It’s certainly difficult to gauge what’s happening during the first handful of practices of the offseason. But if anything has been evident so far, it’s that new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle coaches with a palpable energy. To the untrained eye, he always stands out.
“I think you guys got yourself a steal there,” Wilcots said. “He’ll make you very competitive both sides of the ball.”
There’s been plenty of speculation as to whether the Dolphins will shift to more four-man fronts this season. Wilcots, who saw plenty of the Bengals calling games for CBS, said don’t expect to see the same look multiple times in a row, anyway.
“You’ll run a number of different fronts,” Wilcots said. “Won’t be just 3-4, won’t be just a 4-3, won’t be just an over defense or an under defense. But you’ll probably going to get a little bit all of that, particularly in your subpackages when you go nickel.”
Beyond pure strategy, it will be interesting to see if Coyle can develop individual players in the Dolphins defense, especially in the secondary. Obviously he had success coaching first-rounders like Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph, but Coyle had a real knack for bringing out the best in players who had underwhelmed prior to arriving in Cincinnati.
“You took two guys (Deltha O’Neal and Tory James) who teams were ready to move on from, they became stars under Kevin Coyle’s tutelage and went to the Pro Bowl,” said Wilcots, who played in six seasons in the NFL. “That tells you what kind of coach you have.”
When Philbin was forming his staff shortly after he was hired, he knew that he wanted to hire a defensive coordinator who had experience coaching the secondary to counter league’s shift to a reliance on the passing game. Perhaps what made Coyle stand out from other potential candidates was the way coached the back half of the defense to be so aggressive, with an emphasis on creating turnovers.
“If you can coach back there and not be panicked, not be scared, then you know you’re a real defensive coach,” Wilcots said. “A lot of secondary coaches, they coach out of fear because one mistake costs your team touchdowns. Kevin doesn’t coach that way; he coaches from the affirmative.”
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