The Dolphins’ front seven has been stout against the run and has helped ignite the league’s best third-down defense, allowing Miami to enter its bye with a 3-3 record.
The talent in the defensive front has been evident from watching the past two seasons, but there were still questions about how it would adapt to a 4-3 scheme with new coordinator Kevin Coyle, and so far the group has exceeded expectations.
MLB Karlos Dansby switched positions to man the middle — he was on the outside in Arizona’s 4-3 and played inside in Miami's 3-4 the past two seasons, and he spoke with PFW during the team’s bye about his new role and the unit’s early success.
“It’s been a roller coaster if you ask me, going from outside to inside, inside in a 3-4 to inside in a 4-3. Everything changes — techniques, angles to the ball,” he said. “Coach (Joe) Philbin helped me with a new approach. I still have a lot of growth to do at the position. I’m here to learn. Everyday I go out and try not to make the same mistake twice.”
The 6-4, 250-pound Dansby said the new position has kept him "fresh" and explained why he fits the mold of what the team wanted in its new middle linebacker.
“Being in the league nine years, being able to play in a Super Bowl, winning an NFC championship, allowed coach to trust me,” said Dansby, who turns 31 on Nov. 3. “At the end of the day, that’s what you want out of a player, to trust a player to know where he’s supposed to be. The coaches saw that. I’m being where I’m supposed to be, making the plays I’m supposed to make and trying to make everyone around me better.”
Dansby, who has 46 tackles, one sack and three passes defensed this season, has had the fortune of playing behind one of the league’s best, and most underrated, DT duos in Paul Soliai and Randy Starks, who help lead one of the league’s top run defenses.
“Our D-line has been playing exceptional,” Dansby said. “They are playing well together. We’ve been working really hard to play at a high level and it’s correlating to our defense.”
Follow Kevin Fishbain on Twitter