Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dolphins hire Bill Sheridan to coach inside linebackers

After about a week of speculation, the Miami Dolphin have finally filled their first coaching vacancy of the offseason, hiring Bill Sheridan as inside linebackers coach.

Sheridan replaces George Edwards, who coached the Dolphins' linebackers in some capacity since 2005 before becoming the University of Florida's defensive coordinator earlier this month.

Most recently the New York Giants' defensive coordinator in 2009, Sheridan was fired after just one season on the job after his unit finished the season ranked 30th in the NFL. The Giants lost eight of their last 11 games and missed the postseason, and allowed 40 or more points in five games.

Sheridan was the Giants' linebackers coach from 2005 to 2008 before replacing defensive coordinator Steve Spaguolo, who became the St. Louis Rams' head coach in 2009.

A Detroit native, Sheridan began his coaching career at the high school level, coaching wide receivers, offensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs at Shrine Catholic.

Sheridan joined the University of Michigan's staff in 1985, and followed two years with the Wolverines with stints at Maine, Cincinnati, Army, Michigan State, Notre Dame, and a second stint at Michigan.

In Miami, Sheridan will coach in the 3-4 scheme for the first time as a pro coach, which is why he will focus on the team's inside linebackers, rather than the entire unit. In the scheme, inside linebackers play more as traditional 4-3 linebackers, focusing on run-stopping and coverage of running backs and tight ends.

The Dolphins lack an elite starter among their inside linebackers, as starters Channing Crowder and Akin Ayodele are serviceable but average at best. Backup Reggie Torbor is an extremely overpriced special teams player and not a suitable starter.

With Ayodele and Torbor likely roster casualties in the offseason, the Dolphins will presumably target an inside linebacker in the offseason. Alabama's Rolando McClain and Florida's Brandon Spikes are viewed as the top inside linebackers in the 2010 NFL Draft, while the Arizona Cardinals' Karlos Dansby headlines the free agent market.

Discuss Sheridan's hiring on the forum here!