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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain
All of the preseason attention on the Dolphins has centered on the release of WR Chad Johnson and the three-horse battle at quarterback. The QB competition is important, but the staple of this team for 2012 will be the defensive line, which has generally been unheralded this offseason.
New coordinator Kevin Coyle will use multiple fronts, but mainly a 4-3 look, taking advantage of the most talented position group on the team.
“Obviously we’re going to say that,” DE Jared Odrick told PFW when asked if the D-line was the best unit on the Dolphins. “I hope every guy at every position says that about their position. We want everybody to be confident, focused and thinking they’re going to be the best on the field every down.”
Odrick explained how the new defense should benefit the team's D-line.
“Technically speaking, I’m playing in a little bit more space than I’ve been used to. Playing inside as a three-technique or four, lots of decisions need to be made quickly,” he said. “You’re still making a lot of quick decisions at a defensive end spot, (but) there’s more opportunities for me to play in space on the edge. It’s a difference from last year. … I think there’s opportunity for the D-line to make more plays."
Odrick, 24, is entering his third NFL season. He suffered a season-ending injury in Week One of 2010, and returned to play in every game last season, notching six sacks.
“I feel like I’m leaps and bounds from where I was at this point last season,” Odrick said. “In my rookie season, I was behind the 8-ball, coming in never playing in the 3-4 ever in my life. I was playing something totally different. Then I got used to it, got used to the two-gapping scheme. … My second year, I got my feet underneath me and felt a lot better.
“This year, I know what’s coming in terms of the everyday focus that you have to bring to practice and the things that you have to work on.”
Expectations are high for Odrick, who will rush the passer opposite the team’s top defensive player, Cameron Wake. “He’s such a threat off the edge and such an athletic guy at the position,” Odrick said of Wake.
Odrick and Wake bookend DTs Randy Starks and Paul Soliai. “I try not to use the words "veteran savvy," but they've got it,” Odrick said.
Last season, the line helped the Dolphins' defense finish third in the league against the run (95.6 yards per game). Odrick, Wake and Starks combined for 19 sacks last season. If the Dolphins are to be competitive in the division, Odrick and the rest of the D-line will have to live up to its potential.
“Anybody who knows me knows I set very high expectations of myself,” Odrick said. “If you don’t do that, you’re in the wrong business doing it for the wrong reasons.”