The talk of coaching changes center on the offensive side of the ball and man overseeing it all. When the conversation sways from Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman it slashes out towards Jeff Ireland. Lost in the entire conversation is the extremely poor job that defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle did with a far more talented defensive unit.
Many in the Miami Dolphins fan base point at the extremely poor play of LB’s Dannelle Ellerbe and Phillip Wheeler for the poor play this season but last year both turned in Pro-Bowl caliber seasons with different coaching. Suddenly they have no talent? Not buying into that. Making matters worse is the fact that the Dolphins vaunted defense appeared more often than not to have quit.
Kevin Coyle is a genius with the secondary and the Miami Dolphins secondary played very well this season but Coyle has not been an overseer of an entire defense until he came to Miami. In Cincinnati he was their secondary coach. The Dolphins lacked far more this season than simply LB play.
Defensively the Dolphins made little to no visible adjustments at the half or in-game. The Dolphins used a straight up pass rush much of the season and rarely used a disguised scheme. The results were little pressure when it mattered the most and finally after a long season the defense showed little life in the final two weeks. Some would argue that the Dolphins offense did them no favors with too many short possessions but this is a defense that showed no enthusiasm or fight. This was a defense that was listless and far too finesse for an NFL defense.
The Dolphins drafted Jamar Taylor and Will Davis to be their future at the corner positions but neither made an impact this season. It’s understandable that neither would supplant Brent Grimes but Nolan Carroll? That says nothing of the use of first round talent Dion Jordan who showed immense potential throughout the season yet spent many minutes on the sideline. Lest we forget it was also Kevin Coyle who had Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon on the sidelines during pivotal and key drives that gave up lead changing points to opposing offenses this season. The reason? Coach Philbin cited a rotation in place for the defensive players. Thought you wanted your best on the field when it mattered the most?
Coyle has not done a good job defensively with a very talented team. If more proof is needed the Dolphins All-Pro DE Cameron Wake had a modest if unspectacular season. It’s obvious we all know what he is capable of doing. Last season we saw a rise from Koa Misi at the LB position but this year Misi was far too quiet. The Dolphins also gave up almost 2,000 yards on the season. O.k. technically 1,998 yards.
The point is that while many focus on the offense and the problems on that side of the ball, the issues with the Miami Dolphins are on both sides of the ball and Kevin Coyle has as much if not more responsibility in this mess considering his far more talented roster.
The issue here, at least to me is if you have to replace your OC and you have to replace your DC, how do you escape that same fate? You don’t.