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Dolphins need more from Merling, Langford

The Dolphins are pleased with rookie defensive linemen Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford. But there is a gap between being pleased and being satisfied.

The Dolphins are by no means satisfied with either because, well, both are struggling lately.

Langford has managed only two tackles the past two weeks. Merling hasn't had more than one tackle in a game since the San Diego game, three weeks ago. Both are big bodied men with much promise. But they are also rookies.

And they've been playing like it lately.

“You see at different times during the course of games, you see different peaks and kind of valleys with them a little bit," coach Tony Sparano said Friday.

Seems the valleys come as the two players are on the field longer or later in games, which suggests some sort of conditioning or stamina issue.

"You’ll see them make some plays early in the ballgame," Sparano said. "Maybe you’ll see them, the longer the drive goes, flatten out, maybe flatline just a little bit there ... With all due respect, our two young guys there, Phil and Kendall, are good players and they’re going to be really good players for us. I think [consistency's] what they struggle with. That’s what we’re trying to get out of them -- more consistency, fundamentally and cut it loose a little bit."

Sparano says he has suggested to both players they should have more fun playing the game. Maybe a little energy and buzz will keep them going longer.

"I keep telling them, ‘Play like it’s a college game," Sparano said. "Go out there and play the game like it’s a college game,' " Sparano said. "I need that kind of enthusiasm out of them because they’re young guys, not far removed.  They understand exactly what I’m talking about. Go out, have fun, cut it loose for as long as you can go."

The interesting question is how long either will be able to maintain their stamina in the Denver thin air Sunday. It should be interesting.


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I thought those two guys would be tearing it up this year. The offensive rookies (Jake, Bess, and even Thomas) seem to have caught on to the pro game quicker.

they'll get better.
they're rookies however consistency is the factor!
the more they play, the better they'll perform!!
does anyone know about Shawn Murphy? I think he's been worst.

i think those two players are doing well this first part of the season even tho they havent been great they have been good.so as this season goes on i look for them to get better. GO Phins !!!!!

Pro football players with stamina issues? Gimme a break! I'd have those guys running non-stop til they either got in shape or quit. You think they get tired at sea level, watch 'em in Denver, they'll need oxygen just to get to the breakfast buffet.

It's about confidence. The NFL D plays complicated schemes based on scenario. Each formation (including man in motion) changes the play of each position. In College they rarely do that. Both Rookies will catch on and play with natural instict. That's why they were picked. If you become hesistant the O-Line has the advantage. Reckless abandon!! Go Phins!


This is the type of person you are, you write about 2 guys that are rookies in the NFL wowwwww. They are rookies mando white about them in 3 or 4 years!!!!

Shows the type of writer that you are,no matter what you want to write something negative.

Finsfan: What's up your butt? What do you SUGGEST he write about? Quit reading his blog if you don't like it, you piece of garbage. He was covering what SPARANO was saying, and not just spouting off about some random subject. Go watch your Jets game and spank it like you do every Sunday...

Salguero Sucks

Armando, our DEs do a lot of the dirty work to free up others to make tackles. Even Holliday has been quiet statistically but he's been doing a good job. The work they do allows Porter, Crowder, Bell, Ayodele and Roth to make some plays.

That being said, it would be nice to see Langford and Merling have a couple of impact games here and there. But they're young and learning on the fly. At the least they hold up and create some pressure up front.

The Dolphins have a good DL rotation in Ferguson, Langford, Holliday, Starks, Merling and Soliai. They have what Sparano calls some position flexibility. Porter, Roth, Anderson and Moses do as well. We have a pretty good front seven still trying to build some chemistry and get better. At 3-4 we're playing game 8 this week. It's time to make a run. Yeah baby!

wasn't Mando, writing that JOey Porter was washed up based upon his stat line last year? Umm duh.

As far as the moron who said he'd have them running, stfu, dolt. They aren't used to playing this long into a season there seasons would be ended by now. You don't condition your body for the NFL by just running extra sprints after practice. I think our coaches know what they are doing as opposed to some message board coach.

Rookies rarley play to their full potential, it takes a year or two. Looks like Jake is the exception to that rule, which is why he was the first overall pick. I'm not saying he won't get better with time, but I've heard no complaints about the guy so far, and he is protecting Chad's back side extremely well.

There have been several plays where the QB had to get rid of the ball early because Merling beat his man and was closing in. He doesn;t get stats for it but it is important for the defense...They are both players, particularly Merling.

At the beginning of training camp, we had some good print about this guys. They havent made themselves very visible on Sundays - legitimate and measured criticism. A stone wall defense would fit well to the type of offense we have. Lets hope our rookies continue to develop on plan.

Great job reporting Armando, some of your bloggers need to tone it down a bit tho.

Dolfan abroad

It's a learning year, just like next year will be. This is a mediocre team playing their butts off. They are playing like a "team", where effort and execution are two key ingrediences for making a winner. As the experience grows the talent may show itself to the fans. Players may begin to excel and the wins will come. I am impressed with what Miami has done so far. Thanks to the coaching staff and the Tuna for the quick turnaround. Special thanks for picking up Pennington who has done a brillant job at quarterback with such good players. Hi-fives to the offensive line that have shown glimpses of brillance and hard work every down giving Penn time to work. Thanks to the "D" for playing well and stepping up when they need to. What a fun year it's been so far having the Dolphins be there at the end of almost every game with the opportunity to win. It's the first step into that magical place all teams fight to get to. :)

This defense has had some serious overhauls to the front seven, so the expectations of a team that was last against the run (the same defense that included the now departed Taylor and Thomas), was pretty low for me this year. But as of now, they're 15th against the run.
I still don't expect much from these two this year, but the experience they're getting now can only help them for the future, and the future has been on Sparano and Parcells' minds since the beginning. Winning and productivity just happened to be a bonus.

what did you expect? really???

Ya know Jason Taylor only had 5 sacks his rookie year and i think he turned out alright for the fins. Langford has 2 already and shows a real strong power move and push to get to the QB. He'll get there. Merling has 1 sack and he doesn't see as much playing time as Langford so I think when he gets a few more reps he'll be there too. I think the two are going to be a great combination of speed on one side and size on the other.

This is the price you pay when you build a team through the draft. In the long run Merling and Langford will benefit from getting so much playing time as rooks!

This is this Regimes MO! And I love it. Build through the draft, add few FA's.....and always having a lot of cap space by not over paying players!

We have only scratched the surface on seeing how good this team will be. Thanks Bill, Jeff, and Tony for the culture change..... Play tough in Denver young rooks, Go Phins!!!!1

they need to step up!

We can't complain about our rookies. We are way ahead of the last couple of seasons. Promising qb's, stronger oline and a much improved defensive line. I am very optimistic about the future.

Four or five days ago, Wayne Huizenga stated that if Obama won the presidency he would sell the team completely before Obama could institute his tax schemes. How come I haven't read anything about this online from the Herald? Have I just missed the stories? Is this not considered a sports story? what the hell is going on?

Ok I was first and proably will be the last to post on this matter.

Mando, if we look at Jason Taylor's stats from his rookie season, we'll see he only finished with 2.5 sacks , and didn't really take flight until his fourth season in the league. So lets not jump the gun on our ROOKIES!!! Give them time they have shown flashes , and I agree they haven't been consistent but all that will come in time if they wish to be considered great.

Whoops , Taylor had 2.5 his thrid season he had 5 his rookie yr and 9 his second season.(My mistake I'm sitting here finishing off this good herb Ricky gave me) Point is we can't judge these guys this early!

Anyone know if you can watch the Miami-Denver game on the internet?

Lets Grade Them After This Year,there Playen In The Nfl Not College,grade Them Again Mid Way Thru Next Year,someone Name Me 1 Def Lineman That Was An All Pro After 7 Games..

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