DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins continued their organized team activities (OTAs) on Monday from the teams practice facility in Davie. The team has been working diligently on installing a brand new offense under first year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor but the Dolphins defense is entering its third year under defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle and has been growing with each passing day.
Miami added a pair of new defensive backs through free agency in Louis Delmas and Cortland Finnegan. Both have had some injury problems in recent years but entered camp looking to put those issues behind them and so far the results have been promising.
“Two great additions. Veteran players that have a lot of energy, a lot of emotion, a lot of enthusiasm for the game and they’re very very smart, instinctive guys,” said Kevin Coyle earlier during OTAs. “They compete each and every play. They’ve been a pleasure to coach. They’ve been a pleasure in the meeting room.”
Coyle went on to say, “I think they’re going to bring an energy, a toughness, a fierce competitiveness that a lot of our guys already have, but I think they’ll raise the level of that with the people around them. They are two exciting prospects coming into this season.”
Finnegan has played at an elite level throughout his career but is coming off of a rough 2013 season with the St. Louis Rams in which injuries limited him to just seven games. He finished the season on injured reserve with a fractured orbital bone but has come to the Dolphins looking to start a new chapter of his career and has been impressing early on.
“I love the way, first and foremost, that he’s fit into the chemistry of the defense,” said Coach Joe Philbin about Finnegan. “He’s a very passionate player. He’s a guy that comes to work every single day with purpose. He practices hard every day.”
It looks like Finnegan will be competing with second year cornerbacks Jamar Taylor and Will Davis for the starting spot opposite Brent Grimes. Grimes went to the Pro Bowl in 2013 before signing a four-year extension with the Dolphins.
Taylor has been standing out during OTAs and could be Finnegan’s main competition for that second starting role. Last season was a very difficult one for Taylor as he always seemed to be behind the proverbial 8-Ball.
A second round draft pick in 2013, Taylor was dealing with kidney issues and a sports hernia throughout last offseason. A bevy of injuries during the regular season limited him to just 40 snaps on defense but Taylor came into camp this year completely healthy and is showing why he was worth the 54th overall pick in last years draft.
Davis was selected in the third round of the 2013 draft and looked good in the early stages of training camp before suffering a toe injury during the Dolphins fourth preseason game against Tampa Bay. It was a nagging injury that plagued him for most of the season, keeping him inactive for all but five games and limiting him to a total of 64 defensive snaps.
Now that both Davis and Taylor are healthy and competing, the Dolphins could be entering the 2014 season with more depth at cornerback then anytime in the last 10-15 years. It’s still only June but early indications are that the pair of sophomores are poised to make a big jump now that they are both 100-percent healthy.
“Every day, we are seeing significant improvement from both Will and Jamar,” said Coyle. “I think they are both more confident out there. They are competing. They are communicating. You can just see the confidence growing from day-to-day.”
Last season the Dolphins showed a lot of promise but had too many roster obstacles to overcome. New General Manager Dennis Hickey has done a good job addressing those issues and if that continues to hold true we could be in for a very fun season down here in Miami.