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    How Will the Miami Dolphins Use New D-Lineman Calais Campbell?

    Six-time Pro Bowler Calais Campbell should improve the Miami Dolphins' defense in a very specific (and important) way.

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    Published on June 14, 2024 | 5:57 PM EDT

    MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Savvy observers probably didn’t need any added clues to suss out what system Anthony Weaver plans to run as the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator.

    But if they did, Thursday night’s news should remove any doubt.

    Calais Campbell’s Role in the Miami Dolphins Defense

    Weaver is implementing a variation of the Baltimore Ravens defense — an attacking scheme that utilizes odd-man fronts — and he seems to believe former Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell was Miami’s missing piece.

    Campbell agreed to a free-agent contract with the Dolphins on Thursday. What are the Dolphins getting in one of the NFL‘s most accomplished active defensive linemen?

    Just ask Wink Martindale, Weaver’s former boss in Charm City.

    “The best five-technique in the National Football League,” Martindale said in 2020 after the Ravens acquired Campbell in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Now, it would be unfair to expect 38-year-old Campbell to be the same player as his 34-year-old self (who made his sixth Pro Bowl in his first year with Baltimore).

    But it’s totally fair to expect Campbell to play a similar role in Miami that he did with the Ravens (with presumably a lighter workload).

    Campbell is a true 3-4 defensive end, or a five-technique, who has position flexibility but will usually line up just wide of the opposing offensive tackle’s outside shoulder.

    Campbell — who has 105.5 career sacks and 254 career quarterback hits — gives the Dolphins yet another proven pass rusher and a bit more insurance as Jaelan Phillips and Bradley Chubb continue to rehab major injuries.

    If Phillips and Chubb are unavailable for the start of the season, the Dolphins should be able to get by with Campbell, Shaq Barrett, Chop Robinson, and Mohamed Kamara.

    Further, Campbell should also be a big help against the run.

    Christian Wilkins was one of the team’s best run defenders, and while it would be ambitious to expect Campbell alone to fill that hole, his signing strengthens what is expected to be a collective effort.

    Campbell is one of eight new defensive linemen added this offseason. The others include Neville Gallimore, Jonathan Harris, Benito Jones, Teair Tart, Mario Kendricks, Isaiah Mack, and Leonard Payne.

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    Expect four or five of them to make the team, with specific roles in Weaver’s scheme.

    “I think you need to have the right balance of guys that I like to call grinders,” Weaver said last week. “Guys who go [out] there and change the math in the middle, whether that’s with mass or elite technique. And then you need those guys that are kind of in between, that are tweeners, guys that can both do that yet are athletic enough and have the skill set to both win and pass rush, whether that be with power or finesse.

    “You’re always looking for the right balance and combination of that and making sure you have enough of each. I think we have that. I think a lot of the guys may not necessarily be household names, but I think they’re all guys that have had a taste of production in this league and their best years are probably yet to come.”

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