2016 Dolphins preview: Koa Misi

Dec 20, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Koa Misi (55) walks off the field after the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 20, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Koa Misi (55) walks off the field after the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dolphins restructured Koa Misi‘s contract this past off-season, securing a roster spot for their former second round pick this upcoming season.

Linebacker: Koa Misi

Due nearly $4.3 million in base salary for 2016 off the four-year, $17 million contract he signed back in 2013, there was no guarantee former Utah standout Koa Misi was going to return to the team that drafted him in 2010. Fortunately, both sides were able to come to an agreement to restructure Misi’s contract and Misi will indeed continue on as a member of the Dolphins in 2016. Misi had, statistically, his best season in 2015 and will continue to be Miami’s strong-side linebacker this year.

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2015 review

Koa Misi recorded 78 tackles in 2015, a career-high for the soon to be seven-year veteran. His total tackles were second on the team behind only now former Dolphin Kelvin Sheppard. The Dolphins lost Sheppard in free agency to the Giants but the Dolphins had already wrapped up Misi’s restructured deal in early March. Despite Misi’s career season in 2015, it was still far from impressive.

Misi will by far be the longest tenured veteran of the Dolphins linebacker corps in 2016, but the truth is Miami still doesn’t know what they have in him because of his inconsistencies. He may have been voted as Miami’s top-rated linebacker in 2015 according to Pro Football Focus, but that’s not saying much on a team that ranked 25th in overall defense and 28th against the run. In fact, a lot of the poor play against the run can be blamed on Misi.

As the strong-side linebacker, it’s Misi’s responsibility to force teams to run the ball inside and not allow them to bounce it out. Often at times, Misi failed to hold the edge and teams were able to bounce it out for some big gains. Many of his career-high tackles were made downfield after teams had already picked up big yards or first downs. Misi still ranked pretty respectively against the run but needs to continue improving in coverage as he struggled mightily in pass coverage.

2015 stats

78 tackles, 1 pass deflection

2016 preview

Koa Misi’s 2016 has already gotten off to a rocky start and it had nothing to do with football. It was reported last month that Misi was involved in a fight outside of a Fort Lauderdale nightclub. Local police reported that Misi and a group of friends got into an altercation with another group. A police officer on duty reported seeing Misi strike a member of the other group, causing the person to fall to the ground. Misi attempted to flee the police but the cop was able to hold him down until other officers arrived. He was detained and handcuffed but was set free on the scene because the victim did not want to press charges. It’s unknown at the moment whether the NFL will hand down a punishment for Misi or not.

On the football field, Misi will once again hold down the strong side of the Dolphins defense. There was the possibility that Miami could have used Misi again in the middle if they were unable to acquire a veteran or find a middle linebacker in the draft. The Dolphins tried that with Misi in 2014 but it didn’t work out well. Thankfully, the Dolphins traded for Kiko Alonso shortly after Misi’s restructured deal.

It’s tough to predict what to expect from Misi in 2016 because of his inconsistencies over the years. A lot of that though had to do with the inconsistencies in the coaching staff. The good news so far is that Dolphins players are pleased so far with the schemes of new head coach Adam Gase and defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

Misi also has to find a way to stay on the field in 2016. His rookie season in 2010 is the only year he was able to play in all 16 games. He battled hamstring issues in 2014 that caused him to miss five games. Last season, he started out with a calf injury and was eventually put on injured reserve in December with a back problem. Hopefully, Misi can stay healthy throughout the season and help to lead the Dolphins defense back to dominance.

Professional Career

Miami Dolphins (2010-present) – 2010 NFL Draft / 2nd round / Pick: 40 overall