Head coach Joe Philbin of the Miami Dolphins spoke at the annual meetings down in Orlando, Fla. this morning and revealed a few interesting tidbits. One of the biggest topics this offseason has been in regards to the status of Mike Pouncey. Philbin told the local media that he strongly believes in Pouncey and knows he’s a good man and player. In addition, Philbin said that he hasn’t heard anything that would make him concerned about Pouncey possibly being suspended for a few games.
This is obviously great news. With four new starters on the offensive line, they will need time to gel and work together. If Pouncey is suspended for a long period of time, chemistry will be negatively impacted. It takes on an even bigger focus because Pouncey is the center and he is the one who sets all of the calls and blitz pickups at the line. While someone like Nate Garner or Sam Brenner can do an average job filling in for Pouncey on gameday, there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes that will affect the entire offensive line.
Philbin also talked about the running back position and said the Knowshon Moreno is a good player and that they will see how things shake out. At the same time, he said that he believes in Lamar Miller and that he considers him the starter. According to Philbin, Miller has the three things needed in a running back – the ability to run, catch and pass protect. In a somewhat interesting statement, Philbin said that he may have over-coached Miller by focusing on ball security too much, which leads Philbin to believe that the lack of broken tackles has something to do with that.
As I have mentioned in this article about Moreno and this article about Maurice Jones-Drew, the Dolphins have some decisions to make. Moreno would be a great third-down back and would be an immediate upgrade over Daniel Thomas. However, his stats and grades aren’t that much better than Miller’s. As far as Jones-Drew goes, he is an immediate upgrade over all of the current running backs but he would only make sense if he was being brought in to take over the starting position. If Moreno doesn’t sign with the Dolphins, expect them to draft a running back in the middle rounds to replace Thomas.
Philbin also seemed to squash any Dion Jordan trade rumors. He said that he considers Jordan a defensive end and expects him to make a significant jump in 2014. He also said that he didn’t know where rumors were coming from that the team was disappointed in Jordan’s development. When asked what the reason was for not playing Jordan much, Philbin said he was never able to fully catch up after missing the preseason with a shoulder injury.
A year after trading up in the draft to select Jordan number three overall, it would make zero sense for the Dolphins to trade Jordan and it seems now we have a bit more clarity on the situation. Whenever Jordan was on the field last year, he was a force to be reckoned with. He was able to effectively rush the passer and disrupt their rhythm. If he wasn’t doing that, he was covering a tight end, which he seemed to excel at. If the Dolphins find the right way to use him, he can be a huge asset to the defense and be one of the missing pieces of the puzzle.
Philbin also spoke about Cortland Finnegan and what it means for the cornerback position. He said that Finnegan will compete with Will Davis and Jamar Taylor for the spot opposite Grimes.
In my article here, I explained why Taylor is primed to have a breakout year. It is true that in the second year, most cornerbacks drastically improve. I expect Taylor to do leading up to the season and have a very good year. I do think Davis is a bit raw still and ultimately, Finnegan should end up locking down the nickel position.
Philbin’s remarks today helped shed clarity on many different situations surrounding the team and it seems that he has learned from his past mistakes and will work to correct them this coming season.