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A key architect of the NFL's best defense was a high school coach last year

One of the top stories of the NFL this year has been Brian Flores and the 10-5 Miami Dolphins, who are led by one of the league's stingiest defenses.

While Flores' experience prior to becoming the head coach in Miami was on the defensive side of the ball, and he certainly still gets in the mix on that side of the ball, defensive coordinator Josh Boyer deserves the credit for a completely transformed defensive unit.

Last season, Miami ranked dead last in scoring defense and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left to take the defensive coordinator job for the Giants. In his first season running the defense, Boyer, who coached the corners last season, completely flipped the script, transforming the defense from last in the league where they now lead the league in scoring defense.

That dramatic shift has folks talking about Boyer being a legit candidate for NFL Assistant Coach of the Year honors, as the defensive unit leads the league in third down defense, takeaways, and rank in the top 5 in red zone defense as well.

But when it comes to that third down defense category, there's an interesting storyline in play.

No defense in the league has been as good on getting off the field on third down as the Dolphins, and they lead by a significant margin. Miami allows just 30.68% of all third-down conversions while the next best defense in the league (Baltimore) is allowing 35.16%.

In their last three games alone, they're allowing opposing offense to complete less than a quarter of the time (23%).

One of the key architects in their defensive success on third down is a coach named Curt Kuntz, who serves as the team's assistant defensive backs coach. According to Joe Schad, Brian Flores recently revealed that Kuntz leads the team's third down defensive meetings.

The interesting part about Kuntz? He's not an NFL, or even a college coaching veteran. In fact, outside of a few seasons at Kent State (1999-2001), all of Kuntz's experience takes place at the high school level.

Prior to landing his job with the Dolphins, Kuntz was a first-time head coach at Struthers HS (OH) for seven years. At the school, Kuntz went 53-31, earned four playoff appearances, and captured a conference title.

In a factoid that may interest only me, but also speaks to the mysterious parallels that the coaching profession often has, the town of Struthers is the hometown where Bill Belichick's father, Steve, grew up and graduated high school from.

That's not where the connections with the Patriots - where Flores spent his entire coaching career prior to landing the Dolphins job - stops.

Looking back at the rest of Kuntz's coaching journey, he also served as an assistant coach and coordinator around Ohio under some of the state's best high school coaches, including the father of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, Thom, while at Warren G. Harding HS (OH).

While there are plenty of interesting connections, the fact that someone leading a high school program last year now has a vital role in the best 3rd down defense in the NFL is remarkable and goes to illustrate the and depth of knowledge and quality of high school coaches who could quickly go from under-the-radar to well known in the span of months, or years.

Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest in coaching information.