Gase, Dolphins Hope to Get ‘Upper Hand’ on Anthony Deal

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 06: Jonathan Stewart
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 06: Jonathan Stewart /

 With his decision to acquire linebacker Stephone Anthony and suspended Lawrence Timmons indefinitely, Adam Gase continues to implement a new culture down in Miami. But at what cost?

Two days after Dolphins starting linebacker Lawrence Timmons went AWOL, leaving an already depleted linebacker corps to fend for itself against a future hall-of-fame quarterback, coach Adam Gase made his feelings known by suspending the 11-year veteran indefinitely and trading for Saints linebacker Stephone Anthony.

Although Timmons’ status with the team remains unclear, Gase told reporters Wednesday that the Dolphins’ interest in Anthony had been brewing for quite some time.

“This has been going on for a while,’’ Gase said, per Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel. “It was bound to happen. We’re excited we had an opportunity to add someone to our roster that we feel can help us.”

Anthony, a highly rated prospect out of Clemson, was drafted No. 31 overall by the Saints in 2015. But after an impressive rookie season—where he recorded 112 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception—he was moved to the strongside, a move he never recovered from.

This year, Anthony was placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain and hasn’t played a down. However, as Jason Leiser of The Palm Beach Post reported, Gase confirmed, “he was good” after his team physical.

So, the question remains: Why would the Saints, a historically bad defensive football team, be willing to part ways with a talented young linebacker like Anthony?

Sure, the Saints acquired a fifth-round pick from the Dolphins in the deal, but why would they dump Anthony—who Pro Football Focus ranked No. 17 against the run in 2015—so fast?

Maybe the Saints, 0-2, have decided to give up on their season and start allocating draft picks. Maybe they’re a bad franchise. Or maybe the Dolphins, thanks to Gase, are getting the upper hand for once.

If anything, this move by Gase, who undoubtedly runs the show in Miami, gives the Dolphins another body at a position of need. Draft picks are valuable, but giving up a fifth-rounder for the chance to add a proven commodity to your team comes at a low risk.

Despite holding the Chargers to 44 yards rushing (3.1 yards per attempt), the Dolphins’ defense struggled against the pass. Second-year linebacker Mike Hull (10 tackles) and rookie Chase Allen (3 tackles) had a hard time defending speedy backs in open space.

This is one area that Anthony, a former first-team ALL ACC recipient and Butkus Award semifinalist, can help the Dolphins. He’s fast, athletic and physical enough to succeed against skill-position players. And, as his rookie season suggests, he can provide instant help against the run as well.

If healthy, Anthony has the chance to thrive at his natural position, MLB, while Kiko Alonso can remain outside. Together, the duo provides more athleticism to a unit desperate for some.

Gase says that Stephone Anthony has been on his radar for a while—who knows how truthful that is. But if anything, the third-year player adds a body and helps Gase send a message.

The suspension of Timmons was the right move. In order to dethrone the Patriots, you have to create a specific kind of culture: a winning culture, a no bullshit kind of culture. And in order for it to work, you must acquire talented players who buy into it.

Only time will tell, but hopefully Gase worked his magic and just got the Dolphins one.