During mini-camp there was a thought making the rounds that the Dolphins' secondary, which played predominantly man-to-man coverage last season, was going to play more zone coverage this year.

If that's the case, no one is being truthful.

"We've got versatile coverages," defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. "We've got a number of zones that we can play. We like our ability to play man-to-man with the corners we have now. We don't go into it saying we are going to be 70 percent this, 30 percent that. You have to go with the flow as the season progresses."

Whether they play more man-to-man or zone defense the Dolphins' overall goal is improving a pass defense that ranked 27th in the 32-team NFL last season, and reducing the number of big passing plays. Coyle and coach Joe Philbin regard that as a key to success, and they hope they've assembled the personnel to accomplish their goal.

"I do think we will cut down on the number of big plays against us in the pass game," Coyle said. "If we do that, we'll be competitive each and every week."

It appears the Dolphins will open training camp next month with veterans Brent Grimes and Richard Marshall as the starting cornerbacks. The nickel (fifth) and dime (sixth) defensive backs are a bit unclear. Cornerbacks Nolan Carroll, Dimitri Patterson and safety Jimmy Wilson seem to be in the mix.

Incumbent safeties Reshad Jones and Chris Clemons will add to the coverage scheme on the back end.

The OTAs and mini-camp results were promising for the secondary considering they'll have so many new players in key positions and others are recovering from injury-shortened seasons.

The secondary held its own against the Dolphins' made-over passing attack. But next month's training camp will reveal even more.

Grimes, the free agent signee from Atlanta, has been the star of the secondary so far. Despite missing 15 games last season due to a torn Achilles tendon he showed the kind of athleticism that allowed him to have 12 interceptions in three seasons (2009-11).

Grimes, listed at 5-foot-10, might be an inch or two shorter in reality. But his play-making ability has teammates such as defensive end Cam Wake excited.