The 2009 NFL Draft was supposed to be a banner day for Miami Dolphins fans. Corner-backs Vontae Davis (1st Round) and Sean Smith (2nd Round) were added to the roster and going to be the CB duo going forward. A CB duo who could dominate like former Dolphins Patrick Surtain and Sam Madison. The results have been poor. Both have underachieved. With each player entering their 4th season significant steps forward are required, and expected.
New Defensive Coordinator Kevin Coyle comes over from the Cincinnati Bengals and has a history of getting solid play from his groups. A reason for optimism is Coyle’s defensive-backs traditionally get a ton of Interceptions. His defense will ask the CB’s to play a lot of man-to-man, island-style.
In the 3 Seasons that Davis/Smith have been the CB’s the pass defense has finished near the bottom of the NFL twice, and interceptions are few and far between. Last 2 Seasons in particular the Miami Defensive-backs are practically inventing new ways to mess up would-be INT’s. Surely not all of that is on just Davis/Smith, but they are the starters, and are in on the vast majority of plays so they certainly need their game raised to the next level.
Despite the fact that Davis had just 1 interception in 2010, he proclaimed he and Smith to be “best tandem in the League” entering 2011 (It was even a fluke INT that was a Brett Favre ball batted in the air where numerous players had their hands on it, somehow in the crazy mix Davis ended up with the ball). Career-wise Davis has 36 starts, 44 games, with just 9 INT’s. More often than not it will be Vontae Davis lined up against the oppositions número uno WR.
The term “technique” almost seems like a mantra for Davis in 2012. He is 5’11” and gifted. He believes technique is crucial in the NFL, and going into his 4th season he is working hard (as are all ‘Phins defensive-backs) to improve his.
Davis got his contract extension in 2009. This is a contract year for Sean Smith. At 6’3″ Smith is the tallest defensive-back in Dolphins history, and it looks like he has added muscle since last season. His career #’s are underwhelming. 40 starts, 47 games, a measly 3 INT’s. Like Davis, Smith is also just 24, but much more is needed from this former Utah Utes star. Smith was on the other side of the ball in High-school, and even to begin his college career (wide receiver and running back). It has only been since 2007 that Smith has become a cornerback. Still, this is the NFL and season número 4 needs to be a good one.
If healthy, these 2 will start all 16 Games for the Miami Dolphins, which includes Andre Johnson, Denarius Moore, Tebow-Mania, Larry Fitzgerald, and A.J. Green right out of the gate. 2012 could well prove to be a make-or-break season for the duo that had Miami buzzing in 2009.