2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Dolphins making most of stout defensive front

By STEVEN WINE - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-10 12:52

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) - The Miami Dolphins, who face four of the NFL's top quarterbacks in the next month, figured it would be wise to come up with something fast.

So defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle created a package named ``speed.''

The scheme gets ends Cameron Wake, Olivier Vernon and Dion Jordan into the game together, which gives the Dolphins a formidable pass rush and considerable flexibility. Miami unveiled the alignment in Sunday's season-opening win at Cleveland, and Coyle said it will be used more in the weeks to come.

``We can do a lot of things with those guys on the field,'' Coyle said. ``We had a lot of fast guys on the field with that particular group. We can cover with those guys because they are all athletic; you might have seen Dion dropping into coverage a few times. We just scratched the surface with that.''

The speed package is one of many schemes designed to take advantage of the depth and versatility in Miami's defensive front seven, which is the strength of the team. But the group will be sorely tested by the upcoming schedule, beginning Sunday when the Dolphins face Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. Then come Matt Ryan and Atlanta, Drew Brees at New Orleans, and Joe Flacco and Baltimore.

If the Dolphins are still above .500 when that stretch ends, they'll be well-positioned for a run at only their second playoff berth since 2001.

``We aren't going to get a whole lot of sleep here over the next month,'' Coyle said with a laugh.

The goal is to make sure opposing offensive coordinators don't get much sleep, either. Video of the Dolphins' defensive performance at Cleveland might do the job.

Miami had six sacks, made three interceptions and allowed Cleveland to convert only one of 14 third downs. A swarming defense made life miserable for Brandon Weeden, and the Dolphins will need the same sort of pressure against more proven QBs in the weeks to come.

``We hit the quarterback a bunch of times Sunday,'' cornerback Brent Grimes said. ``Any time you can do that, it will put the halt on a lot of offensive attacks.''

The performance was just what Coyle and coach Joe Philbin envisioned from their front seven, starting with strong performances by the ends. Pro Bowler Wake had 2 1/2 sacks, Vernon applied constant pressure from the other side, and first-round draft pick Jordan came off the bench to earn his first NFL sack.

``Our defensive ends are among the most athletic guys there may be in the league,'' Coyle said. ``They aren't the biggest guys, but they are very strong and play with great leverage.''

While they controlled the flanks, Jared Odrick, Paul Soliai and Randy Starks dominated inside while rotating at the two tackle spots, and new linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Philip Wheeler gave Miami more speed and blitzing options at their positions.

Coyle can use a wide variety of personnel combinations - for example, Odrick might line up at any of the four spots on the line. That makes the Dolphins even more difficult to block.

``We kept some cards in our back pocket throughout the preseason,'' Wake said. ``But when we started this offseason, we looked at our room and we knew we had a lot of guys that can do a lot of things pretty well, not just always line up and do the same thing. We have guys who can stand up, drop, rush the middle, rush the outside.

``All the guys have athletic ability to do a lot of things, and keeping the offense guessing will help our whole team.''

Such versatility can keep Coyle guessing, too. He said his options are so appealing it's sometimes tough to choose.

``Did you ever go to Baskin-Robbins?'' he asked with a laugh. ``Is it a tough call when you are looking at all the different flavors and you want to pick one but you can only have one? Yes.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Steven Wine on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Steve-Wine

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Luke WillsonOct 24 10:44p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) will play in the team's Week 8 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Crockett GillmoreOct 24 10:32p

Baltimore Ravens rookie TE Crockett Gillmore will receive the start at tight end in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ravens appear to have plenty of confidence [ More ]

Golden TateOct 24 10:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will be facing the league's 29th ranked pass defense in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Steve JohnsonOct 24 10:08p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson has played only 20 percent of the snaps in the last month, but he's been the team's most effective receiver in that time. [ More ]

Reggie BushOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is expected to be inactive for the Week 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source Friday, Oct. 24.

Calvin JohnsonOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source. The team has a bye in [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) missed his sixth consecutive game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he could return to practice as [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) missed his third straight game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he might be able to return to practice Monday, Oct. 27.

Alan BallOct 24 07:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars are extremely thin at cornerback heading into the team's Week 8 game, with CBs Alan Ball (biceps) out, and Dwayne Gratz (hip flexor) questionable. There is [ More ]

Kevin WilliamsOct 24 06:32p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), TE Zach Miller (ankle), C Max Unger (foot), LB Bobby Wagner (toe) and WR Bryan [ More ]

Khalif BarnesOct 24 06:32p

Oakland Raiders OT Khalif Barnes (quadriceps) is expected to start at right tackle in Week 8, but head coach Tony Sparano would not say if Barnes or OT Menelik [ More ]

LaMarr WoodleyOct 24 06:22p

Oakland Raiders DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) are expected to be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Dion SimsOct 24 06:02p

Miami Dolphins SS Jimmy Wilson (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Week 8. LB Koa Misi (ankle) is listed as questionable, while OT Branden Albert (elbow), LS John Denney [ More ]

Billy WinnOct 24 05:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DT Phil Taylor (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8. DE Billy Winn (quadriceps) and SS Jim Leonhard (ankle) are listed [ More ]

Justin TuckOct 24 05:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 24 05:32p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Derrick Coleman (foot) had surgery to repair a foot injury this week. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Brandon BrownerOct 24 05:32p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8. OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 24 05:32p

Houston Texans CB Darryl Morris (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans. LBs Jadeveon Clowney (knee), Brian Cushing (knee), [ More ]

Frostee RuckerOct 24 05:22p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles. DE Calais Campbell (knee) is questionable, while S Rashad Johnson (knee) and [ More ]

Morgan BurnettOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints. S Morgan Burnett (calf) is questionable, while CB Sam Shields [ More ]

James StarksOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) was limited in practice for the second straight day Friday, Oct. 24, but is probable for Week 8 against the New Orleans [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 24 05:02p

Chicago Bears LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are doubtful for Week 8. S Danny McCray (knee) did [ More ]

Ryan ClarkOct 24 05:02p

Washington Redskins CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) and FS Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) were limited during practice Friday, Oct. 24. DE Chris Baker (thigh), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry [ More ]

Jack CrawfordOct 24 04:52p

Dallas Cowboys OT Doug Free (foot) and DE Jack Crawford (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24. Anthony Spencer (knee) was limited during practice, while LB Bruce [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 24 04:52p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman continues to run with confidence in the absence of RB Montee Ball (groin), and Ball will likely find it hard to win his starting [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 24 04:32p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and have been ruled out. DT Brodrick Bunkley [ More ]

Nick MangoldOct 24 04:32p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) both were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are questionable for Week 8. OT Oday [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 24 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Christopher Owens (knee) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and S Eric Berry (ankle) are [ More ]

Khiry RobinsonOct 24 04:22p

New Orleans Saints RB Khiry Robinson (forearm) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 24 04:22p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) are both out for Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. CBs Janoris Jenkins (knee) and Trumaine [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 24 04:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) said he won't rush back to play until his ankle is fully healed. 'It's our job to help this team win, and [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 24 04:12p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group