Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dolphins activate LB Matt Roth; waive TE John Nalbone

The Matt Roth saga seems to have come to a happy conclusion, as the Miami Dolphins activate the outside linebacker from the non-football injury list, where he'd been inactive since the beginning of training camp.

To make room for Roth on the 53-man roster, the Dolphins waived rookie tight end John Nalbone. The fifth-round pick out of Monmouth made the team following the preseason, but had been inactive for the Dolphins' first six games of the 2009 season.

Matt Roth analysis

The Roth situation during training camp was one of the strangest things I've ever seen in all my time as a Dolphins fan.

It involved seemingly phantom injuries, made-up illnesses, rumored contract displeasure and flat-out lying to head coach Tony Sparano.

That being the case, whatever was the problem then is apparently gone now, as Roth is back practicing and appears ready to contribute this season

Though the Dolphins have certainly survived without their best run-stopping outside linebacker, ranking third in the NFL in rushing defense, Roth's addition can't do anything but help.

Joey Porter has stepped up his game and become a more complete player, and Jason Taylor has been a solid all-around performer as always, but Roth still trumps both of them when it comes to run defense.

Roth will likely rotate with Jason Taylor at strong-side linebacker, with Taylor playing obvious pass situations and Roth playing some early downs.

Like two platooning baseball players who each hit one type of pitcher well, this is a great fit for both and should maximize their production by letting them do what they do best and keeping both fresher during games—especially the 35-year-old Taylor.

During a week in which the Dolphins lost their best veteran corner and will be forced to start two rookies in the secondary, this is good news for the front seven and should help lessen the impact of Will Allen's loss.

Roth should be active in Week Eight against the New York Jets and will likely serve a situational role. His arrival could eventually spell the end of Quentin Moses' tenure in Miami, who has been inactive for the team's last two games and isn't as good a special teams player as fellow backup Erik Walden.

John Nalbone analysis

Like Brian Hartline or J. D. Folsom, the selection of Nalbone in the 2009 NFL Draft was curious not because of his prospects as a pro, but because of the timing. Hartline was projected to be a seventh-rounder and was grabbed in the fourth-round, while Nalbone, like Folsom, was probably not going to be drafted.

Yet the Dolphins chose Nalbone in the fifth round. Despite the injury and release of David Martin, Nalbone was unable to see playing time during the Dolphins' first six games of 2009 and has not dressed for a game as a pro.

In Nalbone's defense, Joey Haynos has been a solid No. 2 tight end, catching the passes thrown to him and contributing as a blocker to one of the league's best rushing attacks.

If Nalbone clears waivers on Monday at 4 p.m. ET (and I expect he will), he will likely be re-signed to the team's practice squad. Such a move would likely spell the end for current practice squad tight end Kory Sperry.