The Miami Dolphins defense entered training camp with an advantage over offense based on continuity and familiarity.
The Dolphins have kept virtually the entire defense intact, including coordinator Josh Boyer, while the offense has a number of new players, new schemes and a new coach leading it.
Boyer, however, came away impressed with how difficult new coach Mike McDaniel’s offense was to defend for five drives in training camp. It’s something the two have openly discussed with each other.
“Since the spring,” Boyer said ahead of Monday’s drills, “we’ve talked about philosophy, stratagem, things we see defensively that can hurt their stratagem or things they see offensively that can hurt our stratagem. And then, ultimately, it comes down to execution. It was good to go back and forth and have these conversations.
Boyer rose to the challenges of dealing with the outside zone blocking system that McDaniel, offensive coordinator Frank Smith and offensive line coach Matt Applebaum are installing.
“First of all, they’re going to test our edges,” Boyer said. “You have to do a good job of defining your edges, and once you do that, if they can move you laterally, it creates creases in the defence. And then, of course, they do a great job of marrying gaming action with racing.
“You try to stay square. You’re not trying to run sideways. Then, all of a sudden, it’s a pass, you have to go back to your drops. It puts a lot of stress on a lot of players in different positions.
The emphasis on blocking at wide receiver was felt.
“Everybody’s talking about Tyreek [Hill] and Jaylen [Waddle], their speed, their run down the court, but these guys do an amazing job blocking,” Boyer said. “They make it very difficult for us defensively to tell if it’s a run or a pass. All these things. They try to put you in a run-pass conflict, which is what good offenses will do.
Dolphins defensive line coach Austin Clark sees this year’s offensive line, although there are no pads in camp yet, as an improvement over his group’s showdown with this unit .
“What Mike and Frank and Coach Applebaum are doing with the offensive line is phenomenal,” Clark said. “They make you check every discrepancy. You have to play with big eyes. You have to play with good hands. They shoot the ball. it’s been great for us.
Boyer appreciates that his defense remains largely intact from the strong finish to 2021.
“There’s continuity in that staff, which puts us at a starting point where we feel like we can get the facility where we want,” he said. “Players, there’s a familiarity there, so we can kind of increase that facility. Additions and tweaks to things that we’re doing that we think will help us, they’re happening at a much faster pace “For new guys or guys coming in, that learning curve is a bit steeper. It gives us a good opportunity as coaches.
Practice in the pads
The Dolphins completed their fifth practice of training camp on Monday, which means Tuesday will be their first set of full-leg workouts.
“We’ve been in the locker room talking about it,” tackle Raekwon Davis said after Monday’s practice. “We really want it. [Tuesday] is that day. It’s here.”
After offensive playmakers have been allowed to find space and complete runs where they likely would have already been down had defenders tackled on the ground, practice physics will begin to increase.
“Were excited. It’ll be good to get out here and really start to see what everybody’s made of,” defensive tackle Zach Sieler said. soccer.
This will mark the next step for McDaniel, new to Miami, against an established defense that has experience playing together.
“You just have to look for both sides of the ball to make plays,” Davis said. “I know they’re going to get some good plays. I know I’m going to have some good games. Make the other better.