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What the defense could look like under Weaver

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by Finatik, Feb 6, 2024.

  1. Finatik

    Finatik Season Ticket Holder Staff Member Club Member

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    Let’s dive into Weaver’s scheme tendencies to see what the Dolphins defense could look like under his watch.

    Player Development
    When the Dolphins and Fangio parted ways, one of the reasons we heard about was that Fangio lacked a “collaborative” process. Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel released a statement about Weaver on Saturday and in that statement, he emphasized player development and an aligned vision.

    "I am excited to add Anthony to our staff, not only for what he will bring to the Dolphins as a teacher and coach but even more so who he is as a leader of men," McDaniel said. "He has a proven resume of success, built on his personal investment in his players. Most importantly, he shares our belief that player development is the cornerstone to both team building and sustained excellence. Through conversations with him and those who have worked with him, it became clear that we have aligned values in football philosophies and coaching."

    Weaver’s development of helping defensive linemen is an appealing part of his profile. He’s coached six Pro Bowlers: Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Marcell Dareus and Justin Madubuike, who made the Pro Bowl and was a second-team All-Pro in 2023.

    Madubike’s development is the one Dolphins fans should pay attention to. The Ravens selected Madubuike in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft. As a prospect, Madubuike was incredibly talented, but he lacked consistency.

    Under Weaver’s tutelage, Madubuike became one of the NFL’s best interior disruptors. The young defensive lineman finished 2022 with 13 sacks, the most by any interior defensive lineman this season.

    If Christian Wilkins re-signs with Miami this offseason, he could be one of the biggest beneficiaries of Weaver’s coaching. If Wilkins leaves, Weaver already has proven he can get the most from young defensive linemen.

    Getting improved play from young players is essential, but so is finding spots for aging veterans to be successful role players. Clowney was a key cog in the Ravens’ defense this past season despite not signing with the team until August.

    His 9.5 sacks tied his career high set in 2017 when Weaver was his defensive line coach in Houston. Getting that kind of production from Clowney in his age-30 season is one of Weaver’s underrated accomplishments.

    Scheme Preview
    Predicting what Weaver’s defense will look like at this stage is quite tricky. He served as Houston’s defensive coordinator for one season (2020), and that defense was almost the complete opposite of what the Ravens did in 2023 under Mike Macdonald.

    When Weaver coordinated the Texans, they finished 26th in point differential, 30th in total yards, and 32nd in takeaways. Those aren’t great numbers, but it’s important to remember the Texans battled heavy injuries and struggled in all facets that season.

    Instead of focusing on the outputs themselves, comparing the 2020 Texans’ defensive tendencies to the 2023 Ravens’ is probably more informative.

    Houston primarily ran a 4-3 defense, lining up that way 22 percent of the time, which was good for the fifth-highest rate in the league, according to Sports Info Solutions.

    On the back end, Weaver’s Texans used a single-high shell 62 percent of the time, good for seventh in the league. While that usually indicates heavy man coverage usage, the Texans only used man coverage for 34 percent of their total snaps.

    The Texans mostly used a 4-3, one-high safety structure and stacked the box more often than other teams while maintaining coverage versatility.

    The 2023 Ravens could not be more different. Baltimore ran 48 percent of their snaps from a 3-3-5 alignment, the second-most in the league. The Ravens rarely played with a stacked box last season, ranking fifth in light box usage rate.

    Additionally, Baltimore deployed the third-most two-high shells in the league and only blitzed 18 percent of the time compared to the Texans’ 32 percent.

    What does this mean for Weaver’s defense in Miami? Ideally, Weaver should lean more on what he learned with the Ravens this season.

    Macdonald’s defense got him a head coaching job, and new Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh is bringing Macdonald’s top disciple, Jesse Minter, to Los Angeles for next season. That defense will start sweeping across the league if it performs well again in 2024.

    However, Weaver’s experience with the Ravens and Texans means there isn’t a defensive philosophy he isn’t comfortable with. Weaver should incorporate some of what he did in Houston with the Ravens’ core concepts.

    Trying to create an exact copy of what the Ravens did last season would be a fool’s errand. Baltimore had elite, versatile players like Kyle Hamilton and Roquan Smith, who allowed the Ravens to use light boxes without getting gashed in the running game.

    Miami has its own batch of great players like Jalen Ramsey and Jevon Holland, but they’re different from the Ravens’ duo, meaning Miami’s scheme should be different, too.

    With his vast scheme experience, there are a million different directions Weaver could go. Our best guess is the Dolphins continue to use two-high shells and a light box, two areas where they ranked in the top four last season.

    However, Weaver’s defense could be more aggressive in blitzing. The Dolphins blitzed on 20 percent of snaps last season, but that was mostly with top pass rushers Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb.

    With both players coming off significant surgeries and Weaver’s heavy-blitz background in Houston, it makes sense that the Dolphins’ blitz rate could rise next year.

    Regardless, Weaver has the background and pedigree to be a successful defensive coordinator for the Dolphins. It’s just a matter of whether he can put the pieces together in time to compete at a high level this season.
     
    OwesOwn614 likes this.
  2. dolphin25

    dolphin25 Well-Known Member

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    never understood playing zone last year with 2 of the best press corners on the team.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2024
  3. Striking

    Striking Junior Member

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    If the Dolphins can replicate what the Ravens do in developing d-linemen and signing low cost vets who outproduce their contacts we'll be formidable. I have faith Weaver will be able to do that.
     
  4. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    There was a lot wrong with that pric last year
     
    Csonka Marino and dolphin25 like this.
  5. tirty8

    tirty8 Well-Known Member

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    I think that you are right as far as rocking the 4-3, but it is really hard to envision what our defense is going to look like because a lot of our roster is in flux right now.

    A few things to consider -

    How we start the year might not at all be the vision of our defense. With Chubb and Phillips being question marks for the start of the season, we might have to make do with lesser talent at edge.

    LB - This is really what excites me about having a Baltimore style defense, but Baker is almost certainly gone, and we could lose Long, Reilly, and Van Ginkel. At the moment, this unit is really up in the air, and it is difficult to project anything.

    DBS - I think we have a ton of talent in this area, but losing Howard is almost a certainty. I think Kader is pretty solid, but if you ask too much from him, you could get burned. You spoke of talent development. It would be a godsend to see Cam Smith out there starting week 1. I heard that he had a good training camp, and I was disappointed to see not see him out of the field.

    DL - This is another scary situation. Seiler might be our only returning linemen. I have made peace with Wilkins leaving. If Davis stays or goes, I am impartial.

    I think what makes Mikey special is that he schemes to the talent he has and doesn't ask players to play beyond their capabilities. I hope this philosophy can extend to the defense. I am anticipating some holes that we need to cover up.

    Lemme also offer a bit of spin to this situation. I think that the biggest positive of this defensive rebuild is that Weaver is going to be getting his guys as opposed to having to make other people's guys work in his system. These are oftentimes two very different things. The only downfall is that these guys will likely have to come on the cheap.
     
    dolphin25 likes this.
  6. Fishhead

    Fishhead Well-Known Member

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    I agree we will probably lose Baker, but I hope we keep Long and AVG. Reilly should be one of the most easily upgraded positions on the team.
     
  7. jdallen1222

    jdallen1222 Well-Known Member

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    Due to injuries, the majority of the season one or both of them were out and we got Apple and Kohu instead.
     
  8. dolphin25

    dolphin25 Well-Known Member

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    I'm really wanting Davis to stay. His size and body are crazy. IF this new DC is really that good with DL, he could make Davis an All-Pro
     
  9. dolphin25

    dolphin25 Well-Known Member

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    We had seven or 8 games with both of them. Either way, I would still want to play press then a soft zone.
     
  10. Finatik

    Finatik Season Ticket Holder Staff Member Club Member

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    New Dolphins defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver says the defense he coaches in Miami will be a lot like the one he coached as an assistant in Baltimore the last three years.

    “The scheme that we used in Baltimore is extremely multiple and flexible, and the foundation of what we’re going to do here will be from that,” Weaver said.

    Weaver said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is one of the two greatest influences on him, along with Romeo Crennel, whom Weaver worked with on the Texans. And Weaver said it’s less about the Xs and Os than about how a coach treats players.

    “Coach them hard and love them up. Usually when you do that, they tend to respond for you,” Weaver said.

    Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said that when seeking a new defensive coordinator he was seeking first and foremost the right fit on a personal level, and Weaver said that he and McDaniel share beliefs about coaching that will make them a strong team.
     
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  11. texanphinatic

    texanphinatic Senior Member

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    Probably depends on Wilkins. If Wilkins is back, we won't have the money or snaps Davis wants. If we lose Wilkins, then it potentially opens up. Word is he wants a bigger roll as much as he wants money.
     
  12. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    If they don’t bite as pups
     
  13. dolphin25

    dolphin25 Well-Known Member

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    Not aware of Davis complaining about his snaps this year. Word is Davis wants to return.
     
  14. OwesOwn614

    OwesOwn614 Well-Known Member

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    Fishhead likes this.
  15. Sceeto

    Sceeto Well-Known Member

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  16. danmarino

    danmarino Tua is H1M! Club Member

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    Nonsense. Extending or restructuring contracts never helps the cap.

    Or so I’ve been told from some around here. lol
     
  17. dolphin25

    dolphin25 Well-Known Member

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    No one ever said that. Not a single person said contracts could not be redone.
     
  18. danmarino

    danmarino Tua is H1M! Club Member

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    And yet you seem to not realize those things help the cap.

    When the Dolphins are somewhere between $50m and $80m under the cap will you stop whining? Will you admit that your hyperbole and handwringing wasn’t needed? Will you admit that you have no clue how the cap works?
     

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