Joseph Has Made An Immediate Impression

Posted Jul 7, 2016

The Dolphins defensive coordinator managed to make a quick impression on those Dolphins players who had never before played under him.

Just as analysts everywhere agreed that Adam Gase’s time to become a head coach had arrived when the Dolphins hired him in that role, the same held true for Vance Joseph when he earned his first job as an NFL defensive coordinator.

As the Dolphins went through the offseason program, Joseph proceeded to demonstrate the attributes — the take-charge personality, the attention to detail, the high standards he set — that had led everyone to that conclusion.

“VJ is brilliant,” linebacker Jelani Jenkins said. “That’s the one thing I can say. He’s brilliant and he’s passionate and you can feel it. I think he commands the defense and when he’s in front of the room, everyone’s listening. He has a great track record and he obviously knows what he’s talking about. I think we’re learning a lot and understanding just the why behind why we do things. I think he’s definitely the right guy for the job.”

Joseph joined the Dolphins coaching staff this offseason after spending the past 10 seasons as a defensive backs coach, first with the San Francisco 49ers and then with the Houston Texans and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Gase first crossed paths with Joseph when he was an offensive assistant with the 49ers in 2008, which was Joseph’s third season as DB coach in San Francisco.

New Dolphins defensive tackle Chris Jones also has history with Joseph from their time together in Houston.

“I think he’s great,” Jones said. “He’s very straightforward with us as a defense, very realistic (with) what he has in store for us. I think what he expects out of us is (for) us to be great. That’s the thing you need in defensive coordinators. They need to have high expectations, and he has those. I think he does a great job of pushing us every day.”

Joseph also managed to make a quick impression on those Dolphins players who had never played under him.

“Great coach,” defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said. “Great personality. (I) enjoy being around him (and) love talking to him. I’m learning a lot from what he has and brings to the table.”

“Man, it’s great,” safety Michael Thomas said. “He just wants guys that are going out there and compete. He holds everybody to a high standard and he’s not afraid to tell you the truth. That’s great when you’ve got guys trying to prove themselves.”

Joseph, who played two NFL seasons with the Jets and Colts in the mid-1990s after being a quarterback at the University of Colorado, might have become a defensive coordinator last year had it not been for the Bengals denying him permission to interview with the Denver Broncos.

Like Gase, he clearly was a hot coaching prospect.

Like Gase, part of the offseason program for him entailed adjusting to a first-time role.

“It’s different,” he said. “At first, I couldn’t find a spot to keep myself busy, but now I float from spot to spot (on the practice field). But it’s important to be detailed. If you’re going to play great defense, it’s always the fine, small points that you have to perfect. That’s (in) every position. That’s football. It’s a game of inches, literally.”

As a longtime defensive backs coach, Joseph said that was the first area he checked out during practice before moving over to the linebackers.

Joseph said he didn’t spend much time with the defensive line, in large part because of the presence of veteran assistant coaches Terrell Williams (defensive line coach) and Jim Washburn (senior defensive assistant/pass rush specialist).

Wherever he was, though, Joseph was consistent with his enthusiasm and his constant communication.

“High energy,” Gase said. “I know those guys are being held accountable, for sure. You look at the effort and the energy that the defense is playing with, especially up front, the way these guys are running the ball, the way that they’re coaching this thing, seeing these guys move every day, it’s impressive.”
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