Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bengals' Kevin Coyle emerges as defensive coordinator favorite

New Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is reportedly close to filling one of the primary positions on his staff, as Omar Kelly reports Bengals' defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle left the Senior Bowl to fly to South Florida and interview for the team's vacant defensive coordinator position.

Coyle was the first potential candidate named after Philbin's hiring, mentioned by an NFL Network report over the weekend. Although the two have never coached on the same staff in college or the NFL, they are apparently close friends and FOX Sports' Alex Marvez reports Coyle attended the recent funeral for Philbin's son, who drowned in Wisconsin on Jan. 8.

The 56-year-old Coyle has 35 years of coaching experience at the high school, collegiate, and NFL levels. He has spent the past 11 seasons as a defensive assistant with the Cincinnati Bengals, including the last nine as the team's defensive backs coach.

Coyle would replace Mike Nolan, who spent two years coordinating the Dolphins' defense before taking the same position with the Atlanta Falcons earlier this month.

Although the team got off to a slow start in 2011, Nolan crafted one of the league's better defenses over the past two seasons. The united ranked sixth in yards allowed in 2010 and was the No. 3 run defense this past season.

The addition of Coyle would likely mean major changes for the Dolphins' defense. Although the Dolphins have run the 3-4 scheme for the past four seasons and Philbin himself came from a 3-4 team in Green Bay, it is widely believed he will shift to a 4-3 scheme and Coyle would be a logical choice to implement it. Such a move would impact where many of the Dolphins' front seven players line up and could even impact the team's free agency priorities.

Ben Volin tweeted Tuesday evening that it would be a major upset" if Coyle does not get the job in Miami, and that he is expected to bring Jaguars' linebackers coach Mark Duffner with him. Duffner, 58, has spent the the past six seasons in Jacksonville and a Jan. 20 report had his quoted as saying he wanted to remain with the team under new head coach Mike Mularkey.

Coyle has coached under Duffner at the University of Cincinnati, Holy Cross and Maryland, and also worked with Philbin on the Packers' staff from 2003 to 2005. He would replace linebackers coach Bill Sheridan, who has already been told he will not be retained on Philbin's staff.

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