Thursday, June 27, 2013

Coyle won't define Dolphins' new style of defense


After sweeping roster changes and some media observations during the team's minicamps, the growing belief was that the Miami Dolphins' defense was planning to focus more on zone coverage than man coverage this season. (photo: hcabral, Flickr)

But Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle recently went on record dispelling that notion, saying that the team has no plans to concentrate on any one scheme.

"We've got versatile coverages," Coyle said, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "We don't go into it saying we are going to be 70 percent this, 30 percent that. You have to go with the flow as the season progresses."

In the last year, the Dolphins moved on from the tenured cornerback duo of Vontae Davis and Sean Smith, a pair of players that specialized in man-to-man coverage. That, combined with the additions of zone-capable linebackers Philip Wheeler and Danell Ellerbe and cornerback Brent Grimes, seemed to signify a move to a more zone coverage-focused philosophy.

In truth, Miami plans to adapt it's schemes to opponents and situations, and Coyle believes he has the personnel to do so.

"We've got a number of zones that we can play," the second-year coordinator said. "We like our ability to play man-to-man with the corners we have now. . . . We'll be multiple in a lot of things we do, both in coverages, man coverages, zone coverages, man pressures, zone pressures, things of that nature."

The Dolphins' defense played well overall as a unit last season but often had trouble covering with mid- to long-range passes, ceding big gains too frequently as a result. Above all, more consistent play will be the key factor as Miami tries to improve on it's 27th ranking in passing yardage allowed.

"I do think we will cut down on the number of big plays against us in the pass game," Coyle said. "If we do that, we'll be competitive each and every week."

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