Oct 23, 2011; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins players Sean Smith (24) and Tony McDaniel (78) try to recover a fumble during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Lou Novick-USA TODAY Sports
In his fourth season with the Miami Dolphins, back-up defensive tackle Tony McDaniel had a down year to say the least. The seven-year veteran appeared in 11 games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on a bum knee during the offseason – not good for a defensive lineman.
McDaniel was sent to Miami in 2009 from Jacksonville in exchange for a seventh round draft pick. Miami seemingly has received the “better end” of that deal, gaining a serviceable back-up for their already stout defensive line. But, nonetheless, health is beginning to become an issue for the seven year pro.
McDaniel has never been a starting caliber defensive lineman – which explains why Miami was able to get him for next to nothing. The big behemoth is barely even a space eater anymore – looking sluggish and tired all the while.
The former Tennessee Volunteer mustered 11 total tackles (6 solo), 0.5 sacks and 1 pass defensed in 11 games. Although only seeing time to spell starting defensive tackle Randy Starks, McDaniel’s season is a complete disappointment.
The highlight of McDaniel’s season can be summed up here…
Even though he was able to recover the fumble (kind of ironic that it was Armon Binns who fumbled isn’t it?) if you watch McDaniel from the beginning, he looks slow and sluggish getting out of his stance. Age is clearly taking it’s toll on the big fella.
McDaniel usually sees the bulk of his time with the second unit, but can also see time on passing downs due to his size and length. With the coaching staff subbing you in to be a threat on passing downs, you would think McDaniel’s sack total would be much higher than 0.5 sacks – even if he did only play in 11 games.
With the emergence of seventh round pick, Kheeston Randall, the front office may see the 6-7 foot 310 pound defensive tackle as an expendable player this offseason – meaning he may end up being cut. Randall has more upside than the 27 year-old McDaniel and is the younger and cheaper option.
Overall, McDaniel didn’t quite fulfill my expectations this season – even if he was injured. Being used primarily on passing downs and as a back-up, McDaniel should have AT LEAST been able to match his career high of 2.5 sacks. T-Mac let me down this season, and my personal fear is that the front office will see him expendable due to the play of Randall. Although I may be wrong, just call it a hunch.
Player Grade: D-
———-ALL STATISTICS TAKEN FROM NFL.COM———-