Miami Dolphins Defense | D/ ST
Defensive Coordinator – Kevin Coyle
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Fantasy Football Outlook: GM Jeff Ireland may be fighting for his job this off-season, but I’m not sure he’s going to keep it after an interesting off-season in personnel moves. Yes, the team got younger at linebacker but both Kevin Burnett and Karlos Dansby are still good players, and I’m not sure releasing both will help the defense, especially from a continuity stand point.
Then you trade up in the draft and land edge rusher Dion Jordan who is clearly to skinny at this point in his career to be a three down option with his hand on the ground. Jordan may or may not make an impact opposite Cameron Wake, but if he does it will likely be on third downs.
That’s not that bad, as he was graded out as a future star edge rusher and was respectable when asked to drop back in pass coverage. I think he would’ve been a better fit in a 3-4 base as a linebacker, but it is what it is at this point.
After moving on from Vontae Davis before last season and then failing to resign Sean Smith, Ireland took a chance on talented veteran Brent Grimes who is coming off an Achilles injury from last year. He then went out and landed two corners and a safety in the draft, the most talented of them being second-round pick corner Jamar Taylor from Boise State.
Good pieces overall, but again continuity will likely be a problem in year one with all these new players. Expect the Dolphins to drop out of the top ten in points given up from a year ago, but with Wake still in the prime of his career, we should see Miami threaten for 40 plus sacks.
At the end of the day, I could see Miami being a defense worth picking up in the second half of the season for fantasy leagues, but avoid them on draft day.
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Summer of 2012: Fantasy Projections
New defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle (was defensive backs coach in Cincinnati) will be transitioning the defense from a 3-4 base to a 4-3 base. The main point worth noting in this move is that star pass rusher Camerion Wake will be moving from an outside linebacker to a defensive end.
Wake will continue to harass opposing quarterbacks; but it will be interesting to watch how the Dolphins will lineup at linebacker.
Karlos Dansby could play some strongside (could be wrong, but I think it’s his first year in a 4-3) and Koa Misi may fight for the middle linebacker position, or play at weakside. Fellow veteran Kevin Burnett is coming off knee surgery, and I’m not sure he’s locked in for a starting job.
Lets also not forget that the Dolphins released veteran safety Yeremiah Bell in March, so to round this all up, it will probably take some time for this group to come together.
Like last year, I could see this defense coming on strong in the second half, but it’s best to avoid them on draft day.
Summer of 2011: Fantasy Projections
Those who paid some attention to the Dolphins’ defense last year knew that this team was taking steps to becoming a top ten squad, as was the case for so many years in the past. Linebacker Cameron Wakewas a IDP sleeper of ours, and man did he deliver with 14 sacks on the season as the Dolphins stayed around the 40 sack range for the third year running.Even though Vontae Davis and Sean Smith were only in their second seasons in the pro’s the team finished 8th against the pass, 7th against the run and 6th overall in fewest yards given up per game. I believe the team will improve on their 20.8 points per game given up a season ago as they have an overall group than can still get better.
Heading into the summer the Dolphins team defense’s ADP value on Mock Draft Central has them rated as the 12th defense going in standard redraft leagues and ESPN currently has them ranked as the 15th best defense. Those rankings are about right as the Dolphins are a fringe starting defense, but they need to show us they are ready to take the next step as an entire team.
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If the Dolphins have any hopes of being a decent fantasy defense their young secondary needs to improve.
2010 Fantasy Football Outlook
2009 Fantasy Year In Review: Having two rookie corners starting is a bad sign for a defense to be fantasy relevant. Knowing this it’s no surprise that the Dolphins’ defense had its struggles throughout the season last year.
For the season, this group finished 25th in points given up, 24th against the pass and 18th against the run. These numbers won’t cut it for a good defense but this team should improve in 2010.
2010 NFL Fantasy Football Player Rankings: The secondary has more experience and the addition of linebacker Karlos Dansby should help against the pass and run. Miami also made it a priority to add more defense in the draft as they used their first and second round picks on that side of the football.
Look for the Dolphins to be an improved group, but I don’t believe that will be a good fantasy option until next season. By then Vontae Davis and Sean Smith will be in their third years as starting corners. As long as both player progress well this year I would expect this unit to be a top ten overall group against the pass as soon as 2011.
– Decent Sack Total
– Should Improve
– Still Have Some Growing Up To Do
– Will Struggle At Times