Turnover on Dolphins Defensive Staff Leads to Turnovers on the Court

The Miami Dolphins have plenty of new faces running things on the defensive side of the ball, but in trying to force turnovers on the football field, they have been committing them playing basketball.
Dolphins defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver talks to cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) during mandatory minicamp at Baptist Health Training Complex last week.
Dolphins defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver talks to cornerback Jalen Ramsey (5) during mandatory minicamp at Baptist Health Training Complex last week. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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New Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver might run a 3-4 defense on the football field, but his coaching philosophy on the basketball court is another question. Does Weaver run a 2-3 zone like Jim Boeheim did at Syracuse? Man-to-man?

This offseason, Weaver brought in a coaching staff that fit his vision for the Dolphins defense after he replaced Vic Fangio as coordinator.

To bond the old with the new, Weaver and his staff compete in a "very non-athletic" basketball game each Tuesday and Thursday.

"It's pretty ugly, the wives," Weaver said after minicamp practice last week. "The wives are not happy with us right now, because we all come home with injuries. We have a full injury report ... I've got a sleeve on right now, and that is not just from normal wear and tear."

New additions to the defensive staff include linebackers coach Joe Barry, outside linebackers coach Ryan Crowe, and pass game coordinator/ secondary coach Brian Duker, assistant D-line coach Kynjee Cotton, assistant DB coach DeShawn Shead, and defensive assistants Matt O'Donnell and Sean Ryan.

NEW-LOOK STAFF COMING TOGETHER

Austin Clark, a defensive line coach and retainee from the previous staff, said he liked the new faces.

"It's been fun for me," Clark said. "You know, I didn't even know Coach Weaver prior. And I could tell you that he's been phenomenal so far for me ... To me, there's something that element there is great for me as well as, you know, working with new people. Joe Barry has called plays in this league on a couple different teams. He's won a Super Bowl. You know, Brian Duker was in the NFC title game last year ... Ryan Crowe beat us last year, you know, in Tennessee and I had some familiarity with him. So it's been a great group of guys so far."

Depending on who you ask, Weaver or Shead is the best basketball player among the defensive coaches, while Weaver alleged that a certain defensive line coach has not quite played the cleanest game of basketball.

"There's no number of limited fouls," Clark said. "Well, we really should be talking about ... Who are those coaches that are calling frickin' fouls? Like, are they really fouls? You know what I mean? Like, I'm not gonna throw those guys under the bus. But if your [defensive line] coach is not the hardest competitor out there and we're not boxing out and throwing a few elbows, then we're probably doing something wrong."

Head coach Mike McDaniel is pleased with the comradery, and said he has never been "as happy" with his coaching staff as he has been this offseason.

That doesn't mean he will risk his "street cred" by checking in at the staff basketball game.

"I talk a lot of noise and I get like, 'is he a good basketball player?' Step on the court one time and that's all lost," McDaniel said. "It is a mastery of 'shouldn't be doing that athletes' ... I prioritize staff connectivity and just connectivity with everyone in our working orchestration of our profession, players and coaches alike. I have since got the residual results of a team invested in each other that has gotten better every single time that we've done any football activity."


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Michael France

MICHAEL FRANCE