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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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when's the next OTA?

Kind of interesting to hear how Lazor is moving the TEs around the formations. Motion and quick formation changes (moving from single back flex to the I Trips formation would be cool lining the TE up as FB).


I hope lazor makes homes go home during camp

I haven't seen Homes all night, have any of you seen him?

Debacle. Need one or two more drafts & FA periods before a legit team can be fielded.

Its gonna take 3-4 years to clean up Irelands mess and get the talent to really compete. And thats IF Hickey makes good decisions and Ross opens up his wallet.

Johnny Football is a TD MACHINE!! 96 TD'S IN 2 YEARS!!

The Dolphins will soon be fuming they passed on him.

Moving Misi to the middle is part of what we have to do to play Jordan at OLB.

I think Jordan is more responsable for this move than Elerbee.

HEY HOMEY! Why arent you responding. Cant call people out and hide when called out BAHAHAHAHAHA classic

Homey is a bigger puss then the puss he was born from

If you give a NFL team 4 tries to make 10 - 13 yards.
Guess what? They mught make it.
But I thought Wheeler made a stupid play to lose that game like mhe did against the Bucs.
Another game we should have won.

And what's up wuith the phantom interference calls when we played the Pats and Ravens?

Surely those games added to our playoff hope demise.

Yeah, lets use the ref excuse!

90% of the playoff teams have franchise QB's.

Seriously....I wish i knew where 2watt lived cause I would beat him till he ended eating through a straw for the rest of his life

Lazor for head coach, Philbin no longer needed, if he ever was

I have always been for Misi on the inside, however I was pounding the table for Carlos Fields in the seventh, or even the sixth. Fede may work out, and I hope so, but Fields was the pick.

He took on a 300 lb lineman, who was lined up in the backfield at FB for a short yardage gain, and knocked his feet out from under him.

If the LB can not keep himself clean, which Fields does admirably, he has to stone the blocker and get to the play.

Something not noted in this article or video, was how our LBs just sat on the play. After the ball was snapped, they just sat there. They could not read the play. Over and over, they just sat on the play.

Bob Griese won two Super Bowls and was like watching grass grow. Marino did not win one and was much more fun to watch. That is what this is about, fun to watch and be a fan. Real fans don't have to have Super Bowls, they just want to have a team that is fun to watch.

Posted by: EVERYBODY KNOWS | June 03, 2014 at 11:59 AM
No REAL Dolphin fan would EVER say what you did. Watching those Fins teams kick as*, even when opponents KNEW what was coming was amazing. 3 thousand yard rushers in one season, with a 14 game schedule. Same style as the Lombardi Packers.
And NO, why would NE fans trade their team. Regardless of style, they won 3 SB's and played in several others.
It wasn't all Brady, who for several years had NO #1 receiver.


Marino FOLDED.....he must read this blog....

or he realized that there is NO video of him ever being hit save one....GREG Lloyd....

Thanks Mark...

I am with IMAWriter, I loved to watch us run the ball down the throat of the opponent, especially when they thought it was coming. The thing was that, they knew we could throw the ball, and Greise could call the correct audible if the run was not respected.

We had Warfield, Twilley, and Merc out of the backfield; and an OL that could block in any way possible. That was fun football.

I suppose a dominant offense is great if it is from your team, regardless of the manner it is implemented. But, I love smash mouth football.


Marino FOLDED.....he must read this blog....

or he realized that there is NO video of him ever being hit save one....GREG Lloyd....

Thanks Mark...

Posted by: Kris (In Germany) |

Marino's greatest attribute was to get the ball out on time, or even early. Many times he would just flick it to a spot that only our boy could make the catch.

It seems the Fins could have used the extra 3rd rounder that they could have gotten after sliding back and still getting RT James. Hickey is better off as he has now "worked" the draft and got what he wanted with a crucial bonus pick.

I will go to my grave knowing they would have still gotten him as rarely do pure RT's get drafted in the first round. This is EXACTLY why getting good value is key. You get better mileage (read more quality choices) out of your drafts.

With the extra 3rd they could have manuevered to get ILB Chris Borland...a pick that would be looking pretty sweet about now. With some finagling they could have still drafted WR J. Landry too if they loked him so much.

Let's hope it works out for the Fins Def sake. Getting gashed up the gut is one of, if not the worst ways, to lose a football game.


Marino hated the contact and avoided it at all costs. He was a girly QB. but a good passer in the regular season.

Posted by: Rob in OC | June 04, 2014 at 02:30 AM

I say the worst indeed. In any fight, you guard your gut, first and foremost.

Good analogy Coltrane!

I hope the Fins don't rue the day they addressed ILB in a more profound way then sliding their outside guy in.

Not that Misi is was great outside just steady...different ball of wax on the inside. The Fins will watch the Vet cuts no doubt but it doesn't help that Dallas ILB Sean Lee went down for the year...


Misi, I think can fill in. But it is seldom a talent like Fields rolls out. The Raiders are going to roll with him.

Marino FOLDED faster than the FINS in a WILD CARD playoff game....

Misi,,,,,???? who never mas any plays???? Ya Ok???


Motion. The reason he is looking forward to it is because he cannot do it now because he is the one that gets confused.


Of an NFL offense - it was about 1995 I think.

We are going to miss Paul Soliai.

hmm, Brady is going to the hall of fame based on motion and picks by his WRS.

Haven't heard anything from Armando on the running backs other than Moreno looks fat. Sounds like Miller is still 1st team for us. I swear leaving Mason on the board was Hickey's biggest mistake in the draft, but time will tell there.

Sure it's kind if hard to assess the run in OTAs and camp, but we can here about their pass blocking or screen game. Something would be nice. Our running game is what I'm most concerned about on offense.

Hey MIT how's your family doing? You all back home?

still need
a qb

Agree Darkoak. A lot more "Confusion" and creativity if we have the running game working. There were some bright spots last year where the running was working even without an O line and Sherman abandoned it. Real eager to hear and see where we are with the running game. But will not be able to see because of the "no contact" rule.

Posted by: Opti/Pessi Mist | June 04, 2014 at 09:28 AM

I just want to know we can put a running formation on the field that can get us one yard when we need one yard. Not this off tackle crap Sherman called in those situations that cost us points again and again.

Eager to see if Moreno is used as the short yardage bruiser. If he is that good at the pass protection then I would think he is usually dueling it out with bigger bodies in LB's and D line men. I have a feeling that Lazor will use bigger bodies in the back field (TE) in certain running plays, just to keep defenses off their game.

DO, everybody is home and cooled and perfect, thanks for asking. Last two nights I put my son to sleep as he passed out on my chest while i watched baseball. Best nights ever!

Posted by: Opti/Pessi Mist | June 04, 2014 at 09:42 AM

Some power running mixed in with our passing attack would take a toll on any defense. Moreno will see more stacked boxes than he ever saw in Denver with Manning as QB so hopefully he can play a power game for us.

MIT. Enjoy and Cherish every moment. They grow up real fast.

Darkoak, they had two cracks at the two best RBs in this draft in my opinion and passed em both in Sankey and Mason. I actually had Mason slotted to Miami after the trade down and had Sankey to Miami if they stayed at 50. So I may be biased here but I think these guys would've brought a nice element to the team instead of a 5th WR in Landry and a backup G/T in Turner. I don;t like the Landry pick andliked the Turner pick to a degree but I thought there was better and players who played a position of need on the board.

Anyway, let's hope Hickey is smarter than you, me, the Rams, and the Titans.

Great to hear the familia is happy and healthy Mark.

I am worried about this Moreno fat business. This guy was always one week away from being cut while in Denver and they never stopped drafting RBs while he was there. Maybe he just has no sense of urgency regarding his career... a little too casual.

I would've felt a lot better if they got Tate or Gerhart in free agency... Gerhart especially I think will thrive in Jax. But it was a one year deal and if Lamar Miller who has been far from a bust and very young continues to grow, it all means nothing...

thanks guys. I swear every time I look at him he changes. Wish i didn't have to work for a living and could spend all day with him but whatever, we play the cards we are dealt..


It keeps getting better...Trust me....

Wait until first steps...and first words.....

It only gets better my man....

Thanks Kris, I'm smiling here but I think using a smiley faced emoticon when conversing with another dude is weird...

Agree Mark...

Only use smiley aces emotcons to get @ss...and even then may be judged weird by the perspective reciever.....

I'm out men.....

quitting time...

and its a slow day.....

Have a good one, man!

Not encouraging to see Moreno coming in out of shape. He still has some time though. Nice to see Wallace making some plays and acting like a pro in the practice the other day.

I still think Moreno, Miller, and yes even Daniel Thomas can do well this year behind an improved O-Line.

Yeah NeMo it seemed like there were ways to greatly improve the running game this offseason, but we didn't do much but bring in a better blocker. But maybe like many have said here better play calling and Oline play may be the cure rather than bringing in more talent there via the draft.

There's no question that was a stunning move and a bad one by Ireland. However, I half blame Philbin because Dansby and Burnett were the 2 vets left from previous team leadership and I think Philbin wanted to clear all of those guys out. I didn't like that FA move to swap linebackers, although I did think that Ellerbe might be solid.

his nick name in
Denver was
no show moreno

is another
Louis oliver

2 watt, I guess we better hope Miller steps up his game then. He is still only 23, I can see it happening.

Is everyone done drooling over their offspring yet? What's the big woop? Insert here, thrust, finish and remove, wait 9 months. Unfortunately, most everyone on the planet has this capability.

2 watt

Delmas wants to be your

I saw 2 watt walking down University Drive in soiled diapers and sandals yesterday.


If you asked me why Brady is going to the HOF I would say because he has so much time to throw that he can stand flat footed in the pocket until a WR comes open.

I would not say because the offense uses a lot of motion.

On the other hand if 'motion' on offense puts us into the postseason - let's do it!

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