Sunday, October 2, 2022

Dolphins retain Austin Clark as D-line coach, another defensive assistant finds next landing spot

Dolphins retain Austin Clark as D-line coach, another defensive assistant finds next landing spot

New Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel’s defensive staff under coordinator Josh Boyer continued to take shape on Friday morning with the retention of defensive line coach Austin Clark, a league source confirmed to the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

The Dolphins, who have been interested in keeping members of last year’s defensive staff, also lost former outside linebackers coach Rob Leonard on Friday. He accepted the same role as outside linebackers coach of the Baltimore Ravens, according to multiple reports, including The Athletic, ESPN and NFL Network. Clark remaining on the staff was first reported by the Miami Herald.

Clark first joined the Dolphins in 2020 as outside linebackers coach but was then promoted to defensive line coach for the 2021 season.

Clark led a group up front that was critical in Miami’s turnaround midseason last year. Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins led all NFL defensive linemen in tackles with 89. Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah was Miami’s sack leader with nine, and defensive tackles Raekwon Davis and Zach Sieler were key cogs in the unit’s play.

Leonard had three different roles in three seasons in Miami that coincided with ex-coach Brian Flores’ tenure at the helm. In 2019, he was the Dolphins’ linebackers coach. He moved to assistant defensive line coach in 2020 and then outside linebackers in 2021.

Last season, Leonard coached a group with the Dolphins that included rookie Jaelan Phillips as he set a team rookie sack record with 8 1/2. He also helped Andrew Van Ginkel take another step at the position in his third season and even had inside linebacker Jerome Baker rotate over to the edge at times.

Leonard is the second Dolphins’ assistant coach to head to Baltimore this offseason, joining last year’s co-offensive coordinator, play caller and tight ends coach George Godsey, who became the Ravens’ tight ends coach.

According to NFL Network, the Dolphins allowed most of their assistants search for other jobs while Miami’s head coach search was going on.

Leonard represents a second key assistant that won’t remain on the staff after defensive backs coach Gerald Alexander was fired on Thursday. Alexander also interviewed for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive coordinator opening before it was filled.

On the defensive side of the coaching staff, the status of linebackers coach Anthony Campanile and cornerbacks coach Charles Burks remains to be seen.

The offensive staff is expected to be overhauled by McDaniel, who has already hired Jon Embree as tight ends coach and assistant head coach and Wes Welker as wide receivers coach. Both held the same roles with the San Francisco 49ers while McDaniel coordinated the offense last year under coach Kyle Shanahan. McDaniel retained Dolphins special teams coordinator Danny Crossman in the same role.

Nation World News Desk
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