<
>

Three pressing issues facing new Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph

The Miami Dolphins announced last week the hire of defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, who had been the defensive backs coach with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Here are some immediate challenges facing Joseph:

1. Fixing the run defense

Analysis: Joseph’s background is with the back end of the defense. But his biggest issue currently is on the front end and fixing Miami’s 28th-ranked run defense. The Dolphins’ front seven must do a better job of stopping the run next season. Joseph has to figure out the right combination of pressures and run fits to disrupt the running game of opponents. Miami allowed 126.2 rushing yard per game and simply wasn’t tough enough up front. That allowed too many teams to dictate the pace of the game against the Dolphins.

2. Getting the best out of Suh

Analysis: This also ties into the running game. The Dolphins signed stud defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in free agency last year and failed to maximize abilities. Suh played well in stretches, but he wasn’t the consistently dominant force we’ve seen with the Detroit Lions. It's Joseph’s job to study what Suh did well in Detroit and implement those things in Miami.

3. Coaching up young secondary

Analysis: This should be in Joseph’s wheelhouse. The Dolphins have young players in the secondary, particularly at cornerback, who could have bigger roles next season. Brice McCain and Tony Lippett, for example, are a pair of 2015 draft picks who the team may need to count on next season. The Dolphins may also spend a high draft pick on a cornerback. Joseph must develop these players so they can make an immediate impact and help the defense next season.