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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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"MAYBE PARCELLS IS A LITTLE OVERATTED. What has he really done since winning his last Super Bowl". ROFLMAO! Seriously guy, do you even watch football. The numerous assistants that have "done better" than Parcells were TAUGHT BY PARCELLS you jackass. Not to mention he turned 3 teams that were losers into yearly contenders by rebuiding them from the ground up. All three teams are now better for having Parcells change their direction and attitudes. Hundreds of coaches and football experts credit Parcells as one of the most gifted NFL minds but you, joe schmo from jerkwater U.S.A, IS QUESTIONING HIS TRACK RECORD?! Hhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha idiot.

Did I see someone write that we should pick Navorro Bowman in the 3rd round? He will be gone by the first half of the first round to a team that plays the 4-3.

And who is Micah Johnson? The only time I've seen him all year, he was lying on the ground grabbing his bum knee after CJ Spiller put up 200 on the Wildcats. Ya, nice upgrade there.

HOLD IT! yea the lbs arent making any plays, and neither is crowder im sick of his 5 tackle games 4 of which are run down plays 8 yards down the field. and part of the problem is this regime is trying to make complete football players out of evryone instead of putting them in a position to play to thier strengths. case in point, WAKE. coach says hed get more times when he improves on special teams. special fn teams? we need him to get the QB for christ sake. do you think elvis dumerville is a great special teamer? Safety is the issue more. wilson is out of position, cant cover TEs and dropped a pick that fell in his twice this year. and the wr routes are worse than the talent level at wr. its about running pick plays and creative ways to get them open, that needs to be concentrated on as much as the damn wildcat. draft ILB Mclain of bama or earl thomas S of texas

Thanks for the website Mark in Toronto.

And anyone questioning Parcells, I still say he would have won the Superbowl with Dallas if Jerry Jones didn't get involved and force him out. He turned that roster from garbage to the most talented in the league two years ago. Too bad Wade Phillips couldn't coach himself out of a paper bag.

ok FARMERS.....


1- PB IS VERY GOOD IN THE LAST 15 YEARS TO TURN TEAMS AROUND TOWARD BEING VERY GOOD TEAMS,LOOK AT NEW ENGLAND,COWBOYS,JETS AND MAIMI .HE'S AN OLD FOOTBALL GUY ,HE'S MAKING MORE MONEY JUST BY COMING TO YOUR TEAM TO FIX IT .
NOW I WILL TELL YOU THAT ROSS WILL HIM THE REST OF HIS CONTRACT AND GET A NEW YOUNG TEAM TO KEEP GOING STRONG .

THE HINT FOR ME KNOWING THIS WAS THE HIRING OF THE RED SOX BOSS TO RUN THIS TEAM .NO THING WRONG W/THAT .IN FACT TUNA LOVES TO MOVE AND FIX ANOTHER CELLAR TEAM FOR 25-35 MILLIONS AND HE'S WORTH EVERY DIME OF IT .

LyingBreed,

I totally agree bud. How long have we all waited for an elite NO 1 Receiver in a Dolphins uniform? It's getting beyond a joke now.Forget ILB....WR is 1st priority.

How far did the Dolphins get with the great Zach Thomas in the team? That should tell us something.

Po White - no problem

Steve - I like both McClain and Thomas too. I do think McClain will be gone by the time Miami drafts though. Too bad. He and Derrick Morgan would be gifts to Miami if they fell in the draft.

You ever watch Jason Pierre-Paul or USF play? He is in the mold of Demarcus Ware in terms of football skills and natural atheltic ability.

Yeah, we need to find some quality LBs but we needed them last spring too. What happened? New contract for Chowder and scratch and dent sale for 2 others. Then there was game changing phenom, Pat White. Could there have been another position we needed more? Anyone? Anyone?

few month ago the plumber was talking like crazy about the last draft and how fins will win the super bowl w/fasano,wilson and porter .

NOW ,WE KNOW WHAT DISASTER THIS TEAM IS ..NOW I AM STARTING THE SAME THING REPLAYING ITSELF AGAIN W/PLUMBER COMING ANY MINUTE NOW TO START OH BABY ( DIDN'T I TELL ).

Looking back at last year's draft I was almost shocked that Everette Brown or Rey Maulauga weren't the picks. However, after seeing Vontae play, I'm happy with the pick. There are way more linebackers of Maulauga or Brown's quality than there are CBs of Vontae's skill set.

Regarding Ginn...I think phin fan 73 may be right. Ted Ginn certainly has faced his share of critism over the last two years. Some of it is deserved but some of it may be that the dolphins fail to play to his strength and that their are not enough other guys to divert pressure away from him. I think we can all agree that Ginn Jr is not the #1 guy but he could be a strong #2 like Robert Meachem is being used in New Orleans - Meachem benefits from having Colston, Henderson, Moore and shockey on the field. Ginn Could be that kind of player but needs more help. In my mind, Bess, Hartline, camarillo are worth the price paid as well but there is no doubt a world beater at reciever would make a big difference to Ginns Jr. performances.

Good analysis Armando

I would add the following

1) WR is our #1 need; LB our #2
2) LB Should be better addressed through the draft, and WR through FA: over the last few years lots of good college ILBs have had an immediate impact in the NFL (Ryans, Willis, Cushing, Maualuga, Matthews, eetc), while WR need more time to mature
3) That said, it is only 50% good news, because the Trifecta's FA record is quite bad: lots of overpaid players, very few (none) impact players.
4) Yes, the Trifecta is accountable for our LB and WE situation: it was clear that Ayodele would be a starter this year, and that didn't bother them. Idem ditto for our WR corps (no FA signed; and one role player taken with 2 draft picks)

Mark in Toronto, 100% correct about Parcells in Dallas, Jerry Jones got involved and messed that team up....and ALoco is 100% wrong...A DISASTER??? Toughest schedule in all of football, rookie QB starting, Best RB injured, TE injured, two rookie CB's starting...I really wish the Fins were 4-12 last year, all u bozo's would have been here saying what a great year this was...Sad how so many have such unrealistic expectations from this team...

cocoajoe & Mark in Toronto,

Maualuga over Pat white last draft any day of the week!

Pat White = Frivolous luxury!

Pancan. Ted(Oops i fall down)Ginn doesnt have the nuts to even be a bad reciever, he's a coward, cut him and his entire family....

Cuban, you mean Ted(where's the side line I can't get there quick enough) Ginn

Whats the Problem?

Here is my list of players that will most likely not be on this roster next year, feel free to add or take anyone off. Wilson, Porter, Taylor, J. Allen, Camarillo, Fasano, R. Williams, Carey, Pennighton, and Furgieson. Look for some young DL to be trade away like Moses, Merling, and possibly Langford.

Or are you talken about Ted(Goes into a fetal position 5 yards before the hit)Ginn?

Agree with Bobbyd12, I figured they'd be 8 and 8 and if you guys remember the tuna in his 1st year in Dallas also went 11 and 5 and the next season they went 6 and 10 so i was thinking the same thing would happen for the fins, I expect a play-off year next year though, What are your thoughts????

LOL@ PO whites post, Iam going to use those in upcoming post, You dont have a copyright on those do you?? lol

No charge brother.

Cuban, I agree, I expect a playoff team next year, I'm sure an easier schedule, some defensive draft upgrades and dome free agent signings will make this team better...You will also have Henne with a year under his belt and be in training camp as a starter...I really believe next year is really good for us, anything less will be highly disappointing

Standley23,

I agree that Wilson,J.Allen,and Pennington will be gone but cant see them getting rid of Taylor,Camarillo,Fasano,Ricky,Carey or Ferguson. If any WR goes,it'll be Ginn.

Miami wont trade Moses,Merling or Langford because not only do they not have any trade value,but Merling and Langford were only drafted a couple of years ago.

bobbyd12,

Keep the faith.

Miami's biggest problem is not enough playmakers or talent on either side of the ball. The only player who makes plays on defense is Vontae Davis. He gets burned often but he is young and that is to be expected. On offense they have two good running backs but that's it. Henne can throw it with force but he has no touch on the ball at all. The leading receiver averages less then 10 yards per catch. Bess is an excellent possession guy but are you kidding me that is all they have? What a joke!

Oh,and Porter has gone already cus he certainly wont turn up against the Steelers

What’s the difference between Jenna Jameson and Ted Ginn?

Jenna Jameson catches balls that hit her in the face!

I think we should re sign Ginn. We need someone reliable to retrieve the tee after kick offs.

Don't worry Po White, I believe in Parcells and the Fins!!

Well all this talk of draft and filling Voids, like WR, S, and LB, some ones gotta go. Obviously there is only so much room. So, who goes, and who stays?

Dan Carpenter needs to go also.He's not that good.We should have kept Feely.

To throw the Steeler defense off, JLo will be playing center in the Steelers game.

Rico,Big Ben would rape her...

Ted Ginn would be the easy cut, but people seem to forget that Ginn has learned all 3 Wr positions, and Kickoff returns, we can argue his skills all day but Bess, Hartline, and Camarillo are one in the same. Camarillo has lost his step and it showed last night, To me Henne put a good pass in the corner of the endzone and he was open but just a step behind. While eveyone said the pass was overthrown,anyone with decent speed would have caught it.

Standley, if Parcells stays true to form we will see a much younger, bigger defense, I think we say goodbye to Porter, Taylor and a couple of other suprises to pick up draft picks...I actually believe Fasano, Crowder and Ginn will stay but just an opinion

Ginn has only learned 2 of the four wideout spots in his 3 years here according to a article mando wrote last month and hartlne has learned 3 in the 8 months hes been a dolphin...another reason to cut Ted(No Nuts)Ginn...

right on! this has been obvious since last year! why did they resign Crowder? He's so slow. Love JT, but time to go! Bye Joey Porter!

Ginn not a number one receiver but with his speed and fact is if we get a true number one receiver Ginn will be a solid 2 guy

But if Ginn gets cut I would not be suprised either

Well then, Ginn and Camarillo are gone then.

Again, Ginn could go either way, no suprise if he's draft pick trade bait OR if he stays...I wouldn't be suprised either way

Just dont see Ginn being a solid no2 receiver. Ginn falls behind Bess,Camarillo and Hartline.

Nah keep camarillo, hes a great clutch receiver, not the fastest , but hes got guts and i'll take clutch and guts over speed and no nuts.......

Po White, Rey was drafted before pat White.

U know what, all four of our receivers are the same, body type, and what they can do...to me we don't need 4 Wes Welker types, small and quick, at least two go

Until we get a true playmaker, Ginn is our only WR with speed. He'll stay.
Bess is an excellent slot WR and a beast on 3rd down. He'll stay.
Hartline has a knack for the end zone (leads our WRs in TDs) and has shown big-play potential. He'll stay.
Camarillo & Turner will be cut. We draft 1 WR and we sign another.

hilarious cuban,absolutely hilarious

One thing we should know quickly, whether Patrick Turner is a part of this team next year...Never came off the practice squad all year, he will either be cut quick or will br a starter next year...won't stay on practice squad two years in a row

Mark in Toronto,


Aware of that but Not by much, could of traded a 4th or 5th maybe a 6th to move up a spot or 4.

# 4 Has paid off a?

Guess that was 6 spots.

Armando,

That is the same thing I was telling my fellow fans in section 449 on Sunday, while watching this game unfold. Our LB's (both Inside and Out) are all slow and never stand a chance in coverage. They are not getting enough depth the stop the dig routes. We need LB's who are goign to be able to run from sideline to sideline. With this development, it truly makes me feel as though we are farther than we think from being an AFC East contender and a contender in the playoffs. Let hope the current regime can conitnue to find diamonds in the rough.

Hartline was the #4, that's paid off pretty well. Too early to pass judgement on Pat White though.

Got my picks mixed #3 & #4, that is not that I would make that trade. Sorry for my Ignorance

Turner and Pat White for Maualuga,

Hartline would of been a better 3rd round pick.

But we are happier Hartline was at #4

Funny thing is that more people were critical of the hartline pick when it was made. He didn't get much done at Ohio State because of shoddy qb play. might have even gone undrafted if Miami didn't pick him. Funny thing about the draft, never know which way these things will go for sure. Don't give up on Turner or White yet. It's much too early. And Hartline is not of the same mold of Bess and Camarillo as so many people say. Hartline is big - 6'2 and over 200 lbs. he's pretty strong as seen by his catch against Tennessee when he just ripped it from Griffen. Nice change of direction too.

Don’t want to give up on em, hind sight is 20/20 I know.

Just want immediate gratification, but what’s new?

Who doesn't want instant gratification? If only it was always that easy. There are 224 college players drafted every year. If it was that easy, you would hear more of more than a dozen to 20 rookies making a significant impact every year. It's a bit of a crapshoot. Some contribute from day one, some start in year 2 or 3, and a lot never become players at all. That's why if you hit on 50% of your picks, you are doing ok.

The defense often looks scared out there and often very alone. I watch other defenses and there are usually 6 or 7 defenders after ball; even on pass plays. Then I watch Miami and it always seems to be a solo act every down. There seems to be only two or three actually trying to tackle somebody every down.

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