Written by Matthew Cannata at 10:00 AM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The Miami Dolphins currently have a +2 turnover ratio, which is good enough to be ranked 12th in the NFL. In the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Dolphins forced three turnovers while turning the ball over once. Joe Philbin has been pleased so far but of course, wants that number to keep climbing each week.
“You always want more, but it’s trending in the right direction, that’s for sure. That’s one of the things we showed to the team last week was some of the trends from the first three games to the next three games. We certainly are able to get some takeaways yesterday, and obviously those defensive touchdowns are huge any time you can get them. Usually it’s not very often you can get two in one game, and this was an opportune time to get two in a game. I like the way we are taking care of the football.
Philbin admitted that the Dolphins work on interception and fumble returns in practice each week and called it a semi-art instead of just luck or the ball bouncing the wrong way.
“Kevin (Coyle) and the staff do a great job of teaching that. There’s semi-art to it, if you will. A lot of times we do pursuit drills and sometimes we just emphasize pure, flat-out pursuit to the ball-carrier. Then there are other days where we will do an interception drill where we will turn the ball around, give guys with hand shields and we’ll set up the blocking the way we want and then coach up going down the numbers and specific blocking that we would like to get. It’s something we like to teach a lot and they take pride in it.”
Coyle got into a little more detail about what they do and how they do it. He said that it hasn’t fully translated to the games yet but the drills they run in practice will help them each week throughout the remainder of the season.
“We’ve made a conscious effort of doing probably more this year than we have in terms of specifically interception returns. I’d like to say that it was great blocking that set up these returns, but it really wasn’t. These two particular ones were guys catching the ball in space, there were a couple of blocks, but they weren’t as difficult as some might be. We do practice it and we do interception return drills every week. We’ve done drills in the past, but we came up with a new one this year that I think is getting everybody on the same page as to where to go, how to set the blocks up and how to return the ball. It’s been effective for us and hopefully we’ll see it continue as the year goes on. We’ve just got to keep getting interceptions and see how much it works.”
The Dolphins have a tough stretch of opponents coming up and they’ll need to be careful to keep their turnovers down while forcing as many as possible. As we all know, that’s a simple formula for a winning football team.