Miami Dolphins fire defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle
On Day 4 of the Dan Campbell Era, the inevitable became official.
Kevin Coyle is out.
The Miami Dolphins on Thursday fired Coyle, the team’s embattled defensive coordinator; the organization named longtime assistant Lou Anarumo as his replacement.
Coyle is the second Dolphins coaching casualty this week, following head coach Joe Philbin out the door. The Dolphins didn’t go far to find his replacement; Anarumo spent the past four years working on Coyle’s staff as Miami’s defensive backs coach.
“I know [Anarumo] is the right man on this job,” Campbell said. “We see eye to eye on what we need to do defensively going forward.”
Additionally, Jeff Burris has been promoted to assistant defensive backs coach and will work alongside Blue Adams in the secondary room.
Coyle’s termination comes as little surprise. In addition to overseeing one of the worst statistical defenses in the NFL this season, he is unpopular with many of his players. Most were surprised he lasted as long as he did.
But in the end, Campbell — named interim coach Monday — decided a change was in order.
Coyle had presided over a defense that, through four weeks, ranks last against the run (160.5 yards per game), last in sacks (1), 30th in total defense (399.5) and 25th in yards per play allowed (5.9).
Anarumo had worked under Coyle in Miami since 2012. Before that, he spent eight years as the defensive backs coach at Purdue, and also has coached at Marshall, Harvard, Syracuse and elsewhere. The last time Anarumo was a defensive coordinator was 1994, and that was at the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
He is a native of Staten Island, New York, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Wagner.
“We have a committed defensive staff that is going to get this thing turned around,” Anarumo pledged.
Coyle’s firing was bittersweet for some Dolphins players. Although there were some who disliked him, others were fond of him personally, but disagreed with his philosophy. While most believed the change had to be made, some wonder what schematically will be different.
Anarumo, speaking with South Florida reporters Thursday, took a minute to clear up a misconception: The Dolphins have run and will continue to run a one-gap defense, contrary to widespread media reports. Some had speculated that Dolphins players were upset with that aspect of the team’s scheme, which would require the defense to react more than attack.
“This is an aggressive, attacking front,” Anarumo insisted. “… Every one of those guys up front has demonstrated that they can be productive players.”
Still, it hasn’t attacked enough. Despite spending tens of millions on their defensive line, the Dolphins have just one sack this season — fewest in the league. Anarumo’s top job will be to get the most out of Ndamukong Suh, the Dolphins’ high-priced defensive tackle who has yet to make the impact most expected.
The Dolphins in recent days reached out to a number of former NFL coaches, including Jim Schwartz, about joining their staff. But it is not clear if they had been offered the coordinator job or an assistant role, not unlike the one Al Saunders accepted on the offensive side Wednesday.
“I was surprised, but it’s a great opportunity,” said Anarumo, who made a point to thank Coyle. “It’s a little bittersweet for me, but I’m looking forward to making the most of it.”