- Jul 26, 2004
- Reaction score
With the Dolphins back on the practice field, cornerback Will Allen says ``everybody is excited'' about new coordinator Mike Nolan's defense.
CBS' Phil Simms told us this story: ``One prominent offensive coordinator of a playoff team told me last season, `If Mike Nolan was the defensive coordinator here, we would win the Super Bowl.' He's so well thought of around the league.''
NBC's Cris Collinsworth said Nolan, the ex-49ers coach, is Miami's ``biggest offseason acquisition'' -- though most would say it's Brandon Marshall or Karlos Dansby -- and said ``Nolan's is as impressive a run defense as any I saw.''
Brian Billick has called Nolan ``the best coach I've ever been around.'' Dan Reeves, who made Nolan a first-time coordinator with the Giants in 1993 (when Nolan was 34), said, ``Every defensive coordinator that's good disguises things, and he's proven he's one of the better ones.''
So what can Dolfans expect? ``Nolan does more things than [predecessor] Paul Pasqualoni,'' said Washington defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday, who played in Pasqualoni's Dolphins defense in 2008 and Nolan's Broncos defense in '09.
``Coach P wasn't as experienced a coordinator. Nolan blitzes more than Pasqualoni and he'll attack people as long as you don't give up the big play. The Dolphins' success will depend on the secondary holding up one-on-one. Nolan is really good, a guy you want to play for.''
UniversalDraft.com studied Nolan's Denver tendencies and found he rushed his inside linebackers on passing attempts far more than Pasqualoni did. That trend could repeat here, because Karlos Dansby is a better pass-rusher than ousted Akin Ayodele.
Also, Pasqualoni used six defensive backs at once on 30 percent of downs in '09; Nolan did it only 3 percent. Nolan ``gives cornerbacks the opportunity to make plays,'' Allen said.
Nolan, adept at adjusting to fit his team's personnel, will use different looks to maximize his defensive line's athleticism. ``I love his philosophy -- it's proven,'' Jason Ferguson said. ``It's an attacking defense and hopefully will cause more turnovers.''
Though Nolan's defense struggled late last year in Denver, it finished seventh (up from 29th the year before, without him) and its sacks jumped by 13, to 39. Miami was 22nd in total defense in '09, leading to Pasqualoni's firing.