With the Miami Dolphins' recent coaching regime change, many expected the Dolphins to change from the base 3-4 defensive scheme utilized under previous defensive coordinator Mike Nolan to a 4-3 scheme. But, according to new DC Kevin Coyle, that's not where the Dolphins are headed.
"The days of saying we're going to line up and play a 4-3 or a 3-4 are somewhat distant right now in terms of the way the game has evolved," said Coyle told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
"Keeping the quarterback off-balance, through pressure, through coverage, through disguises, will enable your guys to have more opportunity to make plays. There will be elements of both packages."
In fact the Dolphins are leaning toward remaining a 3-4 base defense - if you want to call it that. The Dolphins actually ran a four man defensive front, with Cameron Wake joining the defensive line with his hand in the dirt, more than any other formation last year.
Miami actually has the flexibility to utilize either scheme. Despite the fact that the Dolphins are not expected to resign Pro Bowl nose tackle Paul Soliai, the team could flex Randy Starks back to the nose tackle position. Starks played there to start the 2010 season, before injuries to the line forced him to move back to defensive end, giving Soliai the nose tackle position.
Wake, despite his being listed as an outside linebacker, is primarily a pass rusher, having been a defensive end in the Canadian Football League prior to joining the Dolphins. Jared Odrick and Tony McDaniel, the other defensive lineman currently on the roster, have both also played in a 4-3 scheme.
Coyle seems happy to keep the team listed as a 3-4 base defense, but will keep the flexibility already in place in Miami. Now the team just needs to find the pass rusher to pair opposite Wake, whether that's with his hand in the dirt, or standing up with the linebackers.