Channing Crowder, the oft injured LB is back at practice and working with the first team unit mixing with Tim Dobbins and Bobby Carpenter. For the first time since way back at the start of training camp, Crowder is in pads and a full participant, but does that mean he should play, let alone start this weekend against the Jets?
Crowder has had his moments. He played far better when Zach Thomas was leading the defense as opposed to when the job was his. No one will argue that Crowder is not a team defensive leader on the field. That fact brings up the point that given his play with Thomas, he should be much better with Karlos Dansby leading the squad. Regardless, there are still questions.
Crowder hasn’t played an entire season in three years and hasn’t finished one either. This year he started with his injury and the Dolphins find themselves 2-0 heading into the weekend. The play of Tim Dobbins has not been as expected. He has hardly broken out next to Dansby, but Bobby Carpenter has. At least to some degree.
Carpenter was the pivotal point hitter on the 4th down stop of Adrian Peterson last weekend and held AP long enough for Vontae’ Davis to finish him off. His play thus far in such a short time with the team is impressive considering two weeks ago he was just another former first round bust out on the streets.
Crowder is an emotional player and perhaps vocally the loudest on the team. He often makes you think he would fit in better with the Jets and Rex Ryan than with the Miami Dolphins. But it is his disdain for the Jets HC that led to a verbal sparring prior to the start of last season, let alone the first week the two faced off. So this week, his return to the squad has to have at least an emotional context to it.
Crowder has not been on the field for the last two weeks and has not felt the impact of a defense that at the moment is playing lights out to some degree. Will Crowder’s return make the unit better? Worse? Or will he be able to jump in and continue with the current flow? That’s a serious question facing the Dolphins coaches leading up to one of the biggest games of the year.
In my opinion, play him but don’t start him. Let him integrate into the game, the scheme, and get used to the new guys around him. It’s been a while.