Welcome back to yet another installment of "Around the AFC East". Each week, the four AFC East bloggers from SB Nation get together and interrogate each other about their respective teams (I use the word "interrogate" on purpose - generally, interrogations aren't friendly, and neither are the rivalries between these teams). First up in this week's installment: Matty I, author of The Phinsider.
BR: How comfortable are you with the change at head coach from Nick Saban to Cam Cameron? What are your thoughts on all of the staff changes, and how will the Dolphins' offensive/defensive schemes change in 2007?
The Phinsider: "I'm actually very comfortable with the change at head coach. Cam Cameron was actually the guy I wanted all along to be the next head coach from the moment Saban bolted for Alabama. He's exactly what this team needs: an offensive-minded guy who is innovative on the field and is classy off the field. You can just see how much more relaxed everyone is, from players to management to the media, now that Nick Saban is no longer coach. He knew his stuff, but he just made everyone in and around the organization tense as hell. Without any doubt, I say that Cam is "the guy" to get this team rolling again.
Upon the hiring of Cameron, there were two key things that he did with this coaching staff. First, he hired Terry Shea to be the team's QB coach. Shea is a well-respected "quarterback guy" and, along with Cameron, will only help their rookie quarterback, John Beck, grow into an effective player at the next level. The other key thing Cam did was demote the hated Mike Mularkey from offensive coordinator to tight ends coach. Mularkey was just terrible last year at calling plays. He would abandon the run way too quickly, making this offense one-dimensional. And with poor QB play, it's nearly impossible to win games as a one-dimensional offensive team. Now, Cam will call the plays himself. And why not? He said it best when he officially announced this by saying that play-calling has always been his #1 asset. So why bring in somebody else to do it?
As far as the offensive philosophy, Cam brings his version of the "Air Coryell" offense to Miami. This entails a balanced attack in terms of runs to passes. It also means that in the passing game, they will spread the field, use the 3 and 4 WR sets, and get the tight end and running backs involved often. They will also take their fair share of shots down the field, keeping the defense from crowding the line of scrimmage. This explains why Cam had such an infatuation with the speed of Ted Ginn. Ginn on the same field as (Chris) Chambers will prevent the safeties from cheating up, opening up the running game as well as the underneath passing routes.
Defensively, not much will change thanks to the contract extension given to defensive coordinator Dom Capers. And I love it! Capers will continue to be unpredictable and attempt to confuse the QB before the snap by throwing various looks at him. This is why Jason Taylor is perfect for this defense. He can constantly switch from playing in a 3 point stance to backing up and playing as an outside linebacker. And now with Joey Porter opposite Taylor, Miami's pass rush is going to be as good as ever. If nothing else, this team will be a lot more fun to watch in 2007 than in past years when they were, at times, almost unwatchable."
Poor Mike Mularkey. He's the brunt of a lot of jokes, isn't he? I guess that's what happens when you quit your job as a head coach and within two years are coaching tight ends for a rookie head coach. Miami should have just canned that sorry excuse for an NFL coach and been done with it.
As for the rest of what Matt is saying, it all sounds good before you take into effect that the team's offensive line is still shaky on offense (there goes that passing game to take pressure off of Ronnie Brown). I do think that Dom Capers is one of the better defensive coordinators of the recent era, but it will be interesting to see how he can handle what is predominantly a veteran-laden defense. I'll agree that Miami's coaching staff looks much more promising under Cameron, but by no means is this going to be an instant turnaround.
If you have a question to ask of The Phinsider, Pats Pulpit or NY Landing Strip for future installments of this feature, feel free to e-mail me and I'll do my best to get your question answered.