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See why Dolphins want upgrade at MLB

Watch the video below.

It is a compilation of Alex Mack highlights from 2013. Mack, the center for the Cleveland Browns, truly is among the best at his position in the NFL. But that's not the reason the video is on here.

The reason comes around the :34 second mark.

In that play you see Trent Richardson taking the ball around his 48 yard line and gaining 11 yards to around the Dolphin 41 yard line.

In that play you see Mack getting to the second level and locking on to Dolphins middle linebacker Dannell Ellerbe. And you see Mack driving Ellerbe back ...

... and back.

... and back.

Richardson is tackled by Dolphins safety Chris Clemons. Meanwhile, a couple of more yards down the field, Ellerbe is still being blocked by Mack.

The Dolphins middle linebacker got locked up just beyond the line of scrimmage. He didn't get off the block, like, at all. And he got driven off the line of scrimmage some 15 or so yards by the time the running play ends.

And you wonder why the Dolphins run defense struggled in 2013?

And you wonder why the Dolphins are working with Koa Misi as the middle linebacker now and Ellerbe, signed to a five-year, $34.75 million contract last year, was a bust in his first year with Miami?

Yes, Ellerbe was second on the team with 101 tackles. But only three of his tackles were for a loss. Three tackles for losses is the same number Reshad Jones had in 2013.

And Jones plays safety, often 15 yards off the line of scrimmage. 

(Anyway, watch the video before I continue below. Remember, the play in question starts at the :34 second mark.)


The Dolphins hoped Ellerbe could be their new Zach Thomas or Bryan Cox (he played MLB for a year in Miami) or John Offerdahl. He had been a solid fill-in for Ray Lewis when Lewis was injured in Baltimore.

But the move simply did not translate in Miami.

And so what to do with a player who is making $6 million this year, is costing $7.425 million against the salary cap, and cannot be cut because the move would weigh the Dolphins down with $11.6 million in dead money.

So Ellerbe is headed outside, with Misi now the MLB.

Why Misi?

Well, the attempt to sign D'Qwell Jackson in free agency did not pan out. He went to the Colts. The idea of drafting Ryan Shazier did not pan out. He was drafted by the Steelers before the Dolphins could even make a decision on the clock. And Jordan Tripp, drafted in the fifth round, is not ready.

Sooo ...

Koa Misi, everyone.

"Since I’ve been here, one of the things that we’ve emphasized strongly have been fundamentals on defense whether it is block protection, pursuit, tackling, creating turnovers," coach Joe Philbin said Monday. "One of the things we’ve liked about him, that I’ve liked in particular, is when we do a year-end cut-up and we show examples how to take on a block, how to tackle properly, how to pursue the football. He shows up on a lot of those cut-ups.

"Football, as I like to tell the team, is not complicated. Defensively, we want to do those things. We want to see him do those things and we want to take a look at him from the interior, from the middle. We think he has great leadership qualities. We think his play has certainly exemplified that over the course of period of time that I’ve been here. He plays football the right way, so we are going to see how we adjust to that position and how he relates to the other players at his position and the defense in general. So far he’s done a nice job."

Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said he's not ready to commit to Misi as the starting MLB just yet. But, honestly, what choice does he presently have?

Brian Urlacher is not walking through that door. (Well, maybe he might in Dallas.)

So ... Misi.

“I’ve always been open to anything," Misi said, thus dismissing an inaccurate report that he was unhappy with the move to the middle. "Like I said to these guys, since I got here, I’ve been switching positions. I’m always open to try something new. Like I said, if it works, it works and, if not, we’ll go back to the way things were."

So far, it is working as far as adjusting to the new spot and comfort level are concerned.

"I’ve played defensive end, I’ve played outside linebacker (and) all of our reads were from the outside in," Misi said. "I was walked out on number two. I’m playing Mike (linebacker) now, I’m in the middle. I’m reading everything inside out. I’m dropping in the middle. Everything’s different. I’ve got a lot more calls to make. I’ve got a lot more reads. With work, it will get better.”

 "Once I get this defense down playing, playing Mike, I think I'll be all right.

"I’m already feeling a lot more comfortable."


The team didn't ask him what he thought of the move.

"They just told me they were thinking about some things," Ellerbe said. "I’m down for it. Where ever I can stay in and get comfortable and be able to help the team and play my best, I don’t care where they put me."

The Dolphins are still in the middle linebacker market. As they should be. They'll keep an eye out for possible candidates as teams make cuts between now and training camp and then again before the regular season.

The next phase of this experiment is obviously to see how Misi handles the middle when hitting begins. Then everyone will see how he handles the middle when the preseason games begin.

Amazingly, a team that paid so much to fill its middle linebacker spot a year ago still has uncertainty with the quality of play at that position.


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I think Misi will be a solid run defending MLB. Let's hope Delmas is is flying around knocking out slot receivers and tight ends.

Sorry 13 of the bottom 16, not 12.

So 56% chance you make the playoffs if you have an average to great run game.

81% chance you don't make the playoffs if you have a below average run game.

So if oyu can run, you have a 50-50 shot. You can't run, unless you have Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, AJ Green and co, you will watch on the couch.

I just want a winner. I don't care if they do it with offense, defense, or special teams (don;t laugh the Bears went all the way to the Super Bowl riding Hester and defense).
I'm sick of the season ending in December. Any of you guys know how dark and dreary it is up here in december and January? It would be nice for once to have something other than the stinker Maple Leafs to entertain me in those awful months.
Posted by: Mark in Toronto | June 03, 2014 at 12:07 PM


There's a team West of where you are situated called "the Jets"...... u could cheer for them with me? Just sayin

What a genius Ireland is or was for the Dolphins. Unloads a decent MLB for one who can not do the job and now they are moving Misi who is to slow for OLB to the middle. Misi another Parcells/Ireland drafted player. It will take a while to correct all the Parcells and Ireland mistakes....However the defense looks better than the offense. The issue is mainly at MLB. Go Dolphins, Super Bowl, well not quite yet.

After being fired from CBS Marino probably cant pay all his child support so he's trying a lawsuit. And how did he get a concussion? He never got hit. Dont remember him ever coming out of a game woosy.

Posted by: Monte | June 03, 2014 at 12:09 PM

You obviously don't know much about football or the lawsuit for that matter. Maybe stick to tournament chess or tennis?

I was watching a thing on Lombardi and one thing he said was "you can't coach a player who hasn't been taught".
I automatically thought about the coaching we've seen in the last few years.

loso204....just shows how smart Jets fans are when they think they are "WEST" of the city of Toronto, Canada.

....classic Jest Fan.

Misi in the middle could prove to be a very intelligent move. Misi isn't flashy, and he doesn't destroy the ESPN highlight boards but the dude is strong, solid and consiatantly good.

It's the coaching more than the players. They all have great seasons before they come to Miami and after they leave. Just never actually in Miami......

Loso, for a 2nd there I thought you were telling me to cheer for the gangreen but the shock wore off and you said WEST. So that would be the Winnipeg jets. No thanks, even bigger losers than the Leafs.

all of this, and it doesnt even bring up the fact that Wheeler is the worst of our 3 starting LBers....what a colossal miscalculation by Ireland

All this blame the coaching crap. Coaches aren't allowed on the damm field, that's a penalty.
Also, tournament chess, now that's some hard stuff right there. It's okay for the non-thinkers to make fun of chess. We know, they dont. And throwing tennis under the bus? Hey, I dont get down on watching a tennis tourney but those guys and gals are not fking around. If someone put you on a square of clay or in a box with a little blue ball. You'd be crying like a little beech.

but I gotta say that I'm as comfortable with Misi in the middle as anybody--he's not great but he's solid/steady/predictable....durable, physical, decent tackler....he wont stink, would be surprising if he wasnt at least average, which would be an upgrade (pretty low bar, I realize)--we've seen Misi play and my guess is he'll be fine, adequate....but that doesnt solve Ellerbe and Wheeler

now Marino is withdrawing his lawsuit, huh?--oh boy, even our legend HOFer is generating mixed PR, in retirement no less

benz if Misi can hold down the middle then Ellerbe can move to his more natural outside position. Then we can have the ohter side rotate by committee. In all actuality they should be able to produce down and distance specific packages with a multitude of LB looks.

Hit the line and stuff the run or drop back and protect the middle in passing plays. Its all up to coaching and the players ability to read the offense. In this case I put the burden on the coaching. We have decent players that have shown that they can play under the right circumstance, but it the coaches that need to make them shine.

AKA situational.

not the d

Yeah, if Misi can be middle of the road, it improves two positions because it gets Wheeler off the dam field...

u aint gonna
win many games
scoring 0 pts.

You got me watching the video I think you should watch it again because he did initially get off the block but was doubled by t) TE then picked back up by the center... NYC Dolphins Fan!!!

Both Wheeler and Ellerby were mistakes.
Both will be cut at the end of the season to stop the bleeding
Unfortunately they will have to play this year

Next year, acquiring a playmaker at LB will be the focus, and we will probably get one or two in free agency, and one of the first two picks of the draft will also be a LB.
I just hope we do not need to worry about our corner position (opposite Grimes)or safety's for a while.
Other than that our "D" seems to be in fairly good shape.
(Key word "Seems")
Let's hope so.


Armando himself should go and watch this video several time. Multiples of things went wrong for the ENTIRE LB CORP on this play. 1ST OF ALL:

1. Cam Wake misses the tackle for a 1 YD LOSS
2. Wheeler gets caught in the wash backside
3. Misi does not get off of his block to make tackle
4. Mack did get a "clean release" on Ellerbee

No run defense can be successful with multiples of breakdowns. The video CLEARLY shows this. Don't believe me, click "big screen" and watch it several times. Watch Wake, Misi, Wheeler, and Ellerbee.

You'll see multiples of breakdowns leading to the success of this run play. Armando only wants us to watch 1 player(Ellerbee) and blame the failure only on him. Exactly why in this world everyone needs to be a "SELF-THINKER". Not allowing others to think for you or "PROGRAM" your thinking.

Points for, points against was -18 last year. Argument could be made the O should have scored more points or the D should have given up less points. Given the fact there was a lot put on the situation of the O line, and Shermans poor play calling, and those changes have been addressed, it is entirely up to the D to step up too and do their job.


Mack effectively sealed off the MLB of all 16 teams he faced last season that is why he is the top C.

How did Ellerbee do against the average C last season?

Ray Lewis would not have been successful on that run play.

1. A center cannot get "free-releases" to the 2nd level at your mlb. That's why thre are 2 dt's in a 4-3, to keep the hogs off of your mlb. Remember Zack when our DT play went south?

2. The play went to the edge, not middle. WAKE MISSED THE TACKLE. Would have been no more than a 3yd gain had WAKE NOT MSSED THE TACKLE.

3. Played ran to MISI'S SIDE. Misi does not get off of his block. Misi gets off of his block, it's a 5-6yd gain instead of 11yd gain.

Sure, Ellerbee may have had some issues last year, but, this play is a VERY POOR representation of it. It was an "EDGE" play. Even if everything went right, Ellerbee had very little chance to be to make this play anyway.

He was even "walled off" by Wheeler and the guy blocking Wheeler too. Armando is laughable. :)

On the video in question, its an EVEN BIGGER NON-STORY if:


Wake is the guy that should have made the play and had the cleanest shot at making the play. Plain and simple, the video CLEARLY SHOWS Wake misses the tackle to hold the gain to 3YDS OR LESS.

Ryan Tannehill = Another Irescum bust

Mike Sherman couldnt make chicken salad out of chicken soup. Lazor wont be able to either.

Coyle's D singlehanedly beat the Colts....on their turf!

YUP, I watched it again. Wake CLEARLY MISSES TACKLE FOR LOSS in backfield of the ALLEGED ARMANDO play.

However, if you want to see Elerbee get "MANHANDLED" go to the 10 SECOND MARK.


That's the play Armando should have drawn his focus too. No way should a mlb get DE-CLEATED by a WR. :)

loso204....just shows how smart Jets fans are when they think they are "WEST" of the city of Toronto, Canada.
....classic Jest Fan.
Posted by: NHFinsFan | June 03, 2014 at 01:34 PM

Too Funny NHFinsFan, too funny. I live in Canada to be more specific in Winnipeg,MB. Fin fan since Marino days..... but i like your sensitiveness, u must be a die hard fan!

Loso, for a 2nd there I thought you were telling me to cheer for the gangreen but the shock wore off and you said WEST. So that would be the Winnipeg jets. No thanks, even bigger losers than the Leafs.
Posted by: Mark in Toronto | June 03, 2014 at 01:37 PM

its funny how u say that Mark when the Leafs are basically in the same boat as we are in. But the funny thing is that Toronto has a bigger market (payroll) than Winnipeg but yet cannot go deep into the playoffs. We just got our team back and i bet you we will be in a better situation as far as playoffs go than your lowly leafs.........

Hines ward made a living de-cleating LBers and safeties. Just saying

So basically hickey did not get any help whatsoever to a very delicate issue. When you get run over through the middle, you are done

We are about to really appreciate what Solia used todo for us. Misi is too slow for MLB, fast RB are going to have a field day with him

The predators wereamajor disappointment

Hickey did nothing

I smell big time disaster coming our way

Tanne's bombs are the only salvation

Very difficult to have faith when you know your leader is "I know nothing'

Is Coyle interim HC yet?

loso the city of winnipeg has never won a playoff round. Even the original jets playing in Phoenix still hasn't. COme on now, the Leafs suck the bigg cokk in the worst way but the jets... they are taking it in the rectum while playing the massive skin flute.

In what decade will the Dolphins finally have a franchise QB?

I don't see enough meat in the middle of the DL to cover the Mike LB, this is going to be a long year for the run D

Bowens and Gardener have been sorely missed. No doubt

"I smell big time disaster coming our way"
"Hickey did nothing"
- Go Gogo

Gogo I've been saying this for months. Show me one official NFL stat that projects that Dallas will be better than Incogs/Smith will better than Jerry/Mitchell will be better than Solai/Delmas will be better than Clemmons.
You can't because there are no official NFL stats that lead to any of those conclusions.

On the other hand the NYG signed Jerry when both he and Smith were available. Atl signed Solai when both he and Mitchell were available. Tampa DID NOT offer Hickey the GM job after 18 years as backup GM and Philbin/Ross/aponte all voted against him as GM.

Lastly we went from 18 in power rankings at season's end to 24 in power rankings after the draft and FA.


The good news: alcohol will be available to all of us on gamedays except for MIT who will be trying to convince his wife that thier marriage is more importasnt than the Dolphins on Sundays.

bwahaha! give it time Mark..... say next yr (that's how good we really are), then we off to the promise land from there. btw, 1987 over the calgary flames............ thank u very much!

Posted by: Go gogo | June 03, 2014 at 02:46 PM

You could have saved so much time if you just copied and pasted all of these opinions that were already written by the SS AND the Herald. These issues were talked about last week so I'm happy you were able to read them and then make it seem like you formulated and opinion on your own as if you have any insight at all.

hmmmmmm hold cam newton 4th and 13 and we win and we In hmmmmmm

Posted by: Bruce | June 03, 2014 at 03:10 PM

No one knows. Here are some questions that can be answered but only by you. Why are you so lonely? Why do you go from GO GOGO, to Zonk, to Bruce when you could just stick with one name? Why aren't you using the handle YG4EVER anymore?

Do you ever just feel like the biggest loser in the world when you calculate how much time you spend in this blog talking to no one? Is your family aware of how much time you waste in here? Are you a shut in? Were you beat up a lot as a child?

loso, I am no leaf homer, that's for sure. the team will NEVER, EVER win in my lifetime... any idiot except those losers who gather up in MLS to watch the team humilate the city in front of hockey watchers everywhere (like they did last year v Boston) only think they ever will have a shot of doing anything.

Every other team in teh NFL says winning the Cup is their objective. Not the losers, they say we want to make the playoffs. To be 16th of 30 teams!!!

That being said, the Jets are worse.

Aren't the Panthers in the NFC? I'm not sure that single game would have made any difference in playoff outcome (Unless the Jet's and Pats both lost to them and we tied the Jets) I can't recall.

What I do know is that had the team won either one of the last 2 games of the season they WOULD have made the playoffs

Of course, they would have lost soundly in the first round

Marino just lost allot of credibility with his latest flip flop. Adding him to the Dolphins management right now would create a ton of late night jokes.

I can just see Marino as Miami's GM on Draft Day. The Dolphins pick player X No wait we want player Y No wait yeah player X no...

we would have ben 9-7, marc. and had the tie breaker over the 9-7 chargers that got into the playoffs.

we could have just sat the starters the last 2 games still lose and be in the playoffs.

Of course, they would have lost soundly in the first round

playing the bengals again, not sure about that. even though we already beat them.

lmao yes, June power rankings mean everything.The players should forget about training camp and give up now. Why even try when the same outlets who said your second biggest need in the draft was a DE are now ranking you 24th? Stupid players, who are they to figure they can make the playoffs? Who cares if one more win last year had them in the playoffs ,which was an improvement over the previous year? They have added a lot of talent while only losing one player on the deepest position. The same player who helped them be a very bad run defense is now playing for Atlanta. But who cares, it's all meaningless because even though the team showed improvement while dealing with a scandal, tons of injuries, and the worst offensive line the Dolphins ever fielded, they are still going to regress after adding talent. And even though the team is getting older together they will not improve because you say so. And you have so many brilliant facts to back up your opinion. Great post.


Would still be here.

My complaint about Ireland was not the players that he brought in. My problem with Ireland was that we lose 3-4 starters per year in FA and get nothing in return, then have to draft and FA to pay more for players not as good.

The Dolphins will continue to flounder while Steve Ross is too cheap to pay for top playmakers.

Of course, they would have lost soundly in the first round

Posted by: Marc | June 03, 2014 at 03:35 PM

Why? They had already beaten both teams they may have faced, and they did it on the road. So why exactly would the Dolphins had automatically lost to two teams they matched up perfectly against? Does anyone in here think before they write?


If we were to somehow in the superbowl with Ireland last season. Would you still care if he was still here?

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