Here's my thoughts on how to fix the pass defense AND utilize the strengths of our rookie corners.
Note this quote from an analysis by Greg Cosell's Cosell's Coaching Tape 10/26/09
- S Bell is a significant liability in pass coverage, He looks and moves like a LB on film
- Dolphins safeties Bell and Wilson are liabilities in pass coverage
step 1: Start Tyrone Culver and Chris Clemons at safeties (if we use interchangeable strong safety types, can't we use interchangeable free safety types as well?). Keep them well back to give these young players time to react and take away the big play. Expect to see some interceptions on long passes down the field. The main reason they are kept back is to allow Davis and Smith to PRESS COVER their receiver. Use their physical skills to jam their receiver and allow the pass rush time to get to the QB. Both of them are quick enough to recover and run with their receivers downfield. ALSO use one/both Davis and Smith to corner blitz the run or pass (both have enough size to get to the QB or make the tackle on a running back). Instead of having safeties up near the lOS supporting the run (and vulnerable to play action), you have sizeable CBs zipping in to tackle the running back for a loss or sack the QB. Utilizing AGGRESSIVE CBS with size and speed. If Culver and Clemons get tired, bring in Nate Jones and Jason Allen to sub for them as safeties in the deep cover 2 (both Jones and Allen have experience at safety). That way, on a corner blitz, you have two deep corners covering the WRs.
step 2: Alternate Cam Wake and Erik Walden at LOLB (and they can run and cover the TE on occasion if not rushing the passer)...and alternate Jason Taylor and Joey Porter at the ROLB weakside. Alternating will keep the vets (and young guys) fresh and while maintaining one veteran pass rusher available to pressure the QB.
step 3: Do we really need 6 OLBs? Especially 2 inactive for game day? I say cut Charlie Anderson and Quentin Moses and sign Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain. They provide veteran depth at the #5 and #6 CB spots and (in case of injury) can step in and play without a lot of practice reps during the week. You can use them as deep safeties in a "four corners" defense as deep DBs who will take the WR one-on-one when you blitz the CBs at the LOS. Even when they are inactive and not even dressed for games, you can give them Bushnall binoculars (ones with video cameras embedded) and they can spotlight the rookies from the sidelines. Then when the offense is on the field, they sit next to Davis and Smith and go over their technique and improvements, tricks of the trade, and have a live Q&A during the game. No more of this "well we'll have to look at the game film to see what we did wrong" stuff. Here you've got in-game adjustments and corrections and tutoring from former All-Pro Corners. Davis and Smith seem to have good football IQ and do make adjustments and changes in game. Todd Bowles will have his hands full coaching up the new safety tandem of Clemons and Culver. This frees him up to do that while our Rookie Corners get personalized attention from Madison and Surtain.
So what do you think?