Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan threw exotic blitzes to keep the quarterbacks and offensive linemen off balance.
The end result was six sacks, and one interception of a Tyler Thigpen screen pass that linebacker Charlie Anderson corralled when rookie cornerback Nolan Carroll deflected the ball into the air.
“If you look at the offensive line, you could see those guy’s eyes getting big because they don’t know who is coming from where,” Bell said.
Bell and cornerback Sean Smith sacked backup quarterback Chad Pennington on back-to-back plays.
Defensive end Charles Grant, who is working with the third team in the first week, produced three sacks, and Lionel Dotson managed a sack that negated a beautiful sideline grab from tight end Joey Haynos.
“Made me want to go and play safety, seeing Yeremiah Bell running around like a mad man,” said tight end Anthony Fasano. “If an offense doesn’t study them hard, they are going to have trouble.”
Fasano and his unit should know, considering Nolan’s schemes have given the offense fits all week, consistently applying pressure to the quarterback.
What’s most troubling, or enticing — depending on how you wish to view it — is that the pressure is coming from everywhere. Inside linebacker blitzes. Outside linebacker blitzes. Cornerback and safety blitzes. Defensive line stunts.
“You never know where we’re coming from, and with me and Channing (Crowder) on the inside we can play ‘Mike’ and ‘Moe’ (linebacker spots) and it throws the offense off. Today we had them really confused,” Dansby said.
“That’s how we’re going to blow some people away (this season), I think.”
Last season the Dolphins’ defense produced 44 sacks, which was good enough to finish third in the NFL.
But they were one of the worst teams when it came pressuring quarterbacks, and that’s a category Sparano hoped would improve.
Based on Saturday’s scrimmage it appears the defense is off to good start. Now if only the offense could catch up.