If you weren't convinced the Miami Dolphins were going to overhaul their defense before, then you should realize it now.
The Dolphins fired their defensive coordinator in January and released three starters on Friday: outside linebacker Joey Porter, inside linebacker Akin Ayodele and safety Gibril Wilson. All three started at least 14 games last year, but they won't play for new coordinator Mike Nolan.
Porter's discharge was expected. The Dolphins dumped Porter three weeks ago, but the NFL reversed the move because the Dolphins would have been in violation of the salary cap. The salary cap disappeared on Friday because of the peculiar rules related to the league entering the final year of its collective bargaining agreement.
Wilson and Ayodele ranked second and third on the team in tackles, but as former Dolphins linebacker Kim Bokamper told me recently, they repeatedly gave up big plays because of breakdowns at inside linebacker and safety.
"Forced fumbles, interceptions, fumble recoveries, they just don’t give you any productivity," Bokamper said, "and they got exposed from a coverage standpoint, whether it was a running back out of the backfield or a tight end running down the middle of the field. The blame has to be shared between the linebackers and the safeties."
The Dolphins also could lose free-agent outside linebacker Jason Taylor, a starter for 12 games last year. They reportedly aren't interested in re-signing free-agent nickel back Nate Jones, who started five games.