Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fins' TE coach dropping run-block wisdom on rookie


Dan Campbell knows a thing or two about being down in the trenches. Heck, he only did it for 11 years.

Now in his second year as tight end coach with the Miami Dolphins, the former NFL journeyman has a new student this season, rookie Dion Sims.

And while Campbell had his share of receiving yards in his lengthy pro career (91 receptions, 934 yards), his work with Sims will revolve around his specialty, run blocking.

"There's a lot of stuff to know that I didn’t have a clue about that can really help me out," Sims told Omar Kelly of the Sun Sentinel recently about Campbell's run blocking tutelage. "Blocking is about shooting your hips forward and bringing your hips to block the defender.

"Most of the time on tape I was more leaning, heavyset and I was relying on my upper body strength. Once I learn how to use my lower body strength I think I’ll be more effective."

The new technique will be critical for Sims as he goes up against the league's big-name linebackers in the run game, but also due in part to his recent weight loss. According to Kelly, Sims is currently 16 pounds lighter than his typical weight in his senior season. 

He'll need have solid form to keep from being bull-rushed in blocking assignments, an area the tight end squad struggled with last season. According to Pro Football Focus, former starter Anthony Fasano was the team's highest ranked run blocker at the position, 31st overall in the league. The team as a whole struggled to block for its backs in 2012, finishing 23rd overall. 

Sims's weight loss should certainly help him in the passing game, as well. At 6-foot, 4-inches, he should be another solid target in two-tight-end sets (along with newcomer Dustin Keller) for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Sims had nearly 500 yards and two touchdowns in 2012 with Michigan State, averaging a little more than 13 yards per catch.

In his time in the NFL, Campbell played for the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints.

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