Written by Steven Wilson at 6:20 AM EST | Twitter: @stevenjwilson11
As Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle says, 'some guys are just happy to get an interception.' But that's not necessarily the case for the Dolphins defense, which looks to score every time they get their mitts on the ball.
"When you intercept the ball, you get an opportunity to scoop the ball, the idea is to become an offensive team and really kind of turn it into a punt return whenever possible," Coyle stated. "We’ve been drilling that hard and trying to make that a point that, when we do get the ball in our possession, let’s gain yards, let’s gain first downs and let’s make it so that we score with the football. So hopefully that is starting to show and we do drill that. We actually did it today again. We did our interception drill. We worked on it this afternoon and hopefully we will have opportunities to make it work during the game.”
Starting in the preseason and continuing through practice this week leading up to Miami's matchup against San Diego, the defense has perfected the art of the return.
“I think it’s important," Coyle told the media when asked about the team's strong return game. "Sometimes we somewhat talk about it and joke about it in the preseason when we first start to do these drills. Some guys are just happy to get an interception. All they kind of want to do is run around, get on the ground and run to the sideline. But that’s not the way it is."
In the second quarter against in-state foe Jacksonville, safety Louis Delmas read the quarterback's eyes, stepped in front of the pass and scampered 81 yards to pay dirt.
“It’s a great shot of momentum for the football team," Head Coach Joe Philbin admitted. "Obviously, it does wonders on the scoreboard, but it does a lot for the energy of the team. Usually you can see that. It’s pretty evident. From the other side of things, it makes it difficult for the opposition to overcome those kinds of points. It’s big.”
Brent Grimes followed his teammate's lead in the third period scoring six points of his own. Those two big plays epitomized the group's progression this year.
“We are getting there," Philbin said. "I see progress being made. Obviously, I like the fact the last couple of weeks we’ve generated a bunch of takeaways. This is a hard team. I was just looking at it, I want to say they might be second in football for fewest giveaways. I think they only have five if I’m not mistaken in eight games, so that gives you a great chance to win right there if you are the San Diego Chargers. It’s not going to be easy to take the ball away from these guys if recent history has anything to do with it. I think our guys are progressing and getting better, but every week is a new week. This is a new (week) coming up Sunday.”
Adding his experience to the DB mix, Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino added his NFL insight recently on both sides of the ball.
“Yeah, Dan - he has been with us," said Coyle. "He has sat in on some of our post-Monday morning film sessions, just to watch the tape with us and listen to things that we are doing. I think he likes the strategy of defense and he likes to kind of see the different things that teams might be doing in the league now. He’s been involved that way, but he’s not given us blitzes he would like to run or anything like that."
The 9-time Pro Bowler has helped quarterback Ryan Tannehill with his progression and prepared the Phins secondary for a lethal San Diego passing attack.
"His presence is welcomed around here," Coyle continued. "Any time you have got a guy of that caliber, a Hall of Fame guy that has seen so many things, he can certainly help in every phase.”