Tag:Miami Dolphins
Posted on: July 1, 2010 1:17 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 2:54 pm

First look at the Dolphins secondary

This offseason, much of the focus on the Miami Dolphins has been on their defensive front seven: 
  • Is the pass-rush overly dependent on outside linebacker Cameron Wake having a breakout season?
  • Will Randy Starks transition well to nose tackle?
  • Is inside linebacker Karlos Dansby indeed worth boatloads of money?)Vontae Davis getting fooled. (Getty Images)
What hasn't been getting attention is the Dolphins secondary. Bill Parcells invested two high draft picks on cover corners last year: First-round pick Vontae Davis (getting abused in the picture) and second-round pick Sean Smith.

Davis is the better athlete, has outstanding quickness and the wheels to run deep with a receiver. He's confident in a playmaker sort of way. Smith brings to the table fantastic size (6-3, 214). He's stiff in change-of-direction, but his long arms allow him to take unique angles against receivers in one-on-one matchups.

The bottom line is the Dolphins have two high-drafted second-year corners who have both become starters. Few teams lay this kind of foundation at one of football’s most valuable positions. What’s more, veteran Will Allen is healthy again and should be one of the top nickelbacks in the league (that is, assuming Allen doesn’t blow everyone away in training camp and reclaim a starting job).

Long-term the Dolphins secondary looks set. Short-term it could still prove to be an Achilles' heel. The young corners are prone to mistakes (this showed up on film again and again last season). Exacerbating those mistakes is the weakness of the free safety position.

Gibril Wilson was awful in coverage and got released. In searching for a replacement, Parcells low-balled free agent Antrel Rolle and passed on former Saint Darren Sharper. Thus the Fins enter ’10 with Packers castoff Tyron Culver manning centerfield. Culver is athletic but better suited for dime duties. His only competition for a starting job, however, is fifth-round rookie Reshad Jones.

As Dolphins RapidReport correspondent Chris Perkins will address later today, much of the pressure falls back on the defensive front seven to take away the run game and prevent opposing quarterbacks from operating with a clean pocket in 2010. And if that happens, it's up to those young corners to make the most of the opportunities that come when pressure is applied in the trenches.

-- Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter
Posted on: June 23, 2010 3:56 pm

Examining the Dolphins Defensive Line

It was a surprise that the Dolphins spent a first-round pick on defensive end Jared Odrick. Miami already had three quality ends to plug into their three-man front: good run-defending third-year pros Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford and quasi-Pro Bowler Randy Starks. Plus, Odrick played a one-gap scheme at Penn State; in Miami, he’ll play a five technique, which calls for him to be a stout edge anchor rather than a penetrator.

With Starks moving to nose tackle (where, at 305 pounds, he may not be a great fit…only time will tell), Odrick is expected to start right away. Coaches apparently want to push Merling and Langford. However, in an “around the team” article by the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, one Fins player notes that Odrick shows potential but is making a lot of mental mistakes at this point. Given the rookie’s adjustment (new team, new system), that’s to be expected.

At least the Dolphins have depth. Jackson runs through the rest of the Dolphins front line options:

“Until Jason Ferguson returns in Week 9, there's likely room for two more backup linemen among tackles Paul Soliai (a front-runner, but coaches want more consistency), Ryan Baker (making a strong push) and Travis Ivey (one player said he had a hard time), and ends Lionel Dotson and Ikaika Alama-Francis.”

--Andy Benoit

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com