Secondary Coming Together As A Family

Posted Dec 20, 2012

Young defensive backs are coming to the fore due to injuries.

Prior to last Sunday’s home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, defensive backs Bryan McCann, R.J. Stanford and Julian Posey weren’t household names to Miami Dolphins fans – and Dimitri Patterson wasn’t even on the team. How quickly things change.

When both safety Chris Clemons and cornerback Nolan Carroll went down in the first quarter to injury, Stanford and McCann were quickly called into action. Second-year man Jimmy Wilson had to move back to safety for a brief period before Clemons (neck/ribs) returned to the game, which meant Stanford had to take over the nickel back position, and McCann initially had to take over the boundary for Carroll (knee).

As it turned out, Carroll never made it back on the field and hasn’t practiced so far this week, so that prompted the Dolphins to promote Posey from the practice squad and claim Patterson off waivers from the Cleveland Browns. Both players seem up to the challenge, with Patterson thrilled to be playing for his hometown team and the team he grew up rooting for.

“It brought back memories of watching Sam Madison, Patrick Surtain, Brock Marion, Tim Bowens, Jason Taylor, Zach Thomas and Adewale Ogunleye. That was one of the best defenses to me,” Patterson said. “I was a fan no doubt and I watched them and now it’s surreal to me. I’ve been in the league for seven years and this will be my first time playing at Sun Life Stadium so I’m just trying to do some college cramming.”

Patterson has been with five different NFL teams before coming to Miami – Cleveland (2011-12), the Philadelphia Eagles (2009-10), Kansas City Chiefs (2007-08), Minnesota Vikings (2006) and Washington Redskins (2005). He has 12 career starts, 152 tackles (139 solo), five interceptions and 29 passes defensed, with a career-high four interceptions for the Chiefs in 2010.

Dolphins Head Coach Joe Philbin has been impressed with this group of defensive backs since dealing with the group’s first injury earlier in the year to starting cornerback Richard Marshall (back) that landed him on Injured Reserve. All but Patterson are familiar with defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle’s scheme and he has full confidence that each of them will be able to produce if called upon.

“It’s been a good competitive atmosphere for these couple of days,” Philbin said. “Obviously, we’ve been around Stanford and McCann for a while now and those guys both made a nice contribution on Sunday. Posey’s a guy that’s been working his tail off, loves the game, real competitive guy. And then we’re trying to find out as much as we can about Patterson here in a short period of time and see where he’s at.”

Veteran starters Sean Smith, Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons have played an integral role in preparing their backups during practice and Posey credits Smith with bringing up to speed early on the defense. He joined the Dolphins on October 3rd after spending training camp with the New York Jets and all of the 2011 season on their practice squad.

The former University of Ohio standout got to learn from Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in New York before leaning on Smith and the others with the Dolphins. Playing on the scout team against the No. 1 offense also has helped, but Posey revealed the real secret to the secondary’s success.

“From day one since I’ve been here Sean Smith has been nothing but helpful to me. Sean, Reshad, R.J., Clemons, Jimmy and Nolan, they’ve welcomed me in like brothers,” Posey said. “We’ve linked up and spent time off the field also, all of us, and I’ve gotten to know them very quickly. We’re like family and we’re a close-knit group and you can tell these guys are genuine friends, which you don’t see in lots of locker rooms. I really appreciate coming into a situation like this and it made the transition smoother.”

Just how smooth things go for Poser, Stanford, Patterson and McCann will come to fruition this Sunday at 1 p.m.

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