The Miami Dolphins have added players this offseason that will surely be upgrades, but the secondary remains a massive area of concern (for me anyway). Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle spent a decade coaching up the Cincinnati Bengals secondary and in that span the Bengals were top-10 for interceptions. The 2012 Dolphins struggled mightily to create turnovers, and in the last nine seasons this defense averages a measly 13 interceptions annually and they average being ranked 21st in the NFL for picks. Even more disturbing is the fact that it has been the safeties, linebackers, and yes even defensive ends (Jason Taylor for example) getting the majority of those picks.
In the last nine seasons, Andre’ Goodman had the only legit season for a Dolphins cornerback when he snatched five interceptions back in 2008. Vontae Davis had four interceptions twice, and Jason Allen had three interceptions twice. Pretty underwhelming list, pretty underwhelming ability to create game changing INTs.
In 2008, Miami was 8th in the NFL with 18 interceptions. That is their only legit INT season lately and not a coincidence that 2008 was the only time in recent memory where the ‘Phins won the AFC East.
In 2012, Miami earned an interception in just seven games, and they went 4-3 in those tilts (that projects to a nine win season, rare these days for the Dolphins). In the nine games where Miami earned zero INTs, they went a putrid 3-6 (five win season pace).
There are several veteran CBs available currently in free-agency, but it does appear that Miami will use the draft to address the position. Nolan Carroll, R.J. Stanford, and Richard Marshall are the only somewhat legit CBs returning to the Dolphins, and that is a very underwhelming (if not downright poor) list. I hope that Jeff Ireland will not only draft a pair of corners, but I would also love to see a veteran addition too. Brent Grimes, Mike Jenkins, DeAngelo Hall, and Nnamdi Asomugha are all likely expensive long-shots to be added by Miami, but there are still several vets like Antoine Winfield, Quentin Jammer, Sheldon Brown, Tracy Porter, Rashean Mathis, Jacob Lacey, and Joselio Hanson that are available. None of these guys are necessarily difference makers, but any of them could add veteran depth to the position (plus act as examples/mentors for the one or two rookie CBs that Miami will surely draft).
In the AFC East, the Dolphins average less than one INT per game vs the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. They do get one or more vs the Buffalo Bills, but the Bills have jettisoned their terrible QB so they cannot rely on Ryan Fitzpatrick turning over the ball anymore. In 2013 Miami will see Tom Brady twice, plus Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Andy Dalton, and Cam Newton so having cornerbacks that cannot create game changing INTs will be a sure concern for Joe Philbin and Coyle.