Dolphins Vance Joseph talks about defense
By Brian Miller
The Miami Dolphins have a first time defensive coordinator in Vance Joseph and he has something to prove. The former Bengals secondary coach has a big job in front of him in Miami.
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Joseph has no experience at the defensive coordinator position on any coaching level but it is his task to turn the underperforming unit around. He can start by making them more physical and by bringing some of the Bengals defensive swagger to Miami. It won’t be easy especially with a talent void at almost every defensive position.
The first order of business was to decide on the type of defense Miami would run. Joseph confirmed to the media that the would indeed run a 4-3 defense keeping what the Dolphins have already been using. That’s good new for Ndamukong Suh who is better suited for the 4-3. The problem will be getting him quality support at defensive tackle, end, and linebacker.
When asked about what this team needs, Joseph was expectedly vague but he did say that good defenses needed solid defensive lineman and corners. That bodes well for the Dolphins who need to find that aforementioned support for Suh as well as at least one starting cornerback opposite Brent Grimes and two if Grimes is let go this off-season.
As Joseph talked about evaluation he stated that it’s early in the process that they are really only half-way through last season but he did indicate they were looking at the in-house stuff. He also mentioned a few of the key figures he has to work with.
"Obviously acquiring more pieces, it’s always important for your schematics. But in-house right now, we’ve got some pieces to work with. Obviously DE Cameron Wake and (DT Ndamukong) Suh and S Reshad Jones, that’s front line NFL starters.”"
One thing that Joseph said that wasn’t followed up on by the media was a response to a question regarding his chances prior to last season to join the Denver coaching staff. Joseph referenced Kubiak and Wade Phillips as friends and mentors and that he was blocked from joining the staff because he wasn’t receiving a coordinator promotion. What I found interesting was that he said you want an experienced head coach if you are a first time coordinator. Something he won’t get with Adam Gase in Miami.
"“…it was a tough year last year, being blocked from that job, knowing that Gary (Kubiak) was going to be the head coach and that team having great players on defense. As a first time coordinator you want an experienced head coach, obviously, and have good players on defense. So that was a hard one to swallow last year.”"
When asked about Ndamukong Suh it appeared that Joseph wasn’t really impressed with the way the previous coaching staff used him. He spoke about how Suh was often drawing double and triple teams and that he wasn’t able to get off the ball as well as he should due to that reason. He interestingly said they may have a solution.
"“Sure. We’ve got some ways but I can’t share those obviously. We can help him to get some more single blocks, more one-on-one opportunities because if not, he’s going to get doubled every play. So we have some ways to do those things but I won’t share those right now.”"
Joseph spoke about the type of defense he will run, more specifically whether or not the team would be aggressive. He leaned on past experience, his time with Wade Phillips.
"“I think every game is going to be different. I grew up with (Denver Broncos Defensive Coordinator) Wade Phillips and he is aggressive all of the time. That’s Wade’s deal. Every game is going to be different and I’m going to call the game to win the game that day. It can be conservative, it can be aggressive, but it’s more about team and how the team can win the game that day.”"
At the end, Joseph finished up with a question regarding the linebackers, specifically the middle line backer.
"“The middle linebacker has got to be a guy with great leadership. He’s the signal-caller; he’s the quarterback on defense. He’s got to be a physical, great tackler and a tone setter. In the 4-3 you’ve got three backers and the Mike backer is more of the tough, signal-caller leadership guy and the Sam and Will are more of the athletic guys who play in space.”"
With a few players set to become free agents and salary issues with a couple of other players, Joseph is going to have a very interesting off-season in his first go around as a defensive coordinator. If the players believe in him and buy into his system and open door policy for schemes then the Dolphins, with the right additions may compete and much higher level than they did last season. For a first time DC it’s a tall task to accomplish and one he won’t likely do in one season.