Posted: 8:52 am Friday, June 1st, 2012
By Post Staff
Much of the attention the Dolphins’ offseason has focused on the completely new offense being installed by Joe Philbin and offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.
But don’t forget, the Dolphins also have an entirely new defense, as well. The new defensive coordinator is Kevin Coyle, and he replaces former DC Mike Nolan after spending the last 11 seasons with the Bengals, nine of them as a defensive backs coach.
Never heard of Coyle until the Dolphins hired him in January? You’re not alone. Most of the players on the Dolphins had never heard of him, either, considering that Coyle has only coached for one NFL team.
But Coyle, 56, will be one of the most important figures for the Dolphins this year as they start anew under Philbin. Not only is he calling the plays and setting the tempo for the defense, but he’s also switching to a 4-3 defense to take better advantage of the pass rushers, as we wrote about in today’s newspaper.
The players and Coyle are “still feeling each other out,” middle linebacker Karlos Dansby said, but the players are getting to know their new coach.
“He’s a laid-back guy, has a sense of humor, but he demands a lot out of you, wants to make sure you’re on point,” Dansby said.
Cornerback Sean Smith called Coyle a “technician” who is constantly harping on veterans to use proper technique and fundamentals. Smith said Coyle pays special attention to the defensive backs given his background, and is “always throwing in his two cents.”
“He always wants us to take the proper steps, with the proper alignments, everything,” Smith said. “It’s good for us. When we’re tired, fourth quarter and fatigue sets in, you definitely want your fundamentals to kick in.”
Defensive end Jared Odrick said he appreciates how Coyle starts off each meeting with a personal story and goes out of his way to try to relate to the players.
“Today he started off talking about Memorial Day and how much he respects the veterans, and how thankful we should be,” Odrick said after Tuesday’s practice. “Coach Coyle takes a more personalized approach with the way he coaches and just the way he is in the building.”
The players still don’t know too much about the new defense – “we see the potential, we just have to put it all together,” Dansby said – but Smith expects the new defense to be much simpler than the 3-4 scheme they ran under Nolan.
Though the Dolphins finished sixth in total defense in 2010 and sixth in points allowed in 2011, they had too many mental breakdowns to count in the first half of last season, contributing greatly to their 0-7 start.
“It’s real simple,” Smith said of the new defense. “It allows guys to play fast. There’s not too much thinking going on, so it lets guys run around and make plays. It’s going to be good for us.”