Defense gets its man

It took a while, but the Dolphins finally got their defensive coordinator on Tuesday when they hired Detroit Lions assistant head coach Richard Smith. The Dolphins also announced specific assignments for some of their new assistant coaches, as well as extending tender offers to restricted free agents Seth McKinney and Dario Romero.

The big news first. Smith was hired after new head coach Nick Saban reportedly was turned down by a couple of candidates, including former New England secondary coach Eric Mangini and former Houston Texans defensive line coach Todd Grantham.

Smith and Saban coached together with the Houston Oilers in 1988 and 1989 before Saban left to join Bill Belichick's staff in Cleveland.

Before joining Detroit in 2003, Smith spent six seasons in San Francisco as linebackers coach, and during that time 49ers linebackers Julian Peterson, Winfred Tubbs, Ken Norton Jr. and Lee Woodall all made the Pro Bowl.

"Richard is an outstanding coach who has been in the NFL for 17 years," Saban said in a statement released by the Dolphins. "He is one of the most respected coaches in the league, who possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience. I coached with him in Houston in 1988 and 1989, and I've always thought he was one of the best coaches I've had the chance to work with."

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On to the coaching assignments. Derek Dooley will be tight ends coach; George Edwards will be linebackers coach; Travis Jones will be assistant defensive line coach; Will Muschamp will be assistant head coach/defense; Dan Quinn will coach the defensive line; and Bobby Williams will coach the running backs.

In addition, Muschamp will work with the Dolphins safeties and the nickel package.

As for the restricted free agents, they were tendered at the lowest level, meaning the Dolphins have the right to match any offer sheet or get as compensation a draft pick equivalent to where McKinney and Romero were selected.

That means the Dolphins would get a third-round pick for a team signing McKinney but wouldn't get anything if they declined to match an offer to Romero, who came into the league as an undrafted free agent.


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