Defensive notes

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Defensive notes

Post by mercury22nathan on Thu May 31, 2018 9:14 am

with news being a little slow, here's some defensive tidbits that fell out of the recent OTA.

Alonso's position coach, had a different take on Miami's highest-paid linebacker [than did head coach Gase].

"I was expecting a lot more from him," Bush said. "I’m sure he was expecting a lot more from me. He did what we thought he should do. He can play better. He can play better in coverage. Some of his tackling was suspect. We’re working on all of those things, but I think he will be better. He came off a hand injury last year. No excuses, but coming off a hand, he didn’t do as well as we’d thought he would do early. He’ll come around."

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/nfl/miami-dolphins/article212194014.html

wow, looks like at least one of the Phins coaches is being honest..."tackling was suspect."

and while letting Suh go seemed to indicate that he might be the scapegoat for an under-performing defensive line, the Phins have placed the blame on someone else.

...the least-publicized change that might determine the direction of the 2018 Dolphins defensive line:

The Dolphins did not retain defensive line coach Terrell Williams — and hired 39-year-old Kris Kocurek to replace him.

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/armando-salguero/article212189874.html

and what do they think was wrong with Williams?

Williams was a professional who didn't scream a lot and rarely lost his temper and was calm and unruffled, Kocurek is not wired exactly like that.

I'm told Kocurek is not going to rely on his players being self-starters like Williams sometimes did. He's going to make it his personal mission to light them up if he has to.

while some of the changes may have been needed, if the Phins don't start performing, the current regime is going to run out of people to blame.

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by JMP on Thu May 31, 2018 9:37 am

This quote from LB coach Frank Bush in the first article is telling:

"We’ve got to be better than we were last year. We’ve go to get on the grind and get a little bit better every day."

That implies that players weren't working hard enough last year, and that's something we've been hearing about the entire team. It really makes you wonder just what the hell the coaches were doing last year. I'm not sure dumping our best players is a solution.

Of course, we've replaced a lot of coaches now, so maybe things will be different...but most of those coaches came from bad teams, so I'm not sure how much difference we can really expect.

One thing I do know: Gase needs to take control of the team, and not just the offense. You can't have a head coach that completely ignores one side of the ball. Hopefully he's learned that lesson.

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by finfanatic on Fri Jun 01, 2018 12:27 pm

Unless....UNLESS....someone steps up to give this defense an Identity, I expect more of the same "going thru the motions" crapola we have seen from them before.

We have to pin our hopes on one of the new guys adding something that has been missing for YEARS from the Phins D; INTENSITY.

Will it be Harris....probably not, never underestimate speed when or IF the lights ever go on for him.

McMillan - Could be, but then again, they are setting him up to be the defensive leader...if he can stay healthy.

Fitzpatrick - I am betting EVENTUALLY....he will be the defensive leader. Once he learns the defense, and gets the rep where he can tell some of the underperforming dipshytes Tannenbaum keeps overpaying to play for the Phins, shape up or ship out!!!....we might begin to see this Dolphins Defensive Malaise wither away.

I think it is gonna be a bad season though this year. But who knows? The Phins might just catch a few breaks, Tannehill and Stills might rekindle that deep passing magic, the Phins ground game might take off...and the defense might act like they actually give a shyte!!

Who knows?

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by white1 on Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:39 pm

On defense.... I don't know.

Last year was nothing but a train wreck. If you want an OPTIMISTIC VIEW, here are some random thoughts on the moves this offseason:

- Shipping out Suh was "addition by subtraction", especially from a leadership standpoint. At that price, you cannot "lead by example"... no you actually have to be a team leader. He just wasn't. That's not who he is. The rotational players we will use to replace him will adhere to the scheme, and provide effective support to stop the opponent interior ground game.

- Quinn adds another piece to the rotation at defensive end. Add him to the mix with a young Harris, run stopping Hayes, stalwart Wake and the solid but unspectacular Branch, and you have a versatile deep unit that can play in waves and remain fresh throughout a full game, and a full season. Hayes provides added value by kicking in to DT in pass defense focus situations.

- Linebacker gets much better due to the return of McMillan from injury, and the addition of speed in the rookie we drafted this season. Alonso takes a step forward in Burke's scheme and vastly improves in coverage.

- Minkah Fitzpatrick adds a dimension to the deep passing game, using his range and ball hawking ability to effectively pair with Jones, McDonald, or in some personnel groupings both.

All in all, you could realistically draw a patch where every unit on defense - line, linebackers, and secondary - can vastly improve from last year's unit. Again, this is an extremely optimistic appraisal, but it's possible these moves work out. Possible. No one knows how "probable" until we see the results in week 1.

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by JMP on Mon Jun 04, 2018 9:55 pm

white1 wrote:On defense.... I don't know.

Last year was nothing but a train wreck.  If you want an OPTIMISTIC VIEW, here are some random thoughts on the moves this offseason:

- Shipping out Suh was "addition by subtraction", especially from a leadership standpoint.  At that price, you cannot "lead by example"... no you actually have to be a team leader.  He just wasn't.  That's not who he is.  The rotational players we will use to replace him will adhere to the scheme, and provide effective support to stop the opponent interior ground game.

- Quinn adds another piece to the rotation at defensive end.  Add him to the mix with a young Harris, run stopping Hayes, stalwart Wake and the solid but unspectacular Branch, and you have a versatile deep unit that can play in waves and remain fresh throughout a full game, and a full season.  Hayes provides added value by kicking in to DT in pass defense focus situations.

- Linebacker gets much better due to the return of McMillan from injury, and the addition of speed in the rookie we drafted this season.  Alonso takes a step forward in Burke's scheme and vastly improves in coverage.

- Minkah Fitzpatrick adds a dimension to the deep passing game, using his range and ball hawking ability to effectively pair with Jones, McDonald, or in some personnel groupings both.  

All in all, you could realistically draw a patch where every unit on defense - line, linebackers, and secondary - can vastly improve from last year's unit.  Again, this is an extremely optimistic appraisal, but it's possible these moves work out.  Possible.  No one knows how "probable" until we see the results in week 1.

DT is the biggest question mark, because whatever you think of Suh and his salary, he was a GREAT player and we didn't do anything meaningful to replace him. If the run D was bad with Suh, just imagine how bad it will be without Suh.

Maybe LB improves, and maybe the defensive backfield improves. But it's unrealistic to expect that DL, LB and DB will ALL improve...it's just not going to happen, for a variety of reasons - but, mostly it will come down to coaching and talent, and both areas are weak.

Like I said, too many things need to go right for this team to show any real improvement. Gase used up all his luck in 2016...he's going to have to rely on a lot more than that if he's going to get back to the playoffs and actually win a game.

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by white1 on Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:10 am

My intent was to paint an optimistic picture on what could happen.

I agree that losing Suh is a huge blow, and we've seen very little from the team on what the plan is to start 2 quality DTs with one or two more in a rotational role.

I was encouraged by one comment from Gase this morning. The 4-2-5 scheme we were hoping for (aka "Big Nickel) DOES sound like it's in the team plans for defense. That would mean two LBs, both strong safeties and Fitzpatrick on the field at the same time. IMO, this scheme would be effective in covering tight ends (like Gronk), while being big enough to play against the run too.


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Re: Defensive notes

Post by JMP on Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:36 pm

white1 wrote:My intent was to paint an optimistic picture on what could happen.

I agree that losing Suh is a huge blow, and we've seen very little from the team on what the plan is to start 2 quality DTs with one or two more in a rotational role.

I was encouraged by one comment from Gase this morning.  The 4-2-5 scheme we were hoping for (aka "Big Nickel) DOES sound like it's in the team plans for defense.  That would mean two LBs, both strong safeties and Fitzpatrick on the field at the same time.  IMO, this scheme would be effective in covering tight ends (like Gronk), while being big enough to play against the run too.



I definitely appreciate the optimism! And I can't argue with any of it - but again, it just seems like anytime you need a bunch of different things to happen in order to succeed, at least one of those things ends up failing in reality. That's true in all things, but in football there's often a very thin line between winning and losing, and you can't count on anything.

The 4-2-5 scheme is interesting, but I think you have to pick and choose when you use it. If you use it too often, you can get exposed...I'm thinking in particular of teams running the ball against us out of a spread formation. It would be very easy to go 4 wide and let the receivers clear out the middle of the field - leaving big holes for running backs. I don't trust our DL to contain the run on their own, and I can see teams getting huge chunks of yardage if they catch us in that 4-2-5. But yes - in theory, that scheme should help us against TEs....assuming that Jerome Baker is as good as the Phins think he is.

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by finfanatic on Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:48 pm

Yep, JMP nails it again....Expecting ALL the varied and multiple holes and weak areas on the Phins to magically IMPROVE in one season....especially with essentially the same coaching staff and management...would beggar credulity IMHO.

I appreciate the optimism, W1. It is hard for me to find any.

I HOPE I am wrong about the Phins abjectly sucking fetid canal water this season.

At this point, I would like to see signs that the franchise is on the rise, and not looking like a candidate for a total rebuild.

That's about as far as my optimism, or lack thereof, will allow me to go.

Sad

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by HalCHorn on Tue Jun 05, 2018 7:58 pm

IF McCain stays in the slot and Fitzpatrick is the full time FS, I can see the secondary improving. I expect Howard to play his best football to date, and having only one SS on the field will help.

McMillan will certainly upgrade MLB from day one, but DT will certainly be worse. Should have spent a draft pick there.

If we don't see Fitzpatrick out there every down and McCain in the nickel full time I expect the pass defense to be lousy again. If, on the other hand, these two things do happen, I think we could improve to the middle of the pack there. Maybe from 23rd in yards per pass play to about 15th or so.

It would help, but the offense ranking 24th in both rushing and passing is what needs to improve more than anything. Will Tannehill and Gesicki be enough to manage that?

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by JMP on Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:47 pm

HalCHorn wrote:IF McCain stays in the slot and Fitzpatrick is the full time FS, I can see the secondary improving.  I expect Howard to play his best football to date, and having only one SS on the field will help.

McMillan will certainly upgrade MLB from day one, but DT will certainly be worse.  Should have spent a draft pick there.

If we don't see Fitzpatrick out there every down and McCain in the nickel full time I expect the pass defense to be lousy again.  If, on the other hand, these two things do happen, I think we could improve to the middle of the pack there.  Maybe from 23rd in yards per pass play to about 15th or so.

It would help, but the offense ranking 24th in both rushing and passing is what needs to improve more than anything.  Will Tannehill and Gesicki be enough to manage that?

Yeah, I'm real curious to see how they use Fitzpatrick. It sure sounds like they want him and McDonald on the field at the same time, which probably means Fitzpatrick is the nickel. If that's the case, I just can't see how they could put McCain outside instead of Tank or Lippett ...but then again, nothing surprises me with this coaching staff.

On Gesicki - I saw a pic of him at OTAs and that dude has some of the skinniest, most non-muscular legs I've ever seen. I never noticed it before, but his calves are almost non-existent! I'm wondering if he'll need a year to bulk up before we see the best of him. Not necessarily an issue, because Gronk has small legs too - but dude needs to hit the weight room for some leg-work for sure.

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by rightchea on Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:23 pm

I feel that the secondary will be good this year but what about the DT and LB. Alonso isn't great and without Suh who covering the holes. Miami is going to allow a lot of running yards this coming season

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by JMP on Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:37 am

I'm not sold on our CBs. Every single one of them is a question mark. A couple of them could turn out to be great, or they could continue to be mediocre. Too early to tell. I'm also not sold on our pass rush, and if it remains non-existent that will of course hurt the corners.

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by mercury22nathan on Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:26 am

another little snip-it about the D...

Sixth-rounder cornerback Cornell Armstrong said the defensive backs working in the slot are Bobby McCain, Minkah Fitzpatrick (also playing both safety spots), Utah State undrafted rookie Jalen Davis and Jordan Lucas (sidelined with a foot injury).

Armstrong, who said he has had a few deflections in practices, is working solely on the boundary.

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/barry-jackson/article212808649.html

so the Phins make McCain the highest paid slot corner and then stick our 1st rounder behind him. he's also getting safety snaps behind Jones and McDonald. this is starting to sound like the constant tinkering they do on the OL and then when the season arrives they'll say Fitzpatrick isn't ready to play because he hasn't settled in at any one position. he should be the starting FS with Jones as the SS! please do not waste his talent.

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Re: Defensive notes

Post by JMP on Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:08 am

merc wrote:he should be the starting FS with Jones as the SS! please do not waste his talent.

This, X1000. Let him learn his position, first and foremost. Then you can start playing games and moving him around. This whole idea of "player X must play at least 3 positions" is silly. Excel at one position, then worry about the rest. These days, there's hardly any time to practice and prepare so it makes sense to not to overload players by having them learn multiple positions.

Plus, we alrteady have two highly-paid veteran free safeties and a highly-paid slot corner...but we don't have a FS - which coincidentally is Fitzpatrick's natural position. Stick him at FS and let him learn his craft.

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