Is Bobby McCain Playing Out Of Position?

One of my favorite players on this Miami Dolphins defense is Bobby McCain. He’s come along way from being a 5th round pick out of Memphis in the 2015 draft. He tough, a scrappy player, and gives you everything he has when he steps on the field. He has also become one of the leaders of this Dolphins defense.

However, I feel McCain is playing out of position at free safety. McCain, before head coach Brian Flores got here, was one of the best nickel cornerbacks in the league. He would cover the slot receiver and did a good job in that role, but when Brian Flores got here, he wanted McCain like other players to play multiple positions to be more versatile. It’s fine Flores wants his players to play multiple positions, but is Bobby McCain playing out of position?

McCain has played a total of 13 games at the free safety position and the results have been pretty mixed, to say the least. McCain is responsible for the communication at the back end of the defense where players need to be, but several times this year there have been busted coverages or McCain being the last line of defense has been out of position to make a play.

In the week 2 game against the Buffalo Bills, McCain was caught out of position on a deep pass that resulted in a touchdown that put the game away for the Bills.

The Dolphins have also had lots of problems with deep crossing routes leading to some big gains for the receivers.

The other thing with McCain is that McCain isn’t very big at 5’11” and 196lbs. Is McCain going to be able to hold up in those big collisions? Last year, he separated his shoulder in the 3rd preseason game and it was an injury that cut short his 2019 season. Last week, he came in to break up a pass on DK Metcalf, whose a good 30lbs bigger than him, and in the collision that broke up the pass McCain got the worst of the hit and left briefly with a possible concussion. I admire McCain trying to take on a new position at free safety, but I think he needs to go back to his natural position at nickel back.

The Dolphins have been struggling at the nickel back position with Jamal Perry and Nik Needham. It’s been a week to week thing with who gets the nickel back snap and both have struggled. Coach Flores should move McCain back to the nickel back position. Who moves to free safety? Well that’s another question and frankly, the Dolphins had a player to play the free safety position in Minkah  Fitzpatrick, but Flores moved him around and Fitzpatrick wasn’t happy so the Dolphins traded him for a first-round pick. If Flores had recognized this much earlier Fitzpatrick would be our free safety, but Flores tried to mix things up. That is a trade that the Dolphins are getting burned on because Fitzpatrick has been flourishing since being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I think Flores is trying to make the best of it with McCain at free safety, but he tried to get Devin McCourty to come to the Dolphins in free agency which should tell you something. McCourty decided to stay with the New England Patriots at the end of the day. The fact that Flores tried to get McCourty to play free safety makes me wonder if they like McCain at free safety when they tried to sign someone else? The Dolphins did draft Brandon Jones this year and he might be groomed for the position in time. Then why not move him at free safety and move McCain back to the nickel back now and speed up the process? The Dolphins might go through some growing pains with Jones, but he is more of a safety than McCain.

If you move McCain back then could shore up the coverage of the slot receiver. Flores should consider making this move on defense.