Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Chris McCain, who was signed as an undrafted free agent, has made quite an impression in the past few months. At 250 pounds, McCain always seems to be around the ball and has wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks over the past two weeks. McCain has done such a good job that the coaching staff is considering using him in a variety of packages throughout the season.
“It’s real big,” McCain said. “I’ve still got to focus. But I appreciate the coaches noticing something. It makes me feel that the work that I’ve put in to get here and work I’m still trying to put in, it’s paying off.”
McCain has the highest grade among Dolphins defenders in pass rushing and the second-highest in run defense behind Trusnik. McCain has a negative grade (slightly) in pass coverage. Joe Philbin loves what he has seen so far out of McCain but warns that there is still much work to be done.
“Well, he flashes playmaking ability in different areas,” Philbin said. “He’s very good in space. He can really run. He can track down a ball carrier very well. He’s got a little pass-rush ability that we are working to develop. It is certainly not a finished product in that aspect, but I want to say he got roughly 10 snaps of that last week (against Tampa Bay). It’s something we want to see him down here in practice and working on some of those things.
“He’s kind of got an interesting skill set that we are trying to get to know better, so we are trying to look at him on special teams. Can he rush the passer? Can he cover a tight end man-to-man? So we are looking at some combinations and seeing how quickly he can progress.”
For McCain, he is willing to do whatever it takes to make the team and be an integral part of the defense.
“I like linebacker because I can see the whole field,” he said. “The advantage I have at defensive end is I can get off the ball faster. I’m pretty good whenever I can see the whole field and kind of anticipate formations and what they’ll do. But when it comes to rushing and stuff, I think defensive end would be a good choice. Right now, where they got me and what I’m doing right now, I can’t complain about it. I’m loving it. I’m doing both, which is what I want to do. They’re finding ways to fit me in there and I’m appreciating it and I’m progressing every day on it. The coaches are enjoying it. I have a couple of mistakes here and there, but they can see my improvement and I’m getting more snaps.”
McCain has certainly been a pleasant surprise throughout camp and with his continued performance and work ethic, we should see plenty of him during the regular season in various packages.