Miami continues to shed defensive coaches this month - this time it's the defensive coordinator, Paul Pasqualoni.
While not exactly a surprise, this move certainly wasn't written in stone either. The defense wilted down the stretch, that's for sure. But the defense as a whole performed at a level identical to that in 2008 - 3.0% DVOA in 2008 compared to 3.1% DVOA in 2009. In fact, this year's team actually played better down the stretch than the '08 version according to the numbers. And the reason should be clear. The 'D' in DVOA stands for "defense-adjusted." Well, Miami played the third hardest schedule in the NFL this year (7.9% DVOA) compared to the 29th hardest schedule in 2008 (-5.4% DVOA). That should explain a lot right there.
The defense really didn't play much different. The opponents just got a lot harder.
And there is something to be said for continuity. It's highly disruptive to be cycling so many coaches and coordinators through the organization at this pace. It's a lot easier to get improvement from players young and old when they are given the time to get comfortable in a certain scheme and learn its nuances instead of having to pick up a brand new system every other year.
Hopefully, the new defensive coordinator employs a similar 3-4 scheme. At this point, the names being discussed as possible replacements include Al Groh, Romeo Crennel, and Mike Zimmer.