A day after the Denver Broncos released Mike Nolan as their defensive coordinator, the Miami Dolphins immediately signed the former NFL head coach to a deal. Nolan drastically improved Denver’s defense last season, and plans to do the same for Miami. Nolan replaces Paul Pasqualoni and takes over a defensive unit that surrendered 390 points last season, the third worst in the AFC.
Nolan signed on and jump started the Broncos defense last year, helping Denver to improve to the seventh best defense in the NFL. Before Nolan’s arrival in Denver, the Broncos defense finished a dismal 29th place in 2008. Nolan was also a very successful defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens during 2002-2004.
Nolan’s head coaching experience for the 49ers from 2005-2008 helps add to the overall experience of this coaching staff. During Nolan’s head coaching stint with the 49ers, San Francisco was one of the toughest teams to run against in the NFL. While with the Ravens, Nolan’s defense was consistently one of the best in the league, tied for the NFL lead in takeaways as well as ranking fifth in points allowed and third down percentage.
In another big coaching hire by Miami, Bill Sheridan was named the inside linebackers coach. Sheridan was the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants last season, previously spending the prior four seasons before that as the Giants linebackers coach. Before the gig with the Giants, Sheridan coached the linebackers for one season and defensive line for two seasons while at the University of Michigan.
Both moves will help tighten up a very young and talented Miami defense. Miami head coach Tony Sparano prefers to run a 3-4 defensive scheme, which Nolan used in Denver, San Francisco, and Baltimore. Sheridan brings in his experience as a former defensive coordinator, so both new hires are extremely qualified for their new positions with the Dolphins.
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Written by Josh Souder