Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After Tony Sparano was fired, and Mike Nolan was not retained by the Miami Dolphins, things were changing quickly for the team. That change may include a completely revamped defensive philosophy.
Under Sparano, the Dolphins ran the 3-4 defense which featured three defensive linemen to occupy blockers and four linebackers to get to the quarterback or running back.
However, according to the Palm Beach Post, Fins general manager Jeff Ireland told his scouts to look for personnel that fit a 4-3 defensive alignment, which would have four defensive linemen and three linebackers.
The shift would be dramatic for the Dolphins, but the team has versatile personnel that could make the transition a little bit easier.
Outside linebacker Cameron Wake would likely shift back to his college position of defensive end.
Kendall Langford, who previously played defensive end, would move to defensive tackle along with Randy Starks and possibly Jared Odrick, though Odrick could get some time on the outside.
In the linebacker corps, Karlos Dansby could be used to man any of the linebacker positions; while Kevin Burnett would likely slide into the strongside linebacker position.
The Dolphins would have to decide if either Kendal Langford, who is a pending free agent, or nose tackle Paul Soliai, also a free agent, would be worth signing to long-term deals in the new defensive alignment.
For Miami, that could dramatically change their free agent and draft approach. The Fins could choose to address the defensive end position by making a big bid on pending free agent Robert Mathis of the Colts, if he’s not franchised.
The Dolphins could also go quarterback in free agency by signing either Matt Flynn or Peyton Manning, if the latter becomes available. That would allow the Fins to draft the best available defensive end in the draft which will likely be North Carolina Tar Heels defensive end Quinton Coples.
However, the Dolphins will likely still retain some elements of the 3-4 defense and possibly run a hybrid system similar to the one used by the New England Patriots.