It’s early in Miami Dolphins training camp and many are doing well. But of course we must keep in mind the obvious datum: some will need to go.
The question is, who?
I will tender some ideas here but let me know your predictions on this for the Defense.
The first person that must go is a defensive lineman who has had a run-in with the Law recently and also an injury: Phillip Merling. He has gone onto the PUP list on Friday and at this point what to do with him? A later trade…. Hmmmm, will he be worth anything to another team in a couple of months? I don’t think so and that is the problem; he may not be worth anything later either. He’ll be gone, one way or another!
There is a plethora (as Howard Cosell used to say) of Defensive linemen and linebackers as we know and aside from Merling, the questions are going to be Marques Douglas, Ryan Baker, Lionel Dotson and Charles Grant most likely. A big surprise (a positive one at that) has been the play of Ikaika Alama-Francis (more on him in next article) who is now playing with the 2nd team (at OLB) and if he continues to improve, look out! But this has got to be the year that Quentin Moses delivers. I like Tony McDaniel because aside from other things, he is HUGE at 6-7, 305lbs and if he can push the line with some force and show some run-stuffing ability then I think he’ll be used to alternate and rest the starters (or possibly something more like a 3rd NT: you heard it here first, folks).
At LB, I believe Channing Crowder and Karlos Dansby will be the starters at ILB and a rotation at OLB. But question marks are with Erik Walden, JD Folsom and yes, I believe rookie Austin Spitler; at least 2 of these 3 (if not all 3) will be gone. But I predict that the change in defensive scheme will feature numerous LB’s and will require a higher-than-usual number of them. Probably at least 7-8 will stay on the roster and all of them will play.
At Safety, I feel certain that Tyrone Culver (producing, doing well), Chris Clemons and Yeremiah Bell will be there and probably Jonathon Amaya in some capacity (special teams or practice squad) but probably Nate Ness will be gone.
The discipline level seems to be high now that TC is running and it looks like things are finally coming under control.
This defense is going to be a constantly-shifting, unpredictably rushing and painfully hitting one; that much I can assure you. Great to see and welcome back to the black-and-blue in the Aqua & Orange!