Dobbins, or Dobs as I affectionately call him was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2006 draft by the San Diego Chargers. Tim is an alumni of the ever popular Iowa State Cyclones, where he was named 1st team all Big 12 as a senior and honorable mention as a junior.
At 6’1 or 6’2” (depending on the source) and at 246 pounds, his size is nothing short of prototype for a NFL linebacker. His combine stats were above average for his position, especially in speed. He ran the 40 in a mere 4.59 seconds and better yet, ran the 10 yard dash in a blistering 1.65 seconds. Dobs has the ability to be a physical / power type player as he had a respectable 24 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press.
How Dobs became a Fin is somewhat complex. Apparently Head Coach Tony Sparano was impressed with Dobs for quite some time and the opportunity came in last year’s draft for Miami to acquire him. If you recall, and I am sure you do, the Fins traded their first round pick (12th overall), fourth round pick (110th) and the sixth round pick (173rd) to the Chargers FOR San Diego’s first round pick (28th), 2nd round pick (40th), 4th round pick (126th) AND of course Dobbins. All this so the Lightning Bolts could draft RB Ryan Matthews in the first round. Who??? Hmmm. Dolphins 1 – Chargers 0. Admittingly, I have been critical of some of Sparano’s decisions regarding personnel decision and hiring practices, but I applaud the ingenious move to get Dobbins. I imagine even the Charger fans are still scratching their heads on that one.
Dobs, a career special teamer is hungry. “I want to be something more than a special teams guy”, Dobs said, according to David Neal of the Miami Herald. Dobs has changed his lifestyle in order to reach his goal by eating healthier and “staying out” less. “This is my 5th year and whatever I was doing in the first 4 wasn’t getting it done. If I want something different, I have to change some things.” Finally a guy that understands the definition of insanity. How refreshing!
Head Coach Tony Sparano is confident in Dobs on becoming a key factor on the team. Again, from Neal’s article in the Miami Herald dated 6.19.10, TS is quoted as saying, “What I watched out here on defense is I’ve seen a guy that is really smart, has a ton of energy. I have seen him adjust into this system pretty well, which is not a whole lot different than where he came from.”
There is good reason to be a believer in Dobbins. He has done nothing but continue to improve during his short time in orange and aqua. For the year Dobs had 43 tackles, which is a real achievement when most of the playing time is on ST’s. Tim had 6 starts and was more productive in each one. Here are some brief highlights.
- Nov.1 vs. Baltimore: 3 tackles and a sack of Flacco for a 6 yard loss.
- Nov. 28th: Led the team in tackles with 6 against the Raiders.
- Dec. 5th: Started and led the team in tackles once again with 7 against the Browns.
- Dec. 26th: Tied for team tackles against Detroit with 7.
- Jan 2nd, 11: Game of the year for Dobs! Again, led the team with 11 tackles in a NE game where the Fins were routed.
So, Tim Dobbins sounds great, right? He has the size, the experience in a 3-4 and has a nose for the ball. Dobs does indeed have a huge upside. However, there is a downside as well. Dobbins has struggled in pass coverage. Does this sound like a broken record in accessing the Fins LB group? In the game against Detroit in particular, Dobs was exposed and was burned badly by Jahvid Best and Brandon Pettigrew, which led to two touchdowns for the Lions.
The Dolphins have historically had problems covering tight ends and RB’s out of the backfield. Considering the trend in the league is to utilize the TE’s and RB’s as receiver’s even more, this needs to be fixed. Can Dob’s or Francis (Ike) make the adjustment? Time will tell.
With 2nd year DC Mike Nolan and the recent hire of LB coach Bryan Cox, I am optimistic the proper coaching and teaching can be accomplished. Aside from reaching into free agency or drafting another LB, I am hoping there is a player on the roster that is indeed that diamond in the rough. Is it Dobbins who is a great special teamer and tackler? Is it Ikaika – Alma – Francis, the Hawaiian team mate of Devon Bess? Again, time will tell!~
Be sure to check in next week for my first installment on the tight end position.
Joe Farley, aka Fins4ever1