This morning I was reading through ESPN RumorCentral, which is a daily ritual that occurs every morning at work. It usually occurs during the time that i'm supposed to be researching leads. I came across a tidbit that is (indirectly) Dolphins-related:
Linebacker Tim Dobbins had an uncertain NFL future after being cut by the Miami Dolphins last week, but we can put that uncertainty to bed. Dobbins has agreed to terms with the Houston Texans, per ESPN news services.
A fifth-round pick in 2006, Dobbins is a stalwart in run defense, and could see some time in relief of DeMeco Ryans or Brian Cushing in the Texans' new 3-4 scheme (or 5-2, as DC Wade Phillips is describing it).
This was interesting to me because it reminds me of an idea that I had earlier this offseason:
What if, because of the insane level of depth and talent along Miami's defensive line, we were able to line up in a "5-2" defense?
The defensive front seven would essentially look like this:
Langford (LE), Odrick/Soliai/McDaniel (DT), Starks (RE)
Dansby, Burnett (LB)
This is a monster front seven. I wonder what the game plan is for the Jets and the Giants (two of the more run-heavy teams the Dolphins will be playing in 2011) on first and second downs when facing this 5-2?
Now, obviously, this formation is missing a key player: Cameron Wake.
Why would the Dolphins want to line up without Wake? Our pro bowl linebacker is only going to get better in his quest to become an every-down linebacker. We obviously want his disruptive capabilities on the field as much as possible. When he is on the field he's always a threat to the quarterback and he is becoming better at blowing up run plays.
But the fact is, he can't play every down. And on first and second down his impact on the game is nowhere near as big as on passing downs. And we have a creative defensive coordinator, known for drawing up complex zone blitz schemes. The question is, who would you rather have on the field in Wake's absence: Ike Alama Francis or Jared Odrick? One of the UDFA's or Tony McDaniel? I'm not mentioning Jason Taylor because he's obviously going to be used purely as a pass rusher.
A 5-2 scheme would obviously be a small part of the Dolphins defensive game plan. I'm bringing it up because the Fins are in a unique situation, with possibly the deepest and most talented defensive line in the NFL. It seems like something that could make an impact. Maybe it could help the Dolphins field the number one defense in the NFL? Especially against the run...
Another interesting point is the flexibility that this scheme provides. Any one of our 3-4 defensive ends can line up as a tackle, and vice versa. Langford can slide inside and Odrick can pass rush. McDaniel can play defensive end and Starks can, of course, slide inside.
I won't even get into the possibilities of a hybrid 3-4/4-3 scheme. The possibilities are endless....