Miami Dolphins defensive end William Hayes is proving to be one of the most shrewd off-season acquisitions in the AFC.
Just ask Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke.
“He is a tough SOB,” Burke said. “He’s a hardcore dude.”
Burke’s defense has had a ton of trouble in the first two weeks stopping the pass, but Hayes has helped the defense shore up against the run, a huge problem area last season.
Burke coached Hayes as a rookie when they were in Tennessee.
“We drafted him as a small-school kid,” Burke recalled. “He came into the NFL and literally it wasn’t too big for him. He was like that from the start. He never blinked. He played for us as a rookie.”
Hayes is tough and physical and hard-nosed and disciplined.
“It’s a testament that 10 years in, he’s still playing the same way,” Burke said. “I mean he is a hard man to block in the run game. He is a hard guy to block. He takes pride in it. He is a tempo-setter for us. He is who he is. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He doesn’t hide behind anything. He plays football. I’ve been seeing it for 10-plus years now.”
Hayes can play defensive end and defensive tackle and holds up at both positions.
Through two games, Hayes leads the Dolphins with 3 quarterback hits and has 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss and 1 sack.