Brian Flores is making some waves as he is trying something new with the secondary.
The Miami Dolphins and Brian Flores made some surprising news this past weekend, as they cut two safeties from their team as they look to build from within.
When Mike Nolan was the Defensive Coordinator for the Miami Dolphins, he implemented the Robber technique for his safeties, where the Free Safety played a center fielder type role, utilizing his speed and game knowledge to make outstanding plays. Whereas the Strong Safety would rover inside the boundary to help support the run and present mind game illusions to the opposing quarterback.
Fast forward to Kevin Coyle, who removed the Robber technique and switched to a Zebra where both Safeties could play interchangeable parts and leverage their speed to adapt and learn how the game unfolds.
Last year, the Dolphins went back to a more traditional 3-4 schema were Patrick Graham and Josh Boyer, under the direction of Coach Flores had the idea to transition cornerbacks to the safeties roles mainly due to the fact that Reshad Jones, the Miami Dolphins former starting safety could not stay healthy and the release of T.J McDonald. The only actual remaining Safety on the roster, Minkah Fitzpatrick was traded out of Miami to Pittsburgh.
This concept didn’t work out that well, as Bobby McCain ended his season on the injured reserve. Still, Dolphin fans saw the emergence of Eric Rowe as he successfully transitioned from cornerback to the starting Strong Safety.
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With McCain landing on the injured reserve, Flores and company scoured the waiver wire picking up Steven Parker and Adrian Colbert. These two players played well last season, and both were resigned to enter camp and battle it out for playing time.
Unfortunately, their time came to an end last week and many are left scratching their head on what Josh Boyer (now the Dolphins Defensive Coordinator and Coach Flores have in-store).
I’m all for new concepts. The Ninja defense that Belicheck created is a thing of beauty. I love how Coach Flores is using that concept. The 5-2 hybrid approach that was once again created by Bilicheck to stop the wide pro running game of the Rams was amazing to see.
These new schema altered the way teams game plan, and there isn’t a better coach to game plan than Bill Belicheck. Coach Flores learned from Billy boy for nine seasons and was potentially awaiting his time to shine, is this his opportunity to?
Conducting some research, I can’t find any reference to any team executing a secondary with nothing but former cornerbacks. It’s a crazy concept. The speed that Flores has in his secondary is scary. When the ball is up in the air, I can see all secondary players making an attempt to get the ball.
As the NFL has transitioned to a passing game with an emphasis on protecting the quarterback, the need for speed is an interesting and exciting adaptation to counter opposing teams.
Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Bobby McCain, Eric Rowe and Noah Igbinoghene all had 40 times less than 4.5 seconds. They all have a keen eye to make plays on the football field on any given Sunday. The downside, their size. With the addition of speed, you subtract size.
Gone are the players that can help support the run. Just ask Bobby McCain, who busted his shoulder, trying to assist in the run game. The lack of size could be a problem if or when the team is trailing and the opposing team runs the ball to drain the clock. Implementing an 8 Man box wouldn’t be the same, but I am sure Flores has an idea to counter that, just something that he hasn’t shared.
One thing to keep in mind is the addition of the muscle up front. During free agency, Coach Flores and Chris Grier added some needed strength by addressing the defensive end positions by adding Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson, and Emmanuel Ogbah. Alongside Elandon Roberts and Kamu Gruiger-Hill at the linebacker spot. Remember, one critical aspect that Bill Parcells once preached “the best secondary is the one that plays the fewest amount of time.”
With the amount of speed that Flores has in the secondary and added strength up front the only thing lacking is a hype name for this type of schema. Robber, Zebra, Ninja have all been used, so being creative the only thing that makes sense is the Bolt formation. It’s a crazy name, but it might match this crazy concept.