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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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In my opinion Langford/Merling have done the job. DE is a 3-4 is not a glamour position like it is in a 4-3. These guys rae suppoosed to occupy blockers so the LBs can make plays. If teams were running up and down the field on us, that would be one thing, but they aren't.

Fishfan, not to say that the 2 youngsters could not do more, they could but they are so young. Merling is 24, Langford is even younger at 23. There will be players in this year's draft older than Langford.

Hit with the top 4 rounds of picks. Patrick Turner - 0. Mike Wallace who we face this week - 37rec. 692yds. 5tds 18.7 yds a reception. Mike Wallace taken after Patrick Turner.

mama maria coming home soon.

Aloco and cuban thanks for makin this blog relevant. Drying bread you lost credibility when u posted as heil hitler. Go shart urself go finz!!

Does Akin Ayodele still play for the Dolphins? LOL!!!!! I don't like Akin and sometimes Crowder is even worse. However, the Dolphins should approach the draft looking at offensive and defensive players that can change the game in one play. Jimmy Graham, C.J. Spiller, that DB from Tennessee, and pretty much anybody playing defense for the University of Alabama. As far as WR goes, sign a free-agent. However, draft another one as well.

These rumors are not true

I have nothing to say, Armando can speak for me. Mando, do not hold back, this team deserves a lashing.

T.way: you are right about jimmy graham from the U. he will be a great late round pick up for any team. seeing that he only played one year at tight end in college shows that he has a lot of upside once he gets some more experience but he was really impressive with his hands and ability to get open in his lone year. not to mention he is 6'8.

carlito's ghost has spoken.

WB Carlito...

Two things that made this Dolphins loss with no effort or pride even worse:

1. Everything they needed to happen to make them front runner for the wild card happened... except Dolphins beating the Texans

2. The Colts gave the Jets a christmas present

I am so tired of hearing that "they control their own destiny" garbage. If the Jets destiny is to lose, no amount of "controling" is going to stop them from losing. Personally, I am happy that the Jets beat the Colts. Does that make them the better team? Absolutely not, we beat the Jets BOTH times we played them this year. And even IF they don't lose next week and make the playoffs, they cannot claim to be the better team. The Jets only have that opportunity because we did not beat the Texans. Maybe the Texans are a better team, or maybe it was bad calls, bad luck, bad pass coverage, or whatever, but the fact remains that the Dolphins were a better team than the Jets this year as well as last year.
Trust me, the Jets only beat the Colts' scrubs and the whole league saw that Peyton Manning had them beaten. Nobody but the most clueless of the "never-have-a-clue" Jets fans could possibly believe otherwise, and the Jets aren't getting anywhere near the superbowl.
Frankly, I would much rather watch the Jets fans be sick all week in the knowledge that it was them who helped preserve the greatest feat in all of football's glorious history for their most hated enemies, the PERFECT season of the Miami Dolphins.

Carlito escaped from the clutches of dying breed or torturedphan. Not a great feat considering it is dying breed/torturedphan. Carlito probably eye poked him three stooges style.LOL

Dying Breed is a Pu**y.

Good to see Carlito's back.

Looks like Favre is doing the late season swan dive once again.

Defense is weak.... past two weeks they gave up too many points then shut dwn the other team....what is the reason? coaches?play calling? sleeping the first part of the game?

Boobd12 anytime anyplace punk! You too NJ!

We sure could use s . rice.

NJ why do you call me misty? Please explain so we can see how foolish you are.

Play Misty for Me is an old Clint Eastwood movie about a crazed stalker. The stalker is known for calling into a radio station to hear the song Misty.

a blood klaat keyboard gangsta

I know did you see that catch by Rice, he reminds me of Teddy Ginn.....NOT!

Vikings rookie lb from south carolina Jasper Brinkley is playing very good football.

All the rookie LB from USC playing very good football too.

I am glad the Dolphins picked Vontae though

***if miami signs the less expensive V. Jackson in free agents this off season that takes care of the WR position.

***as much as we would love to have V Wilfork we must admitt that solia might not be yet elite but he has changed the position status at NT from a "dire need" to just "upgradable". we sign a less costly starting nose tackle here in free agents. that takes care of NT for at lest that year.

***use first round pick on shifty (chris johnson like) RB C.J Spiller. automatically upgrades the two back system, upgrades return game and improve to a big play offence when you add my earlier addition of V. jackson.

***for second round pick i think B.spikes might fall to these ranks just like maualuga and laranitis did last year. But if not the best available inside linebacker at this point might be nc's ILB quann sturdivant.

*** with the third round pick the best ILB available here should be Iowas Pat angerer

*** with the 4th through 7th round picks i would draft the best available outside or inside linebackers or maybe the best available DT, or RT

vincent jackson will not be cheap and probably resigned to the chargers.

It would be great if that happened though...

he wont be cheap but he would be cheaper than brandon marshall carlito

"Anytime, anyplace punk" posted by Dyingbreed... I gave u Time, Place and exactly where I would be, but then u made excuses why that's not good enough...Don't waste space on this blog COWARD by pretending u have some man in your DNA...u know EXACTLY where I will be Sunday...I will even put out some catnip since I heard PUS'Y s love catnip...goodnight and give Marc a big kiss before u roll over. LMAO

Boobd12

All it would take is a copule of pucnhes to your face, followed by a roundhouse kick to the head....yourrrrrr out.

Mark fool I wanted NJ to respond. NJ fears me for all that I know about him and football

answer me pu*sy. i told you where and when. now go to bed , it's past your bedtime. COWARD

Bobbyd12, tell me again because I forgot or I am trying to see if you are lying. I can taste your blood on my fists already.

round house kick lol you sound like napoleon dynamite. I bet you are pretty good with a bow staff. lol

The only blood you taste is from your mother when you're going down on her during her period. PUS*Y . You know where i'm at , come get some. Coward.

wow, this blog has gone to a bad place, much like the miami dolphins season. take it easy boys

Answer me Booby, unless you are all talk.
Carlito dont bother, a slap to your face would be enough for you.ahahahahhahahahhaha

Hows your uncle rico? Did he ever throw that football over that mountain?

I used to be a big fan of new administration but i'm starting to question a little bit of their evaluative skills. They brought in ayodele and Wilson who are busts and should be let go. They drafted a big wr (turner) but don't even let him showcase his skills on game day to better evaluate him. And look how wrs hagan and aromoshadu are thriving with their new teams. Both were deemed not very good when on fins. Makes you start to wonder. Now we have drafted some good talent but was white worthy of that high a pick? Better hope they get it right both with draft and free agency cuz they're not that far off but they need to rebuild some confidence for me.

I'M GHEY.

re-sign chad pennington! chad henee has no feel for the game. he throws it 100 miles an hour when someone is 5 yards from him. he constantly overthrows. he is easily confused. joe flako was way better than henee as a rookie. lets get IRVING FRYAR and MARK DUPER to come out of retirement! and KEITH JACKSON at tight end! dont forget ZACK THOMAS!

IT'S OVER JOHNNY........ its over.

jerk water usa. ( home of the jets)

This article is right on topic! If we do not see some better "leadership" next year we will need some coaching changes. I can not believe that this will be the first time in Parcels' career that he will fail! All his previous coaches have done well, look at New England, New Orleans, etc.
Finally, lets see Pat Turner in this last game and let us determine if the coaches are right on their decision not to play him this year!

and this guy was only talking about them against the run... against the pass these LB cant cover there own shadows they should all get cut porter, crowder and all the other scrubs... wake and taylor should both be playing d-end... we need to get rid of bell or wilson (please wilson).. he can't even cover our receivers (gets beat in practice by ginn) are you serious..

everybody who is saying that Pat Turner will be cut just got NO CLUE of football business. they are teaching him a lesson. By the way Miles Austin, how many games did he play in his first season? exactly. They make him to work hard and bleed for playing time. if this trifeca has done a good job then with teaching players how to work out and prepare. our roster still is much less talented then most teams we faced all year but we are able to win by attitude courage and preparation.

its too bad the average fan is pretty dump and got no clue of economy. they wont trade away promising and developing players as such as Langford, Merling etc. Jason Allen wont be gone as he is one of our special teams studs and not a back up having on the roster.

YES, we are missing a few pieces but c'mon we faced the tuffest schedule (remember!!!) and still had a shot at the playoffs. the Bills, Titans and Texans losts destroyed that. that being said we went from a 1-15 season to the playoffs, suffered tons of injuries to key players, played the tuffest schedule and still almost made the playoffs??? gimme a break

its going in the right direction. shos some fucking loyality and be proud of your team.

and to all Ginn haters - let him walk away, let him sign with the Patriots and enjoy watching him twice a year burning us for TD bombs.

there are only a handfull of pure natural talent guys (Andre Johnson, Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Marshall) and there are tons of system studs (Boldin, Moss, TJ Housh)

I was angry after watching the Bills and Titans lost, i was emberassed after the first half vs the Texans. But every Monday when i watch the game again without commercials, its never as good and never as bad as it looked.

everybody who was on the Peezy bandwagon last year is now screaming for his head.

Truth is he is playing hurt all season long. I guess the Trifeca has to rethink their no injuries allowed strategy and let the healthy player play. See Vernon Carey, last 2 games he was very bad, before he played a good season.

If you wanna talk with the big guys, read some real footballtalk, check stats and analysis and not just Mandos crappy oppinion, as he turned into the most dramatic biatch in all dolphin-land.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/

Taylor needs to go
Porter needs to get healthy and be used as pass rush specialist on 2nd and long and 3rd down pass situations.
Crowder needs a dependable partner who frees him up

TED GINN

all your emotinal fools were calling for Brady Wuinn right?? yeah have fun with your Browns jersey. Listen Ginn will never, never be a No. 1 WR, so what? He is all we got and he got all the tools and talent to be a badass No. 2 homerun deep ball treat. Fact is: IF GINN IS NOT ON THE FIELD OUR RUNNING GAME SUFFERS. How come? All our other WR are posession Receiver which dont have speed to go over the top = defenses can load the box and prepare for underneith stuff = High risk low reward passes for Henne. This one is on Henning and the Coaches. I have no clue why they gave up on Ginn, maybe its because tons of you stupid idiots were booing him, where you where supposed to support YOUR player. I havent seen anything like this in any other stadium.

The Dolphins know what their identity will be in the future. A Power run team that uses play action passes to go down the field. So how exactly fit Posession receivers into that system? NOT AT ALL!!! Ginn is the only WR on the roster that currently got the physical tools. Bess, Camarillo, Hartline are similar type of Receivers. Bess got the most talent of all 3 and is just too good to give away. Hartline is a special teams ace, hardworker, got the right attitude and has some upside and more speed then Camarillo. Camarillo is very dependable but has maxed out his talent and is limited by his speed. Turner is the X factor and he will get all the time in the world to life up to his expectations to learn to use his size to become the redzone target we lack. As long he works hard and doesnt stop fighting he will be good. That gives us

Ginn (No. 2 - deep)
Bess (No. 3 - poss/slot)
Hartline (No. 4 - allround talent)
Turner ( No. 1 or Red Zone specialist)

Missing is the big play No. 1 guy.
The only guys who are getting double covered are Ginn and Bess. Try once watching the game and watch the defensive assingments (instead of playing Madden) Ginn gets double covered alot (safety help over the top).

Imagine if we get a No. 1 WR who forces the opponents Defense to double Cover both, Ginn and Mr. X over the top? = less defenders in the box = more running plays + more bigger running plays, as there is no safety in run support. So do you really wanna give Ginn away???
As soon we will be able to stretch the field more, our running game will be even more dominant, the TE's and Bess (or Slot WR) will have more space to work with as the LBs are busy stuffing and stopping the run game.

Thats exactly what Offenses are doing to us. Our safeties are our leading tacklers, what tells you that? the guys are busy as hell in run support, they have to support our rookie CBs (who have done a tremendous job, both are as talented as it gets, specially Vontae) - You cant do both, run support + play the deep ball. Our OLB (Porter, JT) and ILB (Ayodele) are too slow. what opponents are currently doing to us:
- Safeties in run support = deep ball
- Safeties in pass coverage = screen pass

to me Bell was playing a heck of a season, that guy is all over the field and his speed is crazy he is catching up with WR in footraces etc. Wilson, i still remember the guy from the Giants super bowl team and i liked him a lot. Keep on booing him and Ginn+Wilson will be 2 guys with tons of potential on our roster whit tons of talent who cant squeez that out because of lack of support or mental doubts.

You guys should have played sport on a highlevel, SWAGGER, isnt something you cant drink, its somethning you build by support, success and feeling well.

I think the that the fins should draft another stud OT to play on the right side and move Carey to guard. Upgrading your offensive line is the fastest way to improve your WR corp.

I find the infatuation with Cameron Wake to be a bit irritating. Yes, he has made a couple of big plays and that is encouraging, but have you noticed that he hasn't made any in the last 3-4 games. I dont think I'm the only one who has noticed that he's been scouted well. The opposing teams OL has noticed that he speed rushes to the outside and they've been driving him to the dirt. There is a lot of development that needs to occur here.

Our season started going downhill when the trifecta wouldn't put up the $ for a contract extension for Matt Roth. Roth believed that he showed them what they needed to see in the OTA's, but they wouldn't budge. Roth basically told them that two can play that game, and if there were any mystery left to what happened here, it has been dispelled by Roth's performance with the Browns. There was never any flu bug, hamstring injury, or anything like it. This was a contract situation and unlike previous situations, this time the trifecta got burned. The original plan was to have JT as a situational pass rusher behind Roth. BP knows LB's and wouldn't have resigned Crowder if he didn't have what it takes. If you dont believe me, look at the tape when he's not in there. The problem is AA and JP. If Roth had been signed, they would have moved JT over to WLB. AA would still be a disaster, but the overall performance of the LB corps would have been dramatically better. When they didn't sign Roth, JT was their best available run stuffer and he was forced to play out of position. JT can still be a strong every down WLB in my opinion. The guy is a freak of an athlete.

Mondo, nice article - thanks for hitting the nail on the head. I long for Zack Thomas - sure do miss the guy who was always where the ball was. It's been obvious to me in each and every game this season the line backers and rookie safeties are the primary reason for all the losses - the wins the Fins have were only barely - several of their wins would have been taken away with another minute or two on the clock. My God, I know Sparano gets these guys going in the right direction come game time - then it all falls apart and they make a bad qb look great for that one game. Hopefully the rookies, including CH have grown this season and learned from their mistakes - personally I think they should just stay home against Pittsburgh this Sunday and save the embarrassment. Sorry to say that because I have loved the Dolphins since the start and always will, no matter what but these guy's are PROFESSIONAL football players and should know their assignments like a carpenter knows his craft - they have been doing it all their life - WTF?

all of the Dolphins personnel problems would be instantly resolved if we could just sign up more of Ted Ginns family members.

Torbor should have been starting from day 1!

We need two safeties and an elite quarterback

Lol...tx sandman..I didn't know Ted Ginn played safety.lay off the pipe.

So Fake GM what are the real problems with Tobor and Ayodele? LOL..Just joking, you are right on point.

No phinfan..the Fins defense is victimized by having Crowder on. He's bad, Tobor and Ayodele are horrible.

it's become obvious that the fins need several pieces before they can even be considered a perennial contender. It's disappointing, especially after last season, to be a non playoff team but we will benefit in the long run. Remember, this is a multi-year plan and the Miami Dolphins can't be rebuilt in 2 seasons.

Nice blogging Armando about time you raise the real issue. I for one was surprise that we (Dolphins) resigned Crowder in the first place, dude is lazy and always hurt.
The Big Tuna knows LBs can't be believe his LB corps leave much to be desired.

Ayodele was a trade for a late draft pick and is being used intil we have a draft to address that position. Remember we have had 2 drafts under Bill and Co and they have done a very good job so far. We have addressed alot of key positions but we can not address every position in just 2 drafts. Next up is NT a #1 WR and ILBs as well as depth at other positions.

FAs have not been good for us with GWilson and Wilfork being complete busts and Grove who when healthy is a beast but is injured alot. Starks was a great pick up and Mcdaniels is starting to get it in a 3-4.

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