Why the Dolphins Run Defense Won't Improve Unless.....

matthewcannata

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I was thinking over the weekend about the run defense and whether or not it will improve. While many think it starts and ends with Earl Mitchell, that's not the case.

The reason is because of the linebackers. Mitchell is a nose tackle. A nose tackle’s primary job is to stop the run and take on the double team. This usually means they are getting blocked by both the center and the weak-side guard. This is important because when taking on the double team, it frees up the linebackers to make a play.

Randy Starks and Jared Odrick occupy the other defensive tackle position. This is also referred to as the under tackle or three tech. They call these guys a three technique because they line up on the outside shoulder of the strong side offensive guard. Their job is to prevent the run, keep the guard off the linebackers, and rush the quarterback on pass plays.

So, if the defensive tackles do their job, the linebackers should be free to make a play. However, with the current crew of Philip Wheeler, Dannell Ellerbe, and Koa Misi, that's not good news. According to Pro Football Focus, Wheeler had an overall run defense grade of -16.8. Ellerbe had an overall run defense grade of -17.0 and Misi had an overall run defense grade of +7.4.

The Dolphins are talking about moving Misi inside to middle linebacker, which would be a very good move. However, they need to seriously consider upgrading either Ellerbe or Wheeler, or possibly both. Otherwise, the run defense will pretty much remain the same as last year.
 

Travis34

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Starts with the linebackers for sure but I'm really starting to lose faith in a Coyle for anything other than db's
 

russianbear

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anyone keen on mid round LB prospects? or is there one worth grabbing in the 1st or 2nd?
 

bcsupratt

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This draft is DEEP at LB. We must draft one at some point. If one of these top guys are there at 19, I'd say we take them.
@ 19 I'm pretty set on either taking the BPA at OL/LB/FS ....We'll probably go OL but if one of these top guys drop i'd grab them in a heartbeat.

---------- Post added at 10:44 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:44 AM ----------

Ryan Shazier at 19.

He's OLB though right? I think kicking ellerbee outside and drafting a true Middle would be ideal
 

datruth55

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Ryan Shazier at 19.
I did a mock draft yesterday and took Xavier Su'a-Filo at 19 and then Ryan Shazier at 50...I was shocked he was still there and it won't happen in real life but it was cool. Took Sankey in the 3rd and James Hurst in the 4th.
 

matthewcannata

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I love Shazier and Barr. I don't think Barr falls to the Dolphins but without drafting one of these two, the Dolphins run defense isn't going to be much better.
 

Fintastic2124

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Shazier plays like a man on a mission. Good pass rush skills also. Hope he's our pick.
 

Geforce

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Mitchell is not a nose tackle and that is the main reason he chose Miami over San Diego. He is a better fit for the 4-3 than he the 3-4.

I have hope that new LB coach, Mark Duffner, can get the Ellerbe and Wheeler to become the players they are supposed to be in this defense. I think Coyle is trying to run the same defense in Miami that Duffner ran in Cincinnati when Coyle first arrived there. With Duffner's knowledge of that defense, he may be able to help the LBs better understand their responsibilities and therefor play faster and more instinctual. Atleast that's my hope.
 

datruth55

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Mitchell is not a nose tackle and that is the main reason he chose Miami over San Diego. He is a better fit for the 4-3 than he the 3-4.

I have hope that new LB coach, Mark Duffner, can get the Ellerbe and Wheeler to become the players they are supposed to be in this defense. I think Coyle is trying to run the same defense in Miami that Duffner ran in Cincinnati when Coyle first arrived there. With Duffner's knowledge of that defense, he may be able to help the LBs better understand their responsibilities and therefor play faster and more instinctual. Atleast that's my hope.

Wheeler flat out sucks. No amount of coaching is going to change that. He sucked with the Colts, sucked with the Raiders but for some reason Ireland loved the guy and went after him twice...the first time he picked the Raiders cause they gave him more money and then got cut after 1 year (that still didn't clue Ireland in) and then Ireland got him. The guy would have been on the street had we not signed him...or a backup somewhere making backup money. Instead we pay him ridiculous money...stupid. That signing is right up there with Gibril Wilson.
 

Yessir

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Kick Misi inside. Kick Wheeler to the curb. Ellerbe to Sam. Insert Shazier at Will.

Done and Done.
 

matthewcannata

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Mitchell is not a nose tackle and that is the main reason he chose Miami over San Diego. He is a better fit for the 4-3 than he the 3-4.

He is though. Soliai was a nose tackle and Mitchell was signed to replace him. The Dolphins said he will be an every down player. Starks and Odrick will play the three tech position.
 

Geforce

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He is though. Soliai was a nose tackle and Mitchell was signed to replace him. The Dolphins said he will be an every down player. Starks and Odrick will play the three tech position.

Mitchell was not signed to replace Soliai. Mitchell was signed to bring something Soliai could not, an interior pass rush as part of a rotation with Starks and Odrick.

IMO, when the Dolphins said that Mitchell was an every down player, that meant he doesn't have to be replaced on 3rd down or in obvious passing situations like Soliai. Hopefully that will help the Dolphins pass rush in the 4th quarter. With a true 3-man or 4-man pass rush rotation, the players will be fresher to get after the QB.
 

chuckdiesel

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anyone keen on mid round LB prospects? or is there one worth grabbing in the 1st or 2nd?

MLB Jordan Zumwalt out of UCLA in round 3. He stood out at the combine, so i watched some film on him and i like what i see. Seems like a high character kid with a good motor.
 
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