The Miami Dolphins parted way with former General Manager Jeff Ireland last season, and brought in Dennis Hickey from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to take over that role. With that hiring, came a new affinity towards drafting small school players. Players such as Terrence Fede out of Marist.
So far in training camp, Fede has made a major jump in his ability from year one to year two, as he has absolutely dominated any competition he's faced against the second-team offensive line, and he's been able to hold his own against the likes of Jason Fox and Ja'Wuan James when he's been given snaps against the first-team.
“He’s just a lot more confident I think in everything that he’s doing." head coach Joe Philbin said on Wednesday. "I think the adjustment that he had to make coming from what I used call 1-AA football to the NFL is significant. He handled it well then too, but I just think he’s stronger, he’s more confident in the scheme, in the system that we’re running and the techniques that we’re using. I think he’s just well ahead of where he was.”
Fede was an extremely raw prospect out of Marist that the Dolphins drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft, and his athleticism and measurables made up for his lack of overall football experience last season, enough so that the flashes he made last year were enough for him to make the 53-man roster. Now, it's apparent that Fede has really started catching on.
“I feel like I understand the game a lot better this year,” Fede said this past Wednesday. “Coming in last year, the playbook at Marist wasn't as complex as it is here. So that took a little bit getting adjusted to. But this year, I know where I’m going. I know where I have to be aligned. I also have veterans like [Ndamukong] Suh, Cam [Wake], OV [Vernon], [Derrick] Shelby and Earl [Mitchell] helping me, giving me techniques and what to do. It’s just making it a lot smoother this year.”
Last year, Fede quickly became a fan favorite in the preseason due to his athleticism and ability to make plays on defense, and as the season wore on, Fede managed to accumulate 10 tackles and one sack. But his biggest moment came against the Minnesota Vikings while on special teams, as he blocked a punt that eventually sealed the game for the Dolphins. Now, Fede is fighting for a bigger role.
“He can do a lot of different things. He’s a good athlete, he moves well, he’s got good size and strength." Philbin said. "Yeah, he’s doing some good things. Obviously, we’ll learn more when we get into the games.”
Fede has lined up primarily where Olivier Vernon lines up during camp, but he has spent some snaps inside and dropped back into coverage a couple of times. The Dolphins do enjoy having versatile players, and if that's what it takes for him to get an increased role in 2015, Fede is more than willing to do it. He's willing to do whatever it takes.
“If you’re a defensive lineman, it’s better for you to be versatile,” Fede said. “If they need me at the 3-[technique], I’m ready to go in at the three. If they need me at the six, nine, whatever it is, I’m ready to go in there and cause havoc with the other guys.”
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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