Vance Joseph new Dolphins defensive coordinator


The Miami Dolphins were rumored to be after Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph and on Tuesday Adam Gase hired him to run the Dolphins defense.

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To be honest, I’m not a fan of the move. I wanted a more experienced coach to run the defense. Someone who would command the room and I still don’t believe that Joseph is that guy. Not yet. I wonder how he will handle some of the players on that side of the ball but realize that he was able to handle Adam “Pac-man” Jones in Cincinnati so maybe my qualms are unfounded.

Last night we hosted a roundtable discussion on my radio show “On the FinSide“. Ian Wharton and Chris Kauffman joined Brian Catanzaro on the show to discuss the coaching hire and his staff hires. I came out of this discussion a little softer on Joseph.

It’s clear that Gase wanted Joseph from the start and if Gase is as smart as everyone says he is then maybe he got the right guy for the job. A guy that will share his vision for the team. Kauffman told us that last year Gase had interviewed for the 49’ers head coaching job but he wanted to bring Joseph with him last year and was told no. Gase pulled out of consideration. He has conviction I will give him that.

If that is a reason for turning down a job then I have to believe that Gase is one of two people. He either takes care of his friends or he knows talent and believes that Joseph is a guy who can lead. For the sake of the Dolphins let’s hope it’s the latter.

Joseph played two seasons in the NFL. In 1995 with the Jets and in 96 with the Colts. He wasn’t good enough as a player to stay in the NFL but he immediately turned to coaching three years later when he became a graduate assistant with the Colorado Buffaloes. His first NFL gig came in 2005 when he was an assistant defensive backs coach with the 49ers. From 2006-2010 he coached the DB’s and moved on to the Texans in the same role from 2011-2013. For the last two seasons he has been with the Bengals.

Joseph doesn’t have the personnel to switch to a 3-4 in Miami but it’s expected that the Dolphins will run a hybrid style of defense and possibly slow transition over the next few years to a 3-4 if the pieces can fall into place. Joseph, like Gase, is a first timer at his new position. The inexperience of both men will leave the Dolphins hoping to grow over the next several years.

If the coaching staff can work out Miami will have a solid core of staff members for both the short-term and the long-term. Like all hires there are questions and it’s becoming clear that Gase isn’t going to be making big hires on his staff with loads of productive assistants who have a proven track record. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing it’s just the route they are taking.

To be fair, it’s not like Miami has had success with proven top name coaches. Joe Philbin was unable to cultivate success with Mike Sherman or Kevin Coyle and Bill Lazor, the “hot” name on offense wasn’t able to do anything either. Under Tony Sparano the team failed with Dan Henning and Paul Pasqualoni. Cam Cameron failed as well with Dom Capers running the defense and even Mike Mularkey who coached tight-ends didn’t fair well either.

As fans, and as an amateur writer it’s often easy to get caught up in the name game but history, not just Dolphins history, has proven one thing. If the make-up of the coaching staff can’t see eye to eye and be on the same page, nothing is going to work regardless of the players on the roster. Gase isn’t going the proven been-there-done-that route and maybe that will work in the teams favor. At least it’s something new the Dolphins haven’t tried in a long time.

With Vance Joseph on board the new head coach can now start working on his off-season plan. The two will review game film and practice tape and dissect every player and play on defense and then move forward. Free agency is only two months away and there is a lot of work to get done. Whether Vance Joseph succeeds or fails is going to hinge on two factors. How well he relates to the player and how well they relate to him. And of course getting the right players on that side of the ball who will compete.

Welcome to Miami Vance Joseph.