On Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, we saw several young players step up and rise to the occasion for the Miami Dolphins. Among them were Terrance Fede, Jamar Taylor. Damian Williams and more. However, with many aging veterans on defense, that’s where the focus lies. Kevin Coyle said that heading into 2015, he’s excited about the potential of several players.
“Terrance is talented, young. He’s inexperienced, but yet has a wealth of talent. We think he is going to grow into a very effective defensive end. He’s got a good skillset. He’s a good athlete. He’s just still developing physically. Coming from a small school I think this is his first exposure to some things, but yet I think he’s picked it up extremely well. He’s battled some injuries a little bit himself here during the course of the season that have slowed him down a little bit, but I think he has a great future with us. I was thrilled to see him make that play (the safety) as he did at the end of the game because he’s an extremely hard-working kid. He’s a great team player. I feel fortunate that we have him.”
Jordan Tripp, one of the few players that many are excited about, is expected to contribute a lot more in 2015 on defense and again on special teams.
“Jordan again is another guy who has battled through (injuries) from back in training camp where he got sick there, had the surgery and then came back. We like his skillset. We like his athleticism. We like his ability to run and to cover. We just haven’t been able to get him into the mix of things this year other than some exposure on special teams. We like his skillset, and I think he is going to continue to develop for us as well.”
Coyle said that Walt Aikens, a big cornerback who has been moved all around the secondary, needs to be more consistent in order to see more time on the field.
“Walt is still a guy who has a combination of traits that we like as a safety, as a corner, also as a special teams guy. He just needs to be more consistent in everything that he is doing right now. Hopefully that will come with maturity, but at this point right now he still needs to get his assignments down perfectly and be able to communicate in the back end, which is critical for a safety. Often times that takes some time for a young player.”
There are also questions about second-year cornerbacks Will Davis and Jamar Taylor. Coyle admits that he wishes he would have known more about them at this point in time but understands there’s only so much you can control with injuries and such. He noted that both need to be more consistent and must improve in the offseason. We have seen much more from Taylor this season and Coyle talked us through his development.
“He’s practicing in the slot, we’ve done that since training camp. Yet, because of the other slot defenders, Cortland (Finnegan) was the primary guy in the slot and with him coming off the ankle injury, we felt over the last couple of weeks to try to get him back in the lineup, the slot position requires a lot of start and stop, quick movement, not that corner doesn’t, don’t get me wrong. But certainly when you’re inside like that, it puts an added stress on the change of direction type things because you’re usually covering smaller, quicker, shiftier receivers inside and there is more vertical stuff on the outside. That was one of the reasons. With Louis (Delmas) going down, looking at our safety situation, trying to determine whether or not we’re better with Jimmy (Wilson) deep or bringing Jimmy back into the nickel and bringing one of those younger players in there. There were a lot of factors that came into it. Jamar had been practicing very well in the slot when we’ve had some real competitive situations in practice, so we felt good about it going into the game.”
There are a lot of holes on this team heading into the 2015 offseason and a lot of the pressure of filling them can be alleviated if the coaching staff has trust in their younger guys to take the next step going into the new year.