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Dolphins DB: Coaches 'handcuffed' defenders in 2015

The Miami Dolphins were a mess in every facet in 2015. The offense was inconsistent, the defense was a major disappointment and the coaching staffs were overwhelmed.

While the offense and quarterback Ryan Tannehill have gotten the majority of the offseason attention for their 2015 performance, the Dolphins' defense was one of the most depressing units in the NFL.

Despite the addition of Ndamukong Suh to a star-studded defensive line and several Pro Bowlers in the secondary, the Dolphins struggled for the balance of the season.

Miami finished ranked 25th in total yards per game allowed, 19th in points per game given up, 25th in sacks, 28th in rush yards per game allowed and 21st in pass yards per game surrendered.

Safety Michael Thomas recently told 120 Sports that the reason for the mediocre play was that the former coaching staff "handcuffed" the defense. Thomas said Dolphins defenders were "limited to how many plays we could call, what type of plays we could call," per the Miami Herald.

That sounds like a mirror of Tannehill's offensive complaints last season.

It was no secret that Dolphins players clashed with former defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. The issues were so deep that it was a surprise when ex-coach Joe Philbin retained Coyle prior to last season. Coyle was swept out in the mid-season regime change. Lou Anarumo took over at the time, but little seemed to change.

New defensive coordinator Vance Joseph -- who has long been groomed for a DC job -- made it clear the unit will "not be so vanilla" in 2016, according to Thomas.

The safety, who started 13 games last season, also blamed the former coaching staff's scheme for Suh's disappointing play after the defensive tackle authored a flop in his first season in South Beach.

"He wasn't put in position to make plays, like a lot of us," Thomas said. "I wasn't put in position to make plays because of injuries, I had to play out of position. We were very vanilla last year. It wasn't all our defensive coaches. We had to work with what we had. It was very vanilla. Other teams knew it was very vanilla.

"This is going to be an entirely different product you see on the field this year."

It's easy to promise change in April. It's another to put it to practice in October.

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