New Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph is an alpha personality guy. That's what everybody who has been around him have told me. That's the vibe I got today when I spent a couple of minutes with Joseph after his introductory press conference.
And that's good because the Dolphins defense has a couple of Alpha personality type guys and unless they have a clear leader heading the unit, well, bad things can happen. Lost respect for the coordinator is one such bad thing.
That was perhaps some of the issues the defense had under former defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. Eventually it was one reason players tuned Coyle out.
One such player was Ndamukong Suh, who didn't take long to disconnect from Coyle's messaging last season, per multiple team sources.
So how is Joseph, an Alpha male, going to handle Suh, an Alpha male?
Well, by having Suh invest in the defense on and off the field, which Suh has an expressed a desire to do.
"We've talked last couple of weeks here," Joseph said. "He's a bright guy. And he wants to be involved with our overall scheme. My opinion of that is this: Every player is going to have a voice, from the top to the bottom. If a player puts the work in, and he's studying daily to help us win, I'll listen.
"If it's Suh or if it's [Reshad] Jones or if it's [Brent] Grimes, whoever puts the work in and brings me ideas, I'll listen. It's the NFL and you want players to have ownership of it. If it's a closed door all the time that can be a problem for a defensive coordinator. So it's an open door policy. We're open to ideas that have been thought through."
Ok, so idea swelcome. But they better be good ideas.
The idea that the Dolphins paid Suh $114 million, including $60 million fully guaranteed, to basically have a player who takes up blockers is mind blowing. Yet, that is what Suh was a majority of the time in 2015.
"He's obviously a dominant player. He's an inside player so that's always tough because offenses can kind of double team him every play," Joseph said. "It's tough for him. Watching the film, he's requiring two or three blockers every play. So sometimes it's hard for him to have an impact on the game. But obviously he's a dominant guy. We can use his reputation to help us on defense. He's big, he's fast, he's explosive. But he requiring double teams every play so for him to get off, it's tough."
Joseph believes he has ways to free Suh on certain plays so the defensive tackle can get to the ballcarrier or pressure the pass pocket.
"We've got some ways. but I can't share those," he said. "We've got some ways to get him more single blocks, one-on-ones, and more opportunities."