Written by Matthew Cannata at 6:00 PM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
The Miami Dolphins defense was dominant in week one against the New England Patriots but then fell off the tracks a bit against the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs in weeks two and three, respectively. Then, beginning with the game in London against the Oakland Raiders, they’ve been steadily improving every week. What’s the difference between now and the Kansas City game? Kevin Coyle explains.
“I just think our overall execution. I think maybe it was a wake-up call for everybody. I think we’ve gone out and, in every game since then, we’re not giving up big plays, that’s been huge and we’re getting turnovers. When you’re stopping the run, you’re not giving up shot plays down the field and you’re taking the ball away, that’s a good mixture. That’s a recipe for winning defense and we’ve got to continue doing that. I also think we’ve got a really good chemistry right now. There is a great trust level between the players and coaches. I think they believe in what we’re doing schematically. When they see it work as it did a number of times on Sunday. It just increases that confidence and that faith in one another. I just think that we’re in a good place that way right now. We’re continuing to work extremely hard on fundamentals. I think we work as hard as anybody in those areas and it’s showing on the tape.”
Coyle said that they have quite a variety of schemes that they use and employ but it changes from week to week depending on the opponent and the flow of the game.
“As we game plan, all of those packages are up for consideration as we look at the next opponent, how we match up, is there an issue? We felt, Sunday, there weren’t a lot of snaps in Dime, but we did feel that there were certain things that we wanted to do coverage-wise, that we were best having the extra DB (defensive back) in the game, and we went with that. It was a positive. We try to have options that may give the offense more things to work on too. Just like they give us problems with multiple groupings and formations and things. When we’re in those packages, they’ve got to spend time during the week, ‘OK, what if they come out in this and we’ve got this called.’ They have to prepare that way. Each week, it’s a little bit different and some weeks, depending upon on what they feature, each one of those packages may be played a little bit more than the other.”
The Dolphins have come out in a few different base packages to start the game each week. For example, they’ve started the game with three linebackers, some with two linebackers and some with one linebacker. Coyle said again that the opponent dictates what base package they come out in and whether or not they stay in it throughout the majority of the game.
“We do have a base package, but game scenarios somewhat alter how much base you’re going to use. We started the game in base on Sunday. We got a sack on the first play of the game with base people in the game running a pressure that we had seen them have problems with that another team had run out of a nickel package. But we could run that same type of thing with our base. So as soon as I saw who they had in the game, we went to it and it wasn’t like I knew until I saw them coming with a certain grouping as they came off of the field right there the very first snap of the game that we called that defense. It wasn’t like we had practiced all week and said this is what we’re going to start the game in. The players, they’re comfortable with it. They understand that we have a variety of things that we can go to, but yet we’ve repped them all enough we feel that we can pull them out at any time and have an opportunity to take advantage of something.”
Coyle did a great job of explaining the intricacies of the defense and everything that goes on with the thought process when trying to decide what to do throughout the week leading up to the game and the game itself. Coyle has done a good job this year and it seems that the Kansas City game was a wake-up call for everyone, including him.