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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins took to the practice field on Tuesday as the team continues to prepare for its next preseason game this weekend against Tampa Bay.
Much of the attention so far during training camp has been paid to the progression of the offense under new coordinator Bill Lazor. After the Dolphins first preseason game against Atlanta however, the defense has found itself under the microscope.
An area that has widely been expected to be the strength of the team, Miami’s defense has plenty of talent.
That was evident on Tuesday as the entire unit was buzzing and making plays all over the practice field.
Following the suspension of starting safety Reshad Jones, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle are working on different options to see what lineup will be the most viable.
“Well, we lost an experienced player [in Reshad Jones],” said Coyle. “But we feel we’ve got capable backups and every team in the NFL is going to deal with situations that arise, whether it be injuries [or] off-the-field issues. And the teams that deal with them the best are the teams that generally end up competing at the end of the season for the playoffs and for the championship.
“We don’t treat this any different than knowing that we’re going to be without a player for a couple of games. And we’ve got to adjust, move forward, and that’s what we plan to do.”
The process started with Miami’s preseason opener against Atlanta and has continued into this week’s practices.
Jimmy Wilson was moved into Jones’ starting role, though there is a possibility that Wilson could move from the strong side safety to free safety, swapping positions with the Dolphins other starting safety, Louis Delmas.
“That’s one of the things we identified when we met and watched the film [from the Falcons game] Saturday morning,” Philbin said. “We are going to move some guys around there and get some different combinations in there, different looks inside and conversely that means different guys would go outside. I would say we are not really at a position to say this is our nickel package.”
During Tuesday’s practice the Dolphins did experiment with switching Wilson and Delmas around, and odds are that they’ll continue getting work in both positions.
Philbin has had a few different defensive backs rotating between the nickel and boundary spots this week. Cortland Finnegan got some work in the nickel and came away with a sack on Tuesday.
Second-year corners Jamar Taylor and Will Davis got some work in both spots as well.
Davis has always had a nose for the ball but that has caught him out of position at times. Taylor has shown to be slightly more consistent in coverage than Davis and it was Taylor that worked as the first team corner when Finnegan was moved to nickel.
“There’s a number of guys at the nickel spot right now,” said Coyle. “Certainly, we’re going to get a little more exposure to Cortland Finnegan who’s been an outstanding nickel throughout his career. Jamar Taylor as well as Will Davis got work in the nickel spot. Michael Thomas has done well inside during the course of training camp. So we have options.”
While players are competing for different positions they always remember that everyone is wearing the same color jersey.
Guys are doing whatever they can to help each other out and that reaches from the veterans to the younger players.
“Oh yeah, you know Grimes, he’s the first one after every play, I swear, up in my face,” Davis said following Tuesday’s practice. “Him and [Cortland Finnegan]. They’re super excited. They expect that out of me, so they’re just happy to get out there and perform too. They want to see me make plays as much as I love seeing them make plays.”
It’s that kind of attitude that has been on display from the entire team. Everyone seems to have the same goal in mind; to make the Miami Dolphins as good as possible from the top of the roster to the bottom.
Those are the kind of things you hear when discussing the better teams in the league, and that’s what the Dolphins are working towards becoming in 2014.
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