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Dolphins sign Johnston to go big at OLB

The 2009 season exposed the Dolphins in a lot of different areas and one of those was the linebacker corps.

The team is already addressing those issues and I'm not talking about the coaching change with George Edwards that I was first to report on Thursday. I'm talking about the signing Thursday of OLB Brian Johnston, most recently of the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions.

Johnston is interesting because he was drafted by the Chiefs as a 4-3 defensive end. He played in nine games for the Chiefs in 2008 and made three tackles in that span. But when KC hired Scott Pioli, Bill Parcells' son-in-law, and then switched to a 3-4 defensive alignment, the team cut Johnston.

Well, now the Dolphins, a 3-4 team, are hoping Johnston can move well enough and not be exposed in space so much as to be a possible answer as an OLB. We'll see who's smarter, Parcells or Pioli.

Johnston seems like a Matt Roth type and in that regard the Dolphins have had success converting undersized 4-3 ends into OLBs. Remeber they even experimented with moving Vonnie Holliday to OLB?

Frankly, the Dolphins need an OLB that can hold the edge of the defense and defend the run because that was a weakness in 2009. If you doubt that, think back to the TD run by Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Then think back to the two other TD runs against Miami in that Buffalo game. Then stop thinking and watch the video and you'll know what I mean.

Miami's run defense on the perimeter needs help. Maybe Johnston can provide some help.

[BLOG NOTE: I am flying to Boston today and will be covering the AFC Wildcard playoff game between Baltimore and the Patriots on Sunday. We will have a live game blog of that game on Sunday so please join me here. Meanwhile check back for more updates today as more Dolphins news and analysis pours into this space. Follow me on twitter.]

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