don't see this team improving enough this season to unseat the Cheatriots, let alone clinch a wildcard spot. I think every pick in this draft should be spent on BPA, offense only!!! The offense has been putrid for far too long!

Ben Roth, Russel Wilson, Kaep, Vick, and Cam Newton are all way better QB's than MANZIEL is. MAZIEL IS A JOKE. Tim Tebow will be a better QB than Manziel. your delusional reel dumbazz

dashi, do you ever have your own opinions or just repeat the oft stated opinions on sports talk?

Weakest spots RB, RT, LB

So ask yourself who do you see making a difference in must win year for Philbin and even Hickey? There will be no project Dion Jordan's this year. It's a plug and play 1st round for Miami this time around. I'd seriously consider one of the elite RBs and Im usually not a fan of selecting RBs in round 1.

1. Carlos Hyde is similar style to Doug Martin. He's a physical runner with home run ability. He has a similar build to Doug Martin and even faster and more elusive in open field. Dont be surprised if he's the pick at 19.

2. Tre Mason when I look at his skill set I see him as the better fit then Hyde because he's so shifty and elusive. He would replicate more of LeSean McCoy then any player I have seen coming out this year for Lazor's O. Now we have no idea what kind of O Lazor will run but with his current success in Philly it would be foolish not to run that system.

1. Zack Martin - Is he really strong enough at the point of attack to be ready for NFL Dlinemen day 1? He might be good eventually but Philbin and Hickey don't have eventually. Do you pick the 4th best OT at 19 in such a talent rich draft?

2. Morgan Moses - He definitely has size and strength to be ready for NFL. Does he have the technique? And he has more of chance of being available in round 2 then do the RBs.

3. Cyrus Koundijo - His knee has to have put up a ton of red flags from many teams no matter what Dr. Andrews says. He could be a guy who slips to round 2 and possibly even 3.

1. Ryan Shazier - He's only 237 and played around 225 but his instincts are second to none. Im a huge fan of his game. He's probably better suited as a OLB but addressing the LBs as a whole is needed with this weak link group.

2. CJ Moseley - He's a good player but not spectacular. I wouldn't want him at 19 personally but if he was the pick I'd understand.

My pick would be Shazier, Hyde and then Mason. I said Mason over Hyde yesterday but it's subject to change again.

Saban runs a 4-3 and advertises a 3-4 so they can get more LB recruits to come to Tuscaloosa. To suggest Saban runs a 'defensive system' is laughable. He gets the best LB recruits in the country because they have a defensive philosophy, which defensive coaches all over the country implement. Alabama defends the run inside at all times (or at least on 1st and 2nd down) and forces the run to the outside. They play moma coverage on 3rd down and mix in some zone and blitzes but they always rush four defenders on a passing down. Point being the MLB in Saban's defense is ALWAYS responsible for stopping the run up the middle, which is where the Dolphins were gashed repeatedly last year. Drafting a talent like Mosley would fill a MAJOR hole on Miami's defense.

Thad Lewis at his 1st start swept Tannefail's Dolphins

Oh yeah QB Thad Lewis is only 5.9 inches tall

Russell Wilson is 5.10

Drew Brees is 5.11

Johnny Football is officially listed as 6.1

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