The last time the Miami Dolphins were a consistent playoff team, they had a strong secondary and it appears as if they are working on building that once again.
The way that Miami Dolphins management has approached rebuilding during the off-season, it appears clear that they are attempting to build a strong secondary unit that will make opponents think twice about passing downfield.
Now, head coach Brian Flores appears to be building a team that can rival the success of those players from the early 2000s, though the steps towards that are yet to be completed.
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Xavien Howard returns to the team as one of the top cornerbacks in the league, but he will not be alone out wide with the recent free-agent addition of Byron Jones, who was made the highest-paid corner in the league, eclipsing Howard.
Some returners from last season, most notably Eric Rowe and Bobby McCain, will be hoping to put their stamp on the safety positions, though there will be some competition with the addition of rookie Brandon Jones out of Texas.
The selection of Noah Igbinoghene out of Auburn in the first round raised many questions, but it is clear that he will play a key role as a nickel/slot corner in Coach Flores’ hybrid defensive scheme.
Filling the field with pass-defence players will make it a challenge for opposition quarterbacks to find receivers in space, limiting their options to a shorter game and potentially relying more on the run game.
But while the Dolphins’ unit appears to be fairly set, the recent rumours surrounding the team’s interest in free agent Logan Ryan make it clear that Flores’ intention will be to protect against the pass.
Adding Ryan to an already stacked secondary would give the Dolphins even more flexibility in their defensive schemes and will make them a clear threat in the passing game.
The Dolphins are still building their front seven, with free-agent signings as well as some promising draft picks, such as Raekwon Davis, but the corners and safeties certainly appear to be the primary focus of the team’s rebuild.
With the NFL focusing heavily on the passing game, increasing the value of reliable quarterbacks exponentially, ensuring the Dolphins work towards limiting the effectiveness of their opponents appears to be a sensible route to take.
With a top-tier cornerback tandem and versatility from players in the safety and slot/nickel corner roles will give the Miami Dolphins plenty of opportunities to show the league that they are moving in the right direction.