|06-04-2010, 05:57 AM||#1|
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Former Dolphins not fishes out of water
Former Dolphins not fishes out of water
Four ex-Miami players are familiar with Denver's 3-4 defense.
By Jeff Legwold
The Denver Post
Posted: 06/04/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT
It could be as simple as seeing is believing. As Broncos coach Josh McDaniels and the team's personnel department have gone about constructing a roster, they have stood firm on one of the oldest scouting credos — trust your eyes.
"He saw us a lot every year," Broncos cornerback Andre Goodman said. "And he must have liked what he saw. We did all end up here."
McDaniels has cultivated the ground of his football roots to build a team, acquiring five former New England Patriots to go with one who already was with the Broncos when he arrived — tight end Daniel Graham. But he also has looked south, now with four former Miami Dolphins players, all on defense.
Goodman and safety Renaldo Hill were acquired last year. Cornerback Nathan Jones and linebacker Akin Ayodele were signed this year.
"He saw what we do every year; maybe it's the character of the guys, the quality of the guys, maybe how we played," Hill said. "Coach McDaniels going up against us in Miami twice a year, maybe he just knew what he was going to get.
"And everything you talk about as a defense, any place you are, is always about getting on the same page. Well, if you're already on the same page, in a lot of ways when you start, that helps you progress."
Hill and Goodman were starters for the Broncos last season. Jones has been working as the team's nickel cornerback — the fifth defensive back — of late in offseason workouts. Ayodele is backing up at linebacker and has worked at multiple spots as he continues to learn the defense.
The Dolphins play the same type of 3-4 defensive scheme as the Broncos, all four said, with similar fronts in the defensive line and similar coverage schemes.
"It made it comfortable, an easy choice for me, to have those guys here in this defense," Ayodele said. "And I've known (Broncos linebacker) D.J. (Williams) since he was in college. It all made it an easy transition.
There also is the matter of the Bill Parcells' coaching tree. Parcells, as head coach of the Giants, Patriots and Jets, had current Patriots head coach Bill Belichick as a top assistant on each of those staffs.
And Parcells, now the Dolphins' team president, has the same kind of approach in the draft and free agency in Miami as is being used by the Patriots and Broncos, with McDaniels having been a long-time Belichick assistant.
"I think that's the tree Parcells, Belichick, it's a lot of the same things," Jones said. "I think they're looking for similar players with similar approaches to the game. Professionals."
Jones said he looked to both Hill and Goodman before, as well as after, he signed with the Broncos to learn as much as he could about the situation.
"It just makes it a whole lot easier, kind of like the first day of school," Goodman said. "I think everyone likes to feel like they're in a comfort zone where they work. . . . The more settled you are, the better you're going to play, or at least the closer you're going to play to your full abilities."
"Part of the transition of playing well on the field is sometimes how quickly you get settled off the field," Hill said. "It's hard if you have time where you should be in your playbook but you're on the phone with a Realtor or you're trying to find out where your furniture went and dealing with all of those things. So any help to make any of that better can show up in how you play."
Jeff Legwold: 303-954-2359 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Broncos have four players on defense who previously played together in the Miami Dolphins' 3-4 scheme:
Pos. Player Signed Status
CB Andre Goodman 2009 Starter at right corner
S Renaldo Hill 2009 Starter at safety
CB Nathan Jones 2010 Playing as nickel corner
LB Akin Ayodele 2010 Backup at linebacker
|06-04-2010, 07:54 AM||#3|
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