The new coordinators for the Dolphins should bring a fresh look to the team and they come with a lot of experience that will help Joe Philbin as he begins his NFL head-coaching career. While Sherman has NFL head-coaching experience, Coyle is a bit of an unknown after spending 11 seasons as a defensive assistant in Cincinnati, 9 of those as DB coach.
In 2011, Texas A&M began the season as a top 10 ranked team, but the season began to unravel after consecutive loses to OSU and Arkansas, both ranked in the top 20. They beat Baylor but then lost to OU and Kansas State and a 25 to 27 loss to rival Texas, landed Sherman out of a job. The Aggies started the 2010 season 3–3 but won their final six games to finish 9–3 and become bowl eligible. With Ryan Tannehill at QB, A&M had a high flying pro-set offense, but defense was the Aggie downfall.
Prior to coaching the Aggies, Mike Holmgren hired Sherman as the Green Bay TE coach for the 1997–98 seasons and promoted him to offensive coordinator in 1999. When Mike Holmgren resigned to accept the Seattle Seahawks head coach position, Sherman was hired as head-coach of the Green Bay Packers. From the 2000 to 2004, Sherman led the Packers to five consecutive winning seasons and three divisional titles in 2002, 2003, and 2004, Sherman was fired by the Packers on January 2, 2006, after a dismal 4–12 season.
Before coaching in the NFL, Sherman served as an assistant coach at five different colleges, including Texas A&M, where he coached the offensive line for seven seasons. Right after college, Sherman first met Joe Philbin while coaching him as a TE at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts from 1979–80. That bond is what led to Sherman’s hire in Miami.
At Texas A&M, Sherman abandoned the zone read option offense, and installed the pro-style West Coast system he learned from Mike Holmgren. Sherman runs a balanced offense using West Coast formations, similar to what Brian Daboll established in Miami. This means the Dolphin offense will have much the same look as we saw in 2011 but with a few wrinkles from the Green Bay playbook. Plenty of 4 and 5 receiver sets with motion on 3 to 5 step drops for a fast-paced quick passing game.
The run game could suffer a bit from Sherman’s use of a zone-blocking scheme not utilized previously in Miami. Zone blocking requires quicker offensive lineman that block an area versus blocking a man. Look for Miami to bring in a number of offensive lineman and players like Vernon Carey will probably be let go. Long, Incognito and Pouncey will remain, but the right side of the line will have new faces.
Coyle began his college coaching career in 1978, after one year as a high school coach, as a graduate assistant at the University of Cincinnati. In 1980, he moved to Arkansas, where he served as a coaching assistant for one year, before moving on for a year at the US Merchant Marine Academy as the defensive coordinator. From 1982 to 1985, Coyle was an assistant coach at Holy Cross, before becoming the team's defensive coordinator from 1986-1990. During his time as the Holy Cross defensive coordinator, the school had the winningest Division I-AA team in the country, going 49-5-1 over those five years. (Wiki)
From 1991 to 2000, Coyle served as defensive coordinator at Syracuse, Maryland and Fresno State. In 2001, Coyle was hired by the Cincinnati Bengals as the team's cornerbacks coach. In 2003, with the hire of Marvin Lewis as the team's head coach, Coyle was promoted to defensive backs coach. Since Kevin Coyle was promoted, the Bengals defensive backs have posted 133 interceptions.
Coyle has coached Pro Bowlers Deltha O'Neal, Tory James, Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall and helped lead Cincinnati to a top-ten defense two of the past three seasons. His experience as a DC in college and 11 years coaching in the NFL have prepared him for the move to defensive coordinator in Miami. The Bengals used primarily a 4-3 defense under Mike Zimmer, but are expected to run a hybrid system using both 3-4 and 4-3 concepts.
The key to the direction of the Dolphin defense will be known with the decision to sign or release Paul Soliai. Without Soliai Miami will not have a seasoned nose tackle and a major cog in the 3-4 defense. Rookies rarely can handle the position as evidenced by how long it took Soliai to become a franchised player. Miami has depth at defensive line but no one player that can replace Soliai. If Soliai leaves as a free agent, Miami will turn to a 4-3 as the primary defense.
The loss of Jason Taylor could also predicate this switch as Miami loses one of its pass rushing LBs. Coyle will also make up for the loss of veteran DB coach Todd Bowles. After years in 3-4 the Dolphin roster could facilitate the change to a 4-3. Coyle is somewhat of an unknown at the coordinator position and Miami will have an advantage early in 2012 as teams try to figure out his schemes.
It’s new dawn in Miami with a new head-coach and two new coordinators. With any regime change, the players will have no history with the staff and there are certain to be personnel changes. The Dolphin offense showed promise under Brain Daboll and the defense played well for Mike Nolan. With a new look and a new attitude, the fans can expect a change from the slow starts as opponents have no history and Miami begins anew.
It will be an interesting season for the Miami Dolphins…