Saturday, August 9, 2008

Updated Thoughts/Observations/Predictions (defense)

Here are my updated thoughts and observations for the defensive side of the ball. I'm not trying to break any news here, but really just collect my thoughts and point out what has changed in my view two weeks into camp.

Defensive end
  • I loved Kendall Langford as a prospect before he was drafted, I loved when we picked him and I love what I'm hearing about him now. The experimentation with standing up Roth and Holliday has given Langford a lot of time with the first-team defense and he's impressed Sparano quite a bit. He's a perfect 3-4 end.
  • Speaking of Roth and Holliday, I really hope that all this stuff about them standing up is just a little practice in case of an emergency in-game. All you need to know about Holliday playing linebacker you can find out in one of Channing Crowder's interviews on the official website. If Holliday gets pressed into a role that calls for him to go into coverage, we're screwed.
  • I'm disappointed with how slowly Randy Starks has come along; he was a guy I really wanted before free agency began. I still think once he gets used to the 3-4 he's going to be a quality starter, as he's still very young for a four-year vet.
Nose tackle
  • The acquisition of Jason Ferguson was an invaluable one. We were sorely lacking a starting nose tackle before he arrived and he's filling the void perfectly. He's also going to push center Samson Satele to be even better.
  • One thing I was pleased to hear was a comment from Channing Crowder about how second-year man Paul Soliai had lot a lot of weight, had come into camp tearing people up and had really impressed. Good to see from a guy that couldn't beat out Steve Fifita for the No. 2 job last year, since Soliai has prototypical nose tackle size.
Linebacker
  • The loss of Jason Taylor as an outside pass rusher will hurt, but it was the best move for both parties. JT wanted out and the team is trying to get younger. They got good value for him and the draft picks will be here beyond the final two years of Jason's career he would have wasted in Miami.
  • The battle to replace Taylor between Charlie Anderson, Quentin Moses and possibly Junior Glymph will be an interesting one to watch. Joey Porter will be productive on the opposite side and I'm confident that Anderson or Moses (or possibly both) will be able to be excel in the starting role. As an avid SEC follower, I'm a big Moses fan and think he has quite a lot of potential, so I'd love to see him grab the job. For this season, it might be best to rotate a few guys at the position.
  • Even though Akin Ayodele and Reggie Torbor will be under contract next season at inside linebacker, I think Channing Crowder is going to earn an extension with his play this year. Unlike Zach Thomas, Crowder fits wonderfully in the Dolphins' new defense scheme. I have a feeling this is the year he takes it to the next level, and if that's the case I think the front office will lock him up long-term.
Cornerback
  • Michael Lehan's slow progress with his ankle injury is a concern, especially given how thin our secondary is. Whether or not he ends up on the PUP list during the regular season will determine if an extra corner makes the team following the preseason. (No one let Travis Daniels near him, or he might injure him further to save himself from being cut.)
  • On the plus side, it sounds like ex-Cowboy Nathan Jones is having a quality camp and should be able to fill the nickel role.
  • Beyond that, however, there's little talent. Injuries here will screw this team.
Safety
  • My prediction regarding the free safety spot hasn't changed one bit. I think Jason Allen locks up the starting job, Chris Crocker earns the backup gig and Renaldo Hill gets the boot.
  • I'm really excited to see what Yeremiah Bell can do with a full year of starting. He'll obviously need to stay healthy, but if he can I think he'll surprise some people that don't follow the Dolphins. He could start for quite a few teams in the league.