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Miami's biggest problem on defense: LBs

I've been saying for two years now how badly the Dolphins need to upgrade at wide receiver. But knowing the folks that make the decisions about personnel in Miami, I've also been telling you the position that more likely will take priority this offseason in being addressed first is not wide receiver.

It likely will be the linebacker spot instead.

And rightly so, from what we're seeing lately.

The Dolphins linebacker corps is a nightmare right now.

Channing Crowder left Sunday's game -- as in bounced and was nowhere to be found afterward. He went home and is out for the season finale against Pittsburgh because of a foot injury, according to a source. The club is concerned he has a midfoot sprain or fracture that could mean a lisfranc, which is serious business. More will be known today.

[Update: Crowder is on crutches and wearning a boot today.]

That means Miami's linebacker corps against Pittsburgh will be Akin Ayodele and Reggie Torbor at inside linebacker and Joey Porter and Jason Taylor at OLB with Charlie Anderson and Quentin Moses as backup OLBs. Rookie J.D. Folsom, on the practice squad, may be added to the regular roster.

Help!

Ayodele has not had what I would call a good season. He is third on the team in tackles, but he's an ILB for goodness sake. He and Crowder should be leading the team in tackles. But alas, Crowder is often injured and both he and Ayodele over-run plays, or miss tackles or shoot the wrong gaps to the ballcarriers.

That's why Miami's leading tacklers are both safeties.

(Note to Dolphins: When your safeties are the leading tacklers, you have issues at ILB.)

The troubling thing is the Dolphins may be looking to upgrade at ILB this offseason after upgrading at ILB the past two seasons. Remember it was this administration that traded for Ayodele. It was this administration that signed Torbor as a free agent. It was this administration that re-signed Crowder to a new contract last offseason.

So if these guys aren't working out -- and they are not -- that is on this administration.

The Dolphins also have issues at OLB. Let's face it, Joey Porter, 33. shows up once every two or three games nowadays. He's not effective against the run and only gets to the quarterback when he's blocked by a tight end or running back. Put a tackle in front of him and he's stopped in his tracks.

The explosive first step Porter used to have is gone, be it because of his knee injuries or age.

Jason Taylor? He plays hard, but he's out of position. He is, at age 35, a part-time pass-rusher. He could be a latter day Trace Armstrong with 14 sacks as a specialist. But Miami's lack of talent at OLB pressed him into a starting role.

And so Taylor is doing grunt work on running downs when he should be chasing QBs on passing downs. That grunt work has Taylor playing with one shoulder the past three weeks or so. It has him getting close to but not quite to the QB. That half-second that has been sapped from Taylor because of an entire season's worth of collisions at the line of scrimmage is costing him sacks or strips of the ball.

And this just in: Taylor will not be getting younger next year.

So you want a big concern as the Dolphins transition after the regular-season finale to offseason mode?

Think of the linebacker position.

It was plain to see Sunday in the loss to Houston. It is a dire need.

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Mando, will you be posting the league wide ufa's again this year to give us an idea of who is available?

Doesn't matter Rick...We won't get anyone worth having...

Rick, check this link out for FA's

http://www.footballsfuture.com/freeagents.html

Marc, you almost made a good point until you mentioned the 4-3 vs the 3-4. I don't see how the change would allow the linebackers to cover any better or let us pressure the QB more.

When you get Parcells, you get the 3-4, best to stay the course and fill the team up with players who can play the system. The problem is that the players we have that are any good at LB are spent except for Crowder. The secondary was aging last year and was replenished, the DL the year before. LB the next year. This takes time. If it was that easy, you would have a worst to first scenario every year.

Let JP go after the season hopefully Cam Wake will devolop and not be any worse than JP against the run. Bye Ayodele, draft replacement, keep Crowder, Keep JT to share time with one of the young LBs we are trying to develop. Also has Carey has looked really bad the second half of the season anyon agree? Sean Smith burned again for big yards this time by Jacobi Jones. Vontae gets burned too yes I admit but he makes big plays. How many plays has Smith made and he has started all season.

So what's this blog gonna be like when the seasons over?

The Phins secondary is bad. You can blame the LBs (which are not good) but the bottom line is we cannot cover big, fast, slow, tall or short receivers or TE. All the games we have lost this season have been because of our inability to cover the pass and our mind numbing dedication to man on man coverage. There are serious issues for the dolphins ahead because of the unwillingness by the Admin and coaching staff to accept reality.

The willingness to stick with Ginn has crippled us in the pasing game. The refusal to bring in a veteran WR will continue to haunt us. The reality is we can draft a WR but by the time we get him up to speed will will be in need of a RB.

The reality is we have given up players that could have helpd us Roth, Goodman, Hill.

The wildcat works better when we dont try and pass out of it. It should also be used in the after long completions to catch defenses and maximize match ups.

Crowder is not and has never been a good LB. Look at the actually number of plays he has made versus missed. Its scary.

2010 will be a tough year if the attitude at the top does not change which is "we konw better than everyone else." It is that stubborness that doomed the cowboys to mediocrity. We have seen this movie before with the Parcells administrations. If they dont learn from them we will have the same ending.

I believe it's safe now to assume that this season is over because of the topic of this blog.

If that's the case, I want to see Pat White play at least a quarter if not the whole game against the Steelers.

@Sammy in Dubai:

2008: wi"L"ford
2009: wi"L"son
2010: "W"ilfork (?)

Pat White is by far our most explosive offensive player. Were he to get 20 touches a game in a Reggie Bush role he would put up 200 yards a game and be an MVP candidate.
I posted all summer long that that was my expectation for this season.
I don't believe anything good can come from playing him against Pitt.
He's either going to give up QB or get traded in the offseason.
Either way I'll still be his fan.

crowder career total 1 int. cushing 4int's as a rookie. CROWDER SUCKS.

Has anyone evaluated how Jeff Ireland's acorns and other pickings have turned out?

How much blame does he deserve?

For all those still down on Ted Ginn, and I admit I have been myself many times this season, I think to get rid of him this offseason would be a mistake for several reasons. First, its a common belief that most recievers take off in their 3rd season, but in Ginns defense, he's played 3 seasons with 3 different QB's and 2 different OC's and 2 receivers coach's. Secondly, not all receivers take off in their 3rd year. look at Reggie Wayne, he didnt really start to shine till his 4th season. Also Ginn is getting no help, he's double and tripple teamed consistantly because no one fears the fins other receivers...who also cant get open, thats why Henne has to check down to the tight end or RB on almost every pass, we have wideouts who cant beat coverage by a LB and that frees up defenses to double up out fastest guys...give ginn a chance and all I can say is the coachs need to make WO a priority this year even though there are glaring holes at NT and LB(I'm sure they regret the pat white wasted pick about now). As for a kick returner, Pat White might fill in nicely here.

the dophins defense just the worst .worst than the offense .YOU FARMERS KEPT ATTACKING TED GINN ALL YEAR AND IGNORED THE DEFENSE .......CROWDER,PORTER,ALLEN,WILSON AND JASON .
PLEASE SENT ALL OF THEM TO RETIREMENT AND KEEPONLY STARKS AND THE YONG GUYS ......MAMA MARIA VIVA LA POLPETTA .

Armando, it is a cheap shot to say that "this administration" has attempted to address the LB position by signing Torbor and Ayodole. Those guys were brought in as either backups or "a slight upgrade" over what we had. In no way were they pegged to be "the final answer" at ILB. And with little to work with, they came via low round picks and relatively cheap.

So, you might ask, why didn't this administration address the LB spot in the recent drafts? How about looking around at all the other areas of need on this team, you'll have your answer. And those needs were greater at the time than the LB spot.

Like LT (J Long) DE (Merling and Langford) CB (Smith and Davis). And oh yeah, a franchise QB.

Should the Fins have drafted a LB with the pick they spent on Pat White (44th pick)? I'll give you that. But who was still available at that spot that you would consider a blue chip can't miss LB? Sure, the Fins could have taken Rey Maualuga (at 38) ahead of Vonte (taken at 25), and now you still have a need at CB. All the other top ILB's were gone after 38, and ahead of Shaun Smith which is looking like an excellent pick at 61.

As high as the Fins were on White, if Rey dropped to 44 I am sure they would have taken him.

Trade/waive:
Porter (it's all downhill from here)
Ronnie Brown for Boldin (Ronnie is not durable, let's face it)
Wilson (out of position on every pass, drops INTs)

Keep:
JT! (the only guy with heart motivating others!)
Ginn (he will be a star in 2 years with a better OC)

Draft linebacker, NT, Safety, WRs

MarK...I believe the 4-3 would be more successful because it's their NATURAL positions...With excption to Porter and Torbor?

U guys really believe we are supposed to have Pro Bowlers at every position. Geez, it's just not possible. Intelligent football fans comprehend the difficult task that had to be done. Prior regimes went after aging veterans time and time again. When the entire team needs rebuilt, which we did, I think the guys have done about as good a job as possible so far. You CAN NOT hit on every player. They have found players at many positions who will be with this team for a long time. Henne, Polite, Bess, Long, Langford, Starks, Davis, Smith, and Carpenter. Also, good role players like Hilliard, Hartline, Merling (who as he becomes more familiar with 3-4 I believe will improve a lot) and Wake. On that count alone, 13 guys who play key parts in what it takes to be a good football team. That's pretty good for 2 years, and I like that approach much more than I like previous approaches. By the end of this coming offseason, I believe our roster will be pretty good. To the point that in ensuing free agency, we can really go out and sign a splashy free agent. And draft Best Player Available. I look forwRd to what we do in the offseason.

Dynasty, Please child, and anyone else talking that Ted(No jock strap required)Ginn is worth keeping, Please remember that the only time he'll catch a ball is if its thrown to the side line, he'll drop the ball if he goes over the middle, and if there's a defender closing in he'll just fall down... he is the worse receiver of ALL TIME, he lacks testicular fortitude if you will....

Bootang, I recall when we had 10 pro bowlers, and/or former pro bowlers on D...Gardner, Bowens, JT, Zach, Ogunleye, Seau, Madison, Surtain, Knight, and Marion....Just sayin...I think at that point we still had Armstrong and Zgnonina as well

ALSO, can you guys PLEASE stop prasing SEAN SMITH?! The guy has been an absolute DISASTER! Vontae takes risks, but, he also MAKES plays...SEAN SMITH just watched his man run into the end zone yesterday...Whereas Davis almost got a sideline INT, and a FF...

Marc is it true that you and dying breed are cousins????

cuban, is it true that you take it in the pooper?

And I remember dallas had 13 Pro Bowlers a few years ago. So how did that work out? Us winning 11 games last year against inferior competition was one of the worst things to happen expectation wise. Are we the 1-15 team of 2 years ago? Or the 11-5 team from last year? I think somewhere in between. And given the tough schedule, combined with all the injuries, I think we did really well. Yes we blew some chances. We need to play 60 minute football games. It's mind numbing to me that we literally played 2 football games against NO, Ten, and Hou. In the good halves of those games, not counting the OT period against Ten, we outscored them 59-17. In the bad halves, we were outscored 80-19. Think about that for a second. It's incomprehendible. And the meltdown against Buffalo. Only in the atlanta game did I ever see no good football from our team the entire game. Our biggest concern in my eyes is finding a way to be a 60 minute team.

CUBAN,


PLEASE ANSWER MARC .

No Marc, Not into that(Not that there's anything wrong with that)........

Aloco, How was your christmas???

why i feel someone talking to himself

Thanks for the lesson Marco. I think your mommy is calling you to get you jammies on and tuck you into bed........If you honestly think that Crowder is a "playmaker" because the team suffers when he is out of the line-up, then you really should spend a little more time watching some other NFL games to be witness to what the tough defenses bring to the table each week, and a little less time looking at your Fathead Dolphins' posters on your bedroom walls.

WAS DUCK CUBAN. WHAT DID YOU HAVE BESIDE PORK ?

I wrote this the other day. The picks can be upgraded now, I suppose. What you think?

1 - Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee
2 - Eric Norwood, OLB, South Carolina
3 - Myron Lewis, FS, Vanderbilt
4 - Micah Johnson, ILB, Kentucky

6 - Pat Angerer, ILB, Iowa
6 - Andrew Lewis, OG, Oklahoma State
7 - Joseph Turner, RB, TCU
7 - Mickey Shuler, TE, Penn State

Posted by: Rico McPat | December 23, 2009 at 11:17 PM


I remember the good ol' days with Zach Thomas dominating. The dolphins would be fine at mlb if Crowder had half the awareness ZT played with all year.

rico no not a single guy i would pick besides pat angerer who won;t be available in 6th

Lasagna,and meatballs..lol

sean smith was given the position without earning it. thats never a good scenario. he plays soft coverage and hasn't learned how to tackle. he got a pass from sparano from day 1 while others couldnt get on the field. same with joey porter; coach has his favorites! matt roth got a raw deal and is lighting it up in cleveland. we never got an explanation from the regime at the time. roth was forbidden to talk or explain his situation to the fans because of team rules. we should have been playing lex hilliard, ryan baker and cam wake as well as pat turner and pat white!

One guy that has really has been good is Sean Smith...If the safetys would help out just a "little bit" the kid would be THE stopper on this team...That's from Jim Mandich show on Friday...An actual guy that played football, not from the so called experts on here who think Sean Smith hasn't been that good...

Beerphin, Don't forget heart too, if any of these guys played with half the heart that Zach played with the phins would be resting there regulars this Sunday, instead there already planing for vacation that will start around 4 pm on jan 3rd......

CUBAN, WHERE THE TEAM GOING FOR VACATION THIS YEAR ? IT'S NICE TO MAKE ALL THIS MONEY AND NO PLAYOFFS WHICH MEANS NO PRESSURE ON THEM ,I WONDER WHAT ARMANDO WRITES ABOUT NOW ?

2010 draft 1st round Rolando Mcclain OLB 2nd round TE Aaron Hernandez. 3rd pick Navorro Bowman ILB. PENN STATE this kid is awesome.miami scouts need to come north so they can see what hard hitting football is all about.

heres a few dolphins and there plans for the off-season, #1 chad(96 inch neck)Henne will be traveling with the circus will he be on after the bearded lady and before Jojo the dog face boy,#2 Ricky(puff puff, pass)Williams will be traveling to Mexico where he'll be reunited with his best friend May=Jane Juana,#3 Ted(No jock strap required)Ginn will be visiting the Mayo clinic for the 1st ever testicular replacement surgery, Good luck teddy. #4 jason(tango)Taylor will be traveling to Hollywood under the advise of his stupid agent Drew(Bloodsucker)Rosenhaus and try again to get a acting gig, only to be turned down do to him having no talent #5 Ronnie (out for the season)Brown will be going back to Alabama for his yearly rehabilitation. well thats some of the fins plans, You guys want to Know what some of our regular posters will be doing on there vacation????

No what I hate? People who type in all caps. And the jets.

GO JETS AND SHOW THE WORLD SANCHEZ MY BABY.

CUBAN,

DID YOU FINISH HIGH SCHOOL OR YOUR SMART IS JUST FROM THE STREETS OF NJ ?

Aloco, Yes i finished High school and even went to college.....

tell us more , what kind of college ? did they pay you or you paid them or it was an award for behaving ?

cuban, i have to go ,my piano teacher is here and i have to eat my sub fast so my fingers can hit the right keys .

That stinks. I was hoping that all we needed was a great WR TE RB S in offseason. It's past Christmas, can't really add to the list.

Mando, Don't know if you're going to see this or be able to respond but I hope you do. I'm actually just curious about how players may have reacted to you questioning their pride. I'm completely behind you on this one, but it has struck me that it must be hard for you to walk into the locker room or to talk to certain players after an article like that. You have to be honest in your writing and your opinions or else you wouldn't be doing your job, but do the players see it the same way? Does it make it harder on you when you have to write articles after losses or do most of the players understand it's just business? I wish you would write a story about experiences you have had with players good and bad after they've read one of your articles. That would be a fun/very interesting read.

LOsing Ferguson at NT in a 3-4 certainly hurt us, but the play of the LB's has been awful. Still, when the LB corps was intact and playing decent, we consistently were beaten by big plays over the top as a result of our safety crew being out of position or taking poor angles to the ball in flight. Look no further than the Colts and Saints games (both home contests) where we controlled the ball and lost because of big play after big play. I like throwing the 2 rookie CB's into the fire for experience and it will pay off, but they need help. It's not just LB where we need help. The safety position needs to be addressed as well.

MAYBE PARCELLS IS A LITTLE OVERATTED. What has he really done since winning his last Super Bowl that was a gift(wide right)? His assistants have done better than him. The moves in the office and coaching staff are as glaring as the mistakes by the players. I try to stay positive but these things cannot be overlooked. This is the brain trust and I hope its not overatted. Maybe the game has passed him by.

all these idiot jet fans talking about a super bowl run... WTF. Colts should have blown them out!

We don't deserve to be in the playoffs!!!!

Jets were handed a gift by Colts coaching staff...They will lose to Cinncinati who is still playing for home field advantage vs New England...and all the little Jests fans will be crying again...Jests got their reprieve Sunday, that's the only chance they have to win against a good team, when the other team lays down for them, what a joke

Matt Roth seems to be doing well in cleveland - maybe they misjudge his talent. A bit of a head case but he seemed to play when he had the chance.

Wow, finally an article to suggest the writer watched a Dolphins football game. The games I have been watching all season include FS Wilson and the LB's getting beat + the D-line having long quiet stretches. I'm very encouraged with the QB, O-line, and the CB's. Another good draft and another year of experience for the first 2 classes and we are a 10 win team next year! And young!

jets is a better team than dolphins ,no thing wrong w/that .we have to learn from failure and get up. keep crowder,wilson,jason tylor and sign brown,porter for long term.let's face it ,sanchez is really good and much better than our guy .

Well maybe we can all relax now.

All that matters and what I am looking forward to is………

1.Who is waved.
2.The combine.
3.The draft
4.Free agency.
5.Next years season.

Also, JETS SUCK & PISS ON THE COLTS!

Bobbyfin.....

We beat em twice!

Logic.....

Logic.....

Piss on the COLTS!

Actually three times in a row.

I'm not buying that trash Mando. If you look around the league the really good teams (Indy, NO, Eagles, Da Boys) are able to trade jabs on offense.

WE CAN'T DO THAT!

We can't go toe to toe with the big boy offenses. We need a LEGIT WR period. QB is set, RB is set but WR is NOT set. The really good teams have all three of those positions SET. WE DON'T!

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